Characters balancing over one wheel
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Author:  tepples [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Characters balancing over one wheel

Lately, I've begun to notice a trope of robots and powered armor getting around on a single wheel at the end of a single leg below the body (or between two legs like a BC wheel).

It started with Caustic, an original character by CheesySpectre on the Discord server. I enlarged his uncolored sketch that he posted to the server's #workshop channel and inked and painted it in GIMP. He told me I didn't guess the colors right, but whatever.

caustic_painted.png [ 66.95 KiB | Viewed 2590 times ]

Today, while testing Action 53 volume 4, I saw the main character of Robo-Ninja Climb with the same body shape. I thought about it and remembered Fenton Crackshell of DuckTales and Darkwing Duck, a savant bean counter who goes by Gizmoduck when wearing Gizmosuit powered armor made by Gyro Gearloose.

When I tried seeing if anyone else had collected other examples, I discovered that TV Tropes had become a metered pay site,[1] and All The Tropes doesn't yet have a corresponding page. But it gave up trying to paywall me when I completely disabled JavaScript for that domain.

I found more:
  • Roadkill Rodney with the electroshock whip in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
  • WA-7 in Attack of the Clones
  • Officer Shrift in the animated version of The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Gilliam Knight in Mega Man 7
  • Solenoid robots in Roger Ramjet
  • Maestro Trombot in JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain
  • Claptrap in Borderlands
  • Mettaton in Undertale
  • Medic Robot in Team Fortress 2
  • PDQ-88b securitron in Fallout: New Vegas

Occasionally, it's a ball:
  • Robots in Ball Breakers
  • M-O in WALL-E

Given the popularity of Undertale and TF2 in the meme subculture, as well as Undertale in the chiptune subculture, I'm suspecting Mettaton or the Medic Robot may have popularized this form.

To focus the discussion, I'm referring to a body type with one wheel, center of mass above the wheel, and not a vehicle ridden by someone able to walk. Thus these are not examples: Rosie, the XB-500 housekeeping robot in The Jetsons, who gets around on a foot with three wheels; characters who move by spin-dashing, such as the Terra-Fermians in DuckTales; characters with the wheel mostly embedded in the body, such as Wheelie in Kirby, Roader and Kerberos in Mega Man, and Motobug in Sonic; and characters that ride a clearly separate pedaled or motorized unicycle.

Am I missing any?

[1] TV Tropes makes only five page views per month available to users who decline to run third-party tracking scripts. A user of Disconnect extension or Firefox's built-in tracking protection who visits any HTML document on will see the Google Funding Choices notice that only five page views are allowed per month. This resembles the metered paywall behavior that NYTimes and several other major newspapers' websites have adopted lately.

I don't consider disabling script or disabling third-party analytics script in particular to amount to "theft" of ad revenue because a big enough site could serve its own ads like Daring Fireball or any print newspaper does. If you want to discuss this footnote, I'd be glad to do so in a separate topic.

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

They're not quite by your definition, but i immediately thought of the automatons in American McGee's alice. The animation makes use of its labile point of balance.

Author:  gauauu [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

Interesting. I'm impressed that you came up with such a big list of usages. I have no idea about the popularity and how trends developed. But I'm pretty sure that sort of thing was somewhat common at least before undertale.
The character from Robo-Ninja Climb was designed in 2014 and it felt like a very familiar idea then.

I don't have any specific sources though about other early uses.

Author:  Kasumi [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel


Author:  zzo38 [ Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

If All The Tropes does not yet have a corresponding page, then we must add one.

I have seen a few of such robots in stories, but do not remember most of them, unfortunately. I have seen ones other than what you listed here, but do not remember where they are from.

I do understand what is meant, though.

Author:  Jedi QuestMaster [ Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

I didn't see Base Wars anywhere in this thread, so you can add the MCYCLE to that list.

If you haven't played it, it's worth a look.

Author:  tepples [ Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

I've filled out the trope proposal on All The Tropes with the examples mentioned so far.

Author:  M_Tee [ Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

The samurai robot (maybe a one-episode villain, I'm not sure) from this episode of Kiteretsu fits the trope:

Was watching it last night when I remembered this thread.

Author:  gauauu [ Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

From your page:
tepples wrote:
The character in Robo-Ninja Climb

His name is Robo-Ninja :wink:

Author:  tepples [ Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Characters balancing over one wheel

Today I learned that the page had been "launched" (accepted as a trope) on All The Tropes on 2018-05-23, after having numerous examples added to it.
One-Wheeled Wonder

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