The Damsel Device Gets Reversed


Over the past week or so I have heard a lot of about the long time plot device “the damsel in distress”. More specifically a literal moderation of said plot device. And fans are gobbling it up.

The damsel device is something you see in video games for much of gaming’s existence, as Feminist Frequency points out. Bad guy takes lady, good beats bad guy to save lady. While not every game that uses the damsel device is that simple in story, but it’s still easy to spot. Although there are some games where women can become the hero, it’s still quite rare to a heroine save anyone, let alone a male victim.

But thanks to a programmer whose daughter wanted to play as a girl, a game designer modded the game Donkey Kong, a game where Mario rescues a lady named Pauline. The end result is Pauline saving Mario from the ape.

According to the designer, he didn’t do it for any political agenda and wanted make her daughter happy. He even kept it cool when trolls wishes death on his daughter.

That mod inspired an artist to make a mod The Legend of Zelda. In modified game, the franchise’s title character Princess Zelda is saves Hyrule for a change.

Maybe somebody can make a Zelda mod where you can play as the alter ego Sheik. Just saying.

With these mods reversing the roles of iconic characters, this will certainly catch the eye of big time developers and maybe convince them to change things up. Which video game damsel would like to see save the day?

One response to “The Damsel Device Gets Reversed

  1. Loved the post. I read about the Donkey Kong one on Yahoo I believe, but I hadn’t heard about the Zelda switcheroo until now. That was actually the first game that crossed my mind when I heard about it on Yahoo. Very cool!

    Most of the games I play nowadays have strong female protagonists anyway, but I do like the idea of having a role reversal available in the DLC for newer games. Like in GOTY Editions. At the very least having a second story line that is female-driven would be awesome for a lot of games.

    I still have to play Harley Quinn’s Revenge. It’s on my to-do list. 🙂

    Nice post!

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