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|Title:||Donkey Kong Pauline Edition|
|Rating:||4 out of 5|
Everyone loves Donkey Kong! And the NES was a great console on which to continue the arcade-to-home game releases. It had the horsepower to give a very realistic treatment to beloved arcade games. But this version of Donkey Kong isn't like the original. Well, it is in a way, but Mario no longer climbs the girders to rescue his girlfriend. In this round, Pauline takes the challenge to free her man from the angry ape. Yep, Mario is atop the screen awaiting rescue by his princess. What!?!
Game designer Mike Mika's daughter wasn't content to play Donkey Kong as Mario. She wanted to play as Pauline. Mike took it upon himself to examine the NES RM and alter it so she could play as Pauline and climb the girders to rescue Mario! Mike did it for his daughter and did't think too much about the effort, but news of his feat circled the globe resulting in an Atari 2600 and arcade versions.
From an interview with Mika:
Mario is made up of four eight- by eight-pixel tiles. So each frame of animation is created with four tiles, each having three colors from the same palette. Two nights after my daughter's request, I was knee deep in the Donkey Kong ROM, trying to make sense of the graphics. If I was going to replace the sprites, I needed to go all in.
I needed to reduce Pauline's height - she is three tiles tall to Mario's two, a throwback to when Donkey Kong was going to be a Popeye game. I managed to reduce her height by taking some liberty with her design. I kept the head and hair pretty much intact. But, without any sort of onion-skin animation tools, I was animating blind with only the Mario sprites as reference.
Having no idea that his hack would be of much interest, he posted progress online and the floodgates opened. People were very interested! Some folks marveled at his outstanding parenting while others railed against feminist agendas. In other words, the crazies came out.
We love the tech ingenuity that went into this hack as well as the Mike's dedication to his daughter. We hope this inspires people to look at video games in a different light and take a more active approach in examining their content. Not necessarily with a hack in mind, but to look at games, not as a final entity, but as an evolving medium that may be altered and change the experience in a positive manner.
Donkey Kong is Donkey Kong, regardless of character swaps. This hack to Donkey Kong simply takes a classic and gives it a new twist. Snag a copy of the ROM and we hope it inspires everyone to re-examine their favorite games and realize that technology can do all sorts or amazing things - including altering the status quo of ANY video game. Change the world... one game at a time :)
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