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Run, Don't Walk

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Once upon a time, player characters walked by default. So, players held the run button down in action games, or counseled new players in MMORPGs to hit the run/walk toggle. For convenience, many games now have the player characters constantly running unless they deliberately switch to walking—if that's even an option—since that's what players would do anyway. Sometimes, the only choices are run or run faster.

With the use of analog controllers, characters now do have walking animations, but walking tends to be extremely slow, much slower than any natural walking gait.

Occasionally, the only way to slow down is to move in a crouch or stealth mode. Alternatively, the character may not be able to slow down at all, usually in contrast with ambient civilians.

See also: Sprint Meter


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    Action Game 
  • Played with in God Hand—Gene moves pretty fast as a default, but tapping twice and holding makes him run... which is his walking animation sped up.
  • Almost the entirety of Drakengard's gameplay consists of Caim tearing around various battlefields at top speed and murdering people left and right. In fact, if he runs long enough, he'll go into a dash, which allows him to perform a devastating "charging attack" that can flatten entire regiments of enemies. So why give him a walking animation? Well, because in one particular mission, he has to fight a horde of ghosts that "react to large movements". Which means, if he doesn't want to aggro them all at once, he has to walk. That one mission is the only time in the entire game that such a mechanic is used. And as if that wasn't enough, Caim is enough of a badass that he doesn't have too much trouble wiping out all the ghosts even if he does aggro them all at once.

    Action Adventure 
  • Super Metroid uses a run button, which makes Samus go faster than normal and also triggers the Speed Booster power when she collects it later. This button is notorious for being frequently overlooked; new players would inevitably get stuck on the noob bridge, where it is first required. The later 2D installments, Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission, do away with this system; instead, you run all the time (especially fast in Zero Mission) and the Speed Booster kicks in on its own when you run far enough. This was done to accommodate the GBA's fewer buttons, and it's convenient, but unfortunately eliminates the Good Bad Bugs from Super that work by monkeying around with the run button to hit top speed faster.
  • In the Tomb Raider games, using the walk button prevents Lara from dashing off cliffs; when walking, she'll stop at the edge. Given the animation's exaggerated hip-sway, it could better be called the "saunter" button. Amusingly, the walk button also changes an entirely unrelated animation - jumping while holding "walk" makes her perform a graceful dive. Which could instantly kill you if you did it on a slightly long drop, snapping Lara's neck unless you hit deep water.
  • In Little Big Adventure 1 (a.k.a Relentless), the character would get hurt when running in a wall. This was supposed to avoid this kind of behaviour, but it was so unpopular that it was removed in the next game.
  • Most Castlevania games have just one run speed (and maybe a super-speed upgrade later).
    • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is an exception, with a powerup that lets you run by double-tapping left or right. This makes longer jumps possible. Unfortunately, it also makes you realize how slow the normal walk is.
    • Richter Belmont had this same ability in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Alucard could get it too, but only in the Saturn version.
      • When Richter returns as a side character in Portrait of Ruin, he simply cannot walk, he's set on run all the time.
    • Shanoa can find the Rapidus Fio glyph in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, which is the game's equivalent to running. And when I say equivalent, I mean "walking normally, but moving at super-speed, with a wind shockwave".
    • You can get Sprint Shoes in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow that let Gabe tear forward and make big jumps, but it reduced his horizontal movement, very few areas are big enough for it, and it wears off after a short while.
      • Also present in Mirror of Fate but as the very last item you get, so you can't abuse it too much. Then again, you're pretty fast on your own without it.
  • In Ōkami for the PS2, pushing the right joystick forward with any force at all makes Amaterasu run. Sustained running (or starting out with a dash) makes her 'shift gears' into two faster speeds. But one puzzle requires her to walk, which is accomplished by thumbing the joystick very lightly.
  • In Spider-Man (PS4), a dead sprint is basically your default speed, and it can be actively hard to walk ten feet without overshooting your target.

    Fighting Game 
  • There is a bonus in the Super Smash Bros. games with the same name as this trope. As you might guess, it's awarded for never walking during the entire battle.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Some games (especially FPS games with optional stealth sequences) advertise walking as being stealthier.
  • In the FPS games Command & Conquer: Renegade and 007 Nightfire, the character automatically runs, and Shift must be held down to walk (presumably for stealth, but it usually didn't make much of a difference).
  • In Half-Life (and most of its mods and games with the same engine), it was possible to walk by holding shift, which would slow you down, and crouch by holding control, which would slow you down even further. Either option made you silent.
  • Despite using the same engine as Half-Life, walking is actually useful in Counter-Strike since most players run all over the place Quake-style, sneaking can get you an advantage since you can hear them coming but they don't hear you (they might even accuse you of camping if you don't make noise).
  • Garry's Mod, however, has walking be of very little use outside of precision adjustments with the physics gun, which can be similarly accomplished with crouching. Indeed, in earlier versions, while a key was bound to walking by default, the corresponding function didn't even exist (likely since Half-Life 2, with which GMod shares its engine, didn't have a walk function either), and now that it does players have to bind it themselves if they want to use it.
  • In the Unreal series and any games running on its engines, walking prevents you from falling off cliffs or other sudden drops. It gets a bit iffy at times, however, where you can walk far enough over an edge that you're not physically standing on it but are still on its level, only to release the walk/crouch key and promptly fall off.
  • All the characters in Team Fortress 2 run by default, although moving while crouched could be considered walking. Interestingly, since the characters have different running speeds (for example, the Heavy is about half the speed of a Scout), they can be broadly identified from their movement speed. Not a big deal generally, but it means that only newcomers to the Master of Disguise Spy class will ever dress as a Scout. The mysterious gentleman slows himself down automatically for other diguises, but becomes a rather slothful (and quickly killed) Scout.
  • Left 4 Dead has you always running unless you hold down the walk or couch button. You otherwise move slower the worse off your health is - at one hit point all movement is at walking speed.
  • In Halo, crouching or walking allows you to avoid tripping your opponents' motion sensors in multiplayer.
  • In PlanetSide 1, soldiers jog (or walk quickly with a weapon drawn) by default - sprinting requires a dedicated implant -, which cause them to show up on sensors, while walking and crouch-walking make them invisible to motion sensors. In the sequel, players move at a fast walk and have infinite sprint, but the only way to remain invisible to motion sensors is to crouch-walk, as there isn't a "slow walk" button.

  • City of Heroes
    • You can leap tall buildings in a single bound, run faster than a speeding bullet, teleport in the blink of an eye, and even fly — but you cannot walk. This is especially painful since NPC civilians (and Mooks) can walk around the streets.
    • Several promotional videos showed Superheroes walking. The developers admitted this was a hack and it couldn't be done in-game.
    • A minor update finally added the Walk toggle power. It shuts off all other toggles, though, so you shouldn't use it in combat.
  • World of Warcraft
    • The game has an annoying tendency for Escort Mission characters to walk, as opposed to the running (or even mounted) players. They do walk faster than the players normal walk speed aswell, forcing the player stop every once in a while or switch between run and walk mode.note  It is, however, worse when the NPC decides to run. E.g., one of the final quests on Bloodmyst Isle, where you follow this running demolitions expert, who manages to aggro guys, helps you fight them, and then runs ahead at top speed while you're trying to recoup your mana. (see also bad PUG tanks..)
    • At least WOW has a run/walk switch for player characters, although most people probably aren't even aware it exists, and it finds its primary use in roleplaying. Walking might as well be the roleplaying mode flag since no one except for the roleplayers use the walk toggle for extended periods. It's occasionally useful in short bursts for the now-common jumping puzzles, to let you drop down the side of a hill instead of flinging yourself into oblivion.
  • You can't walk in Guild Wars unless you've got some spell or something slowing you down. Or walking backwards, which doesn't really count. But if you are slowed, then you walk, with a perfectly fine walking animation... and probably some mob on your case. A shame, since the game is kind of pretty (in some places). Granted, it would probably be quite the unhelpful feature given how it's much, much easier to grief in the game by being intentionally bad at it than by being unevenly matched....
  • Averted in the MMORPG Ragnarok Online. All characters move by walking, animation wise, even while under the effects of Super-Speed buffs.

    Platform Game 
  • Prince of Persia was one of the earliest games to make running the default, and very slow walking was done by holding down the shift key. Notably, the game does have a reason for walking slowly: it enables you to get past spike traps without getting skewered, step right on the edge of a ledge without falling off, and trigger loose tiles so they drop without you on them.
  • Sly Cooper The titular character's default movement speed is "sneak", but it's relatively fast. The run button makes him more detectable to the guards.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network games use B as a run button in the overworld. Later games introduce a Navi Customizer program that you can install into MegaMan.EXE to make him run all the time (With the useful side effect of not increasing the random encounter rate like holding B to run does). The sequel series Mega Man Star Force has dispensed with this—now you just run all the time.
  • In the HD remake of Spelunky, you default to walking and have to hold a button to run. In the options menu, you can change that setting so that running is default and you hold the button to walk.
    • More in line with this trope, in the sequel you default to running and have to hold a button to walk. In the options menu, you can change that setting so that walking is default and you hold the button to run.

    RPG — Eastern 
  • Final Fantasy
    • Some early games had the passive Dash ability that allowed the part to run instead of walking. The remakes on the other hand offer this ability as a menu option. This sometimes stacks with the in-game ability, allowing the party to move even faster.
    • The Final Fantasy IV remake for the Nintendo DS allows the player to toggle between run and walk; walk is set as default with run applied with a held button, but the options can be switched in the menu to make run the default and walk triggered by the button. Given the unrealistically slow pace of the walking animation in comparison to the ground being covered (to the degree that it looks almost like moonwalking attempts), it's better to run everywhere, not simply to progress faster, but also to look less stupid while doing so.
    • Final Fantasy VI allowed faster movement if any member of the active party was equipped with the Sprint Shoes accessory. Remakes of the game let a player run without the Shoes equipped by holding down a button. Holding down "run" with the Shoes equipped makes the player move even faster than normal running.
    • Lampshaded in Final Fantasy VII, where Barret will complain about having to run up the stairs of a skyscrape. Cloud, on the other hand, won't even break a sweat.
  • Golden Sun franchise:
    • In Golden Sun, Isaac walks so slowly on the world map that it is practically required to use the run button.
    • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn does the complete opposite by making you run by default with the D-pad, which made it too easy to over shoot a door or a tree you're tying to go to. Using the touch screen allowed you to walk if desired.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pokémon series has, from the beginning, had a bike item that can be used to travel faster, as well as access an optional bike-only area. However, the bike usually takes until well after the second Plot Coupon to get, so the third generation introduced the ability to run, which you gain earlier on. Neither the bike nor running could be done indoors (save a dungeon or three), which the fourth generation fixed. The bike has now morphed to being part of puzzles, as well, with certain areas requiring its usage.
    • Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia has lampshaded this by the fact that one of the teachers and villian hates the fact that the protagonist runs all the time.
  • The original Suikoden actually required a fairly rare Rune to be equipped to one of the team in order to run whatsoever, which meant that you wasted a slot that could have had powerful magic. Thankfully, the sequel corrected this. Also, another character, Stallion, comes permanently equipped with a rune that doubles his speed on the overworld as well within map screens.

    RPG — Western 
  • Fallout franchise
    • In the first two Fallout games, as well as Fallout Tactics, running automatically disabled sneak mode. This made it very important for some character builds to avoid running in most dangerous areas. In Fallout 3, running simply makes you somewhat noisier. In all games, however, there's a perk that allows running in sneak mode, thereby playing the trope completely straight even for sneaky characters in the middle of a battlefield.
    • This trope was lampshaded in Fallout 2. In a city inhabited entirely by Ghouls, you run into an old Ghoul who previously lived in another all-ghoul city that featured heavily in the original Fallout. When talking about the Hero from the previous game, he mentions that what stood out the most about him was that he was always running, all over the place, which left quite an impression on the ghouls—since they couldn't manage much more than a shamble.
    • Fallout 3 encourages running most the time. To find good post-battle loot in the clutter and darkness under the low glow of your Pipboy it's better to walk, and to pull back your camera for a high angle view.
  • Fable suffered due to the run button being tied for use with the "flourish" (an unblockable attack) button, leading to instances of killing one baddie, and trying to run up to another, only to have the hero leap in the air and slam his sword into the dirt, not only slowing your progress, but wasting the move. Bit ridiculous in the PC version, where you have 36 buttons plus symbols rather than the 8 of the Xbox.
  • Lampshaded in Siege of Avalon: a character asks the hero how he can stand to run so much, and he responds with something like "When my cause is just, I never tire".
  • Knights of the Old Republic features several speeds: the default jogging speed, a much faster speed if you cast Force Speed or take a stim to improve reaction, and a really slow stealth mode. And then there's the speed you walk at when in a space or underwater suit in the first game, where it takes about 4x as long as the default speed to get anywhere. They sped up the space suit movement in the second game, although this did make it look rather ridiculous, and also added the opportunity to run in stealth mode if you paid into that skill. Since many of the quests are spaced far apart, the faster speeds are definitely welcome.

    There was also a walk function for the PC version of Knights of the Old Republic. However, due to a glitch or oversight on the part of the developers, they forgot to map the walk key to a button or allow you to do so yourself until a patch for the game added the functionality. The only thing it affects (besides slowing you down) is giving you a bonus to your Awareness (you receive a penalty while running, which was all you could do in v1.0). Therefore, walking in both Knights games is not only harder than running, it's mostly pointless.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • The Touhou games provide a rare example of when a move-slow ("focus") button is really helpful. With Aya as a partner in Subterranean Animism, Reimu gets a third, ludicrously fast speed if she's not firing. Not only that, but the focus button improves the graze box size to outside the character sprite

  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, tanks and VTOLs default to digital throttle controls; holding forward is 100% throttle, while letting go is 0%. Tanks have an additional overdrive mode to increase their speed at the cost of generating heat. Pressing K switches them to the boat/airplane-style throttle that the Battlemechs and aerospace fighters use, where holding forward or reverse gradually adjusts the speed, though it grants no inherent benefit to tanks aside from a less jittery ride at lower speeds.

    Sports Game 
  • The manifold Madden NFL games have a "speed burst" option that is less a burst and more a rush. However, its competitor, Sega Sports NFL 2K5, had a real, no-foolin' speed burst that required you to press a button at the right time.
  • In the Inazuma Eleven games, you hold B to run and release it to walk, although the options conveniently include a setting to reverse this so you run by default and hold B to walk.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Stealth games in general tend to avoid this. Running around tends not to be very stealthy, so it's best to move as slowly as possible.
  • In the Metal Gear series, it being a stealth game and all, occasionally it was rather annoying if you hit the analog stick just a tad too hard so the sneaking turned into a short run or made Snake/Raiden do a roll all of a sudden. this is especially annoying when a guard happens to be close (which is the only reason making you sneak in the first place) and is suddenly alarmed by your louder movement. Dang it. In Metal Gear Solid 3 this was fixed by making it so that the D-Pad would make you sneak instead.
  • Assassin's Creed has the player walking as default, since running tends to make guards suspicious.
  • In Thief you walk by default, because moving quickly makes a lot of racket. Interestingly, the first two games still subtly play this in that there's a third movement speed available just hard enough to find on the controls that players can get through the game without noticing it's there, as it's far easier to pick up "tapping" walk to move slower and more quietly. The ability to slow down further does explain why your "walk" is faster than that of NPCs. ("Run" is effectively silent on carpet or moss, "Walk" is practical for silence on wood or stone, and "Creep" is near-silent on the metal grates and plating that otherwise players tend to expend moss arrows on.)
  • In Siren, walking is usually the best way to move - running makes more noise and as such can alert Shibito, plus if you run long enough your character will tire out and need to slow down to catch their breath, which can be doubly troublesome since they swing weapons slower in this state.
  • The first three Syphon Filter games all you could do was run, save for when crouched, which allowed you to sneak around. One level in the second game changed the sneaking for an actual walk since you are in disguise as an Agency scientist and any other form of movement blows your cover.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Averted by Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption, at least in single player; the protagonists walk by default and the sprint button has to be held to allow them to jog, or rapidly tapped to go up to a full run.
  • Bully uses a similar control scheme: tilt the stick to run, slightly tilt the stick to run slower, tilt the stick while holding X on Playstation to run faster/tapping X to run even faster, press R3 to go into stealth mode (crouching and Walking slowly), tap X after crouching to crouch-walk faster.
  • Averted by the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles. The default speed is a light jog. Sprinting depletes your Sprint Meter quickly, while walking is more silent, though not as silent as crouch-walking and requires the walk key to remain pressed. The same walk key can be held while crouching to go into an even lower crouch (not quite prone) that brings no tangible benefits.
  • In Planet Explorers, the player moves at a gentle jog by default. They can sprint for a limited time by holding down the shift key, or switch their default jog with a slow, ambling walk.
  • In Starbound, the player character can initially only walk, up until the graduation ceremony. After that, they have good reason to run as fast as they can, and they never stop even after escaping.