Mario was punching Yoshi in the head in Super Mario World

It's a mean Mario.

By Wesley Yin-Poole. Published 28 September 2017

It turns out Mario is a bit of a monster.

When you're playing Super Mario World on your SNES mini, know this: he's punching Yoshi in the head to make him stick out his tongue, not pointing forward to tell him where to go.

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And if you played Super Mario World back in the day, like I did, and have fond memories of one of the greatest video games ever created, like I do, well, your childhood has now been ruined.

In an interview on Nintendo's Japanese website (translated by Kotaku), to promote the launch of the SNES mini, developers who worked on the game reveal the ugly truth about video game's most famous mascot.

It turns out that the initial idea was Mario would ride a horse - at least that was the jumping off point given to Yoshi creator Shigefumi Hino by Shigeru Miyamoto.

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This horse idea evolved into Mario riding a reptile-like creature that eventually became Yoshi, but the original inspiration stuck. And so, as jockeys whip horses in real life to go faster, Mario punches Yoshi in the face to make him stick out his tongue.

"Lots of people think that while Mario is pointing his finger forward, he's saying go, and Yoshi's tongue comes out," Hino said.

Image credit Supper Mario Broth.

"However, the setup that I drew was that when Mario punches Yoshi in the head, the character's tongue shoots out in surprise.

"What's more," Hino continued, "there's an added 'bop' sound."

Mindful of a potentially negative reaction, Nintendo subsequently retconned Mario's barbarism with official art (via Supper Mario Broth) that depicted Mario pointing forward to show Yoshi what to lick.

"However, it seemed like people would say 'poor Yoshi,' so that's why it became that Mario is saying 'go,'" Hino revealed.

So there you have it. Nintendo's evil past is exposed. Next we'll find out all the Starfox characters are opt-in amputees.

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Retro