Yoshi, once romanized as Yossy, is a fictional anthropomorphic dinosaur (referred to as a dragon at times) who appears in video games published by Nintendo. Yoshi debuted in Super Mario World (1990) on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as Mario and Luigi's sidekick (a role often reprised by Yoshi), and later starred in platform and puzzle games, including Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Story. Yoshi has also appeared in many of the spin-off Mario series including Mario Party, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros., as well as in various Mario sports titles. Yoshi belongs to the species of the same name which comes in various colors, with green being the most common.
Shigeru Miyamoto stated that Nintendo had wanted Mario to have a dinosaur companion ever since the first release of Super Mario Bros.; however, it was not possible because of the limitations of the NES. The inspiration for Yoshi can be traced back further, to the green dragon Tamagon in the 1984 video game Devil World. Coincidentally, both are green lizards that hatch from eggs and can eat enemies with their large mouth, and also make the same noise when they hatch. During the development of Super Mario Bros. 3, Miyamoto had a number of sketches around his desk, including an image of Mario riding a dinosaur. Takashi Tezuka, a Mario series developer, speculated that Miyamoto's love of horse riding as well as country and western themes influenced Yoshi's creation. The concept of Mario riding a dinosaur also came from the NES video game Excitebike, which featured people riding motorcycles. He again wanted to feature Yoshi in Super Mario Bros. 3, but was still unable to. Tezuka designed two power-ups (the frog suit and racoon tail) to make up for this limitation. Once the more powerful Super NES was released, Miyamoto was finally able to implement Yoshi into the series, putting Yoshi into the video game Super Mario World. Yoshi proved to be popular in this debut, which caused the next game in the series, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, to focus on the Yoshi species.
The version of Yoshi seen in the Super Mario Bros. film was made using an animatronic dinosaur. Yoshi was designed in the film by Dave Nelson. The animatronic had nearly 200 feet of cable and hundreds of moving parts inside of it, and was controlled by nine puppeteers. The body was cable-controlled, while the head was radio-controlled. Nelson described the overall process as being "difficult." The creation of Yoshi was handled by a company independent from the filmmakers.
Yoshi, scientific name T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas, has a variety of abilities that stand out relative to other characters in the Mario series. Yoshi has a prehensile tongue that can extend a surprising distance to grab distant objects or access otherwise out-of-reach areas. Yoshi is also capable of laying distinctive spotted eggs after swallowing objects, which can then be thrown at enemies or objects; eggs are in fact the primary "logo" of Yoshi in multiplayer games. Yoshi is also capable of forming a protective egg cocoon and rolling around. Another signature move is Yoshi's "flutter jump" (named so because of the rapid fluttering of the performer's arms and legs) which is used to hover in midair or even gain height (depending on the game). Yoshi is also a heavy user of the ground pound, dropping from the air onto targets. Albeit allergic to flowers, Yoshi's large nose surprisingly allows the detection of hidden collectibles as well as flowers by smell and, aside from kicks, punches and tail whips, is Yoshi's main instrument of close-range combat.
Yoshis come in a variety of colours, including green, red, blue, yellow, cyan, pink, purple, black, white, orange, brown, lilac and even grey, etc. However, in some games, the colour of a Yoshi provides additional abilities: in Super Mario World, red Yoshis can breathe fire, blue Yoshis have wings, and yellow Yoshis produce damaging dust clouds on landing. In other games, eating fruit changes a Yoshi's colour and provides an ability; Yoshis in Super Mario Sunshine can spit fruit juice to defeat enemies and create platforms, while those in Super Mario Galaxy 2 can use fruit to gain super speed, inflate like a balloon, or produce a platform-enabling glow. Yoshis of various colours appear often in multiplayer games as alternate choices, which may or may not have tweaked stats.
In Super Mario World, Super Mario Sunshine, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and New Super Mario Bros. U, either bongos, other appropriate percussion instruments or even both are added to the level's background music whenever a player rides Yoshi and also, in New Super Mario Bros. U, a choir is even added to the level's background music whenever a player is holding a baby Yoshi and while being ridden, Yoshi acts as an extra hit point; taking damage will cause either Mario or whoever is riding Yoshi to fly off and this makes Yoshi start to panic and run around haphazardly until Yoshi is remounted or falls off a cliff.
Another distinct characteristic is the sounds Yoshi makes and while in about at least a few games up to and including Mario Party 3, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, Yoshi's vocals consist of record-scratching noises for positive interactions and whistling noises for negative interactions, in most other games like Yoshi's Story, Super Smash Bros., Mario Tennis, and every other game since Super Smash Bros. Melee, Yoshi's vocals consist of high-pitched babyish squeals along with an endless supply of intelligible words including the names "Yoshi" and "Nintendo". Yoshi is voiced by Kazumi Totaka, the composer of Yoshi's Story.
Yoshi first appeared in Super Mario World as a native dinosaur, whom Mario or Luigi could ride on to eat enemies and otherwise navigate Dinosaur Land more quickly and easily. This game spawned a prequel titled Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for the Super Nintendo, in which the player must control Yoshi in order to keep Baby Mario out of harm's way through the game. This led to a spin-off series of games, including Yoshi's Safari for the Super Nintendo, Yoshi's Story for the Nintendo 64, Yoshi's Universal Gravitation for the Game Boy Advance, Yoshi's New Island for the Nintendo 3DS, and a number of games for the Nintendo DS, including Yoshi Touch & Go, Yoshi's Island DS, and Super Mario 64 DS.
Although introduced on the SNES in 1990, Yoshi was also the star of two self-titled games for the original NES released in '92 and '93: Yoshi and Yoshi's Cookie, respectively. Both of these games were released for the Game Boy as well. Yoshi appeared as a supporting cast member in Mario is Missing for NES, SNES, and MS-DOS in 1993. Yoshi appeared in Super Mario 64 as a non-playable character who could be seen upon 100% completion of the game and be briefly visited after. Yoshi also appeared in the DS remake as a playable (and starring) character. In Super Mario Sunshine Yoshi could be ridden on by Mario in the same fashion as in Super Mario World. However, in this game Yoshi has the power to change to different colors (and gain different powers) after eating different tropical fruits. Yoshi appears in New Super Mario Bros. Wii in a very similar role to the one played in Super Mario World. A number of different colored Yoshis can be obtained by hitting blocks throughout the game. Any Yoshi can then be ridden by characters in the game, though the Yoshi's no longer represents special abilities. Yoshi also appears in the game Super Mario Galaxy 2, with the ability to do a mid-air flutter kick to float across the air for a limited period of time. Power-ups allow Yoshi to run up walls; turn into a ballon; and glow, lighting platforms that are only tangible when visible. Yoshi was also intended to appear in the original Super Mario Galaxy but was removed because, according to Satoru Iwata in an Iwata Asks session, it would be "too much all at once." Yoshi also appears in New Super Mario Bros. U with the same gameplay mechanics from its Wii predecessor.
In the GameCube title Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario rescues a Yoshi egg that hatches and the Yoshi joins his team during the third chapter of the game. The player can then name the Yoshi. The color of the Yoshi depends on the amount of time that passes between rescuing the egg and the egg hatching.
Yoshi has appeared in nearly all of the Mario sports and spin-off games including every game in the Mario Kart series as a playable character (usually as a middleweight or light-middleweight), every Mario Party game to date as a playable character, and appearances in multiple Mario sports titles (Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Super Sluggers, Super Mario Strikers, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games). Yoshi's attributes in these games trend towards the lightweight side of the spectrum, often with high footspeed and less-than-impressive accuracy.
Yoshi is the main character in the English localization of Tetris Attack. The game's single-player story mode takes place in the world of Yoshi's Island, where Bowser and his minions have cursed all of Yoshi's friends. Playing as Yoshi, the player must defeat each of his friends in order to remove the curse. Once all friends have been freed, the game proceeds to a series of confrontations with Bowser's minions, and then to Bowser himself. During these final matches the player can select Yoshi or any of the rescued friends to play out the stage.
Yoshi is one of the original 12 playable characters in Super Smash Bros.. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Yoshi's Final Smash (called the "Super Dragon") causes Yoshi to temporarily grow wings, fly, and breathe fire. In the "Subspace Emissary" segment of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl adventure mode, Yoshi is awakened by various Subspace enemies and teams up with Link and other Smash Bros. characters to defeat Tabuu and save the world.
Yoshi has made cameo appearances in other video games. In the SNES remake of Super Mario Bros. 3 that is part of Super Mario All-Stars, one of the kings is transformed into a Yoshi. In Super Mario Galaxy, an image of a Yoshi head appears as a wooden planet that Mario can visit in the Space Junk Galaxy. Yoshi made a cameo appearance in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest as one of the competitors in Cranky's Video Game Heroes show. Additional videogame series in which Yoshi has made a cameo appearance include The Legend of Zelda series (Link's Awakening and Ocarina of Time), and Metal Gear (The Twin Snakes and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D). In The Twin Snakes, Yoshi and Mario are dolls that stand on a desk. When shot the Yoshi figurine plays Yoshi's signature "Yoshi!" sound-clip. In Snake Eater 3D, Yoshi dolls replaces all the cartoon-like frogs, Kerotans, which that appear in all other versions of Metal Gear Solid 3. Shooting all of them will earn the player the Yoshi rank at the end of the game.
Yoshi was one of the twelve initial Amiibo figurines.
Appearances in other media
The animated series Super Mario World produced by DIC Entertainment is based on the game of the same name, and similar in plotline to the previous series The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, except with a different setting. The show features Yoshi as a regular character, voiced by Andrew Sabiston and in the cartoon, he is featured as a young, friendly and fleet-of-foot dinosaur who occasionally talks in 3rd person until speaking perfect English from slightly later in the episode A Little Learning.
Yoshi is featured in the Super Mario Adventures comic serial printed in Nintendo Power, the Nintendo Adventure Books, and the Super Mario Bros. movie (taking the form of a realistic animatronic dinosaur). Yoshi is King Koopa's pet, referred to as a "throwback" by a gang of Koopas, joins Princess Daisy's side and selflessly protects her against a stabbing before reappearing at the end of the film in good health.
Since appearing in Super Mario World, Yoshi has received largely positive reception. Yoshi is one of the most recognizable characters in the Mario series and is featured in a myriad of Mario merchandise such as toys, shirts, and figures. Yoshi also appeared in two of the McDonald's Happy Meal promotions of Mario toys which only starred Mario, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi. In a poll conducted in 2008, Yoshi was voted as the third-favorite video game character in Japan, with Cloud Strife and Mario placing second and first, respectively. GameTrailers has created a special tribute video for Yoshi for the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Yoshi ranked at #1 on WhatCulture's list of "20 Top Video Game Sidekicks Of All Time". Cheat Code Central listed Yoshi as the third best sidekick in video games, as well as one of the most adorable video game characters. GameSpy ranked Yoshi as the seventh best videogame sidekick, above Luigi by reasoning that only Yoshi can pull off being green and still be cool. Complex placed Yoshi at fourth among "The 25 Most Kickass Dragons in Video Games", adding "Yoshi would have to be one of the best sidekicks of all time". Australia's Official Nintendo Magazine called Yoshi a "cute, trustworthy, a plumber's best friend" and compared Yoshi's loyalty to that of a dog. Yoshi is ranked 52nd on GamesRadar's Top 100 video game heroes. The 2011 issue of the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition included Yoshi at the 21st place in their list of the "Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time", being the second highest-ranked Mario character, Mario being the first.
- ↑ MobyGames, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES Cover Art
- ↑ Nintendo, Yossy Cookie