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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 laziness.

Examples of Hyperactive Sprite include:

  • The original Final Fantasy Legend game had your characters always walking in place.
  • Dragon Quest had sprites that were never still until the eighth game, when it went full 3D.
    • The sprites would stand still if Paralyzed or dead, however.
    • The Play Station 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.
  • People in the StarTropics world certainly couldn't keep still.
  • In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, your partner Pokémon never wants to keep still.
    • Even more so in Pokémon Black and White, where all Pokémon are always animated in battle.
      • Both examples are justified for Pokémon that fly via flapping their wings (like Crobat).
  • In Doom, enemies walk in place when not doing anything.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 carrying one of several Standard Status Ailments.
  • The Mario Tennis and Mario Golf games for the Game Boy Color.
  • Several sprites in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening had this.
  • Happens in the Lunar series.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A couple of the recent 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.
  • 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.
  • In Super Metroid, the morph ball is perpetually spinning, even in place.
  • Ultima IV for the NES follows this convention. Even Lord British can't stop movin'.
  • Some characters in Action 52 games start constantly walking in place after shooting. Examples include main characters in Non-Human and French Baker.
  • A couple of characters from Earthbound.
  • The Shining Force series uses this because staying still is used to symbolize lying down.
  • 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.
  • The iconic, turban-clad shopkeepers of most World of Mana games don't just walk in place - they dance!
  • 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.
  • Disgaea is an interesting example. Most characters manage to stand fairly still when idle, but the Succubus and Nekomata characters... well, don't.
    • A more traditional example is seen with recurring Bonus Boss Pringer X, who walks in place. Asagi also does it in Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories, her sprite and animations being ripped directly from her first appearance in Makai Kingdom, where everybody did it.
    • Also of note is a bat-demon NPC in Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories who comments that he's exhausted and just wants to land already, but can't because they didn't make him any non-flying sprites.
  • In the SNES version of Donkey Kong Country 3, the inactive Kong would always do this. Unfortunately this also caused a glitch where pressing Select would do nothing unless you were moving.
  • Shantae in Shantae: Risky's Revenge dances around in place.
  • Some NPCs in Chrono Trigger.
  • Your critters in all three Patapon games. Also applies for the enemy tribes. The only ones who avert this are the Uberheroes/Dark Heroes.
  • Units do this in Fire Emblem games. They'll change their animation if you put your cursor over them.
  • The RPG Maker series usually allows you to set characters to act like this with a checkbox. A good sign of how ingrained this trope is with Japanese RPGs, since there's no real logical reason for this option to exist aside from the user's preference.
  • 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."
  • Everyone but you is like this is Sword of Vermilion. They all seem to walk in place while you stand completely still.