Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.
Game: Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland
Release Date: September 14th 2007
System Released On: Nintendo DS
Who Nominated The Game: I, Guy Desmarais
Why Was It Nominated: Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland is, in my opinion, a blemish on The Legend of Zelda series. While most if not all of the games which were actually released by Nintendo (which means that I am not talking about the abominations released on the CD-i) can be considered “good”, this one could be called the black sheep of the family. You could also call it “the red-headed stepchild”, but I don’t think that this is enough to show how much of a shame this spin-off is to the rest of the series. This is as if the stepchild in question decided to go out on Maury and expose every last one of the family’s darkest secrets.
First released for the Japanese market, but then brought to Europe after a survey sent to Club Nintendo members, Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland was presented as a standard role-playing game, but actually was nothing but. The player controls Tingle, but Tingle does not fight. Instead, he is accompanied through dungeons (and the term is used loosely) in order to do the fighting for him. These companions act as bodyguards, but also seem to be out of some even more bizarre version of The Rock Horror Picture Show. The entire game is based on money, which both represent Tingle’s life force, but also his only way to get info from the non-playable characters, resulting most of the time either in a lack of funds or Tingle’s death. The fighting is arbitrary at best as you simply throw your character into fisticuffs and then shake the ensuing cloud of smoke using your stylus. Quite simply, not a whole lot makes sense here.
The game design is not as much atrocious as it is bland. The different zones and continents representing Tingle’s universe lack personality, which might be the biggest offender in a game represented by a 35 year old man in a green bodysuit. How can a game which shows sad clowns as fighters and half-naked construction workers as key characters be bland? I have no idea, but somehow it happened.
One could argue that Nintendo makes few truly horrible games. Sure, they make some very average games from time to time (Wii Music, anyone?) or even niche games which never reach their market (Chibi Robo comes to mind), but they rarely release true stinkers. In my opinion, Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland is one of these rare atrocities, and needs to be treated as such.
All in Favour:
Guy Desmarais: I have always been a Tingle apologist. When fans whined about his inclusion in Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker, I was quite enjoying his presence. I always thought he was a funny guy, just one with a weird sense of humour and a tendency to rip off the player. Still, I thought that instead of just putting another flavorless NPC to serve Tingle’s purpose, the spandex-clad man at least had a bit of personality to stand out from the pack. That’s why I imported Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland (that’s the official title) and soon regretted it.
After reading the reviews, I expected a competent RPG, but what I found is a game with good graphics and decent story, but plagued with a bargaining system on which the entire game stands. That system means that the game is more like a series of negotiations instead of any real action. The dungeons and puzzles are incredibly easy, but having to constantly guess what’s the amount of money that someone wishes to get without going over or under (in which case they refuse to cooperate at all but still keep your money) is a pain in the ass. All of these bargaining sessions greatly overwhelm the action parts, making the game a tedious experience. There’s also the fact that you need to be in Tingle’s house to save. So if you’re in the middle of a dungeon, you must select “Go back to house” from the menu, save, and then make your way to the other end of the map again when you restart.
I vote this game into the Hall of Shame because it is one of Nintendo’s few major mistakes. I would have put Tingle in a platformer set in Zelda’s world, where the green guy tries to collect rupees in familiar locations. It would have been a nice opportunity to see Hyrule from another perspective. Instead, we got this abomination which ruined the Tingle character for me, and even put me off of importing games. I have seriously not imported a single game since this debacle. I blame it all on Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland.
Christopher Bowen: I actually kinda forgot about this one, which itself doesn’t really qualify a game for Hall of Shame status; a HOS game should be something that the mere mention of makes me shudder.
But if you get past the bullshit, the game isn’t that bad. Sure, it’s bland, and should never be purchased for over $10 on a used rack, but I wouldn’t call it one of the worst of all time… hell, I wouldn’t even call it one of the top 10 worst DS games. Really, the hatred for the game is for Tingle. We all hate Tingle, even moreso than Navi. But if you replace Tingle with a nameless mascot or something along those lines, this is just a boring game that tried a unique way to play the game and failed. B for effort, C- for execution.
Tingle the character is shameful beyond all hope, but his game isn’t.
Mark B.: So let’s talk about Chulip.
Chulip is a game where the object, basically, is to kiss everything you meet. The game is bizarre from the start, when you’re kissing things that live in the sewer and look like Dali’s nightmares, and it never really stops being incredibly strange from there. The game is so Japanese it might as well come with a pair of used panties and a tentacle stuck to the disc, and pretty much no one liked the game when it was released. That said, Chulip was not a bad game so much as it was a weird game, and while I can completely understand how someone who isn’t acquainted with very many bad games in their time as a player might assume one translates to the other, such is not the case.
So it is with Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland.
This is not a bad game in the same sense that Chulip or Oneechanbara is not a bad game. It is, rather, a weird and experimental game that will only appeal to people who have the patience to understand what the game is trying to do and embrace it. It’s a weird little RPG based around the concept of earning treasures and fighting battles by cheering Tingle on rather than directly interacting with him, and I can completely understand why someone would look at this and go “What? Ew.”, but bad? Hardly. Sorry, but as someone who openly goes out of his way to play the weirdest games possible when given a chance, if I can’t say that Battle Construction Vehicles is a bad game, I can’t say this is either.
Aileen Coe: So. Tingle. One of the more infamous characters from the Legend of Zelda series. So infamous, in fact, he got his own game, which was never released in the US. Perhaps we were the lucky ones.
I mean, just look at him. How can anyone take that seriously?
Now combine that with the title, and you get…something even harder to take seriously. Thus begins the derision and scorn.
But…for all its absurd appearance and premise, it’s actually not that terrible a game – as least, not as much as the title and titular character would have you believe, and far from the worst game ever made. Does it stand up to any of the entries in its source series (CD-i games notwithstanding)? Not by a long shot. But it also doesn’t do anything horridly enough to land it in the Hall of Shame. Even if playing it leaves your left hand sore afterwards. And if those creepy glaring faces demanding rupees left you sleeping with one eye open.
Result: 1 In Favour, 3 Opposed, 25% Approval = SPARED
Conclusion: Well… it looks like I was the only one to truly detest this game, which is weird since I am usually the biggest fan of the character when it comes to his inclusion in standard Zelda games. Everybody agrees that the game is flawed, even weird, but that is not enough to get into the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Shame. Well done, Tingle. You are still allowed to go out there in your too-tight suit and terrorize gamers to your heart’s content.
Next Week: A famous basketball player in a game that has nothing to do with basketball? As long as he’s not fighting aliens or doing karate… oh he’s doing both? At the same time??? Be sure to check it out next week in our next installment.