As Switch owners wait for an official new Pikmin announcement, we can take solace in the fact that new secrets are still being discovered in older titles in the series. That’s right, another Totaka’s Song has cropped up, this time in Pikmin 2.
Before we get into this out-of-left-field discovery from a 14-year-old Pikmin game, though, there’s an elephant in the room that we’ve got to address. If you’ve never heard the phrase Totaka’s Song before, you’re going to be wondering what all the fuss is about. So, let’s start at the beginning.
Kazumi Totaka is a sound designer and video game composer who has been working with Nintendo since 1990. Over his career with the company, he’s worked on the scores for several big games, including Super Mario Land 2, Wii Music, Yoshi’s Story and the Animal Crossing franchise.
He’s perhaps best known for his work on the latter series; fan-favourite character K.K. Slider (Totakeke in his native Japanese), is based upon Totaka. He also voices Yoshi, as well as the eccentric Professor E. Gadd in the Luigi’s Mansion series.
His proudest legacy (oh, yes, even prouder than being the man who provides E. Gadd’s bizarre YABBO YABBOs), however, would surely be that he’s the creator of ‘Totaka’s Song.’
Which brings us back to this mysterious melody. In essence, it’s a very simple recurring refrain, a 19-note 8-bar piece that Totaka has added to several of the games he’s worked on. Not just as part of the soundtrack, you understand, but as a cunningly-implemented recurring easter egg.
In Mario Paint, it was very easy to access (simply hit the ‘O’ on the title screen for the melody to play), but most of the time, it’s very obtuse. The player will often have to perform very specific, unusual actions in order to find Totaka’s Song. Which is all part of the appeal, of course. It’s not much of a secret, in and of itself, but the hunt for it in a game Totaka is known to have worked on is all part of the mystique.
That hunt can sometimes take a super-long time, as was the case with the previously-mentioned Pikmin 2. Originally released back in 2004, this quirky and cutesy RTS sequel was already known to feature Totaka’s Song (it plays when you leave the Treasures Salvaged screen open, as GamesQuill reports), but another instance of it has been found in the game.
The gaming super-sleuths of the internet are nothing if not persistent and thorough. Fourteen years on, YouTuber Quote Balrog has discovered Totaka’s Song in Pikmin 2… again. Once you see the obscure fashion in which you get it to play, you can see exactly how it took so darn long for this to come to light.
As explained in the clip, what you have to do is enter a cave/sublevel without a memory card in your console. The usual warning message will pop up, to tell you to insert a memory card in the first slot or you won’t be able to save. You must then stay on that screen (with Save and Don’t Save displayed) for three minutes or so, and that familiar little tune will start to play.
Yep, these are the kinds of hoops you have to jump through in your pursuit of the elusive Totaka’s Song. His work is also featured in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, so perhaps it’s hidden away somewhere in there too? Where would you even begin looking in a game as vast as Ultimate? Over to you, Reddit.