Old-school Donkey Kong mod puts Pauline front and center

Never underestimate the power of love and video games.

Anyone who grew up in the 80s or played the port from 2010 for the Nintendo Wii knows the game we’re talking about. Donkey Kong, where at least originally, the giant ape snatched the pink-clad girl, known as Pauline, leaving Mario to jump barrels, smash them with his hammer, and climb ladders in a desperate attempt to save her.

Mike Mika is a father of a three-year-old daughter who enjoys playing the classic 80s flavor of Donkey Kong.  One morning Mika’s little girl asked him the simple question, “How can I play as the girl?”

Being a serious geek and the chief creative officer for Other Ocean Interactive, Mika decided he had the skills needed to make his daughter’s simple request come true by taking a Donkey Kong ROM and swapping places with Mario and Pauline.

In Mika Kong, Pauline jumps the barrels barrels, dodges fireballs, and wields the hammer as she climbs ladders on a quest to save Mario from the clutches of Kong. He even went the extra mile and changed the “M” next the bonus indicator out for a “P” for Pauline and handed the game over to his little girl to play.

“Just like clockwork, she woke up and sat on my lap asking to play Donkey Kong,” he wrote in a guest Wired post. “Only this time, she could play as Pauline. She was excited! But for all she knew, I just figured out how to get Pauline to work. And that was fine. I wasn’t expecting it to change her life.”

Mika says that all the work needed to swap places with Mario and Pauline took only two or three days to complete. Mika has also offered up a downloadable Pauline patch for people that already have the original ROM and XDELTA to apply it.