Aka - the graphical muscle that the artists can stretch. The results show that 2D graphics have clothed the top three best selling platform games. They also show that comparatively speaking; the lesser the graphical muscle on the platform, the bigger the head.
The data shows that through the ages, lead character’s heads have gotten smaller. In the lo-tech days, big heads were necessary so that distinctive features could be present in the characters – much like Mario’s moustache or Sonic’s spikes.
Both Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator and Jason Rubin, Crash’s creator, have revealed in interviews how the use of a large head on their characters, was merely to give more distinction to them on machines capable of lesser levels of detail. Of course, nowadays the method is no longer required, due to the amount of graphical creation power available.
Co-incidentally enough, Disney’s technologically-unrestricted Mickey Mouse, owns a head proportionally large in relation to his body – similar to Mario and Sonic head to body ratios - so perhaps big-head-to-body-ratio is a key factor in character distinction throughout all medias and not just low-spec games?
This is an important issue, as you need your character to be visible - but you also need to see what’s ahead. The results conclude that a good balance of both these factors lies in having the player character’s height take up between a fifth or sixth of the screen.
The two most extreme cases however, are Super Mario Sunshine and Jak and Daxter; Super Mario Sunshine’s zoom-out function stops when Mario becomes a 13th of the screen high and its zoom-in stops, when Mario’s a fifth high.
Jak and Daxter seems to prefer the up-close approach - possibly due to the fact that its movement skill sections are very much within a close-range proximity and far simpler than those found in Mario Sunshine.