Yoshi is a loose series of games created by Nintendo, starring a fictional dinosaur that first appeared in the Super Mario series. Yoshi games include platformers, puzzle games, and several other titles.
The concept of Yoshi extends back to the development of the original Super Mario Bros, where Yoshi was intended to be Mario's companion. However, Yoshi would not actually appear in a Super Mario game until the SNES launch title Super Mario World. Here, Yoshi was portrayed as not one but rather a number of distinctly colored companions that Mario could ride. The nature of Yoshi, alternating between being an individual and a species, has been ambiguous ever since. However, it is implied that a single member of the species appears in a number of games
Shortly after the release of Super Mario World, Yoshi appeared in a number of puzzle games. These included the titular Yoshi for the NES, a falling block game, Yoshi's Cookie, also for the NES, a tile-matching game, and Yoshi's Safari, an on-rails shooter for the SNES costarring Mario.
However, Yoshi's first true claim to stardom was in its 1995 SNES game Yoshi's Island, known in some territories as Super Mario World 2. Despite being labeled as a Super Mario game, Yoshi's Island was a very different kind of platforming game. It emphasized exploring larger levels and a wider variety of gameplay, including vehicle segments, rather than the precise platforming of Super Mario games. Released around the same time as the technically advanced Donkey Kong Country games and the worldwide launch of the Sega Saturn, Yoshi's Island managed to impress audiences with its colorful crayon-like graphics and innovative nature.
Yoshi's success in a leading role led to the creation of a second platforming game starring the dinosaur in 1997 for the Nintendo 64. Yoshi's Story, as the game was titles, was unusual for its time. Despite the widespread abandonment of 2D platforming during this era, even by the Super Mario series, Yoshi's Story was a 2.5D platformer, which had 3D visuals but was played in a 2D world. Despite selling fairly well though, the game was derided for its brevity, lack of difficulty, and lack of vairety. Although it would sell similarly to Yoshi's Island, Story seemed to mark the end of the platforming series.
Although Yoshi would appear in a variety of games over the next decade and a half, including the acclaimed Super Smash Bros series and various Mario games, a new Yoshi platformer was not announced until late 2012. It was then that Good-Feel's latest project was leaked to the public: a new 2.5D Yoshi platformer for the Stream. Little is known about the game, except that it will be a 2D platformer and will borrow ideas and concepts from both previous Yoshi games and Good-Feel's own platformers. The game is slated for an early 2015 release.
Despite only having two major platforming games to its credit, neither of which were huge sellers, Yoshi is often considered one of Nintendo's biggest and most popular franchises. This is in part due to the popularity of Yoshi itself, which regularly polls as one of video gaming's most popular characters, especially in Japan. Yoshi's appearances in dozens of non-series games, including games taking place in the wider Mario universe, also lends to its popularity. Furthermore, Yoshi's Island was met with extreme praise, both in 1995 and during its Game Boy Advance re-release.