Rule # 63 of the internet “For any male character, there is a female version of that character.”
Recently some images of popular game characters with their gender swapped have been floating around the internet. The original story has artwork by David Stonecipher of a female Luigi, Kratos, Ezio, Master Chief, Sephiroth and Link, and of a male Samus Aran and Lara Croft. My favorites of the set include the Kratos and the Luigi. These two a good job of swapping the gender without turning them into sexy versions of the characters for the male gaze.
Many artists have done this before. There are more examples of this type of artwork with a search on Tumblr. But looking through these images shows the potential downfalls with much of this artwork. There is an image of Mario with a chest so large that the buttons of the overalls are flying away. Many of the females wear little to no clothing and it is mostly skin tight to accentuate their chests or butts while they bend in sexy poses. The majority of the male characters become muscular and powerful while the females become suggestive or racy.
Looking beyond the sexy poses of many of these images, they do bring up many interesting questions. How would Link always rescuing Princess Zelda read differently if Link was a female? Would it simply result in more slash fiction written about the two characters? Would God of War be as popular of a franchise with a female Kratos? How much is lost if we replace the few female protagonists in games with male characters: Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Samus Aran from Metroid, or Jade from Beyond Good and Evil?