Dad Hacks 'Donkey Kong' for Daughter, Makes Pauline Rescue Mario

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Meanwhile, word of the hacking triumph spread rapidfire around the Internet through his friends' Facebook and Twitter posts, eventually landing on the front page of Reddit and earning thousands of views on YouTube for a short video he posted of the new game.

The game sparked conversation around the web about female characters in video games.

"Video game makers are starting to show a little bit more respect for women as that part of the industry is maturing," Steinberg said. "Game makers are waking up and realizing that there is a broader audience, and there is an effort to try and expand that traditional gaming audience and broaden the community."

Mika said he didn't set out to explore gender roles in video games, but now that he's seen the reaction, he may think twice about games he works on in the future.

"I've been making games for a long time -- never really violent games but games -- and now I'm thinking about what exactly I'm working on and how to be more fair and balanced," he said.

Meanwhile, Ellis keeps trying to beat Donkey Kong's obstacles in level one to rescue Mario.

"This morning we played again. She's yet to get Mario, but she's getting close. I never pushed my kids into playing video games, I just planted the seed and so far she's taken to it," Mika said.

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