Now We Know Why Tingle Appears So Much in Wind Waker
Tingle seems to love the ocean. How else to explain his steady presence in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where the peculiar sprite continually pops up to aid (or hamper) Link’s quest with items like the Tingle Tuner? Heck, he even has his very own island.
In today’s sprawling interview with IGN, which you should absolutely go read, outgoing developer Takaya Imamura explained Tingle’s outsized presence in Wind Waker.
“I was helping out on The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker when it was still in its planning phase, but at the same time I was working on Star Fox Adventures with Rare, and I ended up having to focus on the latter,” Imamura explained, laughing. “So If you ever wondered why Tingle appears so often in Wind Waker, now you know why.”
Tingle had already appeared in Majora’s Mask and Oracle of Ages, but his stint in Wind Waker seemed to cement him in Zelda lore. He went on to appear in several more games, including Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland for the Nintendo, which never made it to North America.
Imamura was Tingle’s main creator, and it’s become a big part of his legacy. Indeed, when Imamura announced his retirement earlier this year, many sites referred to him as “Tingle’s Creator” first despite having a large hand on games ranging from Star Fox 64 to F-Zero GX.
Tingle himself remains a fairly divisive figure among North American fandom. Here at IGN, we hated him enough that we ran a “Die, Tingle, Die! Die!” campaign back in 2004. In Japan, though, he is said to have garnered a cult following, with Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland producer Kensuke Tanabe expressing interest in one day making another Tingle game.
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“I know that people cannot stand Tingle. But to me, that challenge is: Could I take this character that is so reviled in the West and just [do] a complete turnaround and make him a beloved, fun character? The idea of that really just gets me going. I know we have made a Tingle game in the past, but maybe at some point down the road,” Tanabe told GamesBeat in 2013.
As for Imamura, he’s now departed the company where he spent more than 30 years working alongside giants like Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata. He is now a professor at the International Professional University of Technology in Osaka, where he is teaching CG animation and video game development and is currently working on a manga.
Kat Bailey is a Senior Editor at IGN. She really has nothing against Tingle.