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EAST YORK, Ontario — In one father's household, all of the video game heroes are heroines.
It's the least Mike Hoye can do, in his opinion, to empower his 3-year-old daughter, Maya.
"I'm not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don't get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers," Hoye wrote in a blog post explaining his method.
The software entrepreneur spent a few hours altering the code of the Nintendo game "Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker" so the hero became a heroine and the little sister who had to be saved became a little brother — a perfect mirror of the Hoye family.
Hoye told the Toronto Star he had wanted to introduce his children to his hobby, but "that's kind of a problem if you play video games and have a daughter. In the gaming industry, women, frankly speaking, get a raw deal."
Hoye said when he started playing the game with Maya three weeks ago, she instantly decided she was the hero — and Hoye set out to make it happen.
I'm not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don't get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers.
"What inspired me to actually do it was when Maya started to identify the kid on the screen as herself, and started putting herself in that role," he told NBC News.
Now, a "he" in the game becomes a "she." "My lad" is "milady," and "boy" is "girl." Maya is just learning to read, but Hoye hopes when she is ready, she'll notice his own small contribution to the fight against sexism in the gaming industry that is a constant cause for controversy.
"That women get treated terribly by every part of the gaming industry — as protagonists, in games' storylines, in gamer culture in general — is beyond debate, and completely inexcusable," he said. "I wanted to change this game for my own reasons, to make my daughter happy. But there's a much larger point to be addressed here, and I think we're at a watershed moment in the community where this sort of behavior is getting called out for what it is."