Concept and creation
Tingle was created by Takaya Imamura, a game designer at Nintendo EAD. According to an interview with Kensuke Tanabe, producer of Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, character designer Imamura created Tingle in a "very relaxed manner." He was also in charge of the character design of the games F-Zero and Star Fox. In an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly, director Eiji Aonuma stated that he had "found out some American people didn't like him very much" and ultimately decided not to include him in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess as a result. In a later interview with Nintendo Dream, he stated that the character Purlo is his reference to Tingle in Twilight Princess. According to Aonuma, Purlo's appearance "is the result of wondering what a realistic Tingle would look like".
Tingle is a short, paunchy 35-year-old man who is completely obsessed with "forest fairies" and dresses up in a green costume, slightly resembling that of the main character, Link. He also wears tight red shorts and a necklace with a clock that is permanently stuck at four o'clock. Tingle is normally seen floating around on his red balloon, drawing and selling maps for his father, who runs the Southern Swamp pictograph contest and sees Tingle as "a fool". He is also known for his catchphrase: "Tingle, Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah!" Chinkuru, Chinkuru! Kururinpa! (チンクル、チンクル! クルリンパー！?). Tingle appears to have a fixation for Rupees and other similar collectibles, such as Force Gems in Four Swords Adventures and Kinstones in The Minish Cap. In Majora's Mask, Tingle can be found around Termina selling maps, and in The Wind Waker, he translates Triforce Maps for a high price, among other things. Tingle's fixation for Rupees is explained in the Nintendo DS game Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, where it is stated that Tingle needs Rupees to live.
Ankle is Tingle's younger brother and Knuckle's twin. In The Wind Waker, he is found turning the grinding wheel at Tingle Tower with David Jr.. The reason he does so much work is to support his brother, Knuckle. He also has a love of gardening. He also appears in Four Swords Adventures and later in The Minish Cap, where he fuses Kinstones behind Lon Lon Ranch. His outfit is faded purple.
Knuckle is Ankle's twin and the one who built Tingle Tower. In The Wind Waker, he is largely a side-quest character, requiring use of the Tingle Tuner to find. By doing so, Link can gain the Hand-Me-Down Tuner which provides additional options. He also appears in Four Swords Adventures and later in The Minish Cap, where he fuses Kinstones in Trilby Highlands. His outfit is light blue.
David Jr., although similar in appearance to Tingle and his brothers, is from Windfall Island and is unrelated to Tingle. After getting shipwrecked on Tingle Island, he was forced by Tingle to work turning the wheel. Unenthusiastic about his role, he does it anyway, although he is prone to complaining. When reading his inscription in the Nintendo Gallery, it implies that his father was the one who made the ghost ship chart, but died immediately after doing so. He also appears in Four Swords Adventures and The Minish Cap, the latter of which sees him fusing Kinstones in Lake Hylia. His outfit is white.
The Legend of Zelda series
Tingle made his debut in the Nintendo 64 game Majora's Mask. Throughout Link's adventure, Tingle helps Link navigate the land of Termina by selling him maps of various areas (although Link has to pop Tingle's balloon in order to speak to him). His maps come cheaper if bought in their respective areas. Tingle appears in Clock Town, Southern Swamp, Woodfall, Mountain Village, Milk Road, Great Bay, Ikana Valley, Stone Tower, and outside Zora Hall. His father operates the pictograph contest at the Woodfall Swamp, and is ashamed by his son's antics, although he admits that perhaps he spoiled him too much.
Tingle doesn't appear in Oracle of Seasons but does appear in the land of Labrynna in Oracle of Ages, giving Link a chart that he needs to cross the sea. He also gives Link upgrades to the Seed Satchel, the first increasing its capacity to 50 of every seed and the second (available only in a linked game) to 99 of every seed.
Tingle's first appearance in The Wind Waker is in a small, dingy prison cell on Windfall Island. He was imprisoned for being mistaken for a troublemaker. When freed, Tingle gives Link the Tingle Tuner, a device that can be used if the player connects a Game Boy Advance to the GameCube via the Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable. This allows a second player to control Tingle and assist Link by selling him potions, providing him with a shield, allowing him to float and dropping bombs. However, in the Wii U remake, Tingle gives Link the Tingle Bottle, which can be used to post on Miiverse, instead of the Tingle Tuner. Tingle also gives the player a crudely drawn map to Tingle Island, and can be found for the rest of the game on this island, near the top of Tingle Tower. According to the Tingle Tuner, Tingle is merely a native of a different island with a Tingle-centric legend, in parallel to the Link-centric legend of Outset Island. He deciphers the charts needed to haul the Triforce Shards from the ocean floor. He is also known for his extortionate prices; he demands 398 Rupees per chart, plus 201 Rupees for the IN-credible Chart that shows the location of the Triforce Charts and Triforce Shards from the charts that have been deciphered. This game also introduced his brothers, Ankle and Knuckle, who are twins, and David Jr., who is not related but was (supposedly) saved by Tingle after his ship was sucked into a cyclone.
Tingle appears in the GameCube game Four Swords Adventures. If a player leaves a good deal of Force Gems lying around for too long, Tingle will eventually float towards them on his balloon in an attempt to steal them. The players must grab them before he does (although while playing multi-player, players are given the option of turning this off). There is also a trap in this game that causes Tingle to lead an army of lookalikes and steal the gems directly from the Links.
Tingle, Ankle, Knuckle, and David Jr. are able to fuse Kinstones with Link in the Game Boy Advance game The Minish Cap. Fusing Kinstones is an action that Link can do with many people, animals, and seemingly inanimate objects throughout the game, which influences the game world, often only in some minor way, to give Link access to an item or new area. When all four have fused Kinstones with Link, a passage will open on the Castle Grounds that gives him the Magic Boomerang. Tingle, his brothers, and David Jr. can also tell Link how many Kinstone fusions remain. Once Link has done every Kinstone fusion, Tingle will award Link with the Tingle statue.
In Phantom Hourglass, Tingle makes a small appearance in Mercay Island's bar, as a poster on the wall. In Spirit Tracks, an almost life-size Tingle figurine is in Hyrule Castle Town's shop and Linebeck III's shop. In Skyward Sword, a Tingle doll can be seen in Zelda's room at the Knight Academy. Tingle appears as an additional playable character in Hyrule Warriors via the Majora's Mask DLC pack.
Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland
Tingle's first starring role was in the spin-off title game known as Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland for the Nintendo DS. It tells the story of Tingle as a simple, 35-year-old man who ended up becoming a Tingle after meeting a character known as Uncle Rupee. The game explain why all of Tingle's incarnations have been so obsessed with Rupees, as well as why he wears his 'fairy suit'. The game was released in Japan in 2006 and one year later in Europe on September 14. Although the game scored high reviews in both Japan and Europe, it never saw a North American release. This was likely due to a poll on Nintendo's website asking if the game should be brought to America. The poll slightly swung against an American release due to the poor perception that Tingle had received in the region.
Tingle's Balloon Fight
Tingle's Balloon Fight DS (チンクルの バルーンファイトDS Chinkuru no Barūn Faito DS?) is a Nintendo DS arcade style platformer published and developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console, which is solely available to Platinum Club Nintendo members. The game itself is based not only on The Legend of Zelda, but on Balloon Fight as well, making this the third entry in the latter franchise (following the first title and Balloon Kid).
Tingle's Balloon Fight uses the same game design as Balloon Fight. The game has three modes: Balloon Fight (single player), local wireless Balloon Fighting Spirit (2–4 players), and Balloon Trip (single-player). Performing various accomplishments throughout the game (winning multiplayer matches, achievements in scoring, and other as yet unknown methods) unlocks artwork in a gallery of Tingle portraits, available on the Options screen of the game. The game was released exclusively to members of Club Nintendo in Japan.
Irozuki Tingle no Koi no Balloon Trip
An issue of the Japanese magazine Famitsu published in June 2009 contained a teaser advertisement depicting a tiny picture of Tingle along with a line of text saying Yōsei? (ようせい?, lit. "Fairy?"). On June 12, 2009, Nintendo opened a teaser website, hinting at an upcoming Nintendo DS game starring Tingle. Later, a DSiWare title named Dekisugi Tingle Pack (lit. "Too Much Tingle Pack") was released in Japan on June 24, which is a collection of Tingle themed applications. Another issue of Famitsu published in late June revealed a Nintendo DS game titled Irodzuki Tincle no Koi no Balloon Trip (lit. "Ripening Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love"), which is a sequel to Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland. It was released in Japan on August 6, 2009.
Dekisugi Tingle Pack
Dekisugi Tingle Pack (lit. "Too Much Tingle Pack") is a DSiWare application that includes several different minigames, including a fortune-teller, calculator, timer, coin-flipper and dancing game. It was released on June 24, 2009 as a promotional application for Irozuki Tingle no Koi no Balloon Trip.
Tingle appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee as part of the Termina Bay stage, as well as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. In those games, he threw out a large amount of items that could quickly be grabbed by all of the fighters. However, he would sometimes just float away, not doing anything. He also appears as a trophy in those games, the former based on Majora's Mask and the latter two based on The Wind Waker.
Tingle also appears in Super Mario Maker as one of the unlockable "Mystery Mushroom" outfits.