Yoshi or Pikachu: Who is the best video game sidekick?

by Andrew Kulp and Robin Mosley

The Sidekick Madness championship is upon us! The title of best video game sidekick is down to Yoshi and Pikachu. Voting takes place all week via Nerd Street Gamers’ Twitter account and on Instagram, so remember to get your vote in by Friday.

Yoshi and Pikachu have bested the competition thus far in a field that began with 16 of the best video game sidekicks, including Luigi, Cortana, Diddy Kong and others. Pikachu began the competition as the No. 3 overall seed and Yoshi was No. 5.

You can check out what our Loading Screen hosts had to say on Tuesday about Pikachu, and tune in today to watch them break down Yoshi’s merits. If you’re still on the fence about who to vote for, we had two of our writers make a case for each sidekick. Read more about each of our finalists and vote!



by Andrew Kulp

You can draw a lot of parallels between Yoshi and Pikachu. They’re loyal. They’re powerful. And, yes, they’re really friggin cute.

What really separates the two though also happens to be the very attribute that makes one a superior sidekick.

Whereas Pikachu does the bulk of the heavy lifting for Ash, Yoshi actually makes Mario a more formidable character through his support.

Never mind the fact that, in a head-to-head battle, Yoshi would simply swallow Pikachu whole, no questions asked. The thing devours Spinies, Piranha Plants, Bullet Bills and even Bob-ombs with only the slightest hint of indigestion, so I don’t think getting a tiny, electrified rodent down the hatch would be an issue.

But this isn’t necessarily about who would win in a fight (seriously, it’s Yoshi). It’s who’s the best sidekick?

If this is a pure popularity contest, then I must concede Pikachu probably has the edge. Enthusiasm for Pokemon has grown to at least rival if not exceed Mario, and Ash’s Pikachu isn’t just some mascot — he’s the face of that entire universe.

I mean, Pikachu has a movie deal and is voiced by Ryan Reynolds of all people. How do you compete with that?

If the choice comes down to which of the two fulfills their sidekick obligations better, then it’s gotta be Yoshi.

Mario isn’t pushing Yoshi out in front to have him clean up his messes for him like some kind of non-human shield, unlike some people. Yoshi is more like a comrade in arms, carrying Mario into the fray — at once part stallion, part man’s best friend, part mythical warrior.

Mario doesn’t need Yoshi, but the journey is always easier and more enjoyable when Yoshi is around.

And while these days Yoshi might not possess quite the level of popularity in pop culture as Pikachu has attained, he’s arguably still the most famous dinosaur in the world, appearing in over 100 video games to date and even spawning several of his own spin-offs.

My fear here is people will vote without taking the time to really weigh the merits of both characters. Pikachu is hip and trendy, while Yoshi, only five years his senior, feels old and less like a gaming icon. It almost doesn’t seem fair.

It also speaks to one final important point: Is Pikachu really a sidekick in the first place, or is he the star of the show?

I hereby move to have the committee review Pikachu’s eligibility for this tournament!

If we must have this vote, just remember, Yoshi is an actual sidekick to Mario, not his custodian. And remember … Yoshi would totally eat Pikachu.


by Robin Mosley

Pikachu is the ultimate sidekick. He’s No. 1 and everyone else falls short. Why? Well, this yellow lightning mouse is synonymous with Pokemon. Think about it, if you asked everyone you know who is the most popular Pokemon, Pikachu would be the answer.

As a sidekick, Pikachu always had Ash’s back through thick and thin, and their bond is undeniable. One of the most emotional moments of the TV show was Ash leaving Pikachu behind with the other Pikachus, only to see his Pikachu come right back to him. That’s love from a great sidekick right there.

From the beginning Pikachu decided that Pokeball life wasn’t for him. I for one don’t think sidekicks follow the rules, they make them, and Pikachu did. Then there are his countless battles against the odds. Remember the fight against Lt. Surge when Pikachu got his butt handed to him and Ash considered evolving him? What did Pikachu do? He smacked that lightning stone out of his hand and battled Raichu, winning the match.

He struggled to learn Iron Tail and then mastered it for Ash. Pikachu can’t learn Iron Tail, but Ash’s Pikachu did it.There are countless episodes to pull from that clearly show how special and vital he is to Ash. So if Pikachu isn’t considered the ultimate sidekick, I have to question if you’ve been living under a rock for 20 years.

Pikachu’s longevity is undeniable. Pikachu is so popular, he is the focal point of games, movies, plushies, toys and stationery. Pokemon Yellow, iconic. Detective Pikachu, fun-loving and lighthearted. Want a Pikachu Nintendo Switch? Good luck. That’s the power Pikachu has. He’s everything, and no one can touch him.

And let’s be clear, everyone loves Pikachu’s cuteness, but he’s the reason why we used to have dreams of being Ash and going on adventures with Pikachu. Why do you think Pokemon Go did so well?

Pikachu is a brand and, more importantly, a symbol of friendship. He’s the quintessential sidekick.

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