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Super Mario World “Mario Was Originally Punching Yoshi”


An interview with some of the creators of beloved Nintendo classics Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island has exposed the horrible truth regarding one of the animations for cuddly green dinosaur Yoshi, that being Mario was originally hitting Yoshi in the head – a revelation that will no doubt send PETA into a rage.

The interview involved character designer Shigefumi Hino, director Takashi Tezuka and Yoshi’s Island character designer Hisashi Nogami:

Hino: During development of Super Mario Maker, we began to wonder why Mario’s hand moves when Yoshi sticks out his tongue in Super Mario World. Many people thought Mario was pointing forward and saying, “Go!” and that’s why Yoshi sticks out his tongue.

Interviewer: But that isn’t so?

Hino: Actually, we did the animation with the idea that Mario is hitting Yoshi on the head and Yoshi is sticking out his tongue in surprise.

Interviewer: Oh, really? (laughs)

Hino: There’s even a bonk! sound. (laughs) But we thought people would feel sorry for Yoshi, so we decided to pass it off as Mario saying, “Go!” (laughs)

Yoshi’s origins were also unveiled:

Interviewer: How did Yoshi come to be?

Tezuka: Shigeru Miyamoto said he wanted Mario to ride a horse!

Interviewer: A horse? (laughs)

Tezuka: I think he likes horses. (laughs) When we were making Super Mario Bros. 3, he had drawn a picture of Mario on a horse, and hung it on a wall near where he used to sit. I would look at that and think, “I think he wants Mario to ride something.” When we started making Super Mario World, we were working with the concept of a dinosaur land, so I had Hino do art for a kind of reptile.

Hino: The first keyword was horse, so I imagined something rather large and first drew up a creature like a large lizard.

Interviewer: A large lizard? (laughs)

Tezuka: It was like a crocodile. (laughs)

Interviewer: Yoshi is quite different from a crocodile! (laughs)

Tezuka: Yeah. It felt out of place to have a reptile suddenly appear in Mario’s world, so we went back and talked about how maybe it shouldn’t be like a crocodile.

Interviewer: In other words, the two of you consulted each other as you searched for the prototype for Yoshi. How did that croc-like creature shape up into Yoshi?

Hino: Tezuka had done a rough sketch and it was cute and pretty good, so I polished up Yoshi into his current form based on that.


Tezuka: That happened relatively quickly. I kind of forced the design though, saying, “It’s related to turtles.” (laughs)

Interviewer: That’s why, instead of a saddle, what’s on Yoshi’s back is…

Nogami: A shell. Even after I joined the company, Tezuka kept insisting that it was a shell. (laughs)

The entire interview can be read online now.

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