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Hyperactive Sprite
Dipper: Uh oh. I think I hear my uncle. Stay perfectly still.
[Rumble stands in place but moves up and down.]
Dipper: I said "stay still."
Rumble McSkirmish: This is as I can STAY!

A Hyperactive Sprite just can't keep still, even when it's not moving. At least, it would probably look like the character is "walking in place". This is unlike an Idle Animation, which is the character intermittently performing animations when left idle for long periods, as a hyperactive sprite has no idle mode and never comes out of its movement animation.

One of the reasons is the designers' unwillingness to make separate "standing still" sprites for the characters, whether out of memory limitations or laziness.


Action Adventure
  • Some characters in Action52 games start constantly walking in place after shooting. Examples include main characters in Non-Human and French Baker.
  • Several sprites in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening had this.
  • People in the StarTropics world certainly couldn't keep still.
  • In Super Metroid, the morph ball is perpetually spinning, even in place.

First Person Shooter
  • In Doom, enemies walk in place when not doing anything.
  • Notably, Marathon was one of the first games to avert this, giving an idle sprite to most enemies and even the player when standing still.
  • Wolfenstein 3D and Blake Stone first averted this (despite both preceding Doom), although you'll only see it when sneaking up on enemies, since once they spot you they never stop running around to find you.

Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games
  • None of the enemies in Ragnarok Online know how to stand still unless they're physically frozen. Animations range from tame to ridiculous and beyond.

Platform Games
  • For Master Higgins in the Adventure Island series, his standing still animation really was running in place, and was a different animation than his movement frames.
  • In the SNES version of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, the inactive Kong would always do this. Unfortunately this also caused a glitch where pressing Select would do nothing unless you were moving.
  • Metal Man, Quick Man, and Crash Man in Mega Man 2. Metal Man most prominently due to the boss refight stages. In his own stage, Metal Man looks like he's running in place on the conveyor belt that is used for the floor of the arena, when in reality he's just running in place, unaffected by the conveyor belt. There's no conveyor belt the second time you fight him. This is justified in Quick Man's case, as he has to keep moving. Standing still hurts him, which is why he is the only character in the game hurt by the Time Stopper.
  • Some Super Mario Bros. games, notably Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, have this on the map screen. Mario appears to walk in place. He stays perfectly still when not doing anything in-game, however. Not even an Idle Animation. The "walking in place" animation is referenced in Super Mario 3D Land, where Mario is seen frantically running in place right before accessing the very first level out of panic over Peach being kidnapped (though he stands still after that).

Real Time Strategy
  • Your critters in all three Patapon games. Also applies for the enemy tribes. The only ones who avert this are the Uberheroes/Dark Heroes.

Role Playing Games
  • The player characters and NPCs in Breath of Death VII walk even when standing still.
  • Some NPCs in Chrono Trigger.
  • A couple of the recent Digimon games for the DS do this. The Digimon do walk in place when not moving. The only time they stand still is in cutscenes.
  • Dragon Quest had sprites that were never still (except when paralysed or dead) until the eighth game, when it went full 3D.
  • The PlayStation 2 remake of Dragon Quest V still kept the series' traditional "move in place" animation, despite the fact that it's completely in 3D. It looks bizarre, to say the least.
  • In a subtle way, every NPC from EarthBound appears to walk in place (that is, they alternate between two sprites).
  • All the Final Fantasy games up to VI do this:
    • Particularly noticeable in Final Fantasy V when, walking through the town of Mirage in the Cleft of Dimension, time stands still for everyone but the party and the sprites of the merchants there are motionless, where before they had been perpetually walking in place.
    • From the beginning, though, this has only affected NPCs. Your party always stands still when left idle.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance do this on battle scenes and the overworld. If a unit is not constantly walking in place, it's almost certainly carrying one of several Standard Status Ailments.
  • Happens in the Lunar series.
  • Player characters, heroes, and enemies in Marvel Avengers Alliance move slightly on the battle screen, as if breathing hard or keeping loose in anticipation. An early glitch (now fixed) could cause the sprites to end up 'stuck' in a permanent attack animation.
  • The original Final Fantasy Legend game has your characters always walking in place.
  • Phantasy Star Online used this for player characters and nearly all the NPCs. The characters would rhythmically raise and lower their arms when standing still. Particularly noticeable when talking to shopkeepers.
    • Averted for most of the enemies, although Hildebears and their variants are a notable exception. Once a player left a room, most enemies would return to their spawn points and stand still; Hildebears, on the other hand, would continue to wander menacingly around the room, waiting for something to fight, and were completely incapable of standing still.
  • Pokémon:
  • The Shining Force series uses this because staying still is used to symbolize lying down.
  • Super Mario RPG has this for enemies, though not NPCs or playable characters. At a point you fight a boss that can make clones of your character. However enemy sprites are usually hyperactive, thus the clones of your characters are as well, even though the originals are about as stiff as a statue.
  • Everyone but you is like this is Sword of Vermilion. They all seem to walk in place while you stand completely still.
  • Lampshaded with a Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together flash advertisement, which allowed you to "Buy the game", "Learn more", or "Keep walking in place". Mousing over the latter makes a character remark, "My feet hurt."
  • Ultima IV for the NES follows this convention. Even Lord British can't stop movin'.
  • The iconic, turban-clad shopkeepers of most World of Mana games don't just walk in place - they dance!
  • The heroes in the original Persona constantly shift through a series of poses just fast enough to be considered animated. This can be written off as them being fidgety teenagers, but since no one else does it, it's pretty noticeable.

Sports Games

Turn Based Strategy
  • Disgaea: Most characters manage to stand fairly still when idle, but the Succubus and Nekomata characters... well, don't.
    • A more traditional example is seen with recurring Bonus Boss Pringer X, who walks in place. Asagi also does it in Disgaea 2, her sprite and animations being ripped directly from her first appearance in Makai Kingdom, where everybody did it.
    • Also of note is a bat-demon NPC in Disgaea 2 who comments that he's exhausted and just wants to land already, but can't because they didn't make him any non-flying sprites.
  • Units do this in Fire Emblem games. They'll change their animation if you put your cursor over them.

Non Video Game Examples

Live Action TV

Western Animation
  • Mocked in Gravity Falls; when a video game character is brought to life in "Fight Fighters", he is physically incapable of standing still.
    Dipper: I said stay still!
    Rumble McSkirmish: This is as still as I can stay!

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