Dinosaurs. They’re pretty cool, right? I mean, they are by far the most popular exhibit in any natural history museum. How many kids think that digging up dinosaur bones is the coolest job ever?? (Do kids still think for themselves these days?) What would the history of this planet be without dinosaurs??? B-o-r-i-n-g, that’s what.
So insert a dinosaur into a video game, in this case with Mario and Luigi, and it’s bound to become a fan favorite for generations upon generations, without a doubt!
This loveable, rideable green dinosaur was introduced to video gamers in the incredibly fun and popular SNES game, Super Mario World (1991). Now, I liked Super Mario Brothers. I fell in love with the tanooki, frog, and raccoon suits in Super Mario Brothers 3. But Super Mario World truly captured my heart.
And so did Yoshi.
He’s since become a staple in most Mario games, and he has his fans and detractors. In some games (*ahem* Super Mario Galaxy *ahem*) Yoshi is not so great. But in Super Mario World he was a star! A dinosaur star! A green, enemy-eating, super-cute dinosaur star!
Super Mario World was probably my most favorite Mario game until the release of Super Mario 64. The plot of SMW was simple. Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach take a vacation to Dinosaur Land. One day, Peach disappears and the duo goes looking for her. During their search, they come across a strange egg that hatches to reveal Yoshi, part tauntaun, part garbage disposal, who proceeds to tell them that his friends have been imprisoned by some nasty koopas. Mario and Luigi deduce that Bowser is behind this scheme and they decide to help Yoshi and his friends and save Dinosaur Island. Oh, and they have to find Peach, too, of course.
Mario would have done good to keep her in a binder.
Yep. It’s still funny.
Super Mario World, in all it’s lovely, colorful 32-bit-ness, built upon the mechanics of previous Mario games. It was still a fantastic platformer, and you navigated the levels via world maps, which were all pretty and “3D” as opposed to Super Mario Bros. 3’s flat maps. Mario still ran and jumped his way across levels, collecting invincibility stars, fire flowers, and mushrooms, but he could also do a special spin jump, and there were scattered balloons that helped him sail into the sky. (Actually, the balloons were a little strange because they made Mario inflate and float…a fat, floating Mario…yeah.) His furry suits were replaced with a cape feather that allowed him to fly. And was there something akin to the frog and hammer suits? I don’t think so. But Yoshi was FUN! And once you got him, all-eating-hell broke loose!
Yoshi was hidden in blocks in various levels, and once you found him, he’d stick with you. Mostly. He’d run away of he got hit and he couldn’t go inside castles and such. He had an obscenely long and surely sticky tongue that allowed him to eat just about anything! Goombas, koopas, bullet bills, pokeys, just about every enemy made for a great dinner! But say Yoshi craved something a little spicy? Try a red shell, yum! Not only were they tasty, but they gave Yoshi the power to spit fireballs! I mean, Mario’s fireballs were great, but Yoshi’s balls seemed bigger and better! Uh…hm…fire, balls? If you found a cape feather and had Yoshi, you both could fly! And you could make him eat stuff IN THE AIR. He could swim too, like a champ! Yoshi, he was just the bestest! Oh, the BEST!!
Not only that, but there were different Yoshies to find! Four of them, count ’em, FOUR Yoshies! You had to be pretty tenacious to find them all though because Green Yoshi was the most prevalent. The other three Yoshis, Red, Yellow, and Blue, were in a secret level. A SECRET level, y’all! But Green Yoshi was GREAT! YAY, GREAT!!
Okay look, I was well into my teens when this game came out, and maybe I was a little too old to become enamored of a little green dinosaur. But what of it? Yoshi made Super Mario World a great place to be. His abilities made some of the levels easier. And he was a noble companion, until he got hit and then ran away like a little baby…a baby! Yeah, you heard me Yoshi…you heard me RIGHT, you coward!! Wait no, I LOVE you…COME BACK!! OH! Why am I yelling at NOTHING??
Love him or hate him, Yoshi is now a regular part of just about any Mario game. I don’t know why my Super Mario World memories made me want to yell. It was the 90s, awkward, high school, acid-washed jeans, big hair, totally rad. I coulda used Yoshi and his crazy appetite and super fireballs back then. I just had cats and they couldn’t spit fireballs. Hell, I could use Yoshi today. Yoshi – the perfect mode of transportation for today’s busy commuter. Stuck in traffic? It’s no problem with Yoshi’s great jumping skills. Uh oh…looks like some one’s got road rage. Don’t stress out –your Yoshi maneuvers easily through traffic to eat up drivers good and bad. And he gets half off bridge and highway tolls because he’s so damn cute!!
And this is what happens when I type first and think later. But at least I’ve stopped yelling.