This week in Character RETROspect, we will be looking at one of the most bizarre characters in all of gaming: the one, the only, Tingle. Is a thirty-five year old man who has a penchant for “forest fairies” really that much of a creeper, or is he just a sorely misunderstood man? Let’s take a look at this ambiguously erotic fellow.
Chapter 7: When You Get That Feeling, You Know You’ve Gotta Tingle
The first time we are introduced to the character of Tingle is in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which is undoubtedly the darkest and most emotional entry in the franchise. When players came across Tingle for the first time, I can assume that many of them went “WTF?!” because I know I did. I’ll admit that I did not see a character like Tingle coming, and his “magical” words made me reflect upon my own life in a way that I had never done before.
I can equate the first encounter of Tingle to this: seeing Tingle for the first time is like watching the video from The Ring. I was relieved that after seven days I didn’t die, but the nightmares of Tingle did, however, haunt me for quite some time.
After working my way through Majora’s Mask, I found myself in an awkward but necessary truce with the green-glad cartographer: I needed this creepy balloonist’s self-made maps to help me navigate the land of Termina. It was some kind of cosmic irony that I’d feel uncomfortable around a fictional character upon whom I relied so much. It’s funny to think that despite my aversion, Tingle is one of the most recognizable LoZ characters across the world, and in the Land of the Rising Sun, he’s a superstar.
A Little Tingle in Japan
Gamers in North America, from the “extensive” research I’ve done, genuinely dislike Tingle. In Japan, however, it is an entirely different story. For those that do not know, Tingle actually has his own spin-off games that have done reasonably well. There is Tingle’s Balloon Fight DS, which was a remake of Balloon Fight and was an exclusive to Japanese Club Nintendo Platinum members.
The release of Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland went so far as to flesh out the backstory of Tingle. Essentially a man known as “Uncle Rupee” promises Tingle that if he collects enough rupees, he will be rewarded with the opportunity to live in Rupeeland. Tingle accepts the offer, and is transformed from an ordinary man, to the slightly-off individual that we have all become too familiar with.
The next release was Too Much Tingle Pack, a DSiWare game that was comprised of several mini-games and only saw a release window of about six months before it was removed from the DSi Shop Channel.
Color Changing Tingle’s Love Balloon Trip was a sequel to Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland, and even features characters similar to the ones found in The Wizard of Oz (why not) as Tingle’s comrades in the game. Oh, by the way, Tingle is on a quest to find the right woman in this game. Good luck, Tingle, for I hope one day you can find a woman who is as equally bizarre as you are.
Let Me Tingle This Final Thought Out
Although I was severely taken aback by Tingle when I first played Majora’s Mask, I do get why people cosplay as him; he is an extremely recognizable character that, deep down, does have a hint of charm. While I may never be the #1 Tingle fan, I get it guys, I really do.
“Tingle, Tingle, Kooloo-Limpah!”
I will see you all next week with another Character RETROspect!