Waddling Head

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waddlinghead.png
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 giant heads with eyes and feet. These bizarre creatures are commonly the The Goomba in their respective games and may become associated with their franchise if they appear in multiple installments.

Where or what these strange creatures internal organs are is a mystery. 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 but mostly because of practicality; back in the 8-bit era, most video game sprites had to fit in 16 x 16 squares. The easiest way to design a recognizable yet harmless-looking 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.

Although most commonly associated with enemy creatures Player Character examples are certainly not unheard of; again, due to system constraints an easy way to design a recognizable character in low resolution is to make their head as big as possible with this trope being the logical conclusion.

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


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

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 Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.' Goombas are somewhat justified, as they're supposed to be stout chestnuts. Or maybe mushrooms. Try not to think about it. As are the Bob-ombs, which are Cartoon Bombs with eyes, feet, and (later) a windup key. The Galoomba variety intoduced in Super Mario World are a better example, being more explicitly chestnut-like and lacking anything but feet below the head.
  • Braid's grumpy-looking Monstars. (No relation to certain Space Jam characters.)
  • Mega Man's Metools are just helmets with feet. They are also much tougher than most examples on this page being protected by their helmets until they are just about to attack.
  • The main character of Eversion. Also the regular enemies, although they end up being footless Slithering Heads by the end of the game.
  • Gooms, Bandineros, and certain other enemies from the Wario Land series are this kind of enemy.
  • The Moos from Klonoa.
  • Most minions in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg.
  • The Undergrounders from Mr. Driller.
  • The Pookas from Dig Dug.
  • The Great Circus Mystery staring Mickey and Minnie features different versions of the waddling head in each level.
  • Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken has daruma dolls that lack legs but shuffle around all the same.

    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.

    Other 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 and Ms. Pac-Man are probably the Ur Examples. Although the official artwork has always shown them with arms and legs, their earliest games took it a step further by showing them as "pizza shaped" heads in-game.
    • His Super Smash Bros 4 appearance actually incorporated this into his character. He can switch between his anthropomorphic form and his "pizza" form freely depending on what attacks he uses.

    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 
  • Pokémon:
    • 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 & 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.
  • Many of the characters from VeggieTales, 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

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WaddlingHead