Yoshi is one of Nintendo’s most beloved characters. Originally introduced as Mario’s beast of burden in the plumber’s 16 bit introduction, Yoshi has since evolved into an entire race of characters in numerous games. The trait he is most famously known for is his long, sticky tongue that can trap characters and objects only for the trapee to be transmogrified into an egg. There has long been a debate over how exactly Mario utilized the dinosaur’s tongue during Super Mario World.
Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft is reporting that according to an interview on the official Nintendo of Japan’s website, the answer to the debate has been officially answered. During an interview, Super Mario World developers Takashi Tenzuka and Shengefumi Hino talked about the development of the Yoshi character.
According to Mr. Tenzuka, “I think he [Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto] likes horses, 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.”
Due to Super Mario World’s dinosaur theme, Mr. Hino drew a large creature that “looked like a crocodile” which looked out of place in the game. Due to that, Mr. Tezuka drew a much more cute reptile which became Yoshi.
When asked about the question of yoshi’s tongue, Mr. Hino remarked, “Lots of people think that while Mario is pointing his finger foreward, he’s saying ‘Go,’ and Yoshi’s tongue comes out. However, the set up that I drew was that when Mario punches Yoshi in the head, the character’s tongue shoots out in surprise.” 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.’”
So, the official stance by Nintendo is that Mario is giving commands, but the original version was almost much worse for the multi-colored dinosaur.