Mario Punching Yoshi

Mario Punching Yoshi

Part of a series on Yoshi. [View Related Entries]

Updated Mar 04, 2021 at 10:05AM EST by Matt.

Added Sep 29, 2017 at 09:47AM EDT by Matt.

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About

Mario Punches Yoshi refers to the ongoing debate among fans of the Super Mario video game franchise about whether or not Mario punches Yoshi in the back of the head to activate the dinosaur's tongue. Over time, fans generally accepted that Mario was pointing his finger forward near Yoshi's head. In a 2017 interview, Nintendo video game developers confirmed that, in its original conception, Mario was, in fact, hitting Yoshi.

Origin

On November 21st, 1990, the Nintendo video game company released Super Mario World, the first Super Mario video game for the Super Nintendo entertainment console. The game introduced players to the character Yoshi, a green dinosaur that Mario rides. One attribute of the character is his long, unfurrling tongue, which can be used to attack enemies and collect objects. Since the release of the game, fans have joked about the activation of the tongue, which, it appears, occurs Mario punches Yoshi in the back of the head.


Screen grab of Mario punching Yoshi in the back of the head

Spread

While the debate about Mario punching Yoshi may have existed since the game's release, the earliest available reference to it online comes from DeviantArt [1] user Ryvius. On April 8th, 2006, Ryvius published an illustration that featured Mario hitting Yoshi and screaming, "Donkey punch!"As of September 2017, the image (shown below) has received more than 280 views.


Devian Art by Ryvius of Mario punching Yoshi in the back of his head

On August 18th, 2009, YouTuber [2] Tala H posted a video entitled "Mario punches yoshi in the face." In the video, the YouTuber slows down video from the video game to highlight Mario hitting the dinosaur. Within eight years, the video (shown below) has received more than 44,000 views.



Three years later, Redditor [3] Kado_Isuka posted an image on the /r/Gaming subreddit that showed the motion of Mario hitting Yoshi. They titled the post "Fun Fact: Mario punches Yoshi in the back of his head to make him eat things in Super Mario World." Before archival, the image (shown below) received more than 1,100 points (87% upvoted) and 150 comments.


Graphics sequence breakdown showing Yoshi getting punched in the back of his head by Mario

The following month, on November 25th, Tumblr [4] user suppermariobroth posted an alternate theory, debunking the theory, garnering more than 8,000 notes in five years. Below two pictures of the characters, they wrote:

"Two things to debunk the “Mario hits Yoshi on the head to make him extend his tongue in Super Mario World” theory:

1. As you can see in the slowed-down animation, Yoshi contorts his face before Mario’s hand overlaps his head, showing it is not an impact that triggers his action.

2. The official art suggests Mario is simply pointing forward to show Yoshi what to lick, and the graphics lack the detail to show that.

Graphical breakdown showing official artwork and other details, defending Mario that he did not hit Yoshi


Nintendo Confirmation

On September 28th, 2017, Super Mario World developers Takashi Tezuka and Shigefumi Hino confirmed that Mario was indeed hitting Yoshi in the back of the head in its original conception.[4] Hino said:

"Lots of people think that while Mario is pointing his finger forward, 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 […] What’s more, 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.’"

However, some maintain that the quote indicates that the punch was only a part of the original animation and that Nintendo eventually moved toward Mario's pointing finger.

Several news outlets covered the announcement, including Kotaku, [5] The Mary Sue,[6] The Verge[7] and more. On September 28th, 2017, Twitter [8] published a Moments page about the confirmation.

Search Interest

External References

[1] DeviantArt – Super Mario – Donkey Punch

[2] YouTube – Mario punches yoshi in the face

[3] Reddit – "Fun Fact: Mario punches Yoshi in the back of his head to make him eat things in Super Mario World."https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/10rfz4/fun_fact_mario_punches_yoshi_in_the_back_of_his/

[4] Nintendo – Confirmed: Mario Was Originally Punching Yoshi

[5] Kotaku – Confirmed: Mario Was Originally Punching Yoshi

[6] The Mary Sue – Mario, True Villain, Was Indeed Supposed to Be Punching Yoshi in Super Mario World

[7] The Verge – How many times did you punch Yoshi in the head as a kid?

[8] Twitter – Mario was punching Yoshi in the back of the head

Recent Videos 1 total

Recent Images 7 total


Top Comments

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>"Takashi Tezuka and Shigefumi Hino confirmed that Mario was indeed hitting Yoshi in the back of the head."
>"However, it seemed like people would say ‘Poor Yoshi,’ so that’s why it became that Mario is saying ‘Go.’"

It sounds to me that it was originally intended as a punch, but they changed their explanation. Ergo, officially, Mario never was hitting Yoshi by the time the game was released.

It seems like everyone is jumping to the wrong conclusion based on a misinterpretation of the phrasing of this quote.

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