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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_gfs_107557_2_30_6046.jpg]]]]

Certain games have a drawing of a character's face, usually in a portrait style. In {{RPG}}s or other games with menus, these are usually displayed next to the character's name. Also, in some games with talking {{NPC}}s where one can't directly see characters' faces, a portrait may be displayed next to their text box. If they don't, then they may be of NominalImportance. (Some games may try to give everyone a portrait, but there are usually unique ones for important characters, making this an example of YouALLLookFamiliar) Prevalent in {{RPG}}s, since there tend to be a lot of [=NPCs=] in them.

Certain games may also have different portraits for the same character to indicate facial expressions and the like. [[GoingThroughTheMotions A few facial expressions, anyway]].

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Action Adventure]]
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory''. There's some interesting variations: Balrog's head is so large that his character portrait can only show half of his face, and Misery's hair is a different color in the portrait than it is on her sprite.
* ''{{Solatorobo}}'' has portraits for most every character, excepting the ''absolute most minor'' of [=NPCs=], and most characters have at least one alternate portrait for different moods or facial expressions. Some major characters not only get face portraits but also full-body portraits that show up for dramatic moments or soliloquies.
* ''VideoGame/{{TheWonderful 101}} has a series of different portraits for each character, these change as the cut-scene continues and there are quite a few for each of the characters and they're partially animated. In-game you can press a button to reveal the character's eyes (they're wearing masks) for no reason to boot.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Adventure Games]]
* Seems to be pretty common in adventure games. The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' series, some of the ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' games, and ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' all had text boxes with pictures of the characters' faces. ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'' (which had very detailed pictures featuring most of the character's upper body) and ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' had pictures whose mouths moved when they spoke.
** ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV'' was one of the earliest games to feature these, with close-up images of Cedric, Icebella, and Beetrice, among others. ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI'' featured 16- and 256-color versions, and they were even voiced and animated in the talkie edition.
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%%* Most CING games like HotelDusk and TraceMemory.
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* The PC adventure game ''SecretsOfDaVinciTheForbiddenManuscript'' shows an ''interactive'' portrait of Valdo, the protagonist, on the inventory screen. It indicates what he's wearing and is where the player changes his outfit. After Valdo meets the character Marie, she also appears in his portrait, and their relative position to one another indicates the current state of their relationship.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Platformers]]
* ''{{Banjo-Kazooie}}'' actually uses this ''despite'' having the characters in question in clear view, right next to the heroes and with their faces visible. They do this for the bosses as well as certain other characters.
* ''[[VideoGame/BatmanSunsoft Batman: Return of the Joker]]'' for the NES shows small character portraits of Batman and the boss in every boss stage.
* The occasional dialogue sequences in ''VideoGame/MetroidFusion'' use portraits, although one of the three characters with speaking parts doesn't have much of a portrait, being an AI, and the other two don't talk outside of one or two scenes.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' used them in the first game onwards, and passed it on to the ''[[VideoGame/MegaManZero Zero]]'' and ''[[MegaManZX ZX]]'' games. Classic ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' followed suit in the SNES and PlayStation titles (one of which was later ported to GBA stateside). ''[[MegaManLegends Legends]]'' used them in places (not necessarily for dialogue, though). ''[[VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork Battle Network]]'' and ''[[MegaManStarforce Starforce]]'', by virtue of being [=RPGs=], use them the most extensively.
* ''VideoGame/SonicColors'' uses them in the NintendoDS version.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puzzle Games]]
* ''VideoGame/PanelDePon'' and ''[[VideoGame/PanelDePon Tetris Attack]]'' both use them for dialogue. Both games animate blinking; [=PdP=] animates mouth movements, TA does not.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:RPG]]
* The ''BaldursGate'' series uses portraits for the main character and all party-joinable [=NPCs=]. In the second game and its expansion, major villains and some other plot-central [=NPCs=] also get their own portraits.
* The ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series uses them in all their {{Metroidvania}} style entries since ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight''.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' has portraits in text boxes and menus, though ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' only has them in the menu.
* Most ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games use them on the menus; the only ones that use them in dialogue are the ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' games and the Game Boy Advance re-releases.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' brings them back in the same manner and unique NPC units have their own portrait as well instead of reusing a generic one.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun''. If they have a portrait, they're either important to the story or selling you stuff.
* ''VideoGame/{{Grandia}}'' and ''VideoGame/GrandiaII''. Perhaps vitally important as the character models don't even have ''mouths''.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGranstreamSaga'', all character emotion is depicted via portraits as the 3D models don't even have ''faces''.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'':
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'' has them in conversations. It has to, since outside of full motion video cutscenes, the models always have the same blank stare going.
** In ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Re:Coded]]'', in order to avoid the jarring effect in ''358/2 Days'', the developers blended the way dialogues were portrayed in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' with the well known 2D pics of the 3D renders of the characters.
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%%** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories''
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%%* The ''{{Lunar}}'' series.
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* The ''VideoGame/{{MARDEK}}'' series uses character portraits for every single talking character in the game. Facial expressions and all.
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%%* ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork''.
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* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights''
** In the first one, the player chooses a portrait for their character, which doesn't need to be remotely connected to the PlayerCharacter's actual appearance. The same goes for all the {{NPC}}s, who all have portaits from among the few dozen stock ones available in the game, only a small handful of the most important ones getting unique portraits. Given the [[OnlySixFaces repetitiveness]] and unavoidable occasional inappropriateness of the portraits, it doesn't exactly make each character a unique snowflake.
** Normally averted in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'': the portrait is rendered directly from the PlayerCharacter's 3D face, including whatever equipment they currently have on. Played straight with the companions in the ''Mask of the Betrayer'' expansion, however.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' series.
** Of particular note, ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} Portable'' gives several characters portraits who didn't have them them originally.
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' plays with this a little, by leaving [[spoiler: the gas station attendant]] without a character portrait unless you confront them in the true ending [[spoiler: which causes her to play dumb, while adding various "important NPC" trappings as you persist in questioning her and discover that [[TheDogWasTheMastermind she's a god and behind everything]]]].
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%%* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment''.
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* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon'': In Rescue Team, only story-important [=NPCs=] and the starting forms of the Hero and Partner had portraits. In Explorers and Gates to Infinity, every Pokémon has a portrait, but only certain [=NPCs=] and the starters' first evolutions have alternate portraits for different moods.
** Also done rarely in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', only used when characters are talking via the [=XTransceiver=] or when talking with N.
* Most ''RPGMaker'' games.
** ''VideoGame/LastScenario'' has different portraits for facial expressions and emotions for certain characters, as well. So does ''Videogame/TheWay'' and ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction''.
** Completely averted in ''[[VideoGame/VisionsAndVoices Visions & Voices]]''. There aren't even menu portraits.
** ''VideoGame/ExitFate'' uses very large portraits, featuring not just the face, but usually the character's entire upper body as well.
** ''VideoGame/TheInfynPrism'' has all important characters having one. Lampshaded by one NPC in a house in Tarnset.
-->“I hate being an extra. How can I tell? There’s no face in front of my text.”
* ''{{Suikoden}}''. In particular, ''SuikodenTactics'' gives generic characters [[EyelessFace eyeless portraits]].
* Skits in the ''Franchise/TalesSeries''. Most of the games also have these by each character's status in and out of battle. In the former case, they often have their expressions change based on what's happening to them.
* The ''Franchise/{{Ultima}}'' series from ''[[VideoGame/UltimaVI VI]]'' on, until it goes 3D in ''[[VideoGame/UltimaIX IX]]'' and just zooms in on people.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'' has portraits which take up approximately half of the screen when dialogue boxes are present. There are several portraits for each playable character which help reflect the emotional aspects of the dialogue.
* ''InazumaEleven'' has a unique face portrait for every single character in the game. [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters All 1000+]] [[CastOfSnowflakes of them]]. Although only characters important to the story have multiple portraits for different facial expressions.
* Franchise/{{Wild ARMs}}:
** In ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 2}}'', you can name every storyline-important NPC one meets, but only a very few of them have portraits when naming them or talking to them; this can lead to some {{Interface Spoiler}}s. For example, Tim is a seemingly unimportant NPC met early on, but it's obvious he'll end up being important since he has a character portrait. It's even more amusing considering one meets the "leader" of Tim's little circle of friends first - who ''doesn't'' have a portrait.
** A similar tactic can be used in ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 5}}''. ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 4}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs XF}}'' had portraits for pretty much everyone, but there were still "generic" and "unique" portraits, allowing the player to tell them apart.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' uses basic portraits in the dialogue boxes.
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%%* The PSP remakes of ''VideoGame/StarOcean1'' and ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'' featured this.
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* Used oddly in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. [[PlayerCharacter The Warden's]] character portrait is a freeze-frame from the character model, but then the player gets to choose the exact angle at which s/he is drawn.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series, [=NPCs=] in important conversations have portraits that take up at least a third of the screen.
* Important characters in ''VideoGame/MachineKnight'' get portraits with a CheekyMouth that flaps as the dialogue scrolls; they do occasionally change expression, but naturally make use of InformedEquipment. Unimportant characters get no portrait.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Simulation Games]]
* ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' uses the "multiple portraits for different emotions" version, when it's not using GoingThroughTheMotions. You can tell how important a character is by how many portraits they have; {{Love Interest}}s will have five or six, while minor characters will only have one.
* ''[[VideoGame/MitsumeteKnight Mitsumete Knight R: Daibouken Hen]]'' uses the text box version of this trope for all voiced characters of the game. Their facial expressions however change in real time as the dialogue is unfolding, instead of waiting for the dialogue to finish to change the expression, and instead of using the swapping a new portrait method.
* The ''Videogame/TraumaCenter'' series, with multiple portraits for different emotions.
* ''[[NavalOps Warship Gunner 2]]'' uses portraits whenever someone's speaking.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
* ''VideoGame/ClockTower'': Used alongside character speech, as the game had no voice acting. It also functions as an indication of Jennifer's emotional/physical state during normal gameplay.
* ''{{Ib}}'': Each character (except for one-liner [[{{NPC}} NPCs]]) has several portraits for each emotion. Sometimes, the character's portrait appears with no text accompaniment, just to show the player how they're reacting without words. [[SilentProtagonist Despite the fact that Ib herself never speaks]], her portrait ''does'' appear in the save menu (due to the game being made in RPG Maker).
* ''[[TheWitchsHouse The Witch's House]]'': Viola's appears in the menu. Under certain circumstances, there's a chance that [[spoiler:it'll be replaced with a nightmarish SlasherSmile version]]. Normally, there aren't any portraits displayed beside text, making the appearance of [[spoiler:Ellen's]] near the end quite shocking.
* ''VideoGame/MadFather'': There is an extensive and detailed range for each character, particularly Aya, who has 22 different portraits for every occasion.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Turn-Based Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' uses them in the dialogue boxes.
* Most of the ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' games use these. Interestingly, these ones have a few different expressions, move their mouths when speaking, and blink, even if their portrait isn't currently the "active" one. They also have a tendency to move around to simulate the person they represent moving.
* The ''Franchise/ShiningSeries'' use these for all the characters in the party. The ''VideoGame/ShiningForce Gaiden'' games also used them for cutscenes. Only characters who are in the eponymous force or have speaking roles got portraits, though.
** Taken to a bizarre level in ''Videogame/ShiningWisdom'' where Mars gets a portrait despite being a HeroicMime and the game itself having only a bare ExcusePlot.
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%%* ''TacticsOgreTheKnightOfLodis''
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* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', being based on anime and manga, uses these to an extent.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* All characters appear like this in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney''; either looking directly at the camera or, in case of attorneys and assistants during courtroom sesions, looking at the side. Notably, all the characters have many unique animations, ranging from sweating, waving, bouncing up and down, and a "[[WildTake freak out]]" to name some.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Non-Video-Game Examples]]
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Fan Works ]]

* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'', being done in the VisualNovel style of the ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'' series, uses them in exactly the same manner; though [[AnimationBump they are only animated during courtroom sessions]], the rest of the time being stills of the characters.

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[[folder: Web Comics ]]

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%%* Used by ''ThePocalypse''.
%%* Used by the [[WebComic fake]] AdventureGame ''SilentHillPromise''.
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[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* LetsPlay/MarioPartyTV: Mr. Doom, Steeler, Holms and Clel use pictures of themselves to mimic the portraits used in the in-game Ranking charts, which change appropriately in accordance with their status.
[[/folder]]

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