When asking the question of “what is your favorite Nintendo [insert subject]?”, a good deal of though is usually involved. After all, it’s not easy to quickly run down Nintendo’s enormous catalog of entertainment to pick out even a small handful of names, titles, or phrases. But the challenge of answering this week’s #NintendoSeptember topic “what is your favorite Nintendo character?” proved no challenge at all, because for me, there is only one answer. This lovable dinosaur:
Oh, believe you me, as I continued to ponder the question, the veritable roster of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came to mind – which I don’t think can be complete until you include Death from Conker’s Bad Fur Day, if not the feisty squirrel himself. In fact, my final choices besides Yoshi boiled down to two…errr, three characters: the spunky Tetra from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and everyone’s favorite duo of bird and bear, Banjo and Kazooie. Even though, Yoshi easily stood head, shoulders, and tongue higher than the rest, because…
Yoshi is a fantastic companion.
If you caught my post from last week, you get that Super Mario World is one of my favorite classic games. It’s memorable for a number of things, one of which is the introduction of Yoshi, a green dinosaur that not only helped shuttle Mario but also ate up enemies for him…if done so via unfortunate bumps on the head. Yoshi was a trustworthy companion and was far more than “just another Mario character.” Yoshi added a differently kind of playstyle to Super Mario World, on that went the game other power-ups, like beyond cape feathers and power balloons. Yoshi provided multiple tools in a single, and most importantly, adorable package.
Yoshi is a star without Mario.
Indeed, if you want to talk about successful Mario spin-offs, you need look no further than Yoshi. His enemy-devouring ways were launched into a franchise that soared on its own wings…its own Yoshi wings! This year marks the 27th anniversary of Yoshi’s first game, aptly titled Yoshi, which was a falling block game released for the NES. Though I imagine that most folks are more familiar with his turn in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, which might have been more memorable for, awkwardly, Baby Mario than anything else. Since then, Yoshi’s been in seven games devoted to his lovable dinosaur clan, as well as a smattering of other titles.
Yoshi is more than just “Yoshi.”
In Super Mario World, Yoshi was presented alone, a single instance of a particular species. However, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island showed that there was more to Yoshi than met the eye. In this game we met the Yoshi clan and they Mario had become acquainted with them long before his stint in the Mushroom Kingdom. To coin a phrase, Yoshi and Mario went way back. And while green Yoshi was the one who helped Mario save Princess Peach, several friendly Yoshis helped his toddler self rescued his poor, kidnapped brother (Luigi) from Magikoopa’s clutches. This notion that Yoshi was not just one creature but one of many helped set the stage for multiple games that included the entire tribe. And while I’m sure that Purple Yoshi is the constant troublemaker, and Orange Yoshi is the practical Joker, I’m also sure that Green Yoshi is the steadfast peacemaker of the clan. He also might be a little better at shooting fireballs than the rest, but who am I to say?