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The Dark Truth About Why Yoshi Sticks Out His Tongue

Anyone who has played Super Mario World knows that as Yoshi and Mario gallivant through each level, Yoshi pulls a Miley Cyrus circa 2015 to grab certain items with his tongue–at Mario's command, of course. While some players argued that their favorite mustachioed plumber was simply telling Yoshi to scoop up what was in front of him, others had a more sinister suggestion: Mario was actually punching Yoshi in the head


And, as it turns out, those in the latter group are completely right. 

In an interview on Nintendo's official site (via Kotaku), Super Mario World developers Takashi Tezuka and Shigefumi Hino discussed how the character of Yoshi evolved and touched on certain elements of his design, including his much buzzed-about tongue animation. 

"Lots of people think that while Mario is pointing his finger forward, he's saying 'Go,' and Yoshi's tongue comes out," Hino said. "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 also commented on what Mario says when he directs Yoshi to pick up items, revealing that the sound bite was originally something entirely different. "What's more, there [was] an added 'bop' sound [when Mario punches Yoshi]. However, it seemed like people would say 'Poor Yoshi,' so that's why it became that Mario is saying 'Go,'" he said. 


Tezuka then spoke about how the lovable green dinosaur came to be. According to the developer, Shigeru Miyamoto initially wanted Mario to ride a horse. "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," Tezuka explained.

"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," added Hino, whose final design ended up looking too reptilian to fit in with the rest of the Mario world. After a few changes, Hino and Tezuka came up with a more endearing character that later became Yoshi. 

Sadly, that cute new design didn't save the poor guy from getting bopped in the head.