RetroVision – Totaka’s Song

Whilst most will have heard of Koji Konda, the man behind some of Nintendo’s most famous soundtracks like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, many will not have heard of one of Nintendo’s other prolific composers, Kazumi Totaka.  Totaka has worked on a variety of different Nintendo soundtracks, from retro classics like Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins and Mario Paint, all the way through to Wii Sports and Animal Crossing.  He is also known as a voice actor within Nintendo, providing the voices of both Yoshi and the Pikmin.

However, despite all of this, Totaka’s biggest contribution to Nintendo and gaming in general has come in the form of a hidden Easter Egg, one that many may never have found.  This hidden secret is “Totaka’s Song”, a short 19-note tune that Totaka himself has hidden within the games he worked on at Nintendo.  A secret that goes all the way back to the early 90s.  In fact, the prolific nature of the Easter Egg has meant that it has become extremely popular with Nintendo fans, with many searching the games that Totaka has worked on for the charming tune.

Kazumi Totaka
Kazumi Totaka

Just how many games does the track appear in?  Well at present Totaka’s Song has been found hidden within more than 20 games.  Many believe that the first appearance of the tune came within Mario Paint, appearing in plain site and playing when the player clicks on the letter “O”.  However, the first documented appearance of Totaka’s Song is actually found within the Japanese exclusive 1992 Game Boy game, X.  This space fighter was the first game Totaka worked on, and the tune is only heard after going to a fake scientist in Mission Four and waiting 40 seconds.

In fact most of the games this tune is hidden within require the player to wait for it to be heard.  In Six Golden Coins players must wait for 2 minutes 30 seconds at the Game Over screen to access the Easter Egg.  Similarly in Luigi’s Mansion on GameCube, after going to the training room controller configuration screen Totaka’s Song will play after 3 and a half minutes.

Six Golden Coins Game Over
The Game Over screen for Six Golden Coins where players have to wait 2 minutes 30 to hear Totaka’s Song

Although, it must be said this isn’t the only way to hear the tune.  For example in the Japanese version of the 1993 Game Boy game The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, gamers can hear one of three different versions of the tune by entering their name as Totakeke (とたけけ).  This name is a clear reference to Totaka himself, and one that doesn’t appear only the once.  In fact, one of Animal Crossing’s most loved characters, K.K. Slider, is actually known as Totakeke in the original Japanese version.  And yes, the guitar playing dog will actually play Totaka’s Song for the player.  He’ll also go on to give them a copy to play whenever they like.

Despite appearing in over 20 titles, many predict the tally could actually be higher.  You see, another trademark of Totaka’s Song is just how well hidden it is, with there still being many games that Kazumi Totaka has worked on where the tune hasn’t been found.  These include popular releases such as Wave Race 64, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and ironically Wii Music.  Though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the track is in there somewhere.

KK Slider
K.K. Slider / Totakeke

Most recently it has been found within Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, hidden so deep that it can only be activated when utilising a specific Amiibo card.  That Amiibo card would obviously be K. K. Slider’s, and when activated the player will be granted a DJ’s turntable that will play the tune.

The charming tune has encapsulated gamers for years, and continues to do so, in turn becoming one of gaming’s most famous Easter Eggs.  Not only that, but it shows no signs of going away, with Kazumi Totaka working on new games as we speak.  More than likely hiding the track deep within.  The question is, will we be able to find it?

For now though let me leave you with a 2013 compilation of Totaka’s Song:

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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