[Rumble stands in place but moves up and down]
Dipper: I said "stay still."
Rumble McSkirmish: This is as STILL... 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 an unwillingness to waste time on sprites that most players will barely see. (How often do you stand still for more than a fraction of a second when playing a video game, when you aren't in a cutscene or taking a bathroom break?)
This trope is not about hyperactive fairies.
- Some characters in Action 52 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 just about every two dimensional Metroid game, the morph ball is perpetually spinning, even in place.
- In general, a lot of fighting games feature this, especially in the 16 bit era. While most characters just bounce a little due to represent them in a fighting stance, there are typically some characters, (or entire games) where the movement is so stylized that it counts as this.
- Elena from Street Fighter III, being a capoeira practitioner, has a full ginga movement as her idle animation.
- Art of Fighting's Robert Garcia is known to employ these. He's a special example because he's had different fighting stances in almost each of his appearances. Arguably the most extreme instance comes from his appearance in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum where he almost seems to be dancing in his idle stance.
- Lei Wulong is a Confusion Fu master, so it isn't surprising that he has the most unique fighting stance of the cast. While other characters at least remain in a stationary position, Lei will continuously walk back and forth in a zigzag pattern, so he can end up circling the opponent a full 360 degree even though nobody touches the controller.
- Capoeirista Eddy Gordo and Christie Monteiro have the ginga as their fighting stance.
- Forest Law has this in his debut (and so far, only canon) appearance, and in 4 and 5, his father Marshall Law has the same one as well. Beginning with 6, Marshall has an entirely different but still always-moving stance that emulates Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do more faithfully.
- 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 3-D 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.
- In Glider PRO, the fish enemy swims constantly back and forth in its bowl when it's not leaping out. This is unlike Glider 4.0, where it just sits motionless when not jumping.
- 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.
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!: In the SNES version, the inactive Kong always does this. Unfortunately, this also causes a glitch where pressing Select will do nothing unless you are moving.
- Jerry Boy: The blobby protagonist will not stop pulsating. This is even more obvious on the world clear screens in Jelly Boy 2, where the background fades to black but the pulsating sprites remain.
- 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).
- Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne is a Fictional Video Game from Community. In it's fanmade Real Life recreation, while on the world map, your chosen student is constantly performing a walking animation, even while not moving.
Real Time Strategy
- Your troops in the first two Patapon games. Also applies for the enemy tribes. This is downplayed in Patapon 3, where all troops have a proper "standing in place" pose at the equip screen and the start of every level, but once again do this trope once you've started commanding them. The only ones who avert this completely are the Uberheroes/Dark Heroes.
- All the characters of Mad Rat Dead constantly bounce to the beat of the music, even during cutscenes.
- The player characters and NPCs in Breath of Death VII walk even when standing still.
- Some NPCs in Chrono Trigger.
- A couple of 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 Dragon Quest VIII, 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. (It's one almost-symmetrical sprite with one leg forward. The game keeps flipping it horizontally and it looks like walking. Saves on graphics memory.)
- 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 charging a spell/special ability, about to die or carrying one of several Status Effects.
- In Holy Umbrella, almost any character in Three-Quarters View will walk in place unless it's an NPC you're currently talking to. Even petrified NPCs can often be seen going through their normal walking motions (with a gray Palette Swap).
- The majority of the games in the Lunar series have the party characters in continuous motion, though more recent installments avert this.
- 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 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.
- The original The Final Fantasy Legend game has your characters always walking in place.
- Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA- is a Card Battle Game in the veins of KanColle among many, but what sets it apart from other similar games are the default sprites, which constantly and smoothly move even in the character index. Battle and internal affairs sprites are still, however.
- 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.
- In Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver, your partner Pokémon never wants to keep still.
- Even more so in Pokémon Black and White, where all Pokémon are always animated in battle.
- Everyone in the Pokémon Trading Card Game Game Boy game walks in place in time to the music. The exception is the player character, but you can make even him do it if you turn to face a wall and leave him facing it.
- 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'.
- Undertale: Almost every battle sprite is animated. note The two most notable examples are Temmie◊, who constantly vibrates in place; and Mettaton EX◊, who dances and goes through about five poses a second. RG 01 and RG 02 also do their bouncing-in-place thing outside battle when you talk to them.
- The iconic, turban-clad shopkeepers of most World of Mana games don't just walk in place - they dance!
- Crypt of the NecroDancer: Not only is everyone hyperactive, they do it in rhythm.
- Dungeons of Dredmor: Everybody is constantly fidgeting even when you're not taking a turn.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and sequels have each of the Pokemon hop, shuffle, or float about when standing still.
- Nanashi no Game: True to its 8-bit-inspired origins, the game-within-a-game features characters who walk in place endlessly. And then there are characters (like Asahi in the original and Red Akane in the sequel) who vibrate in place.
- Most characters manage to stand fairly still when idle, but the Succubus and Nekomata characters... well, don't.
- Recurring Optional Boss Pringer X 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.
- A bat-demon NPC in Disgaea 2 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
- The Thief of Always: Jive is described as this: "Every muscle in his body seemed to be in motion: tics, jigs, and jitterings ... Even his hair ... seemed to hear some crazed rhythm."
- Retro Game Master: The king, queen and prince are done in this fashion, to invoke an old Dragon Quest style.
- Gravity Falls: Parodied. When the 16-bit fighting game character Rumble McSkirmish 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!