Nintendo confirms Mario is hitting Yoshi on the back of his head; Yoshi's 'saddle' is actually a shell
I knew it. I knew it all along.
Looking to commemorate the release of the SNES Classic, Nintendo has been publishing a series of interviews with some of the key developers that helped bring some of the games featured on the console to life. The most recent interview included Takashi Tezuka, director of Super Mario World, and Shigefumi Hino, a graphics/character designer for the game.
If you've played a majority of the classic Super Mario games, you'll know that Yoshi made his first appearance in the franchise in Super Mario World. Yoshi, Mario's dinosaur-like rideable companion, can stick out his tongue and swallow enemies whenever the player wishes.
In the game, this animation is shown by Mario moving his arm forward and Yoshi ducking his head forward and extending his tongue out. Like at the 3-minute mark in the video.
According to Hino, Mario is actually hitting Yoshi on the back of the head and the surprised Yoshi is sticking is tongue out. This goes against what many thought - which is that innocent Mario is pointing and Yoshi is taking his cue.
“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 even detailed that the sound effect accompanying the motion shows the hard-hitting truth. Since players have said they feel bad for Yoshi getting hit, Hino just tells people Mario is pointing - it's easier that way.
Oh, and that thing on Yoshi's back (not Mario, the red thing) is a shell - not a saddle - and Yoshi species is related to turtles.