That’s a shell on Yoshi’s back, not a saddle

My world was turned upside down the other day. You see, I am a life-long Nintendo fan. Both Super Mario World and its sequel, Yoshi’s Island, are amongst my all-time favourite games. Needless to say, I know my Yoshi. Or at least, so I thought.

In a random conversation, the topic of Nintendo came up. Somehow, this eventually turned into a brief discussion about Yoshi, and ultimately the person I was speaking with referenced the red thing on Yoshi’s back as a shell. “What?” I replied, completely dumbfounded by his statement.

“Of course it’s a shell, you fool. Look, it’s drawn exactly like the koopa shells,” he argued, bringing up multiple examples on Google Images. He was right. It really does look like a red shell, albeit without the engravements. But I’ve always assumed that it was a synthetic saddle, as that is in fact what it’s used for. So, what’s going on here? I’ve done a brief search and I can’t find anything definitively pointing towards it either being a shell or a saddle, although I’ve seen forum posts and such from both sides of the fence claiming that it is either one with evidence consisting of nothing more than a childhood full of assumptions.

If you’d like some reference pictures, check out a generic koopa here. For Yoshi pictures, click here, here and here.

I’m still convinced that it’s a saddle. It being a shell doesn’t really make a lot of sense; he’s not a koopa, nor could he fit in that thing even if he tried, and there’s nowhere for the bottom half of the shell to be. But then, it looks so rounded that it couldn’t possibly be a comfortable seat, and why is he born with it? Perhaps it was originally intended to be a seat in Super Mario World, but confusion later on down the line resulted in the artists assuming that it was a shell, thus explaining it getting much rounder in later renders/art.

Somebody reassure me that I have not lived an existence of lies.

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