Welcome to “Remembering Old Friends,” a column where the writers of Girls Got Game do spotlights on video game characters that have rocked their worlds. Join us in our feelings!
The question we should all be asking at this point is who DOESN’T love Yoshi? This funny little dinosaur (lizard… thing) is as iconic as the Mario Brothers themselves. He’s a fan favorite across several titles, and his own games were always a treat to play.
If the story of my relationship with Chun-Li is about finding a hero, my story with Yoshi is a family story. My younger brother and I were kids when we returned to the Philippines. Imagine two Canadian kids at 10 and 4 slugging it out in tropical heat, isolated from the rest because we spoke English. Most everything on TV was in Filipino or too boring to watch. Our parents were busy trying to settle our roots back into our ACTUAL home country; our brothers were grieving the loss of their “home.” We became each other’s playmates in order to feel less like strangers in a strange land.
Things got significantly better when our favorite cousins moved back to the Philippines. These brothers and their baby sister were like second family to us Punzalans. Back when we were still based in Vancouver, my family would make the occasional road trip down to Los Angeles. The Estebans were always the ones who hosted us. Our usual routine involved flopping around in the pool, spinning dumbass kid stories. It also included playing video games and watching movies.
This did not change once we were all stuck in Manila together. My brother spent most of his middle school and some of his high school years sleeping over at their place. Whenever life wasn’t so weird, I’d tag along. We’d all eat pizza (or their yaya’s grilled cheese and ham sandwiches), and I was going through my cousin’s Pokémon comics, they’d hit the consoles (and later: the computers) again.
Nearly all of my generation’s “classics” – Sonic the Hedgehog, Bomberman, Crash Bandicoot, Ragnarok Online, Starcraft, Battle Realms, Guild Wars – were games that my cousins introduced me to. We either played them together, watched each other do a run, or took turns on the controller. My strongest video game associations with them, however, is anything Bomberman and Super Mario.
While I love all three of my cousins very much, I’m the closest to JP, the eldest of the Esteban bunch. He’s only a few years younger than me, and we’ve always shared a lot of common interests. If I’m getting this right, Yoshi became his favorite character in the Marioverse the moment Super Mario World was out. He became mine too, both because my cousin showed me how cool he was, and because I’ve always had a thing for big lizards.
Our next big trip was Mario Kart, where Yoshi was EVERYONE’s favorite. Mario Kart was our ultimate time sink, our quick friend in the midst of school stress and the sort of boredom that only kids could afford to have. It’s also the only racing game that I ever liked, and about 50% of the reason behind that is Yoshi.
Super Smash Brothers is the last big Nintendo franchise that we got into together, and of course it has Yoshi in it. I did not play the game much, but I REALLY enjoyed watching the craziness unfold. And Yoshi has been a badass in that game since the very start, rivaled only by Link and Kirby for me.
Yoshi is already one of Nintendo’s greatest creations. His awesomeness, in my eyes, is simply compounded by all the good memories. I still look for him whenever I see folks doing a round of Super Smash Brothers.
Do you guys have an all-time favorite from Nintendo on your own? Let us know in the comments!