As if we didn’t already feel bad enough from sending Yoshi plummeting into all those bottomless pits, Nintendo gives us yet another source of video game grief.

I’ve never really been sold on the numerous fan theories that Nintendo’s Super Mario series has all sorts of scandalous of sexy subtext simmering beneath the surface. It is, and always has been, a franchise with kids as the primary target audience, and so I can’t help but shake my head when I see someone earnestly and edgily arguing that when Peach asks Mario to come over for some cake, she’s really talking about sex, that Bowser only kidnaps Peach as a cover for their steamy clandestine trysts, or that Mario has a habit of punching his friend/mount Yoshi in the back of the head.

But it turns out that last one is sort of legit.

To commemorate the release of the hotly-anticipated Nintendo Classic Mini Super Famicom (or Super NES Classic Edition, as it’s called outside Japan), Nintendo has been publishing a series of interviews with some of the key staff members for the games bundled with the retro console. The most recent chat included Takashi Tezuka, director of Super NES pack-in Super Mario World, and Shigefumi Hino, a graphic/character designer for the game.

Super Mario World marks the first appearance of Yoshi, Mario’s rideable dinosaur-like companion. While riding Yoshi, the payer can make the creature extend his tongue and swallow enemies whole, an action that’s accompanied with Mario swinging his arm forward, as seen in the video below.

Given the 2-D graphics, it’s hard to see exactly what Mario is doing, but most pure-hearted gamers assumed he was pointing forward, encouraging Yoshi with an energetic “Let’s go!” gesture. However, it turns out that’s not what’s really happening, as in the interview Hino says:

“While we were developing Super Mario Maker, the subject of what Mario is doing with his arm when Yoshi sticks his tongue out in Super Mario World came up. A lot of people on the team thought that Mario is pointing ahead and saying “Go!”

But actually, I drew the artwork with the intention that Mario is hitting Yoshi on the head, and he’s sticking his tongue out from the surprise.”

Hino goes on to say that there’s even a “boink” sound effect when Mario does the motion, though most would argue the accompanying tweet doesn’t really sound like a forceful impact. Nevertheless, Hino says that since he’s revealed this video game history tidbit, numerous people have told him they feel bad for Yoshi, and so now he usually just tells people that Mario is pointing forward instead of divulging the dark truth.

And as if one Yoshi bombshell wasn’t enough, Tezuka and Hino also set the record straight on another aspect of Super Mario World’s graphics. The red thing on Yoshi’s back? That’s not a saddle.

It’s a shell. In the design specifications Tezuka gave to Hino for Yoshi, he insisted that the character is of a species related to turtles, and thus has a shell on his back.

So in conclusion, to anyone I ever scoffed at for saying “Dude, Mario is totally punching Yoshi in the back of the head!”, I owe you an apology. Still not budging on my stance that the girls are alive at the end of Totoro, though.

Source: Nintendo via Jin
Images: YouTube/Nintendo Unity

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