When Tingle appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask he wasn't well-received by everyone - that's a little odd, considering this is a franchise with talking rock-based creatures, a villain that transforms into an enormous hog-thing and more. Nevertheless, he's a character that some just don't like.
In any case, as a man in his mid-30s that believes he's a forest fairy, he's no doubt peculiar. In an interview with Kotaku, series producer Eiji Aonuma outlined the creative process that brought the quirky character to life.
The way the design of the character started is that we needed to think about how the character — the player — would get access to maps in this game. Of course, you could go with a situation where, as soon as he sees an area, you just open up your map and it fills in for you, but we wanted to do something a little bit different.
So, we thought, what if you had to buy maps? Then suddenly we needed a character that you would be buying maps from. We ultimately ended up with a character here that had a little bit of humor to him that [came from] thinking of...'What sort of person would sell a map?' And, well, we decided it would be the kind of person who makes a map. And the way that he makes a map is by floating through the air so that he can see the contours of the land and draw them.
...But as soon as we got that far in the process, we realized anybody that would fly through the air making a map has got to be a really weird person. So at that point we decided, okay, we'll go with this and make him a really weird guy.
Further explanation is given in relation to the design, with a well-known character having been at the forefront of minds at the time.
So when we made the character, we had this notion that one of the ways he might be a little bit weird is that he had this notion that he never wanted to grow up. And so I think, to that extent the clothes do fit this image of him. And the whole thing comes together as a very Peter Pan kind of visual. You know, if you think about it, it's this guy in his 30s in a green suit and is flying and never wants to grow up, it all sort of comes together around that.
Oddly, Aonuma-san was then asked if Tingle is gay, evidently riffing on Gaymer.net naming Tingle as the 'gayest video game character' back in 2006. For the record Aonuma's answer was no, but the answer's irrelevant unless you're a fan of lazy stereotypes - we're pretty sure heterosexual men in their mid-30s can be strange and dress like weirdos too.
We're also sure that next time a Call of Duty / Gears of War / God of War-type protagonist is discussed, with the conversation focused on his strength, brutality or masculinity, the game's producer will be asked - "is he straight?" Actually, probably not, because this is 2015.