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Shrinking means losing height, becoming smaller. Shrinking characters are usually controlled by the player. Shrinking can sometimes be a good thing or a bad thing.
A Good Thing
Shrinking can be due to taking a power up. By becoming smaller, the character can get into places that were impossible to get to before.
An example of this can be found in New Super Mario Bros
with the mini mushroom
. By taking this mushroom, the player would shrink and be able to get through tiny openings, walk on water, run faster and jump (glide) longer.
A Bad Thing
Shrinking can mean that you have just lost health. After coming in contact with an enemy, your character becomes smaller. In Mario Bros
, the shrinking system works like this: You start out with a power up, you get hit once, you lose the power up but keep you size; get hit once more and you shrink to about half your size; get hit again and it's game over.
Shrinking is usually met with a sound effect. In other games, shrinking can mean that you can't attack certain enemies that are bigger than you.