Nadia's Midboss Musings: Four Reasons Why Tingle from the Legend of Zelda Is Awesome

Nadia's Midboss Musings: Four Reasons Why Tingle from the Legend of Zelda Is Awesome

Don't hate him 'cause he's resourceful, Kooloo-Limpah.

"Tingle, Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah!"

Above are the "magic words" of Tingle, a recurring character in the Legend of Zelda series. The words are indeed magical, as they're capable of prompting an immediate response from the person who hears them. Some people smile and laugh. Others scream in rage and throw themselves at the nearest destructible object with the furious energy of the raptor leaping on the T-Rex at the end of Jurassic Park.

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Unlike Link and Zelda, Tingle's appearance and mannerisms don't change much from game to game. He's invariably a middle-aged man in a tight green jumpsuit that shows off his soft dad bod. He believes he is the reincarnation of a fairy, and he's crazy about Rupees. His primary means of transportation is a balloon on his back, which lets him drift to and fro.

While Tingle has his fans, he also has seething reams of haters who'd love to overfill his balloon with helium until he's carried into the stratosphere and dies of asphyxiation ("'Kooloo-Limpah that, you Rupee-hoarding booger!").

To be fair, Tingle is a massive doink in The Wind Waker. The dreaded quest that has you gathering pieces of the Triforce is made all the more tedious by the fact you have to pay Tingle stupid amounts of money to translate your sea charts.

Well, the man simply has a skill that happens to be in demand. Don't like it? You learn to read ancient Hylian (which, uh, you can do if you finish the game once through). Besides, Wind Waker HD streamlines the original release's Triforce hunt, so why not shake hands with Tingle and make up? It's all water under the bridge now, right? Tons and tons of water. We are talking about Wind Waker, after all.

Besides, he has a dog who's in a perpetual state of cosplay.

Tingle's not my favorite Zelda character, but I can't bring myself to hate the weird fellow. He just has too many interesting traits:

He's a cartographer
We first meet Tingle in Majora's Mask, where draws maps to help Link out. It's an odd meeting, but then again, Majora's Mask is an odd game. Anyway, I have a lot of respect for people who produce maps. I don't have the sense of direction or patience for that biz. Even as a schoolkid, I'd try to get away with drawing Canada as a vague square. The teacher usually made me sit back down and at least draw some crazy arctic stuff exploding the top of the map.

He can fly around using a single balloon strapped to his back
I wonder how much of the Tingle hate is born out of jealousy. Tingle can fly with the aid of a single balloon, a fantasy we all relished as kids. Some adults still try to achieve lift-off with balloons, but even if they get airborne, it rarely ends well. Tingle, on the other hand, never loses control. The man knows what he's doing.

He has a cobra emblem on the back of his outfit
The Tingle outfit that's part of the first DLC pack for Breath of the Wild clearly displays a cobra symbol that some people were surprised to see. Has Tingle always had that symbol on the back of his clothing? Yes, since Wind Waker, at least. According to the Hyrule Historia, the serpent is supposed to intimidate Tingle's enemies. It's unclear who Tingle's enemies are (small, non-venomous snakes? Rodents?), but whoever they are, Tingle's got a warning for them: Hissss.

He just doesn't give an eff about what others think of him
Tingle has at least some understanding of what others think of him. He knows others regard him as a weirdo who'll probably remain single all his life. He knows his father is ashamed of him. He doesn't care. My dude just wants to float around, draw maps, explore, shake down hapless adventurers for money, and pretend he's a fairy. He's got one life to live (or maybe several, depending on your opinion of Zelda continuity), and by Hylia, he's going to live it the way he wants to live it. Respect.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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