Nintendo has confirmed a popular (and dark) Super Mario fan theory that, when the plumber rides Yoshi, he hits him to make him eat eggs. The friendship between Super Mario and his dinosaur pal Yoshi is well known. The cartoon-y dino first appeared on TV screens back in 1990 where he was Mario's willing steed, but now he fits into a bigger alternate reading of the franchise.
Recently a dark theory that Mario may not actually be Nintendo's greatest hero and is, in fact, a villain has gained traction. This comes from officially released details from Nintendo about the ex-plumber's actions in new game Super Mario Odyssey where taking over other characters with his magic hat is called "capturing". Now we have further suggestions of a darker personality.
To celebrate the release of the SNES Classic, Nintendo has released several candid interviews with key figures from the company's history. In one of these, Yoshi's creator Shigefumi Hino (translated by Kotaku) confirmed the long-standing rumor that Mario is actually hitting Yoshi rather than telling him where to go:
“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.”
While most have maintained that Yoshi is ducking to avoid Mario's finger, Hino revealed that he is actually receiving a good beating. On top of suggesting physical violence, this reveal also means that the cute little noise that Yoshi makes is actually a desperate cry for help against animal cruelty. The creator had even toyed with the idea of adding a "bop" each time Mario hit Yoshi, but there were concerns that fans wouldn't find it suitable. Of course, most modern artwork shows the duo as the best of friends - with the pointing version taken as fact.
This may seem a rather dark twist on the pair's relationship, although Hino makes clear that isn't the case:
"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."
This not only explains Yoshi's creation but means that the hitting action is a representation of how horse-riders motivate their steeds in the real world.
Mario and Yoshi have been on many a colorful adventure over the past 27 years - with the green dino even helming the odd spin-off game of his own - but it's evident that wasn't the plan when Nintendo was first designing the dino.
Super Mario Odyssey is released on the Nintendo Switch on October 27, 2017.