Sure, players are well aware of all the different versions of Link, Zelda, and Ganon throughout The Legend of Zelda franchise, but there are other, perhaps less known or less popular characters who frequently reappear across multiple games. Like other noteworthy side characters Impa and Sheik, the love-him-or-hate-him Tingle also makes several appearances in both the Zelda series and in other Nintendo games. The Legend of Zelda Tingle appearances date back to 2000, and though he doesn’t make an appearance in the mainline entries past Skyward Sword, Tingle has several other noteworthy cameos in the Super Smash Bros. franchise.
Who is Tingle?
Coming from the mind of Nintendo EAD developer Takaya Imamura, Tingle is a short and round older man wearing a telltale green outfit and featuring a distinctly human face with a red nose. According to series mastermind Eiji Aonuma, Tingle was originally conceived as the type of person who might try to sell Link maps after spending his time flying around Hyrule to chart the landscape and make said maps, adding to his eccentricity. The character has a mixed reception among fans, especially in the West where players decidedly dislike the oddball Tingle not only for his on-screen appearance and mannerisms but for the structure of his quests and tedium associated with his appearance. After his extended cameo in Wind Waker, Tingle has mostly been relegated to the Smash Bros. franchise.
In Tingle’s first series appearance, players learn that the character is 35 years old and also believes he is the reincarnation of a fairy. Because of his connection to fairies, he befriends Link and his fairy Tatl and decides to assist him by selling him maps. He floats up into the air using a baloon and uses his higher vantage point to scout the nearby surroundings, charting what he sees onto new maps to sell to Link. There are 6 maps of Termina that Tingle can sell Link in Majora’s Mask, with the prices ranging between 5 or 20 Rupees when purchasing them in-region, and 40 Rupees for purchasing a map from Tingle while not currently in that map’s specific region.
Oracle of Ages
Despite both games being connected, Tingle only appears in one of the Oracle titles, with his appearance on the Game Boy Color Zelda games limited to Oracle of Ages. In Oracle of Ages, players can find Tingle initially resting on a stump within the Forest of Time. After completing a short side quest to reach Tingle, he gives Link the Island Chart necessary for crossing the sea and reaching Crescent Island. If players decide to return and speak with Tingle again later in the game, he gifts the Link with an upgrade to his Seed Satchel.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Tingle’s first non-Zelda appearance comes via the GameCube title Super Smash Bros. Melee. Tingle makes a cameo in the Great Bay stage, where players can use his signature balloon as a temporary platform while fighting. He also is one of several trophies available that players will unlock randomly by simply playing Super Smash Bros. Melee.
The Wind Waker
Tingle’s most significant role within The Legend of Zelda comes courtesy of The Wind Waker, mostly due to the fact that Tingle’s creator helped with the development of the title. In Wind Waker, players find Tingle in jail thanks to the people of Windfall Island believing he stole a Picto Box. Tingle will give Link the Tingle Tuner, which players can use to buy items from the character as well as interact with special statues hidden throughout Wind Waker‘s world.
Four Swords Adventures
Rather than appear as an ally in Four Swords Adventures, Tingle is actually competing with players for any Force Gems they spot while navigating the game’s world. When players spot Force Gems outside of dungeons, Tingle will appear on his balloon and attempt to reach and steal them from Link. The only options players have to waylay Tingle are to shoot his balloon with arrows to slow him down and try to be the first to reach the Force Gems. Players can also find various Tingle Times signs spread throughout the world telling a hilarious anecdote from Tingle, and the character also runs Four Swords Adventures‘ mini-game gallery Tingle’s Tower.
The Minish Cap
Players can find Tingle in The Minish Cap after Link is unsuccessful in crossing the Castor Wilds. He sits on a ledge just to the east of Link’s house and requests for Link to fuse Kinstone Pieces with him, having apparently accidentally given all of his away to his siblings. After fusing Kinstone Pieces with Tingle, a secret path within Hyrule Forest opens leading to other Kinstone Pieces. Successfully finding all of Tingle’s siblings and fusing Kinstone Pieces with them unlocks the Magic Boomerang. Taking the Kinstone quest all the way to its conclusion (fusing all 100 Kinstones) will see Tingle reward Link with the Tingle Trophy.
Following the negative reception to the character from Western audiences (and even a promise from Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto to not have the character feature prominently in other Zelda games), Tingle’s face appears on a wanted poster in Phantom Hourglass‘ Mercay Tavern.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Tingle shows up in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an assist trophy, appearing in his most noteworthy form from The Wind Waker. After unlocking the Tingle trophy, the character will occasionally show up to provide assists in combat, including dropping Hammers and Golden Hammers, changing stage gravity, throwing banana peels to make stage platforms slippery, and giving all combatants the Curry status.
Spirit Tracks‘ resident “trainiac” Ferrus has a poster in his room featuring Tingle’s likeness, but players can also spot the character in several other hidden cameos throughout the game world. In addition to Ferrus’ poster, Tingle appears as a figurine in several locations throughout Spirit Tracks‘ version of Hyrule, and a golden Tingle figurine can be found at the Trading Post.
Observant players will spot Tingle in Skyward Sword in his last mainline Zelda appearance, but he’s not immediately visible. If Link enters Zelda’s room at the Knight Academy and enters first-person view mode, it’s possible to spot a Tingle plush sitting on her desk. Outside of this small Easter Egg, Tingle has no other cameos in Skyward Sword and does not appear in any mainline games past the 2011 Zelda title.
Although The Legend of Zelda Tingle appearances stop after Skyward Sword, the character still has a few more cameos up his sleeve. The first of these is the character’s appearance in Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U and Hyrule Warriors Legends for 3DS, where he is available as one of several playable warriors. Tingle’s primary weapon is his signature balloon, which he can use to bounce, float from, or even blow up to damage enemies. Tingle is only available as a DLC character despite the developers at Koei Tecmo planning to include him in the base game.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U
Similar to his appearance in Smash Bros. Brawl, Tingle shows up as an assist trophy yet again in Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U. He appears in both games and has the same assist abilities in both, again assuming his appearance from The Wind Waker.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Tingle’s most recent appearance comes to players in Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch. He reprises his cameo in the Great Bay stage from Smash Bros. Melee and is also one of Ultimate‘s Spirits, giving players the Slumber Immunity ability. As the name suggests, Slumber Immunity protects fighters from being susceptible to the Sleep status ailment.