|Mario and Yoshi character|
Yoshi holding one of his eggs, as depicted in promotional artwork for Yoshi's Crafted World
|First appearance||Super Mario World (1990)|
|Last appearance||Super Mario 3D All-Stars (2020)|
|Created by||Shigefumi Hino|
|Voiced by||Kazumi Totaka (video games; 1997–present)|
Andrew Sabiston (Super Mario World)
Frank Welker (Super Mario Bros.)
Yoshi[a] is a fictional dinosaur 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. Yoshi later starred in platform and puzzle games, including Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Yoshi's Story, Yoshi's Woolly World, and Yoshi's Crafted World. Yoshi also appears in many of the Mario spin-off games, including Mario Party and Mario Kart, various Mario sports games, and Nintendo's crossover fighting game series Super Smash Bros. Yoshi belongs to the species of the same name, which is characterized by their variety of colors.
Concept and creation
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: both are green lizards that hatch from eggs and can eat enemies with their large mouth, and also emit the same noise when they hatch. During the development of Super Mario Bros. 3, Shigeru Miyamoto had a number of sketches around his desk, including an image of Mario riding a horse. 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 raccoon 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 a 0.91-metre-tall (3.0 ft) animatronic dinosaur. Yoshi was designed in the film by Dave Nelson. The animatronic had nearly 60 meters (200 ft) 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 has a variety of abilities that stand out relative to other characters in the Mario series. Yoshi's prehensile tongue can extend a considerable distance to eat enemies, grab distant objects, or act as a grappling hook to access otherwise out-of-reach areas. After eating an enemy or object, Yoshi may either spit it out as an attack, or swallow it to instantly turn it into a distinctive spotted egg; eggs can then be thrown at distant targets to collect or damage them, and depending on the game they either explode on impact or ricochet off surfaces. Another signature technique is the Flutter Jump, where Yoshi quickly flaps his arms and legs to slow his descent from a jump or even gain height in midair. Yoshi is also a noted user of the Ground Pound, which involves dropping bottom-first after a jump in order to destroy blocks or damage opponents. Yoshi's large nose unsurprisingly allows for the detection of hidden collectibles as well as flowers by smell and, as demonstrated in the Super Smash Bros. series, may be used as an offensive weapon. Yoshi can form an egg around himself, which can be used for protection as a shield against attacks or for mobility by rolling or launching himself. Finally, in sporting events, Yoshi's special shots tend to leave a rainbow trail behind the ball or involve rainbows in some other way.
The Yoshi species appear in a variety of colors. This is generally a cosmetic difference used to differentiate individuals. However, the color of a Yoshi can also provide additional offensive or movement abilities, such as fiery breath, wings, balloon-like inflation, or juice-spitting. In some games, this is a characteristic of Yoshi's natural color, while in others it is a temporary status gained by eating certain fruit or flowers. Yoshi's of various colors appear often in multiplayer games as alternate choices, which may or may not have statistics unique from the default green color.
In games where the player can ride Yoshi, he acts as an extra hit point; taking damage causes the player to be knocked off Yoshi instead of any other negative effects. This makes Yoshi start to run around haphazardly until he is remounted or falls off-screen. Yoshi is otherwise indestructible; he can freely walk over spikes, does more damage to enemies when jumped on, and can take any number of hits without additional penalty. Combined with his other unique powers, this makes him very strong in levels designed for Mario's abilities, while a level designed for Yoshi may be overly difficult for Mario alone. As a result, Yoshi's presence tends to be limited to certain levels; for example, in Super Mario World he is not allowed in haunted or castle levels (explained in-universe by him being scared of such areas). While riding Yoshi, bongos or other thematically-appropriate percussion instruments are added to the level's background music.
In the SNES and early N64 eras, Yoshi's vocals consisted of record-scratching noises for positive interactions and whistling noises for negative interactions. Yoshi's Story gave Yoshi a new voice, provided by the game's composer Kazumi Totaka, consisting of high-pitched babyish squeals and intelligible words including "Yoshi" and "Nintendo".  This new voice appears in Super Smash Bros., Mario Tennis, and all games since and including Super Smash Bros. Melee. Yoshi retains the classic record-scratch sound for when he is mounted.
Yoshi's' language skills are inconsistent. In some games, they speak the same language as all other characters. In others, they are shown with their speech in parentheses to imply speaking a different language that is translated for the player to read. Sometimes they are shown only speaking the repeated word "Yoshi". Whether other characters can understand Yoshi speech is also inconsistent.
Yoshi first appeared in Super Mario World as a dinosaur whom Mario or Luigi could ride on in Dinosaur Land. Yoshi could also eat enemies when Mario or Luigi punched Yoshi in the back of the head. This game spawned a chronological prequel titled Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for the Super NES, in which the player must control various Yoshis in order to keep Baby Mario out of harm's way through the game. This led to a spin-off series of games, Yoshi's Safari for the Super NES, 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. In 2015, an original Yoshi game was released on the Wii U called Yoshi's Woolly World. Later, in 2017, a port of the said game (renamed Poochy And Yoshi's Woolly World) was released for the Nintendo 3DS. Yoshi also appeared in the 2017 game, Super Mario Odyssey. In 2019, Yoshi's Crafted World was released on the Switch.
Although introduced on the Super NES in 1990, Yoshi was also the star of two self-titled games for the original NES released in 1992 and 1993: 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 for GameCube, Yoshis could be ridden on by Mario in the same fashion as in Super Mario World. However, in this game, the only Yoshis available are orange, pink and purple, each of which has slightly different powers and are obtained upon bringing certain tropical fruit to their eggs. Yoshi's appear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, with each one functioning much like Yoshi did in Super Mario World, but with the added ability to use the Flutter Jump and Ground Pound like in the Yoshi's Island games. New Super Mario Bros. U also notably features the return of baby Yoshis, who were last seen in Super Mario World.
Yoshi also appears in Super Mario Galaxy 2 with the Flutter Jump and Ground Pound. However, certain foods grant additional powers and change Yoshi's signature green color to the color of the fruit: the red Dash Pepper grants super speed, the light blue Blimp Fruit allows Yoshi to float upward, and the yellow Bulb Berry reveals hidden platforms. Yoshi was intended to appear in the original Super Mario Galaxy, but was removed because it would be, "too much all at once."
The Yoshi species makes its Paper Mario series debut in the fifth chapter of Paper Mario when Mario comes across a village of Yoshis and rescues a group of Yoshi kids after they become lost in the surrounding jungle outside of the village. In the sequel Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Mario rescues a Yoshi egg that hatches into a baby Yoshi, who then joins his team during the third chapter of the game and can be named upon doing so. The color of the Yoshi depends on the amount of time that passes between rescuing the egg and the egg hatching, with the timer being reset after 20 minutes have passed. Unlike in some games, Yoshi's coloration is merely cosmetic. The Yoshi has the only attack that can damage the two Iron Clefts known as the "Armored Harriers" introduced in the same chapter (even a perfect Superguard or the "Piercing Blow" badge won't scratch them). The Yoshis appear multiple times as non-player characters throughout the Mario & Luigi series, having a whole club dedicated to them in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
Yoshi and his species make numerous appearances in Super Mario Maker. In the Super Mario Bros. style they have a total of five Mystery Mushroom costumes between them, based on their appearances in Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Woolly World. In the Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U styles, Yoshi can be ridden, replacing the Goomba's Shoe available in the other styles. Yoshi is one of the six unlockable characters in the mobile game Super Mario Run.
Yoshi appears in the 2017 title Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch, after the player has beaten the game. He is also a playable character in the crossover game Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
Yoshi has appeared in nearly all of the Mario spin-off games, including every game in the Mario Kart series as a playable character (usually as a middleweight or light middleweight) and every Mario Party game to date as a playable character. Yoshis have also made appearances in multiple Mario sports games, such as Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Super Sluggers, Super Mario Strikers, and 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 friend 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. 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., and has appeared in every installment since. He is one of the more unique characters in the series' early history, most notably in how his recovery is a single interruption-resistant Flutter Jump, as opposed to most characters having multiple jumps and special moves to use in sequence. Yoshi's moveset mostly consists of kicks, headbutts, tail attacks, and tongue grabs, and contrary to most Mario spin-offs, he is one of the heavier characters.
Yoshi has made cameo appearances in other video games. In the Super NES 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 makes 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 video game 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 Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Yoshi dolls replace all the cartoon-like frogs, Kerotans, which appear in all other versions of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Shooting all of them will earn the player the Yoshi rank at the end of the game.
Yoshi was also one of the 12 initial Amiibo figurines. As part of the release of Yoshi's Woolly World, Yoshi Amiibo made out of yarn are either bundled with the game or sold separately. In addition to the regular-sized green, pink and light blue yarn Yoshi Amiibo, an 8-inch tall, green "Mega Yarn Yoshi" has been released.
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. In the cartoon, Yoshi is a young, friendly, and fleet-of-foot dinosaur who occasionally talks in 3rd person until speaking coherent 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, and is referred to as a "throwback" by a gang of Koopas. He later joins Princess Daisy's side and selflessly takes a stabbing for her. However, he does reappear at the end of the film in good health.
Reception and legacy
Since debuting 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 Happy Meal promotions of Mario toys, which only featured 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.
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 ranked Yoshi at fourth place 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 at 52nd place on GamesRadar's Top 100 video game heroes. The 2011 issue of the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition ranked Yoshi at 21st place in their list of the "Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time", making him the second highest-ranked Mario character on the list, of which Mario himself is ranked first.
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