There have always been Zelda fans that wished they could play as a female protagonist, and support has grown ever since concept art for a female Link (which eventually became Linkle) was discovered in the Hyrule Warriors art book. Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma says that Linkle will be kept in mind for future Zelda games, but in the meantime, one dedicated father has decided to give his daughter the chance to play a classic entry in the franchise without being locked into a specific gender.

A longtime
Zelda fan named Tony Smith has gone through The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and edited out all gender-specific references to Link, replacing them with gender-neutral words. Due to the fact that Link’s appearance in A Link to the Past is “fairly androgynous,” Tony hopes that giving the game gender-neutral dialogue will make it easier for his daughter and fans of all gender identities to enjoy.

“Since Link’s graphical appearance in A Link to the Past is fairly androgynous to begin with, the only aspect of the game that needed to be ‘fixed’ was all of the in-game dialogue referring to Link as a boy. I combed through all of the in-game text and replaced every instance of Link’s male pronouns with gender-neutral language. To prevent introducing any bugs or glitches in the game, I had to use words with the exact same number of characters; “boy” and “son” were easily replaced with “kid,” but I had to get a little creative in other instances. Since I couldn’t replace “he” with “she,” I went with the Old English “ye,” which I think works in the context of Link serving as an avatar for the actual game player.

I believe that the public conversation to date on gender-swapped video game hacks has left out the transgendered community and others whose gender identities are more complicated than the simple binary ‘male’ or ‘female.’

In my gender-neutral hack of A Link to the Past, although Zelda remains female, the protagonist character of Link controlled by the player (and whom the player is supposed to most closely identify with) is completely gender-neutral and can embody whatever gender the player brings to the game.”
— Tony Smith

While the project was inspired by his daughter, Tony Smith has made it available for everyone to download. If you’re interested in playing it, you can find out how by visiting his website.

Source: Tony Smith

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Ben Lamoreux


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