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Waddling Head

Clockwise from top left:
Waddle Dee, a Met/Metool/ Mettall/Mettaur/Hard Hat, a Monstar, and a Bogey.

There are a large number of video game enemies and creatures which physically resemble a coloured sphere with eyes and feet. It is a mystery how they are even capable of lifting their feet to take a step, let alone anything as complicated as running or jumping. These goofy-looking creatures most commonly appear as The Goomba of their respective games. Although player character Waddling Heads are certainly not unheard of.

The most they have with regards to other limbs are stretchy, stubby stumps or flippers in place of arms or hands. Otherwise, expect them to lift and manipulate objects, if they must, with Invisible Anatomy. Occasionally they lack any arms or legs at all having to bounce or roll to get from place to place.

The reason for this is partly because it's cute and partly practicality as back in the 8-bit era, most video game sprites had to fit in 16 x 16 squares. The easiest way to make a cute, harmless-looking, and expressive character with that many pixels is to just draw a big-eyed face, and put feet on the bottom to justify its ability to walk.

A subtrope of Cephalothorax, Cartoon Creature, and Our Monsters Are Weird. The exact opposite is Tiny-Headed Behemoth.


Examples:

Enemy and NPC examples:

Action Adventure
  • The ghosts in Ufouria/Hebereke.
  • Bubbles in The Legend of Zelda are skull versions of this. They either hop around or use tiny wings to fly.
  • Balrog from Cave Story. Though he's not exactly an oval, really. Interestingly, in the early version of the game, this character design was a common level enemy, rather than a specific character. (Perhaps Pooh Black is a remnant from this stage of development?)
  • The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang has enemies that are waddling heads of garlic.

Pinball
  • The Dread Heads from Crüe Ball are skulls with sandaled feet that wander the playfields.

Platform Game

Puzzle Game

Role-Playing Game

Shoot 'em Up
  • Yukkuris in Touhou fanon are essentially these.
  • The true form of the final boss from the arcade game NARC, Mr. Big, was a giant head.

Tower Defense
  • The Minirobots from Mini Robot Wars, who bear a huge resemblance to the above-mentioned Metools from Mega Man. They're not so much waddling heads as they are standing heads, however, because they are not shown walking in-game.

Non-sorted Video Games
  • In Chulip, Michio Suzuki. Also, your dad, though you don't find that out until almost the end.

Playable Characters:

Action Adventure
  • Dizzy of the Dizzy series is an egg with boxing gloves, as are the other Yolk Folk.
    • The monsters from the arcade spin-off Fast Food go even further: they have no arms.
  • Both the titular characters of Head Over Heels.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game

Maze Game
  • Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and the rest of the Pac-family are this in their "anthropomorphic" forms, though even their classic "pizza shaped" form counts as a waddling head to some degree.

Platform Game
  • Kirby of the Kirby series is a rare Player Character example, but his foes include such quintessential waddling heads as Waddle Dee.
  • Starfy resembles a Waddling Head more than a five-limbed aquatic creature rightfully ought to.
  • The main character and many enemies in Mr Gimmick!
  • An old computer game called Zeek the Geek features a little red alien who fits this trope.
  • Most characters in Purple are wadddling heads, including the player character.
  • BLOB, the protagonist of Starquake.
  • Miss Chack'n & Mr. Chack'n from Chack'n Pop. They have three-fingered hands, but no arms. Mr. Chack'n does have legs, but shows it only when he jumps.
  • The New Zealand Story has a neckless, legless, tiny-winged player character that is supposed to be a kiwi bird.

Puzzle Game

Role-Playing Game
  • Many Pokémon are like this. In the fourth generation games, there's a new section in the Pokédex for body-types. Oddish, Poliwag, Bonsly, Seedot, Azurill, Shroomish, and Tangela are amongst the many.
    • As of Pokémon X And Y this is a common body shape for the newly introduced Fairy type with Jigglypuff, Clefairy, and Marill all becoming part Fairy type.

Rhythm Game
  • The Patapons (and their enemies) of Patapon

Non-video game examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Dog Days, because of some protective enchantments, when someone is wounded or "killed", they temporarily turn into one of these rather than dying.
  • Don Patch from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (and his Kopatch lackeys).
  • Most baby and in-training form Digimon. Very few of them have any sort of limbs at all and most are generally constrained to bouncing around.
  • Yubaba has 3 of them in Spirited Away. They get turned into a copy of Yubaba's baby by Zeniba later.

Comic Books
  • In Castle Waiting, Affably Evil demon Leeds usually manifests as a demonic humananoid head directly attached to a pair of short goats' legs.

Live-Action TV
  • MythBusters: Jamie Hyneman once made an (adorable) army of Waddling Head robots in order to see if a platoon marching in lock-step across a bridge could collapse it.
  • "The Head Detective" sketches on In Living Color! featured your typical Cowboy Cop who happened to be one of these. He'd bring down the baddies by getting his partner to toss him at them.

Toys
  • Mr. Potato Head might be one of the oldest examples of this tropes. He is a Waddling Potato-Head.
  • Furbies.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • Fuzzy fits the bill.
  • The characters in the Tales of the Blode flash animations.
  • Vocaloid: Tako Luka.
  • JubJubs in Neopets (cute fluffballs with humanlike feet) and Kikos (inexplicably bandaged spheroids with clawed hands on the ends of two bendy arms). JubJub feet seem dexterous enough to serve in the office of hands. Kikos are aquatic creatures which use their arms to swim or paddle; on land they bounce.

Western Animation
  • Looney Tunes: Marvin the Martian temporarily became this trope whenever his doomsday devices backfired, reducing him to a helmet waddling around on oversized shoes, making him a possible Ur Example.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Octo Octavia/Octotavia.
  • Many of the characters from Veggie Tales, such as Bob the Tomato. Though in his case it's more of a Bouncing Head, since they also have no feet.
  • The title character of Fat Dog Mendoza.

Alternative Title(s):

Walking Head