Takaya Imamura, creator of Tingle, retires from Nintendo

Takaya Imamura, an artist who worked with Shigeru Miyamoto in creating iconic Nintendo games Star Fox, F-Zero, and THE Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, retires today.

Imamura worked 32 years for Nintendo and is also famous for creating Zelda franchise card dealer Tingle, who has made numerous appearances in this series and other games over the past two decades.

The last time I went to work in a company that was empty (T ^ T) I’m still alone when I think I’ll never be there … I’ve been tired for 32 years!

Posted by Takaya Imamura on Tuesday January 19, 2021

(His post, according to a Kotaku translation, read, “It’s my last day of going to work. I took a selfie with the desk empty. Guess I won’t be coming here again. As you might expect. , I’m going to miss it. ”)

Imamura joined Nintendo in 1989 when work was already underway on F-Zero, a Super NES racing game released in 1990. “After I arrived Miyamoto rounded up some of the new hires and said we would be working on the new system,” Imamura recalls in a 2017 interview. clearly remember how happy it made me.

F-Zero was originally designed as a wheeled car racer, but the depiction of moving tires on the vehicle added many more frames to Imamura’s animations. Imamura said the team of nine developers simply decided to “lose the tires and get the racers high,” completing the game’s futuristic appeal.

Imamura was also an artist for the development team Star Fox, the 1993 Super Nintendo game that was the first to use polygonal graphics. Imamura designed the characters, making anthropomorphic animals under Miyamoto’s guidance. From there, Imamura modeled the characters’ faces on his colleagues, with protagonist Fox McCloud taking after Miyamoto and winger Falco as Tsuyoshi Watanabe. (In a 2017 interview, Imamura revealed that Peppy is director Katsuya Eguchi and Slippy Toad is longtime Zelda developer Yoichi Yamada.)

Freehand sketch of four anthropomorphic animals (an iguana, a wolf, a pig and a monkey)

A sketch from the Star Wolf team, the Star Fox nemeses, which Imamura drew in 1994. It was included with the downloadable digital manual for Star Fox 2, which finally came out in 2017 with the SNES Classic.
Photo: Nintendo

The most enduring character designed and rendered by Imamura, however, is Tingle. First appearance in Majora’s Mask on Nintendo 64 in 2000, Tingle’s extravagant image and demeanor made him a comedy-relief favorite with fans. He got into The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and appeared in several other games, including four of the five Super Smash Bros. (all except the first) and 2014 Hyrule Warriors. Tingle has also starred in a series of Nintendo DS games: Freshly picked Rosy Rupeeland from Tingle, Tingle’s Balloon Fight DS, and Love journey in a matured hot air balloon.

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