Video games of characters with short proportions

What are video games with characters that are not kids with short proportions from having large heads and small bodies to slightly large heads and small bodies.


It’s pretty common in games with retro-style pixel art. Typically there’s a tight constraint on the size of a character sprite, which is either square (16x16, 32x32, etc.) or two such squares stacked on top of each other, so the size of the head will frequently be exaggerated in proportion to the body.


It’s very common in retro pixel art depict the character in short proportions in the sprite.

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I think you are asking what the style of artwork is called. It’s called Chibi and is a Japanese art style.

It’s called chibi but I’m referring to the style in video games that looks like chibi but they don’t they call it chibi.

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The only “genre” of videogames that screams chibi-style are JRPGs. The Final Fantasy series is a prime example.

However, Chibi is also known as Super Deformed or S.D. Chibi (style) - Wikipedia

I hope that helps.

The sprites look like chibis, but are they just drawn in shorter proportions.

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Hmmm… the only thing I can suggest is for you to post a screenshot of a game with the style you are trying to identify.

Here are some examples of different styles I’m trying to identify:

the last picture is from the upcoming Persona 5 Tactica game.

I’m not sure whether or not there’s a specific name for that style, but there’s definitely a heavy manga/anime influence in all those images.

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Well, there seems to be an ongoing debate between what constitutes Chibi versus Super Deformed (SD)…

I know this debate raged on a few years back, but I just wanted to throw in another perspective. My interpretation has always been that labeling something “SD” (or super deformed) is more about the disproportionately-sized head-to-body ratio. Whereas, “chibi” means small, chubby, and child-like. The two are very often connected and used interchangeably, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely correct. Take a look at the toyline for manga/anime series Kinnikuman… There have been many sets of rubber kinkeshi (“Kin” for Kinnikuman, “keshi” short for “keshigomu” meaning eraser), including two distinct sets of SD kinkeshi AND Chibi kinkeshi.

Talk:Super deformed - Wikipedia

Because you’re seeking a label to a predominantly Japanese style, I would trust examples that spawn from their games and such. Someone in that linked article mentioned that FF7 PC might have had (not proven) unused character models labeled as “non-super-deformed character models”, meaning the ones we know and love were likely referred to as “super deformed” by the development team.

So that’s my take. What you are looking for is a version of Super Deformed that’s distinct from the chubby, child-like style of Chibi.

However, if you are so inclined, you can post this question to the Stack Exchange for Anime/Manga. There would be way more eyeballs seeing your question and you will be amazed with how knowledgeable the people who frequent that site are.

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That picture isn’t a super deformed model, just with smaller proportions.

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Enough people have given useful and helpful replies that I can now be now-helpful.

Here is the rockin’ video for Superdeformed by Matthew Sweet, from 90s AIDS awareness / safe sex fundraising album No Alternative. That’s why the clip has many strands that might otherwise look incongruous – people being amorous, AIDS info snippets, and Matthew Sweet lurching about in a cage while gila monsters chase people.

It probably does have a videogame connection, actually. The track’s likely a leftover from Sweet’s 1993 album Altered Beast.



That’s not related to the thread.

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Are you sure about that? He looks to be about 4.5 heads to me. An average 6 foot male adult in real life is about 7.5 heads tall.

Super Deform Pose Collection Vol.6 - Men Pose Reference Book - Anime Books

This is the cover and inside scan from a Japanese art book clearly designed for Super Deformed anime character design. You can see the range of body proportions allowed within the realm of Super Deformed.

Super Deformed ranges from 2 to 5 heads tall depending on the style and/or age of the characters depicted. I’ve heard the term “toushin” used before, which can translate to “body proportions” roughly. You might see the term “4 toushin”, for example, when describing the head to body ratio in certain styles. Viewtiful Joe appears to be a 3 toushin style.

Poking around online, you’ll see the terms Chibi and Super Deformed used interchangeably. But those who appreciate the difference acknowledge that Chibi is about 2 heads tall on average with very short limbs.

So my answer is still Super Deformed.


Thanks, Hal, for the picture, useful to me in explaining my terminology. I consider chibi/deformed as synonyms, and the left figure is a “super” chibi/deformed and the middle one is a “standard” chibi/deformed. I think the line between standard and super is a matter of personal taste…

As Cody noted, there was the usage of stacking sprites one above the other for forming “composite” character sprites, hence the 2:1 ratio of 8-bit era char sprites, one for the body, one for the head.

I’ll quote from NesDev Wiki, the main reference on the Nintendo 8 bit console:

Using 8x16 pixel sprites can sometimes save CPU time. Say a game has four characters, each 32x16 pixels in size. It takes more time to write 32 entries to a display list than to write 16.

As one can easily figure, the least time is writing one 8x8 entry, so, in doing these early cut-scenes, having one sprite for face ease the swapping between facial expressions… hence the 2:1 ratio (or 2 toushin, if one prefers) of 8-bit JRPG chardesign.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


Chibi and Super Deformed are the same thing, Viewtiful Joe has a 3 toushin style what are some other toushin styles that characters have in video games? The cloud model is 4.5 heads tall.

I suspected I was conversing with a robot.


I’m not a robot.

You mean the 1:2 ratio in the 8-bit character sprites and not JRPG character design.