I’m sure most of you have had the great pleasure of playing Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System at least once in your lives. We all remember the beautiful colors, the stunning music, the elusive secrets, the tricky level design and so much more. What fails to be remembered or even recognized by the general public however is the horrible abuse laid down upon a small green dinosaur by a fat Italian plumber in overalls.
We all remember Yoshi. That plucky green dinosaur with his charming smile and bright eyes. While your memories of him may be ones of an equal partnership and or even a friendship. I can assure you that you are all wrong. Mario’s exploitation of Yoshi has gone on for far too long and once you are finished reading this I hope that your eyes are also opened to what has been going unnoticed for years.
Let’s go back to the beginning. 1991. Super Mario World. Mario leaps up smacking a question block when suddenly and quite unexpectedly an egg pops out, hatches, and is now a green dinosaur. The dinosaur (from here on out known as Yoshi) says “ Hooray! Thank you for rescuing me. My name is Yoshi. On my way to rescue my friends, Bowser trapped me in that egg.” .
Now Mario was already on a quest to rescue the princess from Bowser. A sentient dinosaur that knows English could quite possibly be seen as a valuable ally. However instead of deciding to communicate with Yoshi to create a plan of attack that could help them both achieve their separate goals. He decides to leap on to his back.
Anywhere in that greeting that Yoshi gave Mario did he ever state that it would be preferred or even acceptable to ride on him? Mario didn’t even have the common courtesy to ask! He just hops his rotund frame right onto the poor dinosaurs back. Naturally the dinosaur shrieks in pain. Considering the fact that he was trapped in an egg for an unspecified amount of time and he now has a roughly 200 pound man on his back I believe that is the acceptable response to an unacceptable action. However the abuse has just begun.
Mario refuses to get off of Yoshi‘s back but Yoshi does still feel obligated to try and save his friends because he is a true hero. So he keeps going on his journey now with the inconvenience of an unwanted 200 pounds.
As Yoshi moves forward on his journey to rescue his friends with Mario catching a free ride on his back to rescue the Princess they come across a Koopa Troopa. Now before Yoshi Mario would have to jump onto the Koopa thus forcing him inside his own shell, and then kick the shell and Koopa away from himself to avoid bodily harm. This however was before Mario got his hands on poor, poor Yoshi.
If you have an issue with violence towards animals I must implore you to stop reading. Know this however. If we don’t spread the word about the abuse, then the abuse will never stop.
Mario feeling that jumping is just for those poor saps who don’t have a small green dinosaur to exploit decides that nothing would stick it to Bowser more than literally devouring his troops. Mario has already made it known in the past that he isn’t going to run anything past Yoshi because in his eyes Yoshi is not an equal. But just a tool that can be used to achieve his own means. Before you can say “Mamma Mia” Mario pounds his fat little fist on the back of Yoshi’s cranium. Beating him relentlessly until Yoshi devours the Koopa. He doesn’t just do this once however. He beats Yoshi every time they come across something that Mario decides “needs” to be eaten. Even if it’s a tasty treat like a berry that Yoshi would probably eat voluntarily it doesn’t matter to Mario. These beatings don’t let up until the game is over.
Have you ever wondered why Yoshi doesn’t talk except for that one instance when Mario rescued him from the egg? It is my theory that all those harsh beatings lead Yoshi to develop a severe case of brain damage. The only thing he can do now is shout his own name in a high pitched voice. A tragic and severe injury to a creature that once could speak flawless English. An even more astounding feat considering he was born in Japan.
The only reprieve that Yoshi gets throughout the entire quest is at the Ghost Houses and Castles. He knows that the Ghost Houses are literally labyrinthine in scope and the frustration that they would cause to Mario being trapped inside would most likely find itself being represented in even more severe beatings on Yoshi. So in his one act of defiance he refuses to go in. However he knows that once Mario makes it out the beatings are just going to be harsher and harsher.
However the abuse doesn’t just end with Super Mario World. Mario has forced Yoshi to do tons of things that an innocent dinosaur should never have to contend with. He is forced to fight in Super Smash Brothers. He is forced to stand on the very heights of Princess Peach’s castle in Super Mario 64. He was even forced into a small car and made to race against other people in the Mushroom Kingdom in Mario Kart.
You may be asking yourself “Okay Nick I see what you are saying…but what can I do? I’m just one person” It’s quite simple really. Super Mario World is only a video game. YOU are the one who is truly in control of Mario’s actions. So next time you break open a question block and a cute little dinosaur pops out don’t take advantage of him for your own means. Don’t leap onto his back and force feed him. Just let him go. And maybe someday…Yoshi will be able to forgive us.