In the original series of Mario games, with much more basic graphics and gameplay, it looked to some like Yoshi was being punched in the back of the head every time Mario wanted him to stick his tongue out. Upon closer inspection, these claims do have some validity. Should PETA be alerted to this abuse?
The well known blog Supper Mario Broth recently tried to dispel these claims by publishing the image below. What they claimed is that:
“Yoshi contorts his face before Mario’s hand overlaps his head, official art suggests Mario is simply pointing forward to show Yoshi what to lick.”
In a recent interview published on Nintendo's official site, developers Takashi Tezuka and Shigefumi Hino were asked about the creation of Super Mario World and the effect it has had on the world of gaming. Tezuka claimed that Yoshi was originally meant to be a horse and how Hino...
"...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.
Hino added that initially:
“the keyword that I had was ‘horse,’ so I imagined something quite later and, for the time being, drew a large lizard type creature.”
But when the sketches were drawn up, Tezuka claimed that the horse seemed to resemble a crocodile more than a horse. Tezuka then drew a rough sketch of something he thought would look cute and thus the character of Yoshi was born. Hino commented how:
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.
He added how:
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 there you go, Mario was indeed punching Yoshi in the head before telling him to go! This sheds a new light into the Mario character for sure!