March 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM ET
There's another entry in what appears to be a trend of gender-swapping retro games, this one from an animator named Kenna W. In this hacked version of "The Legend of Zelda" for NES, Princess Zelda is the one doing the adventuring, instead of Link.
Kenna was inspired by last week's "Donkey Kong" hack that had Daisy jumping barrels and saving Mario.
"I wished I had someone who could have done that for me," she wrote in a blog post describing the "Zelda starting Zelda" project. "Then I remembered. I'm an adult now. If he could work it out, I could too."
Hacking a ROM (a computer file containing all the information from an NES cartridge), as it turns out, is surprisingly easy. People have been doing it for years to add levels, change graphics, and even redo entire games. But switching the manly protagonist and the damsel in distress hasn't been a common modification.
With a bit of pixel-art knowhow and some readily available ROM-hacking tools, Kenna and her boyfriend were able to replace the brave Hyrulian warrior Link with the brave Hyrulian warrior Zelda:
She even edited the introductory story text, so now Gannon has captured Link (who appears, helpless, at the end of the final dungeon).
There was some trouble editing the colors (the Nintendo's color palette system is notoriously difficult to work with) but it's all settled now, and you can download the patch for the ROM at Kenna's site. You'll have to find your own copy of the game itself, but that shouldn't be too hard.
This may be just the beginning: A few dedicated hackers is all it would take and soon we could have "Mega-Woman," "Blaster Mistress," or maybe even "Super Mario Sisters." Learn more about the process and work behind this particular hack at Kenna's blog.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.