Yoshi has been the object of affection for many Nintendo fans every since his first appearance in Super Mario World. His cute and cuddly exterior is a mere reflection of his adorably loyal personality. Everyone has fond memories of booting up a Mario game, finding Yoshi, and riding him around until you inevitably have to ditch him to get over a big hole in the ground. We always felt bad doing it. Yoshi seemed to do nothing wrong; he showed up, ate some bad guys for you, and stayed loyal to the player unless he got scared by an enemy.
That being said, there’s a dark side to everything these days, and Yoshi’s story is no exception (pun-intended). From appalling habits, to unsettling cravings, and even dabbling with forbidden substances, Yoshi appears to have gone tribal. He’s not exactly the innocent little guy we thought. In fact, it may be shocking to find that his very creators even seemed to try to harshen his image. He may be loads of fun to play, but this often comes at the cost of his own health. Time to dig up buried secrets of this dino once and for all.
20. Yoshi’s Appetite Is Worse Than You Think
Cute little Yoshis seem to be the most harmless dino-dragons you could ever imagine. However, a different story could be told by the innocent creatures in the Japanese version of Super Mario World. In Japan, Yoshi actually has the ability to eat dolphins. Yes. I know. Why? There’s no answer as to why the creators thought this was a great idea to include in the original Mario game, but it was banned from the American versions for reasons of animal rights advocacy. It doesn’t stop there, though: in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island you can actually get Yoshi to eat baby Mario. Although this is considered a glitch, it’s still pretty bizarre (and even a little unsettling) that it can be made possible. With a hungry dino’s daunting appetite, you tend to expect the worst to happen when he’s entrusted with the life of an infant.
19. Oh, Yuck…
Speaking of a huge appetite, those type of eating habits come at a cost. Cute and cuddly has its ugliness too! In the making of Super Mario Sunshine, the GameCube hit game, the creators had a sudden change-of-heart about Yoshi. Which isn’t uncommon considering he constantly gets treated like an indispensable character when it comes to the Mario franchise! During this particular incident, Yoshi was originally supposed to play a larger role, with the ability to projectile vomit as a weapon. However, he was later pushed out of the game playing only a minor role and losing his disgusting ability with his demotion.
18. Koopa Troopa Ancestry?
There’s a completely dark side to the Mario franchise that we all have a love-hate relationship with, also known as Bowser. Our beloved villain has a pretty predictable set of minions to hinder Mario’s path throughout the games, which is guaranteed to include Koopa Troopas. When the idea of Mario having a sidekick was first being conceptualized, Miyamoto had his mind set that he wanted Mario to ride a horse, which was likely influenced by his love of horseback riding as well as western themes. Since a horse didn’t exactly fit the context of the Super Mario Brothers games, while designer Tezuka was attempting to come up with a sketch for Miyamoto he originally thought of creating a tame Koopa Troopa. We see this influence in the fact that Yoshi actually has a shell on his back (often confused with a saddle, although it has a similar function for Mario). So, there you have it, Yoshi’s design was actually based off of Bowser’s most-used minions.
17. Did Bowser Create Them?
How could the infamous villain of the popular Nintendo series be the creator of the most adorable creature ever, you ask? Well, when the facts are laid out, it’s pretty difficult not to agree with the idea. Mario fans have suggested that Yoshis were created by Bowser, given their striking similarities to him. Not to mention, Koopa Troopas are Bowser’s henchmen of choice, as seen in just about every adventure Mario has been on. And, as pointed out earlier, Yoshi was actually going to be a tame Koopa Troopa. So, it’s not too outlandish to think that maybe the real creators of Yoshi had actually wanted him to have an ironic origin story. Fans have concluded that since Bowser may have actually cursed a group of Rexes (which is a set of Bowser’s henchmen in the earlier Mario games) turning them into much less threatening Yoshis. Which would also explain Yoshi’s unwavering appetite for all things alive. On second thought, the endearing sidekick may not be as innocent as we’d thought.
16. An Egg For A Soul
It’s often believed that Yoshi is a gender-ambiguous character because he is able to lay eggs. However, in many of the Nintendo manuals, it’s claimed that Yoshi is, in fact, a male. Those eggs have a bit of a darker resemblance. Their sole purpose is to trap enemies who’ve already been digested and disintegrated in Yoshi’s stomach then shot out as an egg. Which Yoshi then hurls full-speed at more of his enemies… wow, the dino (dragon?) is pretty violent, as it turns out. Those cute little eggs aren’t a sign of Yoshi’s ability to produce a child, they’re actually a symbol of the souls that he’s taken captive only to later use them as weapons against many more foes. And you thought that he was just an innocent sidekick for Mario.
15. What’s Left Of Yoshi
This game meets the epitome of adorable. Some fans even complain that it has too much of a preschool appearance for their taste. Don’t let the crafty exterior fool you, though. The story behind this little game is quite a bit more brutal than you might expect. At the start of the game, Kamek flies over Yoshi’s Island, turning many of the Yoshis into packaged yarn. Of course, our green Yoshi, along with a red one, were able to avoid this, but it’s left up to them to recover all of the yarn to bring their friends back to life. Meanwhile, Baby Bowser has his own plans to build a castle out of said yarn. Have any of these villains ever heard of a craft store? What’s truly eerie about this entire scenario is the fact that the baby Yoshis were actually made of yarn… meaning the red and green Yoshis (AKA, the heroes) are basically on the hunt for a bunch of baby Yoshis’ body parts so that they can put them all back together like Dr. Frankenstein himself. Not so endearing as much as it’s messed up, if you ask me.
14. A Devilish Inspiration
What may actually be even stranger than the misgendering of Yoshis is the plot of Devil World. For those who’ve never heard of it, Devil World was an unpopular Japanese game which never left its homeland (fortunately). The game was Pacman-esque and involved collecting bibles and fighting Satan. The main character of the game is actually where the artist who designed Yoshi generated much of his inspiration from. In fact, the resemblance between the two characters is completely undeniable, but their contrasting lifestyles are interesting. Takashi Tezuka was the game designer for the lesser-known Devil World and was actually a designer of Yoshi, himself, and producer of some of the Yoshi games. Thankfully, he wasn’t inspired by the storyline of Devil World. Between this and the Koopa Troopa resemblance and Bowser creation fan theory, Yoshi has apparently come from a very dark past…
13. Claustrophobic Yet?
One of the most common emblems of the Mario franchise has been the green warp pipes that we’ve seen throughout the series, and the Yoshi games are no exception. These teleporting pipes have been the symbol of opportunity, as we all know that there’s often bonus coins and other goodies hidden on the other side. A young gamer discovered a mysteriously eerie secret behind these in Yoshi’s Island DS. While going inside a pipe in World 1-3, back to the normal gameplay, a creepy creature flashed quickly on the screen for only a few seconds. It’s challenging to see unless you’re in a dark room with brightness turned up. Players who aren’t expecting to be greeted with a creepy face at the exit of the warp pipe begin questioning whether or not they saw something. It’s not confirmed whether or not Nintendo did this intentionally, but a Yoshi game is the last place you’d expect to see this jump-scare-ish monster, which makes players think twice. Bottom line: Yoshi is braver than we thought…
12. He Shoots More Than Eggs
There were a lot of unsuccessful Yoshi games that were either completely forgotten about or no one ever even knew of them. For instance, Yoshi’s Cookie only rose in popularity because a rare version of the game was given away to those buying a Panasonic appliance (in Japan). Yoshi’s Safari is one of these little-known gems. In Nintendo’s version of a stealth game, Yoshi must shoot enemies in his path as he races toward the finish. It’s actually a bit of an intense game with all of the enemies from the Mario franchise converging on him at once. What’s worse is players can actually shoot Yoshi in the back of the head, causing him to make pathetic looks and a bandage to appear. Retro games are known for being less than politically correct, but this is more cruel than expected from a kids’ game. Yoshi is perceived as the sweet, loyal companion, not the next Master Chief (Halo).
11. Enslaved From Captivity
It’s ironic that when Yoshi first appears, it’s when Mario breaks him out of a Yoshi egg that he’d been captured in by Bowser. Upon meeting Yoshi, Mario wasn’t shocked at the fact that he was an intelligent, brave, talking dinosaur. Nope. Mario just hopped on Yoshi’s back and proceeded to save Princess Peach. In an age of self-documentation, many Millennials would consider this downright disturbing. What’s worse is after all is said and done, once Peach is released from the captivity of Bowser’s castle, and all is right in the world, Yoshi receives little thanks from anyone. Mario is the star of the show. Yet, he uses Yoshi in many games as an expendable tool with an unlimited amount of uses. Almost as if he’s nothing more than a mere power-up. Plus, if you ever notice in the original games, if Mario accidentally hit an enemy while riding Yoshi, the dino would run in the opposite direction, afraid. It’s almost as if he was forced to fight these enemies. Hmm…
10. Relationship Status: “It’s Complicated”
Some are familiar with Yoshi’s speculated girlfriend, Birdo, who is a different type of dino/dragon that plays a supporting role throughout the Mario games. In Super Mario Bros. 2 Birdo is actually labeled as a guy that believes he’s a girl. In other words, he was an unknowing trans person, until more recent years when Nintendo relabeled Birdo as a female. However the opposite is true for Yoshi himself, who was officially stated to be a male. The Nintendo fanbase has hotly debated this fact years later. The Yoshi gender issue is a hot topic, but what makes it all the more amusing is when fans also attempt to create theories based on his speculated relationship with Birdo and his supposed offspring Kirby. It only gets more convoluted and strange the deeper you dig. Although this isn’t exactly Yoshi’s fault, his gender identity, relationship status, and possible children creates anguish in the Nintendo fan world.
9. He Needs No Pity
It’s interesting to point out that in the beginning stages of the Mario games, much of the original content was either edited or removed entirely before being released in America. This includes even the most seemingly minuscule changes. When Yoshi was first introduced, there was a scene in which Mario punched him in the head, causing Yoshi’s tongue to stick out as the two began their adventure. Not many are aware, but this was actually edited to make it appear as if Mario was pointing forward, Yoshi sticking his tongue out in response, and Mario saying, “Go!” What actually makes this odd is the fact that producers changed it because they didn’t want the audience to feel sympathy for Yoshi. It’s funny because in spite of his adorableness, it seems that producers wanted him to be perceived as a tough, which explains his Koopa Troopa design and his inclination to eat almost anyone. This is just the icing on the cake in the creators’ grand scheme.
8. Is There Anything Else We Should Know?
Apparently, Yoshi means a lot of different things to people. Yoshi was actually given his name based on its meaning: “great.” However, this meaning has since been modified. Modern-day players have redefined the name Yoshi, which can be both good and bad. If you happen to look up “Yoshi” online, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find that not everyone on Urban Dictionary thinks of Yoshi as an adorable dino sidekick. Apparently, “Yoshi” is also a reference to using substances, which is probably in part because of the level “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy.” But Yoshi is also a term to describe receiving a “special favor” (to put it nicely) which is inspired by Yoshi’s tongue movements in the game. I’m sure your imagination can fill in the blanks from there. Next time you hear someone say, “Yoshi,” it may not be what you think they mean… just remember that.
7. Yummy Yoshi
Yoshi’s Story had a lot less popularity than the famous Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, which has a rather loyal fanbase. With hopeful hearts, many bought Yoshi’s Story expecting it to have the same addicting gameplay as Yoshi’s original debut. This wasn’t exactly the case. On top of that, it did have a few creepy aspects about it, including the scene that follows Yoshi’s death. If a player makes a few mistakes, Toadies will come and pick Yoshi up taking him to their castle to do who knows what to him. The screen turns black once they disappear into the castle, leaving the minds of millions of fans to wander, a lot of which have turned out to be very creepy. Among a few, one that appears the most is the idea that the Toadies eat Yoshi. Some even said they thought Yoshi was chopped up and made in a stew. Eerie considering most of these theorists played as kids…
6. Just A Little Bit Overrated
Yes, this is quite possibly one of the most disappointing conclusions that have been made of Yoshi. He’s overrated. Well, if we’re speaking in terms of storylines, Yoshi is seriously underrated. There have been numerous titles that started out giving Yoshi a huge role which slowly disintegrate to hardly anything by the time it’s released. It almost seems like he’s just placed in games for the heck of it, which sort of makes him seem like a lame character to begin with. Then players begin discussing his abilities, which aren’t necessarily much of a benefit to Mario since they’re not that hard to come by. In many of the games, Luigi has the ability to flutter jump the same distances as Yoshi, with the exception of Super Mario Galaxy 2. Yoshi’s babyish behavior and games only add to the hater fuel. Yoshi, along with Daisy and Luigi, have all been voted by fans as some of the most overrated characters, undeserving of hype or special merchandise.
5. The God Complex
Ever wonder why Yoshis are always so unquestioning and loyal to every whim of Mario, even if it means putting themselves in heavily life-threatening scenarios? Think about the story of when Mario comes into Yoshi’s life, landing right on his back from the stork that dropped him. It’s almost as if the Yoshis had been waiting for a sign to fall from the sky, after which they immediately jumped into action to help Baby Mario instead of doing their own thing… like normal wild animals. Not to mention, Yoshi has shown his undying loyalty to Mario in a plethora of other games. Willing to lay down his own life for Mario if need be, while Mario uses Yoshis as if each is indispensible. These unhealthy behaviors have inclined many fans to believe that Mario may be the manipulative object of the Yoshis’ worship; a cult, if you will.
4. A Questionable Code Of Ethics
While the cult may seem bizarre, the fact that Yoshis eat each other may just give the theory some wings. Yep, in New Super Mario Bros U as well as in Yoshi’s Wooly World, the adorable character actually consumes his own kind. As we’ve seen so far, Yoshi seems to have a pretty veracious appetite, but where does it stop? In game, Yoshi can be used to eat his friends and turn them into eggs. You know, because launching an egg at a Koopa Troopa is more important than being bonded by blood (or friendship for that matter). In Yoshi’s Wooly World, players can allow Yoshis to eat other Yoshis nonchalantly during gameplay. Which seems like a bit of an outrage, especially for those who had an issue with Yoshi eating dolphins in Super Mario Bros. Entrusting Yoshi with his life may have been a mistake for Mario…
3. A Secret Life As A Troll
Anyone who’s into online multiplayer games has probably encountered a troll at some point. These annoying beings have no limits to their creative trolling and have even started to subject poor Yoshi to this. In Call of Duty, gamers were caught off guard during a “Team Deathmatch” met by a loud, obnoxious “imitation” of Yoshi’s voice. For some this was a bit creepy, as Yoshi would comment inappropriately throughout the gameplay. Others found him humorous. But the general consensus was that the player was outright annoying. Some young gamers were also playing and especially found Yoshi’s voice unsettling. Few words can describe the sound as it’s pretty much a “had to be there” moment, but it wasn’t exactly the best Yoshi impression that you’d ever hear. In fact, some of the gamers thought he was imitating a clown. Needless to say, the troll thought he was successful, posting videos of his antics on social media. However, he only really achieved tainting Yoshi’s reputation.
2. An Unexpected Rivalry
If you had to choose Donkey Kong or Yoshi, who would it be? Most don’t know that these two are actually born enemies… or at least that’s what the game designers would like to have you think. While Yoshi’s Island was being conceptualized, Donkey Kong was already a very popular game designed by Gunpei Yokoi. Meanwhile, Tekashi Tezuka was fairly new to game design and wanted to create something fresh and vibrant with Yoshi, leaning away from the traditional look of the Donkey Kong games. This inevitably created a bit of a rivalry between the two designers. Therefore, if you ever play the older versions of Donkey Kong, you’ll notice that Yoshi is always in third place or completely ranked out. This was actually an intentional jab on Yokoi’s part. The design of Yoshi’s Island was a good call on Tezuka’s part because it’s a large reason as to why it became a hit. Now, we often see a friendly rivalry between the characters in various Mario spin-offs.
1. He’s Pretty Dope
One of the most epitomized aspects of the Yoshi games is the notorious substance references. A common example is in the Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island level, “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy.” There are spores that float around, which cause everything on the screen to become distorted if touched, emulating Yoshi’s dizziness. Rainbow colors flash on the screen, it becomes pretty challenging to navigate Yoshi, and Yoshi’s eyes become dilated. This only makes it more realistic. This was a playful jab at casual substance use, which is rather unexpected for a kids’ game. Some Nintendo fans suggest that the entire Mario franchise is based on these products, but that’s a whole other story… Yoshi’s trip is just a more blatant example of this. Who knew the little dinosaur was also a member of a cult, ate his own kind, a troll, and also an addict? Nintendo is far out.
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