Special thanks to Shane Smith for the awesome banners that you will see in this article, and in many other articles that you see on GameCloud. If you’d like to see more of his work, you can find it here.
Previously on TDSO, I ruined childhoods everywhere by revealing that adult Mario’s actions are the result of CIA-style mental conditioning, by design of the (now) shadow ruler of the Koopa Kingdom: Kamek. It was important when looking at why Mario is the way he is, which can’t be done without first looking into his past and poking at it with a stick. Mario hasn’t exactly been alone in clawing his way to the top, however; he had some actual claws helping him in the form of the Yoshi. (Or.. whatever it is they have underneath those shoes.) They were present for many of the significant events in Mario’s infancy, are hilariously expendable allies to Mario in his adult years, and are almost endlessly renewable! (If you regard “morals” and “ethics” as being more like “guidelines”).
Not that anyone cares, really, since we’re all complicit in, if not blissfully ignorant of, the violations that Mario has brought upon the Yoshi: Physical abuse, forced fighting, 1-up mills. It’s so blazenly out in the open that we stopped caring, and decided to just roll with it right on up to the goal flag. I’m talking about things like…
Yoshi biology is weird, their internal organs serve as a kind of waste recycling plant that eats monsters and poops weapons and nightmares. I’d like to think that it’s separate from their digestive system, as well, since it otherwise means they can eat seemingly forever without suffering food coma and/or explosion. I would like to think that, I really would, but it’s made difficult by a few different things. For starters, they don’t always come out as eggs, because sometimes they don’t come out at all. Depending on which game you’re referring to, the Yoshi’s eggs do different things, probably because they’re different eggs: For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to these eggs as “Attack” eggs and “Lazarus” eggs to avoid confusion and because it’s cool.
Will wanted me to call them “Life” eggs, but that idea is as lame as it is straightforward and isn’t rad.
In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, the Yoshi’s can swallow enemies and turn them into Attack eggs. They don’t do this in Super Mario World, however, instead pooping out 1up Mushrooms after eating enough enemies and fruit (since both are high in nutritional value, apparently). The implications of both are pretty terrifying, the attack eggs less so, however, so let’s start with them. These are the eggs that appear in the Yoshi’s Island games and are basically RPG’s disguised as eggs (unless the Yoshi’s have all been ‘roiding in their down time), which streak across the screen with enough force to instantly kill just about anything they hit. This in itself is some pretty heavy stuff for a kids game: Yoshi’s are gorging on enemy flesh so they can work up the energy to poop out projectile I.E.D.’s.
I don’t see any corpses falling out of those explosive eggs, however, do you? No viscera raining down from the sky, no bones or fragments flying off like grotesque shrapnel? That’s because the bodies were used up in the egg creation process. The Yoshi’s can’t possibly be actually eating and digesting the creatures they swallow, not unless their stomachs exist inside some kind of enormous pocket dimension. (… Which now that I think about it… no, no, too dumb, even for me.) Instead, whether by magic or by science (oh yes, there is definitely science in the Mario universe, and it is terrifying), swallowed matter is somehow converted into energy which the Yoshi then pump into the attack eggs. If you’re trying to imagine what that might be like for the swallowed creature and all you can come up with is silent screaming, then you’re probably about half right.
Attacking enemies with the disintegrated bodies, and presumably trapped souls, of their fallen comrades is the kind of Geigeresque nightmare that would keep even the clowniest of serial killers from sleeping at night; it still pales in comparison to the horror of the Lazarus eggs, however. Because while the attack eggs obliterate a single, ensnared prey and turn them into weaponised energy, Yoshi’s produce Lazarus eggs by hoarding bodily remains in their stomachs. When it has enough it condenses it all down into a 1up mushroom, and dispenses it in a way that seems entirely undignified for something that resurrects the dead. In case you’re not quite following, this means the Yoshi’s (“Yoshies”?) destroy several lives in order to extend the lifespan of just one other creature. I wonder if the Yoshi are like a distant, celestially separated cousin of the Pikmin.
Being what amounts to the “Golden Goose” of your planet makes you a very pretty target, and the ability to produce these kinds of eggs makes them a valuable species, both strategically and economically, to any intelligent species. If you’ve read my previous article about the DK Empire, specifically about Funky Kong’s trade of choice, then you might already see where this is going. Since 1up Mushrooms are a naturally occurring ingredient, being Yoshi dung fungus, it’s not entirely unreasonable to think that all life-giving items on the Mushroom planet (possibly everywhere in Mario’s universe) are derived from the 1up Mushroom. There are a lot of those things floating around though, usually a hundred or so in Mario’s pocket at least, not to mention all those that get used in Funky’s balloons and God knows who else imports these things.
That sort of supply isn’t the kind that can be met by digging around Yoshi dens and picking up stray life-poops, this is the sort of thing that requires some amount of farming. If you had to harvest hundreds of 1up mushrooms, how would you go about it? Why, with crimes against nature of course! Somewhere in the Mushroom Kingdom, there is a building that houses dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned Yoshies being force-fed shyguys (or whatever’s cheapest to buy in bulk these days on the Black Mushroom Market – you just know that’s a thing) to excrete resurrection-shrooms around the clock. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if these things were used by Mario and Peach to sweeten diplomatic deals with other Kingdoms. Otherwise what else is their main export going to be? Freaky, cowardly, mushroom-headed clones? They’re clones right?
Things aren’t exactly great for the Yoshies who aren’t in captivity either, since being on the outside means fending for yourself, something which they failed pretty hard at as a species in Super Mario World. There’s no nice way to say this, and we can only speculate about the details, but it’s clear that, while the Yoshi’s were trapped in the bricks by Kamek, they were put in the eggs by other Yoshies. When Mario smashes a block and a Yoshi egg pops out, it’s usually a fully grown Yoshi that emerges; this is weird because we know that baby Yoshies exist, meaning they aren’t born fully grown. So just as we were starting to think the Yoshi were a two-trick dino, they pull inhumane imprisonment out of their hats and immediately place their brethren into it!
So why would Kamek bother with something so convoluted as opposed to just, well, killing them? It would be one thing to rob an enemy of a resource like the 1up Mushroom, it would be another thing entirely for Kamek to turn those abilities to his own use. Can you imagine the entire Koopa Army running on 1up mushrooms? They’d even be powerful enough to over-run DK and his tyrannical, disgustingly debaucherous family. It seems like a long and laborious process, when they could just strong arm the Yoshi into doing what they want, but there is a point to it: Forcing some of the Yoshies into random blocks, the locations of which Kamek is absolutely aware of, is just a means forcing the still-sort-of-free Yoshies (Yoshi?) to co-operate through means of coercion.
Yo Dawg, I heard you like violent oppression!
I mean it’s not like they’re going to side with him naturally, he’s been in and out of conflict with them for decades. Not to mention the fact that they were a tribal species that has undergone severe cultural violation and displacement in that time. They’re likely only co-operating with Mario because…
The Yoshi are named using the Pokemon Principle: If it makes a sound that can be phonetically pronounced, then by golly it’s named itself! This also might have something to do with the fact that, when Mario was a baby, they were still a fairly primitive race: No technology, no refinement, and little, if any, verbal communication to speak of. All of this adds up to a tribal society, although the matching clothing thing seems more cultish than tribal. It’s weird that they’re all wearing saddles, right? Especially when you consider that they haven’t been domesticated by anyone else, it’s almost like they were waiting for someone to appear to them, someone whom they could carry– it’s Mario, they were waiting for Mario. Maybe not him specifically, but he certainly fit their bit when he showed up.
As far as Deities go, they might have been better off with Khorne.
Who knows, Mario might actually be a God, the facts kind of speak for themselves: Despite his size, he has unnaturally immense strength; He’s traveled through time, dimensions, and death, coming out of it without a scratch; Met with a long line of lizard monster monarchs. (And murdered them.) In the Yoshi’s Island games, despite making absolutely no sense continuity wise, he even appears from the sky during a time of crisis for the Yoshi. Twice. No matter which way you cut it, Mario’s mere presence is enough to inspire awe in most intelligent beings and the Yoshi were still a primitive society when he first appeared. When an infant falls from the average crusing altitude of a commercial airliner, seemingly out of nowhere, and lives, what else should they think?
Revering and worshiping Mario would certainly explain why the Yoshi are “happy” to take so much abuse from him. When Mario wants them to eat something he’ll punch them in the back of the head; most of us would’ve learned in our younger days that you can effectively “double jump” by sacrificing the Yoshi mid-jump, and I can guarantee that Mario figured that out pretty early on as well. He’s meant to be the hero of the entire planet– no, the whole galaxy, and he allows huge amounts of them to be rounded up, forced into eggs, then into bricks, without doing a damn thing to stop it. Not to mention his own involvement in farming the things for Lazarus eggs.
Thou Shalt Not Have Other Gods Before Me. Also, Get Ye In Yonder Cage.
Putting them through that much hell, while still maintaining their total devotion? How could their relationship be based on anything other than a religion? Especially when, despite being the primary cause of their misery, he often ends up fulfilling the role of their savior (though whether or not this is intentional remains to be seen). He saves them in Super Mario World (eventually), and both times in the Yoshi’s Island games he shows up to “help” them defeat Bowser: In whatever passes for the Yoshi holy book, Mario may as well have created them, since nothing else besides the great mustachioed one is important. With such a zealous devotion for Mario, and considering how everyone else regards him, I wonder what the Yoshi think of Luigi?
WHEN THE GREAT ONE’S MORTAL VESSEL EXPIRES, WE SHALL USE THIS ONE TO IGNITE THE FUNERAL PYRE!
A Yoshi’s existence is bleak, and not in the way that being a blind-deaf mute with no sense of touch is. They’re exploited by a plumber that just showed up one day, a system based around the ruthless efficiency of their pooping rates, and their own biology forbids them from french kissing. These little condensed-satanic-orgies-of-fun are bred and used to spurn the gears of the Mushroom Clone Machine (they’re totally clones) to such a degree that it makes Nike look like a charity. They’re basically the living sweatshops of the Mario World, complete with a consciousness-free work ethic and a can-do attitude defined solely through submission. That’s the way it is and that’s how it’s gonna be until they stop laying eggs, which ain’t gonna be for a long, long time.
DISCLAIMER: This article is a work of satire, parody and fiction. At no point was it my intention to assert that the things written in this article are true (unless, of course, it turns out that they are true. In which case, suck it, I was totally right). I don’t own the characters, or the concepts, and I’m sure I’m probably not the first to come to many of these conclusions. However, in saying that, stealing my words without asking would be kind of a dick thing to do. To the original owners of the discussed characters: please don’t sue me, I am not a rich man.