If you weren't already aware, the original GameCube release of Wind Waker had this ace little feature where you could connect your GBA to the main console and use it as a second screen for all manner of shenanigans. This ranged from simple stuff like placing markers on the map and healing Link, to calling in airstrikes and walking on thin air. All of this would be cool on its own, but it's made even more amazing by Tingle, the money-grabbing 35 year-old fariy man we know and love.
Wind Waker is one of the more adventurous Zelda outings, with a totally different take on the overworld of Hyrule, and vibrant, wacky characters inhabiting its vast world. But the Tingle tuner is the thing that stands out to me. It was a precursor to the fantastic moments using the GBA in Four Swords Adventures, but it was also a very early foray into dual screen gaming, something which truly came to fruition with the DS and Wii U. It's a truly unique idea, and whilst it doesn't change gameplay severely, it's certainly a worthy bonus for anyone who owns both a GBA and a link cable.
So what about that funny Tingle lad, eh? Well, he isn't exactly portrayed as a normal bloke in Majora's Mask, but he isn't an evil twat like he is in Wind Waker. After springing him out of jail, you chance upon the bastard stood up in his tower, watching his brother and some other guy do manual labor for him:
But this isn't the end of the story! Tingle turns out to be essential for completing the game, because you have to bring all these bloody maps back to him so he can decode them. This costs a fortune, and takes ages. I mean, I am saving the whole world here Tingle, including you. You could at least give me a discount. On top of these transgressions, Tingle also has the gall to charge you for everything on the Tuner. That isn't cheap, either!
I digress. Basically, I think the Tingle Tuner is really great, but always feel guilty funding such an evil little man when using it. Seriously, if there were more NPCs on Tingle Island, the guy would essentially be an even smaller Kim-Jong Un.
Moral qualms with the thing aside, I think the Tingle Tuner serves as a great example of how adventurous Nintendo were with the GameCube. They put a unique spin on Mario Sunshine and Double Dash, they created Pikmin, and managed to get great third party support (for once). They even made a local co-op Zelda game that no-one played. It was a playful, yet highly focused console, and Nintendo were willing to take a lot of risks, for better or for worse.
Wind Waker HD came out a couple years ago, and was sadly missing an updated version of the Tingle Tuner. It's sad to see the old thing go, but the fact that it's now a relic isolated to the GameCube version makes it that bit more special, you know? If nothing else, it's a reason to dust off the original game and return to Hyrule for one last adventure, with the aid of a certain 35 year-old fairy man.