Fans of Super Mario World will attest that it's one of the finest 2D platformers of all time, but it hides a troubling secret.

Since the game was released in 1990, fans have debated whether or not Mario is actually punching Yoshi on the head when he shoots his tongue out. The close proximity of Mario's fist to Yoshi's head - combined with a convincing sound effect - certainly seemed to lend some credibility to this stance.

A while back, the website Supper Mario Broth (thanks, Kotaku) decided that enough was enough and presented the case for the defence. The site argued that Nintendo's mascot couldn't possibly be so cruel, and that he was actually pointing to show Yoshi what should be licked. This theory seemed watertight, especially when combined with official art which showed Mario's index finger extended, but no contact between his hand and Yoshi's bonce.

However, a recent interview on Nintendo's Japanese site with designer Takashi Tezuka and artist Shigefumi Hino reveals the sinister truth: Mario likes hitting lizard type creatures.

Takashi Tezuka: I think [Miyamoto] likes horses. When we were making [Super Mario Bros. 3], he drew a picture of Mario riding a horse and had put it up on wall next to where he sits. When I saw that, I thought, ‘I guess he wants Mario to ride something.’ So, when we were making Super Mario World, we had this ‘dinosaur land’ concept, and I had Hino draw reptile type art.

Shigefumi Hino:
 Initially the keyword that I had was ‘horse,’ so I imagined something quite later and, for the time being, drew a large lizard type creature.

Takashi Tezuka:
 It looked like a crocodile.

Shigefumi Hino:
 Lots of people think that while Mario is pointing his finger foreward, he’s saying ‘Go,’ and Yoshi’s tongue comes out. However, the set up that I drew was that when Mario punches Yoshi in the head, the character’s tongue shoots out in surprise. What’s more, there’s an added ‘bop’ sound. However, it seemed like people would say ‘Poor Yoshi,’ so that’s why it became that Mario is saying ‘Go.’

So there you have it; Mario was being a jerk to Yoshi all along. First we find out he's no longer a plumber, then this. Can you really trust this guy anymore? Can you trust anyone? Tsk.

[via kotaku.com]