The cutesy tag-team relationship between Mario and Yoshi just took a dark turn. According to longtime developers at Nintendo, the original intention was for Mario to punch Yoshi in the head to make him shoot out his tongue. Wait, what??
The confirmation from Nintendo puts to rest a longstanding debate between fans who argued about the potentially violent animation in Super Mario World. Incidentally, fans can re-play that game today on the SNES Classic.
“Lots of people think that while Mario is pointing his finger forward, he’s saying, ‘Go,’ and Yoshi’s tongue comes out,” explained Shigefumi Hino. “However, the set up that I drew was that when Mario punches Yoshi in the head, the character’s tongue shoots out in surprise.”
Nintendo even created a bop sound effect to complete the animation. But Hino and his team eventually decided people would be angered at Mario for punching Yoshi, so the violence was transformed into Mario simply telling Yoshi to “Go.”
“It seemed like people would say, ‘Poor Yoshi,’” Hino admitted.
I wonder if the literature found in Super Mario World changed, too, once Nintendo realized Mario shouldn’t be a jerk. Upon first encountering Yoshi, the anthropomorphic dino thanks Mario for rescuing him. It would sure seems harsh for Mario to rescue Yoshi and then punch him in the head.
Hino’s revelation comes in a larger interview about the inception of Yoshi, who originally looked like a crocodile. Ultimately, developer Takashi Tezuka created a rough sketch of Yoshi, and the rest is history.
Now, I want to hear Nintendo explain why it’s okay for Mario to hop on Yoshi’s back and then throw him to his death in the levels of Super Mario World.