“I know! We should team up! Come on! Hop on my back!”
We’re now into the meat and potatoes as the top 25 continues. Tomorrow, our list continues the countdown to the #1 male video game character of all-time on Aug. 31.
17) Yoshi (Mario) – 2 votes/115 points
Chris: Mario’s most iconic voice work in the video game industry is probably his “It’s-a me, Mario!” line when you boot up Nintendo’s masterpiece Super Mario 64. That’s fair; an entire generation of 3-D gaming was launched thanks to that title’s success.
His most noteworthy voice work, however, is his crying when he’s a baby in Yoshi’s Island.
Imagine this. You’re at work on a Monday morning. You’re hung over from a busy weekend of imbibing and profiling. You sit in your chair at your desk with a project due within the next 20 minutes. Oh, and to top it all off, your boss is hovering over your cubicle because deadline is approaching, and he’s yelling at your over and over again, “HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!”
Yoshi puts up with all of that in Yoshi’s Island. It’s a saint-worthy effort — not only does he put up with Baby Mario’s constant whining and crying, but he goes out of his way to risk his life for a baby that means nothing to him. So I salute you, Yoshi. You’re a better man (dinosaur?) than I could ever be.
Shaun: Some characters on this list are renowned for their bravery, or exalted for their impressive feats. Other characters are so flawed and interesting that we couldn’t help but vote for them. Yoshi is one of the those characters.
Like two sides of a heavily damaged coin, there is a duality to Yoshi. On one hand, Yoshi is a true gaming icon who, like Mario, has become synonymous with Kart racing, Smash Bros. fighting, and Mushroom Kingdom Sports. More importantly, he is a reliable companion to gaming’s most iconic figure. Everything about Yoshi, from the tongue to the eggs to the sounds he makes, is unique, memorable, and completely distinguishable. Plus, what kid didn’t dream of having their own personal horse dinosaur when they were young?
On the other hand, Yoshi is also complex, heavily flawed character who’s less like a reliable companion, and more like a victim of Stockholm’s Syndrome? How else do you explain the character’s insistence on helping the man who has killed more of his kind than every natural disaster in history combined, and in many cases for no good reason? Rather than treated as an equal friend, Mario often uses Yoshi for jumping platforms (even when it means dumping him in expansive chasms). Instead of helping Yoshi care for and hatch his babies from eggs, Mario uses them as ammunition. Never in gaming have we witnessed such abuse from one character to another, and yet Yoshi always comes back whenever Mario needs him to, the willing friend despite all the mistreating.
Joseph: It would make sense for Yoshi to be on this list, as long as this one entry is used for every Yoshi. Because if it was just for one of them, he shouldn’t even be in the top 100. Yoshi is synonymous with “extra jump” and dies in a pit about as fast as I can hatch the next one. A Yoshi is useful momentarily. The entire race is a seemingly inexhaustible supply of mobile, enemy-eating trampolines. Personally, I prefer the green plumber who occasionally takes the saddle and does a triple jump off Yoshi’s soon-to-be-lifeless corpse, but he’s not on the list, is he?
Jason: Want to know why I wanted to play Mario as a kid? It was because there was a dinosaur in it. Yoshi’s Story? Probably my favorite Mario game as a kid. Honestly I could give or take Yoshi as a character, but as a race? Yoshis rock. And as the poster child for his race, he deserves to be on this list for that reason and that reason alone.
Cary: YOSHI ALWAYS, NOW AND FOREVER! He might be the only reason I continue to play Mario games.