Fans Take Videogame Damsels Out of Distress, Put Them in Charge


Playing “Donkey Kong” this spring, Mike Mika’s 3-year-old daughter Ellis asked him why it is always the mustached Mario who saves Pauline, the damsel in a pink dress who gets kidnapped by a gorilla.

The game has no option for the girl to save the boy. It just works like that, the dad told his daughter. “She was bummed out,” he says.

So Mr. Mika, a 39-year-old videogame developer in Emeryville, Calif., hacked the classic game’s software to make the damsel into a heroine who saves the plumber Mario. He published his version, dubbed “Donkey Kong: Pauline Edition,” online, where it has been downloaded more than 11,000 times since it was posted in March.

The iPhone Gives ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ a Second Chance


Old is the new cool in videogames.

Videogame titles that once gathered dust on collectors’ shelves have found a new life on mobile devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone, giving companies a cheap way to make money while also helping to promote new software.

It is what Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. did when it was preparing to release the third installment in a popular film-noire series called “Max Payne.” About a month before the new title went on sale, the company released “Max Payne Mobile”—the first game in the series released 11 years ago, reworked to run on smartphones and tablet computers rather than videogame consoles and personal computers.

Zynga Defends OMGPOP Acquisition


Zynga Inc. has faced plenty of questions after buying the maker of “Draw Something,” a mobile game that was released only six weeks earlier and has since lost popularity. Now the social games company is trying to provide some answers.

The San Francisco-based company on Thursday plans to announce an agreement with animation studio DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. to place additional advertising in the game. Zynga believes it’s the start of new revenue-generating possibilities that will justify the controversial acquisition.

Old Fashioned Games? They Really Are.


We all have fond memories of playing Monopoly, Scrabble and Connect Four when we were kids. But when you‘re an adult, it‘s really hard to find people who can dedicate the time to play. After his friends and family turned him down for a game of Risk, Ian Sherr went in search of more *worthy* opponents at Board Games night at Games of Berkeley.

Barack Obama and Selma, Alabama


Many factors went into making Barack Obama the man he is today. But had he come of age at any other time, the color of his skin would have dashed any of his hopes.

I traveled to Selma, Alabama, to revisit its civil rights legacy and to find out exactly what Barack Obama‘s presidency means to the people who struggled all those years ago.