Written by Alleah

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Yoshi facts

Without its distinct characters, the Super Mario games wouldn’t be as exciting as they are. Through a wide roster of heroes and villains, the Mushroom Kingdom comes alive through its unique citizens. As Mario’s faithful steed, Yoshi the Dinosaur has stayed beside Mario for over 30 years of the game’s franchise. Outside the Mario universe, Yoshi has also become a big figure in pop culture and entertainment. Find out more about this green dinosaur with these curious facts about Yoshi.

  1. Yoshi had his character debut in 1991 in America.
  2. In a 2008 poll, Yoshi was voted as Japan’s third favorite character in video games. 
  3. Yoshi first appeared in Japan and the USSR through the release of Super Mario World in 1991.
  4. Technical limitations prevented Yoshi from debuting in 1985. 
  5. Yoshi features in over 101 video games.
  1. Yoshi was made by Shigefumi Hino, a Japanese designer. 
  2. Yoshi mainly serves as Mario’s sidekick in the Super Mario franchise.
  3. Yoshi is a fictional dinosaur in the Mario video games series. 
  4. Yoshi’s trademark is its ability to eat enemies. 
  5. One noticeable feature in Yoshi’s character is its long tongue, allowing it to grab and eat its enemies. 
  6. Mario is Yoshi’s best friend, experiencing the most dangerous quests together. 
  7. In some of the games, Yoshi can shoot fireballs and fly. 
  8. You can find a blue Yoshi in Super Mario World. 
  9. Yoshi’s enemies are Koopalings, which resemble the features of a turtle.
  10. Creators say that the Yoshi we know from the franchise is the same individual through all of its appearances.
  1. Yoshi has a lot of merchandise, including figures, shirts, and toys.  
  2. McDonald’s has made promotional toy lines for the Mario series, which includes Yoshi. 
  3. While usually green, he can transform into other colors like white, black, red, blue, and pink. 
  4. Game designers coined Yoshi as one of the pioneer kings of consoles. 
  5. In one of the Super Mario series, Yoshi can actually eat Baby Mario.
Table of Contents

Yoshi has a longer version of its name.

Just like movie stars, video game characters also have their own screen name. The same goes for Yoshi, the popular sidekick of Luigi and Mario. According to a Nintendo guide, Yoshi originally had the real name T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. But the scientific-sounding name made the character hard to remember.

That said, it’s not hard to see why the developers of Nintendo chose to go with Yoshi for their general marketing. Aside from convenience, the given name also translates to “respectful” and “good” in Japanese.

A movie version of the Super Mario Bros has Yoshi in it.

In 1993, the Super Mario Bros film first premiered. While it cast Bob Hoskins as Mario, Yoshi was portrayed as a tiny dinosaur. Although the movie version of Yoshi could not carry Mario on its back, its squeaks and squeals were on point. Voiced by award-winning Frank Welker, Yoshi’s VA also worked as Fred Jones in Scooby-Doo, as well as other famous characters. 

Yoshi's character was supposed to debut earlier.

Yoshi’s legend began with Super Mario World in 1990. However, designers revealed that it was supposed to debut 5 years earlier. Shigeru Miyamoto’s team originally wanted the dinosaur to be on the 1985 Super Mario Bros. However, technical limitations got in the way of their plans.

At the time, the NES hardware could not carry the mechanics and design of the dinosaur. A few years later, the 16-bit capacity of the SNES gave the programmers the liberty to include Yoshi in the final product. 

Nintendo did not plan for Yoshi to be drawn that way.

What makes Yoshi stand out among the rest of the characters in the game’s franchise is its child-like art style. It’s not every day that you see a cartoon dinosaur with a long tongue. However, Nintendo’s original vision of Yoshi was far from what we see now.

After the success of the Donkey Kong series, the company pushed for a character that would look futuristic in 3D. During that time, their artist wanted to protest against management. With that, he refused to follow the company’s concept, making the graphics of the game as childish as possible. The company had no other choice but to make do with it, which turned out to be one of their best decisions so far. 

Yoshi's character may be from the game Devil World.

Released in 1984 for the NES, Devil World followed a green dragon as it fought devils in hell. Due to its use of religious symbols, it never made its way to audiences and gamers in North America.If you happen to play the game, you will notice similarities between Yoshi and Devil World’s main character, Tamagon. From the green skin down to its general roundness and orange spikes. For each new life, Tamagon would hatch from a new egg.

yoshi facts
Source: Pixabay

One of Yoshi's game copies cost over $1,000.

Of all its spinoffs, Yoshi’s Island became the most well-received solo outing of the dragon-dinosaur. Although the other games were not quite as successful as the latter, they still had a lot of game value. For instance, a limited edition copy of the game Yoshi’s Cookie costs $1,000. With only 500 copies ever distributed, Panasonic included the limited release as part of its promotional campaign for Kuruppon, a cooking oven.

Generally, the limited release retains most of the standard version’s elements, save for an extra feature that teaches you how to bake dino cookies in real life. However, this is mostly a novelty valued only by collectors, since you can easily find the recipe on Youtube or anywhere else.

In the Super Mario World Japanese version, Yoshi can eat dolphins.

In the Super Mario universe, you can ride on friendly dolphins to navigate the waters. However, the original Japanese version of the game allowed Yoshi to eat these dolphins. Since killing innocent marine lives is not acceptable in countries outside Japan, Nintendo removed the feature. Since then, Yoshi’s diet mainly consisted of Koopa shells.

Yoshi's gender causes confusion.

There is no denying that Yoshi is a dinosaur but fans and gamers wonder if Yoshi is a man or a woman. In most cases, Yoshi is known to be male – but since the dino lays eggs, the character remains a big question. It’s safe to assume that Yoshi can reproduce asexually, but its relations to Birdo makes it all the more confusing. With a bizarre romance, Yoshi and Birdo’s relationship further opens questions about the green dinosaur’s gender. 

A Mario game was supposed to feature a "Yoshi vomit" mechanic.

In Super Mario Sunshine, Mario faces the challenge of cleaning the Isle Delfino after Bowser Jr. vandalized the place. With the help of Yoshi, Mario must use his water jetpack to clear out the venue. However, for an initial draft of the game, players could actually use Yoshi to vomit water jets and fight off the offending graffiti.

Since Nintendo thought that this feature would cause concerns- the Yoshi vomit got canceled and mellowed down instead.

An award-winning voice actor plays Yoshi's voice.

Kazumi Totaka is an award-winning voice actor and composer, scoring the classics of Super Mario Land 2 and Luigi’s Mansion. Not only that, but he also voiced KK Slider in Animal Crossing. Above all else, he also did Yoshi’s yelps and squeaks in all of the games that Yoshi features in. Needless to say, he is an important asset for Nintendo and a man with many talents.

voice acting
Source: Unsplash

There's a custom-made Yoshi motorbike.

If you’re a superfan of the videogame, you’d be thrilled to know that a Yoshi motorbike exists. Made in Japan, the custom-built Yoshi motorbike bears the dragon’s trademark of a long and stretchy tongue. This novelty serves as a holster for the oil can or lubricant. It only goes to show that you can always count on Japan to make its characters come to life.

An NES puzzler was Yoshi's first solo game.

Contrary to popular belief, Yoshi’s Island was not Yoshi’s first solo venture. Instead, Yoshi first appeared in a NES puzzler simply named Yoshi. However, the game was relatively slow, with no island nor engaging gameplay. From the makers of Pokemon, Game Freak mostly based Yoshi‘s mechanics on the puzzle game, Tetris

Hackers found unused animations in Yoshi's Island.

In the game, Yoshi can transform into mole tanks, submarines, and helicopters. However, hackers discovered features in the game file that didn’t make the final cut. When they cracked the game’s code, they found power-ups and animations that could turn Yoshi into a tree, a plane, and a mushroom

Yoshi's Crafted World was released in 2019.

As the eighth installment in the franchise of Yoshi video games, Yoshi’s Crafted World released in 2019 as a classic platformer. Exclusively released for the Switch, Good Feel developed this side-scrolling platform with a twist. Unlike other games, you get to play co-op, collaborating with a second player for designs and ways to progress to the next level.  

All Smash Bros characters have the same shield except Yoshi.

Since the first release of the Super Smash Bros in 1999, Yoshi and Mario have been the best of friends. Together, their characters have thrown surprise after surprise in the hit N64 game. However, one thing that sets Yoshi apart is his unique shield.

The rest of the characters use a bubble for protection, while Yoshi encases and wraps himself in a big egg. To date, Yoshi is the only character in the Mario franchise with a special shield.

Source: Pixabay

Yoshi has a rival counterpart.

While the titular character of the franchise has Wario as his evil counterpart, Yoshi has Boshi. In the Super Mario RPG, Yoshi had a rivalry with the antagonist Boshi -a mean, blue-colored dinosaur. In the game’s Japanese version, Boshi is known as Washi. However, Boshi never got to the other versions of the game. Throughout all the games, Boshi only appeared in Super Mario RPG.

Both Yoshi's Cookie and Yoshi's Island have the same sprite.

In game development, a sprite sheet refers to an image file with several graphics tiled in a grid arrangement. When you compile several graphics in one file, you can animate other applications. While a company as big as Nintendo does not do lazy rehashes, the same sprite was used for both Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Cookie.

Using the same base, Nintendo took pixels from Yoshi’s cookie instead of recreating the dinosaur from scratch. Since then, the same sprite has been used in Yoshi’s cameo for Super Mario All-Stars.

Yoshi made subtle cameos in other game series.

nintendo switch
Source: Unsplash

For more than 20 years, Yoshi has appeared in many other Nintendo games. Yoshi’s cameo appearances include Easter eggs sightings such as a collectible doll in the classic Game Boy masterpiece, Link’s Awakening. Fans of the Ocarina of Time also saw Yoshi as a portrait on a wall. Yoshi even had subtle appearances in the sorcery and sword-themed series of Legend of Zelda.

Nintendo did not release Yoshi's Island again on any virtual console.

Years after its release, Nintendo fans never had the chance to get their hands on the original game of Yoshi’s Island. Despite being a fan favorite, Nintendo never gave them the chance to legally re-acquire the original version of the game. The Mario Advance GBA was the closest they could get, but that version came with several issues. For one, the GBA version stripped many of the original effects of the game. Another deal breaker is its terrible frame ratio. Of course, the developers continue to make sequels of Yoshi Island, but the original game remains only for pirates and collectors.

Yoshi's Island had hardware limitations on the 2002 Game Boy Advance.

When the Yoshi Island levels were put in the Game Boy Advance, hardware limitations prevented the full-on scale of the game. It was scaled down to keep the jump intact and still accommodate Levels 1-7. The  ‘Fuzzy Touch Get Dizzy’ levels needed some adjustments in the handheld console, especially on the mind-bending portion that caused gamers a good deal of dizziness.

nintendo gameboy
Source: Unsplash

Before Yoshi, Mario only had a frog costume.

Ever since, Miyamoto always pushed for the idea of a rideable dinosaur in the Super Mario series. However, the NES was still unable to deliver it in the 1990 version. Then came Super Mario Bros 3, where Takashi Tezuka added the tanooki and frog costumes to appease Miyamoto. Instead of Mario riding one, he’s able to take on the animal’s characteristics. 

It took 100 hours to make Yoshi in the Super Mario Bros movie.

Some fans might have not liked how Yoshi turned out in the live-action movie. However, the runty raptor required sophisticated puppetry before debuting on the big screen. Even though it only had 5 minutes appearance in the movie, the puppet took 100 hours to make, and needed 9 puppeteers to operate it. Critics say that the time allotted to make Yoshi should have been the same kind of effort for the whole movie instead. 

Designers originally wanted Yoshi to be a Koopa.

In the original plan, the character was supposed to be a tame and kind Koopa Trooper. However, the suggestion did not come through. With Yoshi’s diet, cannibalism would have compromised the family-friendly image of Nintendo. Despite leaving the idea to the door, Yoshi still retains some Koopa characteristics as seen in its final design.

Yoshi has a whole clan.

In the game, Yoshi can change into red, blue, and yellow. The yellows have a special stomp on the ground, the reds could spit fire, and the blue ones could fly. You can acquire these colors through power-ups, bonus levels, or in Star World. Players may assume that there’s only one Yoshi in all of the games, but Yoshi actually belongs to a big clan of dinosaurs. At the end of the Super Mario World game includes a montage of Yoshi eggs hatching into Yoshi’s of different colors. 

Yoshi was Mario's sidekick since he was a baby.

In the prequel of Yoshi Island: Super Mario World 2, Mario was still in diapers. The game starts with a stork with an infant Mario inside. Together with his brother Luigi, they were ambushed by MagiKoopa Kamek, who snatched Luigi but not Mario. From there, Yoshi raised Mario on its own. That said, Yoshi is the closest family to Mario other than his biological brother, Luigi.

Source: Unsplash

Mario Kart features Yoshi as a racer, too.

In all of the Mario Kart games including Mario Kart Wii, Yoshi features in the roster as one of the fan favorites. Classified as a medium weight driver, it navigates a tad slower compared to other lightweight ranks. However, Yoshi’s character is perfect for Off-Road and Drifting. Although there are no new courses for the green dino, the DS track returns to honor him in Yoshi Falls DS.

Yoshi does not have a saddle on its back.

One of the most glaring features in Yoshi’s character is the red saddle on his back. According to the creators, it’s not a saddle, but an attached shell. It just makes sense as it must be the shell that Yoshi was born from, as shown in Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World. However, the Wii U version depicts Yoshi without anything on its back.

Through the years, Yoshi’s character has evolved to reflect his portrayal in the games. Also, the shell just falls into place with the original art concept that classified the dinosaur as a different kind of Koopa.

A Japanese text confirms that Yoshi does not need a mate to reproduce.

We have already established the idea that Yoshi does not have a definite gender. It’s safe to assume that it’s a ‘he’ but there is actually no confirmation for that. However, the description of an in-game text for Yoshi’s trophy confirms that  they do not need the opposite sex to reproduce.

In the Nintendo Watch and Game Galleries, the dinosaurs only need to be fed until they’re able to lay eggs. Once it hatches, the player must feed the baby Yoshi until it reaches adulthood. This proves that the dinosaur does not need a mate at all. Of course, everyone deserves to fall in love – and Yoshi is not an exception.

Yoshi and Birdo are perfect for each other.

If green dinosaurs were meant to fall in love, Yoshi would find its happiness with Birdo. Known as Cathy in the Japanese version, Birdo resembles Yoshi in many ways. It has the same back scales and a tail like Yoshi, which also produces its eggs.

Although the makers brand Birdo as genderless, Birdo flaunts a bow on its head. The two were always a pair in most of Mario titles, hinting at their relationship with a bit of on screen PDA. Regardless of their gender, the general consensus is that the two make a cute couple.

You can find the recipe for Yoshi's Cookie online.

Originally set as a limited release, only 500 copies were made for Yoshi’s Cookie. However, you can still make Yoshi’s Cookie recipe as seen in the game.

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