The easter egg to end all Nintendo easter eggs has just been unearthed in Mario Kart 8. As the know-everythings at GameXplain demonstrate in a video published today, it turns out Yoshi was humming it all along — he was just being drowned out by the track's music. If only we'd all listened to Yoshi better from the start!
The secret in question is known as "Totaka's Song". It's a short (as in, 19 notes) musical refrain written by Nintendo composer Kazumi Totaka for a 1992 Game Boy game known as X. Since it first appeared there, it's evolved into "one of the sweetest hidden treats in all of gaming," as Luke put it back in 2011.
See, Totaka didn't leave the tune to rest in 1992. Instead, he kept finding increasingly clever ways to hide the music in his later work. From Luke's article:
On his next game, Mario Paint, Totaka used the tune again, this time as the intro music. And would go on to use it again, and again, and again, hiding it in nearly every game he composed music for, sometimes out in the open, other times tucking it away where it was almost impossible to find. It would become known as "Totaka's Song".
You can find it in the closing credits of Wario Land for the Vitual Boy. You can find it during a control screen briefing for Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube. You can find it twice in Link's Awakening on the Game Boy. You can even find it in X-Scape, the sequel to X, the first game he ever provided music for.
My favourite use of the song, though, comes in the Animal Crossing series. If you ask laid-back guitar-playing dog K. K. Slider to play you the "K.K. Song", he'll not only break out into Totaka's Song, but will give you a copy you can play in your little Animal Crossing house when you get home as well.
It's even likely that the character of K.K. Slider himself, one of the most popular from the series, is based on Totaka, as in Japanese he's called Totakeke (とたけけ), a name that not only sounds like the composer's name, but is one Totaka's used before (to hear a version of Totaka's Song in the Japanese edition of Link's Awakening, for example, you need to enter your name as "とたけけ").
Not every game he's worked on features the song, though. Nobody has been able to find the ditty in Wave Race 64, Wii Sports, Wii Music, Healthy Recipe Assistant 1000: DS Menu Anthology, Super Smash Bros. Brawl or the Wii's menu channel music.
Kudos to GameXplain for finding it anew in Mario Kart 8, buried as it was in one of the last places you'd look. I love trying to imagine how they first came across it — was it at some choice moment when one of them ran into the side of the track when racing on Yoshi Valley? What are the odds that you'd forget your Mario Kart rage long enough to think: "Hey, wait a second...that Blue Yoshi over there was trying to tell me something?"
Let this be a lesson to all of us: Yoshi is more than adorable face. He can also be a source of adorable secrets.