There’s a great article up on Wired by-and-about the dad who hacked Donkey Kong so that his daughter could play as Pauline, relegating Mario to the position of captured love interest.
Mike Mika wasn’t thinking about feminist agendas or affronts to the patriarchy when he made Pauline a playable character for his 3 year old daughter. They had just come off of a Super Mario Bros. 2 binge and Mika’s daughter loved using Princess Toadstool. The duo also had watched the gamer classic The King of Kong, so Donkey Kong was on the playlist. But Mika’s daughter wanted to know why she couldn’t play as a female character in Donkey Kong.