Yoshi first appeared in Super Mario World (SNES). In that game, Mario rides on him, and Yoshi darts out his very long tongue, eating countless enemies without gaining any weight, gaining you a coin for each one. It is unclear whether Yoshi refers to the species or the individual dinosaur, as it is used like a name, but it is used for every single one.

Yoshi was so popular that an entire game was later dedicated to him (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island). In that, he tries to bring baby Mario and Luigi to their parents after they are kidnapped by baby Bowser. This game has its own sequel on the N64, but I never played it.

Yoshi has been in every Mario game since, even though it is often a minor part. He comes a wide range of colors, but is best known in his green form. In Super Mario World, different colored Yoshis have different abilities (blue is the best). In Yoshi's Island, they are simply an ethnically diverse but equal population.

Yoshi is the infamous so-called "dinosaur" of Nintendo's Mario series. His first appearance was in Super Mario World for the SNES, where he and the rest of his type of creature were under oppression by Bowser, who apparently trapped them all in eggs. Child Yoshi's were held captive in eight castles all across the world, and on his quest to liberate the Princess, Mario had to conquer each castle belonging to each of Bowser's eight children (were they adopted or did Bowser have some unknown wife?) before being able to take on the big guy himself.

In Super Mario World Yoshi was quite an interesting character. Eating different types of berries would increment one's coin count, and in some special cases, one's time restraint. Yoshi also had the ability to breath fire, fly, and stomp the ground by holding in his mouth a red, blue, or yellow koopa shell respectively. Gamer beware, for Yoshi cannot hold shells in his mouth indefinitely, and after a certain amount of time, Yoshi will indeed swallow the shell.

In special areas of Super Mario World you can find special Yoshis of a variety of colors. Naturally, a blue Yoshi would allow the user to fly by holding in the Yoshi's mouth any color of shell. Red Yoshi lets you breath fire, and Yellow Yoshi allows you to pound the ground. This entails cool combo moves, where a blue Yoshi could possibly hold in its mouth a yellow koopa shell, allowing to both fly and ground pound.

An interesting backstory is revealed in Super Mario World 2, where it is shown that Yoshi knew Mario far before their supposed first encounter. The stork was bringing Mario and Luigi to their parents' house (apparently they are fraternal twins) when Kamek, under the orders of Baby Bowser went to go snatch them. He succeeded in snatching Luigi, but Mario fell towards the island beneath onto the back of Green Yoshi (the storyline here has a charming backdrop tune). Due to some psychic bond between Mario and Luigi, the Yoshis set out to re-unite the two separated brothers.

In this game, the different abilities that depend on color concept was eliminated, and Yoshi was instead equipped with his trademark hovering and throwing eggs created from swallowed enemies. This game also introduced the more distinct Yoshi ground pound, which followed him throughout his gaming career. A cool thing in Super Mario World 2 is that you could get Yoshi high by letting him eat/touch some fuzzy white floating things that look like cotton balls.

Furthermore in his SNES career, Yoshi makes an appearance in Super Mario Kart, where his light weight adds to quick recovery and fast acceleration, with low speed and power.

THE GROUNDBREAKING TRUTH!!!

You may find this shocking, but Yoshi's political alignment is finally revealed in Super Mario RPG. The user arrives at Yoshi's Island to find the inhabitants oppressed by the evil fascist regime of Boshi. Via a race atop Yoshi, the user must use his/her L33T rhythmic button-mashing skills to defeat the dictator Boshi in a one-on-one race and establish a state of anarchy and equality for all Yoshi's!!! (Okay, so maybe I went a little overboard...)

Yoshi made a brief appearance in Super Mario 64 when, upon obtaining all 120 stars, the player could meet Yoshi atop Peach's castle and earn a new jump ability. Also on the N64 Yoshi makes appearances in Super Mario Kart 64 where he plays the same role as in the original Mario Kart, and he also makes an appearance in Mario Golf 64 and Mario Tennis. But Yoshi's next major protagonist role appears in the hit N64 game,

Yoshi's Story (for the N64)!!! The Super Happy Tree was taken by Bowser, the Yoshi population is in a state of depression, and it's up to the optimistic innocent Yoshi youths to get the happy tree with the happy fruit back and save the island. Note that the whole world has been turned into a story book by Bowser, and that after completing each "page", a song with unintelligble words that no one understands is played.

Note that many Yoshi fans were disappointed by the fact that Yoshi's Story was a 2-D side-scroller as opposed to as a fully explorable 3-D world.

On to game mechanics. Yoshi inherits all of his abilities from Super Mario World 2. He eats the baddies, turns them into eggs, does the ground pound, and the hovering in the air thing. To complete each level, or "page", the player must eat forty fruits. To access different stages on the "page", the player must find oversized smiling red hearts.

Yoshi's next playable role is in Super Smash Bros. where he retains all of his trademark abilities. He throws eggs, ground pounds, and eats his opponents (upon which they turn into eggs, which, unfortunately, you cannot pick up and throw). Due to his hovering ability that entails difficulty in aerial control, many find Yoshi to be a challenging character to use.

Yoshi's GameCube debut is in Super Smash Bros. Melee, where he retains all of his abilities from Super Smash Bros.

In the media world, Yoshi did indeed make an appearance in the heinous Super Mario Bros. movie, where he was portrayed as an ugly, monstrous looking thing chained in the Daisy's bedroom in Bowser's castle.

In the toy world, Yoshi is a stuffed toy. They provide a variety of colors of Yoshi for the consumer population, where the most sought-out Yoshi breeds are black and white, the special Yoshi's from Yoshi's Story who could eat anything normally dangerous to eat for the other Yoshi's.

All-in-all, Yoshi kicks ass and his many fans await the next game in which Yoshi is the main protagonist.

Yoshi is the title of a NES/Gameboy puzzle game released in 1992 (called Yoshi's Egg or Mario and Yoshi in Japan). Mario (or Luigi in 2-player mode) are at the bottom of the screen holding up four plates. Baddies from the Super Mario Brothers universe fall one at a time on to the plates. Your job is to shift the plates around so that you form stacks of the same character. Complete a stack of two and the characters vanish a la Tetris blocks.

Yoshi fits in to the whole mess in the form of a wild card. Every now and then half a Yoshi egg shell will fall instead of a character. If a top half of the egg falls and hits a baddie, it vanishes. If a bottom half lands, you can then stack as many baddies of any type on top of it as you like, and if you place an egg shell top onto the whole mess, the entire stack turns into a complete Yoshi egg. Yoshi hatches from the egg and you get major bonus points. The size of the hatched Yoshi and the number of bonus points depend on how many baddies were in the stack. Once the egg hatches, the stack clears and play continues.

There's the usual play modes: Endless and 2-player. The game was popular in Japan, but didn't see much respect or fame in the USA. Unlike other popular puzzlers it is not possible to perform combos or other such trick moves, and this may have something to do with Yoshi's lack of popularity. It's fairly easy to find in the usual used game locations and I highly recommend it as a fun and not-too-involving puzzler.

yerricde tells me that Zoocube was a heavily modified update to Yoshi by a third party, released for at least Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance.

Title: Mario and Yoshi (Europe), Yoshi (America), Yoshi no Tamago / Yoshi's Egg (Japan)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 1991
Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Game Boy
Genre: Puzzle game (of the falling block variety in particular)
Players: One or two players

At first, I couldn't get into Mario and Yoshi. Compared to Nintendo's other puzzle game branded with their cartoon dinosaur, Yoshi's Cookie, I thought it was so simple that it was barely worth playing. It seemed almost childish. After leaving it for a while before coming back to it, however, I've changed my mind. I still think it's about as simple as a game can possibly be, but I no longer consider this a design flaw. As is the case with Tetris and Boxxle, a game that is simple to learn but has a good learning curve (or a slowly increasing speed) is well designed.

The gameplay is of the falling block variety that is already well-known to Tetris fans. There are four main creatures that can fall into the play area: Goomba (a mushroom with a face and feet), Piranha Plant (sort of like Audrey Two from Little Shop of Horrors), Boo (a ghost), and Blooper (a squid). All you have to do is line them up one on top of the other. When any creature lands on top of a matching one, they both disappear.

Unlike most falling block based games, though, you can't actually move the falling creatures. Instead, you can move the ones already piled on the floor by swapping around any two adjacent stacks. This is done with only three buttons: left and right to move Mario at the bottom of the screen (Nintendo even managed to sneak the well-known plumber into a Breakout clone, so it's no surprise to see him in an original puzzle game of theirs), and either fire button to swap the two stacks that he's directly beneath. As there are only four stacks to play with, you're never too far from one, so the game feels pretty instinctive and quick. You get to think about what to move and where to move it to, not how to actually do it.

As there are four types of creature and four stacks, this in itself would be too easy. One thing that makes it more difficult is that the creatures (nearly) always fall in pairs, and sometimes you get two creatures of the same type falling at the same time, so you have to put one on top of a different creature.

The other thing that makes this game more difficult - and that makes it interesting - is the inclusion of special egg blocks. These eggs consist of two distinct parts: a lower half and an upper half. The lower half disappears if it is placed directly on another lower egg half. Otherwise, it just sits on the pile, not doing anything. The upper half disappears if there is no lower half below it. If there is a lower half of an egg in a stack, however, and an upper half falls onto the top of the pile, a Yoshi dinosaur is hatched and all the blocks (if there are any) in between the two egg halves disappear. This egg is roughly analogous to the famous four-by-one Tetris block, in that it encourages "religious" gameplay - building stacks dangerously high on the offchance that all the blocks can be turned into points in one fell swoop.

It looks like this game is an attempt to make something that slightly resembles the gameplay of Tetris (it even has similar A and B modes), only using the recognisable characters of the Mario franchise. While it's nowhere near as popular as either of the classic games it tries to combine, it's still a fun way to kill time in its own right. No one would suggest you buy this instead of Tetris or even Puyo Puyo, but if you like puzzle games, it's certainly worth adding to your collection once you've already got the more popular titles.

Incidently, in my opinion this is one of the few games (Qix is the only other one that springs to mind) that is easier on the eye when played on the Game Boy's monochromatic screen than when played on a TV set using the colour scheme intended by the game's designers. Considering the measly current second hand value of the Game Boy, it's arguably an underrated console for retrogamers.

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