Confirmed: Mario Was Originally Punching Yoshi

Confirmed: Mario Was Originally Punching Yoshi
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[Image: Nintendo]

Among Nintendo fans, there has been dispute as to whether Mario was telling Yoshi to get something or smacking the character in the head. According to Nintendo, Mario was originally punching Yoshi, causing the character’s tongue to shoot out in surprise.

For example, a few years back website Supper Mario Broth tried to disprove the Mario-is-punching-Yoshi theory with the images below, explaining that “Yoshi contorts his face before Mario’s hand overlaps his head” and that “official art suggests Mario is simply pointing forward to show Yoshi what to lick.”

(GIF via Supper Mario Broth)

[GIF via Supper Mario Broth]

(GIF via Supper Mario Broth)

[GIF via Supper Mario Broth]

In a recent interview on Nintendo’s official site, longtime developers Takashi Tezuka and Shigefumi Hino talked about the creation of Super Mario World and Yoshi.

According to Tezuka, Shigeru Miyamoto said he wanted Mario to ride a horse. “I think he likes horses,” Tezuka added.

“When we were making [Super Mario Bros. 3], he drew a picture of Mario riding a horse and had put it up on wall next to where he sits.”

“When I saw that, I thought, ‘I guess he wants Mario to ride something.’ So, when we were making Super Mario World, we had this ‘dinosaur land’ concept, and I had Hino draw reptile type art.”

(GIF via NeoGAF)

[GIF via NeoGAF]

“Initially,” Hino said, “the keyword that I had was ‘horse,’ so I imagined something quite later and, for the time being, drew a large lizard type creature.”

“It looked like a crocodile,” explained Tezuka, who felt like a reptile-looking creature might seem out of place in Mario. Tezuka drew a rough sketch of a cute character and on the basis of that, Hino created Yoshi.

“Lots of people think that while Mario is pointing his finger foreward, he’s saying ‘Go,’ and Yoshi’s tongue comes out,” said 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.”

“What’s more,” Hino continued, “there’s an added ‘bop’ sound. However, it seemed like people would say ‘Poor Yoshi,’ so that’s why it became that Mario is saying ‘Go.'”

This explains why the official line is that Mario is telling Yoshi to go or get something, but the original art shows Mario smacking the character in the head.


  • Now why would Mario smack Yoshi in the head just to grab something with his big long red tongue? I think it’s all wrong Nintendo Mario would never smack Yoshi just to grab something like fruit.

  • Pfft, I can purposely punch things without hurting them, plus for all we know Yoshi skin could be extremely tough and maybe he can barely feel it, I think as a society what we really need to do is catch a Yoshi, punch it in the face, and see what happens – was there ever a more pressing truth we needed to reveal?!

    • Well… I’ve done a lot of boxing and kickboxing since I was a kid and I gotta say, you have an ability that I don’t. I find it VERY hard to punch someone without hurting them. Knuckles hurt man. It’s solid bone! When I play fight with my kids I never make a fist, one tiny mistake and someone’s hurt. Then they never want to playfight again!

      On the flipside, I guess if someone attacked me I could hopefully hurt them pretty badly. But the one thing that you learn from boxing is that if you can hit them, they can hit you and it only takes one lucky punch to change the fight completely.

      Fighting is bad. But pad work is fun!

      • Yeah, to be honest, I thought ‘can you really punch someone without hurting them’. I think yes, if I cover them in donnas and pillows, or I’m insanely weak. I reckon its possible, but, debatably improbable.

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