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The animation that is displayed in a videogame when a character, especially a player-controlled character, is just standing around. A few games may do it when you pause instead.

Related: Pop Up Video Games. And for sprites permanently animated even when not moving, Hyperactive Sprite. When you are the one who can activate the animation see Emote Animation, Taunt Button and Stop Poking Me.

Examples of Idle Animation include:

Action Adventure

  • In Rayman 2, Rayman will eventually check out his shoes and whistle after some time of inactivity. Leave him long enough and he starts bouncing his torso around like a basket ball.
    • In the original, he faces the screen and goes "Hello?" or looks around, or shrugs. If you're hanging from a ledge and leave him idle, he points at the ledge and mouths something to the camera.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had several sets of Idle Animations depending on Link's age, and sometimes the environment. He will: fidget, glance about, tap his feet against each other, yawn, hike up his belt, swing his blade if it's unsheathed, clutch his stomach queasily (inside the windmill), shiver and sneeze (inside cold areas), or wipe sweat from his brow (inside hot areas). (Put on the Iron Boots and the boot tapping animation becomes particularly funny.) Link may also fiddle with his shield when he has his sword out as well, or gasp for breath when he's low on hearts. He'll also periodically blow on the ocarina if it was the last item selected. Video for all (or at least most) of them.
    • Twilight Princess has similar sequences; rather than adjusting his tights, however, he fiddles with his wrist guards.
    • Along with Link's idle animations like stretching, The Wind Waker had an idle animation for water fountain statues, involving them almost falling asleep.
    • In Skyward Sword, leaving Link sitting down for a long enough period of time will cause him to doze off after a while, until he loses his balance.
  • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Alucard's idle animation works with one of his familiars: he stands in a relaxed, yet regal pose (all the hip young vampires do it), and she lands on his shoulder. If he moves even an inch, she falls, complete with "Oof!" (but she doesn't hit the ground, being a fairy).
    • Order of Ecclesia does this with the Owl familiar.
    • In the Updated Rerelease of Symphony, you could also equip Alucard with a specific accessory to make the fairy sing a song for you while she's sitting on his shoulder.
    • Most of the later games in the series have "poses" for the characters triggered by holding up on the d-pad. Portrait of Ruin has additional idle animations if you press it long enough.
      • For example, in Portrait of Ruin, holding up for ten seconds with Jonathan will make him do a MJ spin complete with hip thrust while with Charlotte it has her do a sexy spin and chest thrust toward the camera (If you're getting any ideas remember, she's 16). Holding down the button longer has them do another variation of their pose but after a while they become visually bored and return back to their normal stance.
  • When the game is paused, Lemeza of La-Mulana sits down, eats, and falls asleep. Since you can pause in mid-jump, you can use this to defy the laws of physics.
  • In Psychonauts, Raz will do his victory dance in slow motion--in certain places. In others, he'll take a bow, dance along with the level music, or other unique things. He'll even interact with some of the items he can hold — the best involves the rolling pin item from the Milkman Conspiracy.
  • Lara Croft in Tomb Raider Legend and Anniversary has various idle animations, ranging from her tightening the laces on her boots, stretching her arms out, and others, although this could also be seen on the title screen.
    • Attempts to recreate this in custom levels have been fairly successful, but they still happen even when Lara has her guns drawn, and even when firing said guns. This causes her to casually look around and bend down to look at her shoes while in the middle of a gunfight.
    • She's been seen to fan herself in an Egyptian level in Anniversary. Seems quite rare, though.
    • In Anniversary she'll kneel and retie the laces on her boots, even when barefoot.
  • Bubble Bobble: The bubble dragons wag their tails. At a constant split-second rate; do they get tired from doing that? (In Bubble Memories, Bub and Bob don't have the constant wagging-tail rate but still do it.)
    • Bubble Symphony aka Bubble Bobble II: If you leave your character alone some more, he/she will do something else. Bub or Bob will sleep, and Coro or Kulu will sit down, shake her head as she takes out a mini-mirror out of Hammerspace and look at herself through it. When they're human, their actions are different. They all blink at the constant split-second rate. Bub or Bob will sit down and take out his straw he blows bubbles with. He blows through it a few times, but it doesn't work, so he blows so hard he shakes around, and then sits down facing the player, closing his eyes. Coro or Kulu will happily put her hands to her mouth and do a little cheer to the left and right before facing toward the player, sitting down and closing her eyes.
  • The game based on the 2007 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, in spite of its flaws, put a respectable amount of thought into this. When your character is injured, idling will actually cause him to start meditating and (slowly) regain health. At full health, each Turtle has his own unique idle animation.
    • Donatello sits down and does leg stretches.
    • Raphael starts shadow boxing. As the Nightwatcher, he can't meditate himself back to health and acts as if his shoulder is sore.
    • Michelangelo pops into and back out of his shell with ridiculous (and appropriate) cartoony sound effects.
    • Leonardo does what appears to be tai chi.
    • Normal idles are weaponless. However, if you don't move right after attacking, your Turtle doesn't put his weapons away and will go into a slightly more aggressive, at-the-ready idle.
  • In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel will alternatively glance around the room, scratch the back of his head noisily, hop into a fighting stance or crack his neck/back quite spectacularly.
  • In Eternal Daughter, the player character will whip a book out of Hammerspace and start reading if left idle for a while. She quickly puts it away when you move again.
  • Borderlands has idle dialogue. Mordecai loudly exclaims how great it is to stand around doing nothing.
  • Wolf/goddess Amaterasu in Okami will curl up on the ground and take a nap if she idles more than a few seconds. Sometimes she does this during exposition-heavy cutscenes as well.

Action Game

  • Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick had standard idle animations like Ash twirling his gun around, but if left in one spot for an extended period of time, the camera would actually zoom in and swing around to face Ash head on, eliciting a "Um.... Hellooooo?" from our hero.
  • Devil May Cry series. In the original game, Dante had a wait animation for whatever gun he had equipped. With his twin pistols he would twirl them and put them away. When equipped with the shotgun, grenade launcher or Nightmare-Beta, he would put his hand in his pocket while he would rest his weapon arm on his shoulder. In the third game, Dante would scratch his head in annoyance, cross his arms and tap his foot impatiently.
    • In the 4th, Nero would inspect his arm. Dante actually has 2 animations: Looking around with his hands on his hips, then stretching out an arm while still looking around. The other is a little funnier; it looks like he might have dozed off standing up with his arms crossed.
  • In Gungrave, leaving Grave idle for a while will cause him to twirl his pistols, or crack his neck, or shoot a bug that's annoying him.
  • Some games do not approve of the player remaining idle and have a way of "punishing" the gamer, an example of which being the TurboGrafx-16 game of Disney's Darkwing Duck. If the player has Darkwing stand in one place, Darkwing will first blink and then grin, then turn to the player and glare. Afterwards Darkwing looks up towards the top of the screen directly above where he's standing, and looks defeated right before a safe falls out of the sky and crushes him flat. This results in the player losing a life.

Action RPG

  • In Okami, Amaterasu will eventually sit down and look around if left alone, and will then lie down and go to sleep. If you have the Wood Mat accessory equipped, she'll slowly recover health while sleeping (as flowers bloom around her). Additionally, the Wood Mat causes her to enter her sleep animation faster (so the player doesn't need to stay idle as long to heal).
  • Justice League Heroes has the standard "characters complaining about standing still too long" variety. The Flash's fourth-wall-breaking remark comes to mind:

 "I'm the fastest man alive. You're the slowest gamer ever!"

  • Each of the characters in Tales of Destiny has their own animation in the "Side" window on the world map — for instance, Stahn begins to punch the air over and over (and maybe cheer, but it's hard to tell), Philia takes out a book and reads, and Leon scowls and taps his foot.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance has a variation on this. The characters don't have special Idle Animations but they WILL start complaining that they should be doing something.
    • As did its predecessor, X Men Legends. In Legends II, a PSP exclusive character (Nate Grey) even complains that he should have brought his PSP along.
  • In The World Ends With You Neku and his partner both animate when left alone for a few seconds; Neku taps his foot to the beat of whatever's playing in his headphones, Shiki fusses with her cell phone, Joshua messes with his hair and Beat stretches. Most of the time a speech bubble also appears above the partner's head at the same time, allowing Neku to ask them for help.
    • At one point, waiting long enough for the idle animation and the speech bubble to show is actually used as a gameplay mechanic.
  • If you stand around doing nothing in Rogue Galaxy, your party members may start to complain about it; all characters have some form of idle animation. The most entertaining one is Kisala, who stretches rather fetchingly...
  • In the .hack//G.U. series, your party all have a wait animation when standing still (Haseo shakes his arm, crosses his arms and looks around, Kuhn stretches, Pi adjusts her gloves and shoes, and so on).
  • In certain rooms in Kingdom Hearts II, your party members will actually start to pace around and even appear to hold idle conversations with each other if you leave them be.
  • Golden Sun Dark Dawn has your party members wave their arms about and spin in place if you go idle at the status screen.

Adventure Game

  • Hype: The Time Quest, in addition to every character having an extremely exaggerated breathing animation, your character, the eponymous Hype, would, if he had no weapon drawn and was left standing around long enough, draw his sword, throw it into the air and catch it back in its sheath... Many of the game's enemies also had idle animations where they would fiddle around with their weapons...
  • The first Discworld game probably has the greatest Idle Animation ever which also breaks the fourth wall. After a few minutes of inactivity the screen shifts to an extreme close-up of the protagonist Rincewind as he shouts "HELLOOOOO!!" and he taps the screen whilst looking around for the player.
    • Amusingly, Rincewind in this game was voiced by none other than... Eric Idle. Idle animation, indeed.
  • The Neverhood protagonist Klaymen had several creative idle animations. In one, he pulls his head off, and holds it in one hand. He then does a talking motion with the other hand. The head imitates the hand by saying 'blah-blah-blah'. This repeats three times, and then he puts his head back on. In another animation he stretches his arms straight outwards and concentrates. Eventually, one arm retracts into the body while the other one extends at the same speed. After a while, the arms go back to normal. In a third animation, he turns one of three knobs on his chest, and his head rotates at the same speed. When his head has rotated 360 degrees, he goes back to normal.
  • In Gretel and Hansel, if you leave Gretel standing, she will start rocking on her heels, and will eventually fall asleep.
  • In the short adventure game Ulitsa Dimitrova, the idle animation is a simple yawn, followed by a little shiver from nicotine withdrawl and laying down on the ground to sleep, before a snowfall starts.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry : In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, every time Larry stands still for too long, a black dog walks onto the screen and pees against Larry's legs.

Fighting Game

  • Stand still for a few seconds in ANY King of Fighters game past '97 while playing Ralf, and he starts jumping back and forth in place. (The safest time to do this is after you knock out the opponent, needless to say.) His partner, Clark, will stretch his arms out and wiggle his fingers, showing that his regular pose can leave even him with stiff joints. Duke, meanwhile, folds his arms if left idle for a short time.
    • This also extends to other games in the King of Fighters series, of course:
    • K' would fall asleep if left long enough. How would the player know? Well, when he has his hand on his hips, he usually blinks. You'll know he's snoozing when his eyes close....and don't open. Just hit any button to wake him up.
    • Andy Bogard, by the time of KOF 2001, would strike a series of increasingly bizarre poses, including a has-to-be-seen-to-be believed pose where he's slightly crouched down, holding his hands right in front of eyes, and peering at his opponent through them. What the hell is he doing? Who knows?
      • At one point during said idle animation, he goes into a stance reminiscent of his classic stance from the very first Fatal Fury.
    • Shermie doesn't stand — she dances in one spot.
  • In Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, when Ai has been crouching for a few seconds, she pulls out a Neo Geo Pocket and starts playing.
  • Remy from Street Fighter III actually has about a dozen idle animations that play in sequence, although at first glance or in the heat of battle, it appears as though he's just standing still.
  • Slight variation in the Idle Animation idea: In Melty Blood Act Cadenza Ver.B, if you leave Kohaku in the crouching position for more than 27 seconds straight, she will alter her sitting animation, sprout cat ears, wave the end of her broomstick as if it was a friggin' tail, and start mumbling nonsensical stuff about taking over the Tohno mansion.
  • Every character in Super Smash Bros has a few that they will go through, sometimes relevant to their character or franchise — Mario adjusts his hat, Sonic taps his foot impatiently, King Dedede hoists his mallet over his shoulder, Pikachu scratches its ear, Snake brings his hand up to his chin thoughtfully, Lucas flails his arms, and Luigi pulls on his nose and winces when it snaps back onto his face — just to name a few.
    • This is actually somewhat important for the Links, who can use their shields to block projectiles while standing still, except for when their idle animations cause them to drop their shields momentarily.
  • Suika Ibuki from the Touhou fighting games staggers and nearly fails to stand upright when in idle mode.
  • In contrast to the older Mortal Kombat games, Mortal Kombat 9's fighters will now do something when standing still long enough, usually stretching a body part to keep from stiffing, such as Scorpion punching the air with both arms, Ermac who will move his arms back and forth and rotate his wrists, or interestingly, Skarlet who will do a sexy hip swing if she stands still too long.

First-Person Shooter

  • In Half-Life, when the player has the Snark selected but doesn't actually use it, it occasionally tries to bite at Freeman's or Shephard's finger. Another animation has Gordon/Adrian try to calm down the agitated thing by violently shaking it.
    • Also, the Spore Launcher in Opposing Force. It wiggles and purrs in response to Shephard petting it. Awww.
  • In Battlefield, the player usually examines whatever weapon he's currently holding in some way. If you're holding a knife, the guy practices balancing it on his fingertip.
  • Golden Eye 1997 featured some mildly amusing animations for its NPCs if the player character can sneak up behind one: guards will swat at imaginary flies (before threatening to shoot them) and even scratch their rears.
    • The same thing happens in Perfect Dark, since it used the same animation.
  • In the old DOS game Descent your ship bobs slightly when you are not moving.
  • In the first Halo game Master Chief would start fiddling with his gun if left alone for a certain amount of time, and the creators of the Machinima series Red vs. Blue said this was one of their biggest problems while "filming" and resulted in very short takes to prevent the "cameraman" from doing this.
  • In the Metroid Prime series, Samus will fidget with her cannon, look around idly, and occasionally put the cannon down if left alone long enough.
  • In Jedi Knight, if Kyle Katarn had his lightsaber equipped and was left alone, he would eventually check his beard, then trim it with the lightsaber. With other weapons, he'll stretch, rest his gun on his shoulder, and look around while the camera pans in a circle around him.
    • The expansion featured Mara Jade as a replacement character in some levels. Not having a beard, she passed her time by poking her saber blade in the classic 'is that hot?' fashion. Repeatedly.
    • Jedi Academy features an enemy idle where dark jedi will hold their lightsaber hilt horizontally in their palm and use the force to levitate it a few inches while spinning it around. Particularly funny (and puzzling) if the enemy hasn't deactivated the saber completely before beginning the idle.
  • Soldier of Fortune 2, to the point of making the hero look downright twitchy (which, in fact, might actually be in character). A particularly bad one was, when carrying the shotgun, playfully tossing it into the air a few inches, and then catching it. Unprofessional, to be sure, but the game also treated walking around as being "idle," and would trigger said animation accordingly...even when, for example, you're just rounding a corner to ambush some terrorists. And you see yourself playfully throw your gun away just before you got into a gunfight. Yow.
  • Rather than an animation, standing still for a while in Blood caused the character to start singing showtunes. The others got into it in the sequel; one of them throws out random "yo mama" jokes when left alone.
  • Left 4 Dead has various idle animations for the survivors and the zombies. Survivors will wipe the sweat off their face, pick their nose, roll their neck around, and shrug their shoulders to name a few. The common infected will sit down, lean against a wall, vomit, attack each other or boxes, and others. The special infected lack idle animations.
  • Waiting enough in Duke Nukem 3D will cause Duke to crack his knuckles and adress the player with "What are you waiting for? Christmas?"

Hack and Slash

  • In Ascaron's Sacred, the characters eventually begin talking to you. The Battlemage mentioning that the Gods must have put in a Pause feature for a reason. The Dwarf, the only character that cannot ride, asks if you've been eaten by a horse.

Massively Multiplayer Online RPG

  • In the MMORPG Ever Quest, the old Ogre and Troll models would scratch their butts.
  • City of Heroes rotates through three or four different stances when a character is left untouched for more than a few seconds.
    • Also the Bat Wings costume piece will sometimes twitch and flutter as well when the character is standing idle.
    • When placing Boss and Hostage details in a player-created mission, the author can set special idle animations for the NPCs to be performing when the player encounters them.
  • In World of Warcraft, each of the playable races has a "fidget" animation, ranging from just shifting one's weight from one foot to the other (Blood Elf), to glancing warily over both shoulders (Draenei), to rolling apparent kinks out of the shoulders (female Orc and male Night Elf), to hopping up and down (female Night Elf) to alternately standing fully upright and squatting (male trolls, in one of the few moments where you notice how tall they are). Oh, and male Taurens scratch their asses. Even pets have idle animations — cats yawn and stretch, wolves tilt their heads back and howl, and a Warlock's Succubus, if left to her own devices, will occasionally swat her own backside.
    • The succubus animation is lampshaded at least once. A warlock in Stonard in the Swamp of Sorrows will, occasionally, berate her own succubus for spanking herself and checking her fingernails, since "no one cares."
    • Incidentally, it seems like all of the female fidget animations seem designed to show off Jiggle Physics. The Night Elf example is just the most obvious and infamous one.
    • In addition, the monsters and the non-combat pets have idle animations as well. For example, the Keeper of the Grove can accidentally hurt himself on his razor-sharp claw, the baby murloc pet starts dancing, the beholder uses its Eye Beam on a critter nearby and so on.
    • The armored skeletons juggle their own detached skulls. Void Reaver (a giant demonic robot) mimes revving a motorcyle. The sea giant squats slightly, causing a large green bubble to float up from his butt, then pops it with one finger and fans the air. Some things like wolves and mountain lions will interact with critters (non combative ambience) as well; a wolf will suddenly run off into the distance and bite a prairie dog to death, then run back to his original spot.
    • This is the primary feature of non-combat pets besides looking cute.
  • Aion has a variety of idle animations depending on your environment: your character will fidget in town, produce a fan if it's hot or a giant leaf from hammerspace if it starts raining, and males will randomly catch a fish with their bare hands if knee deep in water, to name a few examples.
  • In the Korean golf MMO Pangya, on the shop/inventory screens, wait screens for VS games, and in chat lounges, each character will go through a few idle animations. During actual gameplay, the golfers don't have idle animations, but the caddies do, and some of them are especially amusing (such as Titan Boo digging out his ears, or Lolo running around in circles freaking out if your shot clock is running out).
  • In Dungeon Fighter Online, the male gunner will fiddle with his guns every couple of seconds when he is not moving.

Mecha Game

  • Humongous Mecha example: Another Century's Episode 3 had idle animations for a couple of its mecha. The Turn A Gundam would rotate its head then sit on the ground and hang a laundry line between its hands, while all the mecha from Overman King Gainer would break out into the series' infamous monkey dance.
  • In the Armored Core games (at least in 3 and Silent Line), your Humongous Mecha's torso will start swaying left and right. If they have hover legs however, they will unfold their standby legs and land instead.
  • Though you don't have any idle animations in Mechwarrior 4 (any version), your Lancemates will sway their torsos left and right and occasionally crouch when they're simply standing there.


  • Mega Man blinks if you leave him standing there.
    • In one of the post-NES titles, if you call Rush, but don't use the utility he was called for, Rush will lie down and fall asleep.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The title character would glare at the player, tap his foot and even lie down if left for a few seconds. In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, he would eventually jump off the screen and the game would reset to the title screen. This trend would be carried across pretty much every game in the series, with Advance 2 replacing the "look up" feature of holding up on the D-pad with instantly going into each character's idle animation. It's also probably for the best if you don't think too hard about where Cream gets all those ice cream cones from.
    • If you leave him alone long enough in Sonic Unleashed, he'll lie down as he did in the 16-bit games.
      • Were-Sonic will crouch down, draw patterns on the floor, flick at dust and start nodding off to sleep.
      • Links if you're interested-- Sonic, Werehog.
    • From Sonic Adventure to Sonic Heroes, characters will comment on their current situation or state of mind if you leave them idle.
      • In Heroes, it also happens if you go into "Invisible mode" with Espio, which leaves Vector and Charmy unmoving. So you are moving, but you still get the idle comments.
      • When playing as Team Dark, if you go into first-person view as Shadow, and stare at Rouge long enough, she'll actually turn her head towards you and wink.
    • If you do this in Knuckles Chaotix, you won't get a game over. Instead, Metal Sonic zooms in and attacks you, which is easily avoidable.
      • He does the same thing in Sonic Spinball, but in that particular case the HUD complains, too. "YO, MOVE IT!"
      • Leave him alone long enough for him to lay down, and the HUD goes "ANYBODY HOME?"
    • In Sonic Generations, Modern Sonic's idle animations are similar to those from Unleashed. Classic Sonic's idle animations, on the other hand, are a mix of the idle animations from Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic 3D, and Sonic CD.
  • In Aero the Acro Bat, the title character bobs his head to the music or does a handstand when idled.
  • Sly Cooper had several varying idle animations for each of the player characters throughout the trilogy.
    • The title character's idle animations included him removing his cap and either twirling it or tossing it in the air and having it land perfectly seated on his head, holding his cane as if lining up for a golf swing, using his cane to scratch his back (resulting in one of his legs starting to twitch like a dog's), and leaning on his cane (sometimes with the cane slipping out from under him and causing him to nearly faceplant).
    • Bentley will often pull out a set of blueprints, look around nervously, perform a stationary wheelie in his wheelchair (in Sly 3), or sneeze so hard that it causes him to double over (yet doesn't draw the attention of any nearby guards, interestingly enough).
    • Murray will occasionally try to pull up his belt (why he wears a belt when he has no pants is anybody's guess), resulting in his hands slipping and Murray accidentally smacking himself in the face.
    • Some of the NPC guards will also have idle animations. For example; in the China level of Sly 3, the monkey guards will occasionally play with their shurikens, resulting in them pricking their fingers on the sharp points.
      • The characters also have idle animations that play during the character selection screen; Sly's include balancing his cane on his hand, twirling his cap, and (in Sly 2 and 3) pulling out his family book, the Thievius Raccoonus and reading it for a few moments, sometimes appearing surprised by what he reads. Bentley will look at blueprints and sometimes whip out a calculator and crunch some numbers. Murray will occasionally doze off briefly before startling back awake, and sometimes produce a slice of pizza from behind his back, scarfing it down in nearly one bite.
  • Earthworm Jim had fun with this — among his idle animations were him pulling out a tiny Elvis doll... and eating it.
    • There was even a Running Gag about Jim trying to toss his gun into the air and catch it. This results in it bouncing off his head, blasting him in the face, and cautiously tossing it and having it safely land in its holster.
    • Other poses include: Playing jumprope with his head (body?) throwing a brick up and off screen (and the matching animation when it lands on his head) and twirling his gun on his finger (sometimes blowing his head off in a misfire.)
  • In Super Mario 64, Mario gets tired and goes to sleep if the player doesn't move for a long time. He dreams of pasta. Same for Sunshine and Galaxy, only without the pasta dreaming.
    • Luigi and Yoshi do the same in the remake, Super Mario 64 DS. On the other hand, Wario scratches his butt.
    • If Mario is low on health, he'll start panting instead. On cold levels, he'll shiver.
    • Also in Super Mario Sunshine, when you move Mario into the shade, he'll pant and wipe the sweat from his face.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, Kazooie starts looking around and pecking at Banjo's head after a while. If this happens three times, Banjo will grab Kazooie and throttle her.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit has rather goofy idle animations. Those for Spaz in Jazz Jackrabbit 2, for example, include a bird perching on his finger, at which point he promptly eats it, and shooting a passing UFO.
    • If you start moving during the bird scene, the bird just flies away. However, if you start moving when the UFO comes, the animation still goes through, with the bullet coming out of thin air.
  • Toejam and Earl has a particularly awkward one where your character would fall asleep and you would have to spend several seconds Button Mashing to get the characters to wake up again.
  • Commander Keen in games 4 - 6, Keen would sit down and pull out a book to read when left alone.
    • Also in the "Pyramid of the Moons" level of Secret of the Oracle, if Keen stands on top of one of the crescent moon symbols on the floor, after a short while he will moon the player.
    • In Keen Dreams, Keen falls asleep when left alone.
  • The Amiga game of the movie Hudson Hawk had a nice twist on the standard 'tapping foot' animation. Leave him for a bit, he starts checking his watch as well. After some time, he starts glancing upward nervously, becoming more agitated... then a piano drops on him out of nowhere, killing him.
  • Crash Bandicoot either plays with a yo-yo or bounces a wumpa fruit up and down (often ending up with a faceful of wumpa from above). If you leave him long enough he'll get bored of his yo-yo and start to boogie.
  • American McGee's Alice has a number of different idle animations for Alice — a few for each of her toy weapons. Most are harmless, like performing a card trick with her deck of cards, but a few showcase Alice's more destructive side, such as accidentally hitting herself in the head with her croquet mallet or dropping her jackbomb on her foot.
  • In the original Bubsy, the iconic bobcat would tap his foot and eventually knock on the screen if left alone for too long.
  • Ristar had a different one for each world, such as snapping his fingers and tapping his toes in the music-themed world.
    • And the end credits contain quite a few of them, played off as him "dancing" to the music.
    • This is actually significant on Planet Elykiki (Planet Freon in the US version): Normally, his idle animation for that world is sitting down and building a miniature snowman. However, the miniboss fight is a snowball fight, so his idle animation is then changed to making a snowball, which he can then pick up and throw at the miniboss.
  • Gex the Gecko had a large array of idle animations in his first game, such as doing a hand stand, balancing on his tail, and eating butterflies. Sometimes this was accompanied by wisecracking.
  • Pitfall Harry Jr. in Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure has a number of these. Being that his primary ranged attack was a sling, he would progress from the simple "stand and breathe" animation onto progressively more intricate ones as you left poor Harry Jr. idle for longer periods of time. First he would twirl the sling once. Then he would twirl the sling several times. Eventually he would whirl it around and treat it like a pair of nunchucks. Finally, if left idle long enough, he would settle down in the Lotus Position, with hands up-turned on his knees — and begin to levitate!
  • In the original Kirby's Dreamland, Kirby would dance if the game was paused. But, he wouldn't revert to the original sprite when he finished, playing tricks on some gamers' minds.
    • In Super Star, Kirby will eventually start falling asleep if you leave him standing alone for too long, though he wakes himself up after a time. Ultra added idle animations to each of the helpers; Parasol Waddle Dee bounces back and forth, Tac looks around sneakily, the Knights look from side to side, and so on.
  • The Amiga classic Superfrog has a rather worrying one — leave your frog to himself for long enough and he'll end up playing with his crotch.
  • Conker in Conkers Bad Fur Day, if left alone long enough, would juggle, play with a yo-yo, drink a soda, drink something out of a glass (and throw the glass behind him so it shattered), play Killer Instinct on his GameBoy, read an adult magazine and comment on it, or ask if there's "anyone out there" or tell himself, "I think he died" or "You'll go blind doing that" in regards to the player. Furthermore, if left in the "Sunny" area (the area with the barn), he would sit down and whistle along with the music.
    • If you left him idle near butterflies he would occasionally take out a blowtorch and try to kill them, and if left idle in the club he would dance and do the worm.
  • In The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, Spyro will rather amusingly begin dancing if left alone for long enough.
    • He also curls up and falls asleep on the bed in an Elder's hut if left standing there in A Hero's Tail.
    • The original game series had these too, with Spyro turning to look impatiently at the viewer. Occasionally the dragonfly Sparx would flutter up into the screen.
    • Season of Flame also had him stretch.
  • Wario has multiple of these in the Wario Land series, but in Shake It/The Shake Dimension, he actually says "Get on with it!" if you've not made him do anything for a while.
  • In the Donkey Kong Country series, if left alone DK beats his chest, Diddy takes his hat off to scratch his head or starts juggling, Dixie blows a bubblegum bubble and sits down to have a drink and Kiddy tugs on a loose thread on his romper suit until he tugs too hard and falls over. NPCs also did this.
    • Unfortunately, when cutscenes were added to the GBA remakes, the Kongs still did this when they were meant to be having a conversation. This makes it look like the Kong family all have a bad case of Attention Deficit Disorder.
      • The SNES versions lampshade this by making Cranky Kong hit the younger Kongs with his stick when they lapsed into their idle animations while he talked.
      • In Donkey Kong 64, each of the characters has their own if left alone, which include juggling oranges, swatting away butterflies, and catching and eating flies.
      • In Donkey Kong Country Returns, Donkey will pull out a Nintendo DS and play with it, then toss it away.
  • The Prince of Persia in Sands of Time will brush the dust off his clothes and generally act amusingly fastidious. In Two Thrones, you'll get even berated by the voice in your head if you stand still for long enough.
  • In Lady Sia, if you leave the title character alone for a while she will check her hair or redo her ponytail.
    • More notably, she may occasionally pull out a cell phone and talk on it for a few moments (notable because the game seems to take place in a typical medieval fantasy world with steam/coal/gear based technology.)
  • Apogee Software's Monster Bash (starring Johnny Dash) literally breaks the fourth wall with its idle animation; if you leave Johnny too long, eventually he'll load a stone into his trusty catapult and fire it directly at you, "smashing" your monitor.
  • Duck Dodgers in the 24th-and-a-Half Century was a rather mediocre platformer on the N64, starring Daffy Duck. However, if you left Daffy alone for long enough, he would got on an absolutely massive rant about how nobody was playing with him, and he was getting sick and tired of waiting around — including several Looney Tunes Continuity Nods.
  • In Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow for the Genesis, SNES and PC, Donal-- Ahem, Maui has a few of these: looking at a map or a dead muddrake, twirling his gun on his fingers (sometimes droping it, and shooting his own face by accident) and pointing his gun around in a badass pose. His alter-ego, Cold Shadow, had only one: playing hoop with his staff.
  • In a game as focused on motion as Mirror's Edge, it isn't surprising one of these is thrown in. If Faith is left standing still for a while, she'll begin looking at her nails.
  • In the Sega Genesis version of Taz-Mania, Taz would throw a tantrum and tap his foot impatiently if left alone for a few seconds. During this, the music would change to an appropriately restless melody.
  • Jak and Daxter has a fair number of idle animations, particularly in the first one. One cute example: Jak claps his hands, Daxter jumps into them, and they play a little tossing/juggling game.
  • Ratchet and Clank also has several. Most consist of just Ratchet (or Clank) looking around, though he'll shiver and wrap his tail around his legs on snowy planets. On the weapons select screen, he'll play with the currently selected weapon - they went from unique animations for the weapons in the first game (juggling the Glove of Doom 'bots, twirling the Blaster, plugging his ear to test out the Taunter) to just one generic "mock aiming" animation for all in the second. Speaking of weapons, leaving the screen idle at a vendor will also get you some funny ones: the attendant may ask you if you're going to buy something, or "Help, I'm trapped in this box!" may scroll by on the ticker trail.
    • A Crack in Time added a slew of new idle animations. If Ratchet doesn't have a weapon out (i.e. is holding his wrench), he might throw his wrench in the air, adjust his gloves, tap dirt out of his boots with his wrench and others.
  • In Yoshis Story, Yoshi will start marching in place while humming (very cute) and occasionally look towards the camera.
  • Tomba has several idle animations in the second game. For example, he starts hitting his chest.
  • Sparkster from Rocket Knight Adventures would rock left and right happily when idle, then he would eventually cross his arms. Then he'd remove his goggles and cheerfully emitted a word balloon saying Let's go! along with a high pitched noise. Quite adorable.
  • In Loco Roco 1 and 2, leaving the controls alone for a few seconds makes three muimuis (or buibuis) pop up on the lower left corner of the screen who are shown singing to the background music (assuming the song is a level theme, not one of the locoroco themes).
  • In Captain Claw wait long enough Claw will start saying silly things like Hello, I'm not getting any younger, I'm growing impatient, "At least bring me something back from the kitchen or I'm waiting, most in snide tones.
  • The Ren and Stimpy game for Game Gear plunged either of the eponymous characters into darkness when the player hit pause - showing only their googly eyes on a black screen. Unpausing reveals either Ren scratching his butt or Stimpy adding to his spit jar - after a couple seconds they'll look up at the player in embarrassment and then flash an awkward grin.
  • In Aladdin Virgin Games, normally Al would just pivot between the left and right as if looking for trouble. Leave him alone long enough, though, and he'll pull out an apple, absently juggle it in a hand, and even duplicate his trick from the film of rolling it down from one elbow to the other.
  • The titular Bug! tries to flex his muscles, only to find out that he can't breathe after inhaling in too much air, thus gasping it all out.
  • In one of the Kim Possible games, Kim will (among other things) flip her hair or check her grappling gun when idle, and Ron will twiddle his thumbs or have his trousers fall down.
  • In Ape Escape, Spike will either play around with one of his gadgets, play with a yo-yo, pull out a boom-box from Hammerspace and jam out to the music, put on shades and stand around, looking cool, lie down on the floor and rest, or even try to do handstands, sometimes on one hand.
  • In Stinkoman 20 X 6, if Stinkoman is left standing, he will start to yawn. In the level where you play as 1-Up instead, 1-Up will blow snot bubbles instead.

Puzzle Game

  • All three main characters in The Lost Vikings do this. Since in the game you control only one of them at a time, effectively leaving the others alone, you get to see these fairly often.
  • In Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, leaving the pause screen idle too long causes Pac-Man to tap on the TV screen and wonder where you've gone.

Real-Time Strategy

  • Every single infantry unit and non-vehicle hero in Star Wars: Empire at War and its expansion will look around and do other things while waiting. Fighters and bombers also slowly fly around in formation in a circle, as if they were orbiting something.
  • Command and Conquer had a number of idle animations for your soldiers, such as doing push-ups or, in the case of grenadiers, limber up their arms.
    • You forgot the Juggernaut Walker (think battlship artillery piece stuffed onto a chicken walker) actually PECKS THE GROUND the equally ridiculous sight of a AT-AT
  • Not so much idle animations, but in Company of Heroes in the later versions of the game, the squad will start having conversations amongst themselves.
  • Dawn of War: The Force Commander occasionally kneels and prays to the Emperor, while Priests rev up their chainswords.
    • The Ork Pile O' Gunz building has a funny one: when researching something, two Gretchins are seen diving in the pile Scrooge McDuck style, digging out weapons and throwing them.
    • Every single Chaos unit will twitch, growl, curse, flail their limbs, grasp their heads, and generally act as the psychotic psychopaths they so very are.
  • Warcraft 3:
    • Footmen will sheathe their swords and quaff back from a tankard of ale.
    • Skeletons will pop their dislocated legs back into place.
    • Ancient Protectors (think Ents) will shake themselves vigorously, dropping leaves and/or bats.
    • Blood Mages will throw back their shoulders, hands on hips, and... laugh?
    • Blademasters squat down and hold their sword upright, like they're meditating.
    • Liches cross their arms in the Egyptian-sarcophagus pose.
    • Grunts scratch their butts.
    • Orc Warlocks bang their shields.
    • Gnolls scratch their ears dog-style.
    • Mountain Kings (dwarf hammer-and-axe fighters) juggle their hammers.
    • Keepers of the Grove throw seeds on the ground.
    • Trolls backflip. Especially bizarre when they're sleeping.
    • Spiders rearrange their legs one at a time.
    • Footmen unsheathe their sword and drink water from their canteen.
    • Shamans will float in midair as though they are possessed.
      • These animations play even in cutscenes. This can create several Narmy moments when Kael tells story of his people(destruction of their homelands) and his laughing indle animation plays...

Role Playing Game

  • Persona 3. The protagonist will usually put his hands in his pockets, look around, yawn, shake his head, or stretch. The protagonist of Persona 4 does the same.
    • This leads to Minato's ability to run around with his hands in his pockets. Not dorky at all.
  • Xenosaga Episode III. Whoever is your onscreen avatar will have a specific animation (Shion jumps up and down, Ziggy spins his robotic wrist, chaos adjusts his gloves, KOS-MOS looks back abruptly as if she's startled, and so on).
  • On the Chrono Trigger overworld, Crono frantically leaps up and down, exuding sweatdrops and waving his arms, if left alone for five seconds. The other characters have different animations, the coolest definitely belongs to Magus; he just strikes a pose and lets his cape billow in the wind.
    • On normal screens, every character's idle animation would be to turn to the screen, maybe blink a few times and turn back to the direction they were facing. Stick around long enough they may keep on looking at the screen and start machine-gun blinking.
  • Every character in your party in Planescape: Torment has a few of these. Fall-From-Grace will stretch her wings, Morte will place catch with his own jaw, and Annah can be seen using the tip of her tail to scratch behind her ear.
  • Dragon Age 2 (as well as Dragon Age Origins) has a set of idle animations, mostly involving looking around or stretching, one of Bethany's makes it look like she's yawning.
  • Perhaps appropriately, considering it's a Sega game, Vyse of Skies of Arcadia will cross his arms and start tapping his foot.
  • Mana Khemia Alchemists of Al Revis features this type of animation for all player characters, in and out of battles.
  • In Pokemon Yellow, if you stand still for a long time while Pikachu is following you, Pikachu will eventually start looking around randomly. If you jump down a ledge and leave Pikachu above, Pikachu will jump from side to side, spin around, or step in place.
    • Also in Pokemon, the spin off Mystery Dungeons. The chosen members of your team may sit and 'twitch', bark at nothing, splash around in the air, or be somewhat annoying like Ampharos, which appear to be insisting you pay attention to them by jumping in place and thrusting their (completely smooth) chests out.
  • In Eternal Sonata, Polka sneezes every once in a while if you don't move her. It's the only time she does, despite frequent references to her illness in the story.
  • In Baldur's Gate II every playable race has the same idle animation of leaning back and stretching their back muscles. It can lead to odd moments where you leave characters standing around and all of a sudden they all start stretching at the same time. Impromptu aerobics session?
  • The main characters of Mother 3 have idle animations, but they're not a whole lot to look at.

Simulation Game

  • Stand around long enough in Drakengard, and Caim stands in a different position, one that seems a little more relaxed.
    • In the sequel, Nowe and his allies all have a unique wait animation as well.
  • In The Sims series, Sims will, without fail, do at least one of these (there are several per age category and, except for toddlers, gender) while in Create-A-Sim.
    • They do in the game itself if you have Free Time installed, and depends on what hobby has the highest enthusiasm level. Sims can now whistle, drum on legs, practise ballet (music and dance); practise football throws or shadow box (sports); rub their stomachs (cuisine); frame hands (arts and crafts); read while walking (film and literature); stretch wrists (gaming); general stretching (fitness); or do a logic puzzle (science).
    • Up until Free Time, if the Free Will option was turned off Sims who were left alone would eventually stand still and stare directly at the player until their moods sank low enough to start complaining. If Free Will was on, they would still do this, but more often than not they would quickly wander off to find something else to do.
    • Sims who are in the second or third trimester of pregnancy will sometimes rub their belly and talk to it soothingly, or whine and rub their back as though it's aching.
    • In The Sims 3, they occasionally do animations relevant to their traits. Handy Sims will twirl a wrench in their hands and evil Sims will laugh evilly. They also do these in CAS when picking traits.

Shoot 'Em Up

  • The NES classic The 3-D Battles of World Runner had the eponymous runner sit down, cross his arms, and yawn.

Stealth-Based Game

  • Unique soldiers in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops all do one which fits their personality. The most amusing is Ocelot, who does a ridiculously exaggerated exhausted slouch, and then suddenly whips out his revolvers and starts posing.
  • In Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 will dance if left idling on a dancefloor in two levels.
  • In Thief: Deadly Shadows, the only game in the series with a third-person view, Garrett has a different idle for every weapon. His blackjack he weighs thoughtfully, his bow makes him stretch and limber his shoulders, and his dagger sees him thumbing the blade to test its edge or even flipping it and catching it again by the handle. He also stands in different ways, depending on whether he's on or between missions - the former, he's hunched and warily looking around, the latter he's standing straight up, more relaxed and confident.

Survival Horror

  • Silent Hill 4: The Room: Henry will usually have a different wait animation depending on what weapon he's currently holding. For comedic value, try it with the chainsaw.
  • Haunting Ground: Fiona will look around nervously. Hewie has his own share of wait animations, ranging from him sitting or lying down while wagging his tail to him sniffing the ground in an attempt to find something.
  • Fatal Frame: Leave the heroine standing still in a safe room for too long (one where no ghostly apparitions will come looking for her), and bloody handprints will appear on the screen.
  • Eternal Darkness has a very creepy idle animation; one of the chapters is from the point of view of a man who's slowly becoming a zombie as he gets further along. Late in the chapter, leaving him standing still and holding a sword will have him experimentally impale one hand on his weapon, pull it off the blade, and then look at it, as if checking to see if it hurt.

Third-Person Shooter

  • The party characters of Mass Effect will look around, stretch their necks/backs, and occasionally wander off if left alone. Shepard will look around and stretch, but remains where you left him/her. When it was released for PC, characters got their own unique idles in the infamous lift loading sequences. Except Shepard, that is.
  • In Bionicle Heroes your character would either knock on the screen, nod off to sleep, or play hacky sack with his head.
  • In Dead Space, Isaac will rub the back of his neck, shuffle his feet, stretch his shoulders, stand up a little straighter and, eventually, aim the muzzle of whatever weapon he's carrying in a slow arc from left to right; he even quite sensibly has a 'nervous glancing' animation that's active if you only pause briefly. He'll also read the text logs or objectives if you bring them up.
  • In the original Ratchet and Clank, Ratchet would look at the player over his shoulder almost immediately when left idle. Seems to be rushing the player.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • The "second generation" Worms games have idle animations that range from glancing around, to take off their eyebrows and wearing them like a mustache to taking an apple (presumably from the same place the worms' Hyperspace Arsenal comes from) and eating it. The worms also have two different breathing animations, a normal(ish) looking inhale and exhale cycle for healthy worms and a "panting" animation for injured ones (injured worms also don't play any of the other idle animations). They also have idle quotes, which are often quite hilarious.
  • Battle for Wesnoth has some units that do some idle animations when you're not clicking on them. You can change the frequency of the animations.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 6 has some pretty silly ones, such as creatures using their weapons as mock guitars or, in case of crossbowmen, pogo sticks.
    • The 4th game has nothing BUT silly idle animations for every unit on the battle screens. Heroes can be seen saluting, praying, stopping their spinning heads, thwack their misbehaving staffs, take off their hair like a wig and scratch their bald heads, and so on. Creatures have most you can expect, and some not, like the Monks taking out a tablet or a bible and whapping themselves in the face with it.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • As early as the pre-Windows-era, Starflight would have the spaceman in Starport start tapping his foot if left idle for more than a minute.
  • In Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, CJ will sway from side to side and sing a few bars of a random hip-hop song if left to his own devices.
    • Also, if left idle in a populated area, the camera will shift to an over the shoulder view showing what CJ is paying attention to. He always eyeballs the nearest cop, with attractive women coming a close second.
  • Cole Macgrath from In Famous will get out of his Primal Stance and stand upright after a few seconds. Then he either starts playing with his lightning powers, dusting his clothes off, or stretching.
  • Alex Mercer from Prototype sometimes coughs into his hands once he gets out of his distinct ready-stance, but there's also a unique idle when he's infected with the parasite: he'll hunch over, looking exhausted, then clutch his shoulder and loudly groan with pain.
  • In a very odd car based example, in Burnout Paradise putting your car in brake for a few minutes hade the camera fade out then fade back in to wide panning shots of the beautiful scenery and highlights any outstanding features of the landscape which changes depending on the time of day and where you are currently. The shots are even accompanied by some of the most famous classical pieces like the "The Four Seasons" that they forgot to mention was part of the tracklist.

Miscellaneous Games

  • An old ZX Spectrum game Draughts Genius does this. In the game, you played draughts (checkers) against Albert Einstein. If you took too much time thinking over your move, old Al would yawn several times and then fall asleep. He'd wake up immediately after you made your move. How old does that make this trope?
    • One of the oldest examples is Boulderdash for the C64, where you would look straight ahead and tap your foot impatiently if left idle.
    • From the Commodore 64 game Little Computer People, released in 1985, the little person would "knock" on the inside of the screen to get your attention if you were ignoring him and doing nothing, showing that this trope is Older Than They Think.
  • The Rudies in Jet Set Radio Future dance if left alone. Each character has a different animation, all of which can also be seen in the GG's garage.
  • In The Fairly Odd Parents: Enter the Cleft!, Timmy would take out a book and read it.
  • In Hey Arnold: The Movie for Game Boy Advance, Arnold listens to music on his CD player and Gerald bounces and twirls a basketball.
  • Stinkoman 20X6 plays with this in a cold level, where the idle animation ends with him freezing into a block of ice and taking damage. It plays it straight, normally.
  • Travis Touchdown will impatiently tap his foot if he stands around in Santa Destroy for too long. Or touch himself.