There are a large number of video game enemies and creatures which physically resemble coloured spheres with eyes and feet. These goofy-looking creatures most commonly appear as The Goomba
of their respective games. Although player character Waddling Heads are certainly not unheard of.
Where or what
these strange creatures internal organs are is a mystery as are things like how they lift their feet to take a step, let alone anything as complicated as running or jumping. 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
Enemy and NPC examples:
- 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.
- The Dread Heads from Crüe Ball are skulls with sandaled feet that wander the playfields.
Shoot 'em Up
- 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.
- 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.
- The main character of Eversion. Also the regular enemies, although they end up being footless Slithering Heads by the end of the game.
- Gooms, Pirate Gooms, certain other enemies and types of Bandineros 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.
- 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.
Non-sorted Video Games
- 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.
- In Chulip, Michio Suzuki. Also, your dad, though you don't find that out until almost the end.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
- Dizzy of the Dizzy series is an egg with boxing gloves, as are the other Yolk Folk.
- Both the titular characters of Head Over Heels.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Castle Waiting, Affably Evil demon Leeds usually manifests as a demonic humananoid head directly attached to a pair of short goats' legs.
- 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.
- Mr. Potato Head might be one of the oldest examples of this tropes. He is a Waddling Potato-Head.
- 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.
- 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.