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Sackboys

Sackboy is the default protagonist of the LittleBigPlanet games and a prominent mascot for Sony Computer Entertainment and the PlayStation family. He and his female counterpart, Sackgirl, are small, snuggly entities called sackpeople, sackfolk, or sack things. Made from a variety of materials and excelling at every task to which they are applied, these plucky characters are prepared to embark upon any adventure one can imagine!

Design and HistoryEdit

Sackboy is a lovingly hand-stitched doll that measures eight centimetres (three inches) in height. He is normally made of Brown Knit and features two lustrous Button Eyes. The shiny silver zipper on his torso nearly gives the impression of a formal tie. This fancy fastener holds in Sackboy's fluffy stuffing, though it is sometimes suggested that he has proper organs rather than pure cuddly filler.

When Media Molecule originally pitched LittleBigPlanet to Sony in 2006, it was a simple prototype called CraftWorld and starred a humble character named Mr. Yellowhead. Although he was only a programmer's placeholder added by Dave Smith, this primitive fellow established the proportions and spirit of all future sackfolk. Initially Molecules Mark Healey, Francis Pang, and Kareem Ettouney iterated through further evolutions of the yellow head concept. Mark strongly advocated a handmade style but the trio struggled to settle on a design. Dave eventually contributed some doodles of a baggy little guy with a trapezium-shaped head. This proved to be the key inspiration for Sackboy's ultimate form!

In his earliest days, Sackboy's zipper was intended to serve as a portal into himself. Players would build new worlds from within him in a most fanciful alternative to the Create Moon. He was also imagined with much stumpier legs, which were extended for practical reasons, and expected to suffer a variety of terribly gruesome deaths, which were discarded in favour of a lighter, friendlier atmosphere.

As time passes, Sackboy's basic design is continually supplemented with a staggering variety of costumes. As if the sheer quantity of trendy tunics and heroic hats wasn't enough, there are bits that glow in the dark, change colour, display animations, transform with mood, or even turn Sackboy into somebody else entirely! With all of these options and the infinite potential of applied stickers and decorations, Sackboy's style is never standing still!

In LittleBigPlanet 2 NPC Sackbots were introduced and they can be fitted with the players costumes and can look exactly like the player's Sack person.

Basic GameplayEdit

Sackboy grabinators

Grabinators allow Sackboy to lift items over his head!

Sackboy is traditionally steered with simple gamepad controls: L stick to run, X button to jump, and R1Button to grab things. While grabbing a loose object, L stick can be used to push it around and tapping X button will give a little extra effort. Pushing L1 button up moves Sackboy toward the background layers while pushing it down moves him closer to the foreground. Unlike traditional video game superstars, Sackboy doesn't need to press anything to duck: he'll automatically lower his noggin as the situation requires!

Eventually Sackboy's adventures lead him to powerups which may change how he moves or replace one of his standard actions. The Jetpack, for example, allows him to fly in any direction with L stick and increase flight speed with X button. The Paintinator, on the other hand, causes R1Button to fire projectiles and uses R stick to aim them. Depending on the situation, Sackboy may be able to cancel these modifications and return to normal controls with C button.

Sackboy expresses emotions using Dpad. Successive levels of happiness are displayed with Dpad up button, sadness with Dpad down button, anger with Dpad right button, and fear with Dpad left button. Arm motions are accomplished by holding R1Button or L1 button and moving R stick or L stick to wave the respective limb. The extent to which R1Button and L1 button are depressed also modifies how open Sackboy's hands are. Swiftly moving an arm from one side to the other results in a slap, which can knock down other sackfolk and sackbots.

Sackboy's greatest tool, the Popit, is accessed with SquareButton. Within it lie all the fruits of his adventures and the possibilities of creation. It allows him to redress himself, apply some graffiti to a wall, or smartly redecorate his Pod. It may also provide him with the option to self-destruct when faced with a sticky situation. If not equipped with a keyboard or microphone, Sackboy relies upon the Popit menu's Text Chat to communicate with his peers.

Controls during Create Mode vary and each game in the series tweaks Sackboy's standard inputs for various reasons. LittleBigPlanet PSP and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita must compensate for having fewer shoulder buttons than a DualShock, for example, while LittleBigPlanet 2 offers alternative controls for those using PlayStation Move. LittleBigPlanet Karting naturally requires an entirely different scheme for its automotive action. Sackboy's cheerful disposition and desire to navigate around hazards remain ubiquitous throughout, of course!

Other AppearancesEdit

As an increasingly immense international icon, Sackboy has appeared in a variety of settings outside the LittleBigPlanet series.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Sackboy was officially announced as a playable contender in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale on 14 August 2012 at a pre-Gamescom conference. As the accompanying trailer demonstrates, his attacks are adapted from many powerups and game mechanics of the LittleBigPlanet series. Among other things, he is shown using a Grappling Hook to approach an enemy, Grabinators to throw both objects and opponents, a Creatinator that fires cakes, and Bounce Pads both for jumping and deflecting projectiles.

Combat in PlayStation All-Stars revolves around pummeling competitors to build enough energy to unleash a super attack. Landing these special moves on opponents scores points and each character has three increasingly powerful abilities to consider. Sackboy's first super causes him to change costumes to match another Battle Royale participant while he hops through the air and defeats anyone in his path. His second special opens the Popit and allows him to drop a load of firey blocks that knock out whomever they touch. His ultimate ability traps all adversaries in prize bubbles and allows him to gad about the stage either collecting empty bubbles for energy or character bubbles to defeat the occupants.

Sackboy's arrival in All-Stars is accompanied by a stage called Dreamscape which combines The Gardens with aspects of the Buzz! quiz series. It has been indicated that another member of Battle Royale's cast will function as Sackboy's rival but his or her identity has not been revealed. Overall, Sackboy's varied and whimsical abilities are expected to favour a ranged combat style when the brawl begins on 20 November 2012. Additionally, users that pre-order the game will receive a set of exclusive costumes which includes a variation on Gloria's head scarf for Sackboy.

Everybody's Golf 5

Sackboy was added to Everybody's Golf 5, also called Everybody's Golf: World Tour in Europe and Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds in North America, as a downloadable character in March 2009. He possesses what are arguably the best stats of the novice golfers. Even if other characters are able to carry him around, his small stature won't deny him victory on the course! He doesn't much care for rain, though.

A variety of LittleBigPlanet fixtures accompany Sackboy to the links. He can enter the course through a checkpoint, fly away on a Jetpack excursion, or drag a giant LittleBigPlanet-brand golf ball onto the green in celebration. Besides his default Brown Knit appearance, Sackboy also has access to the Alfonzo, Sack Poncho, Marvin, and Yukiko costumes.

PlayStation Home

Sackboy's likeness graces multiple aspects of PlayStation Home. Statues of him can be seen in LittleBigPlanet-themed public spaces and acquired for display in users' personal areas. Virtual clothing items based on the series include an elaborate hoodie that is shaped to resemble Sackboy's head and torso.

In November 2011 a pair of premium items were introduced which allow Sackboy himself to explore Home's world. The first is the Sackboy Companion, which summons Sackboy to the user's side. He'll happily follow his owner anywhere they go, running and jumping to pass the time! The other is the Sackboy Play mat, a piece of furniture that can be placed while redecorating. It features a yellow floormat decorated with drawings of classic costumes and a checkpoint from which Sackboy can spawn. Once active, Sackboy will wander around, dance, and emote in response to nearby players.

Sackboy also appears behind the wheel of the LittleBigPlanet Karting Companion, a bonus given to participants in Home's 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo coverage. Like the more pedestrian companion described above, this item will follow its owner everywhere they go!

Other Games

Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic, based upon Media Molecule's pre-LittleBigPlanet legacy, was released on the PlayStation Network on 09 April 2009. Those who collected all available rewards were granted a full Sackboy costume! It's only fair in light of LittleBigPlanet's own Rag Doll Kung Fu Costume Kit.

Sackboy and an associated Cardboard Kart became available as downloadable skins for ModNation Racers in May 2010, paving the way for LittleBigPlanet Karting in 2012. Sackboy's ModNation appearance is very consistent with his original design compared to other guests like Kratos and Nathan Drake, who are somewhat deformed by their cameos.

In September 2010, Worms 2: Armageddon was added to the PlayStation Network with a variety of extra wearables for the eponymous annelids. Among these is a jaunty Sackboy hat!

Sackboy appeared as a secret creature in Invizimals: Shadow Zone in November 2010. Given the nature of the Invizimals, this means that Sackboy can be projected into any real world space and battle fantastic beasts by means of the PlayStation Portable's Go!Cam!

A sneakier cameo occurs in November 2011's Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Sackboy is seen hanging limply at the front of a bus during a cutscene. The tribulations of Drake and company don't seem to concern him at all!

The mobile LittleBigPlanet Sack App was introduced in October 2012. It not only stars Sackboy in a simple obstacle course minigame but also uses augmented reality to insert him into the player's environment!

In The Order 1886, In Chapter 3: Inequalities, after signaling the airship for assistance, follow LaFayette through a destroyed building and leap across the following gap. Once le Marquis follows, move through the window and find a familiar face from LittleBigPlanet. A Sackboy doll is sitting on a desk near the door.

Advertising

In October 2011, the "Michael" ad was released as part of Sony's "Long Live Play" campaign. Among the many notable faces appearing in the production are Sackboy and Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal. Although the former is a tiny doll and the latter is a homicidal clown, they find common ground over a game of chess.

In February 2012, Sony launched a commercial called "Discover the Unexpected" in which many of its characters are seen running through a city street. Sackboy leads a roster of sackpeople which includes Bernard, Sackosaurus Rex, and the Spacesuit Costume. The ad places him in close proximity to fellow stars Kratos and Ratchet, though it wouldn't be the first time he crossed paths with a Spartan or a Lombax!

Around the same time, Sony and Taco Bell began a joint promotion for the PlayStation Vita in the United States. It centered around a commercial called "Unlock the Box" in which Sackboy and Tag from ModNation Racers collaborate to commandeer a smartphone and enter its owner in the contest. Perhaps coincidentally, this interaction foreshadowed the involvement of ModNation creator United Front Games in the then-unannounced LittleBigPlanet Karting.

A year after its popular "Michael" advertisement, Sony introduced "The All-Star", a similarly-styled commercial from the same creators, to promote PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. It features a larger-than-usual Sackboy jetpacking into the middle of a fight between Kratos, Nathan Drake, and Cole MacGrath. Though seemingly intimidated by the Spartan warrior, he nevertheless manages to serve a blob of purple jelly into the fray!

Physical Merchandise

Unsurprisingly for a fellow who is himself a stuffed toy, Sackboy has been the subject of a wide range of physical merchandise. His cuddly cameos begin with the huggable 15 centimetre (6 inch) Original LittleBigPlanet Sackboy by Senario, which is sold both by itself and bundled with a similarly sized version of Gloria. He also appears as the less modest LittleBigPlanet 10" Naked Brown Knit Sackboy, also by Senario, which towers over the previous version at 25 centimetres. Many popular costumes are also available as plushes in these scales.

When a full body is too much, Sackboy's face may be obtained by itself with the LittleBigPlanet Sackboy Head Pillow by Great Eastern Entertainment, which provides 38 centimetres (15 inches) of smiling softness. Alternatively, for those not satisfied with reclining on an object, the same company's LittleBigPlanet Sackboy Full Head Pillow may be worn over one's entire noggin.

Multiple series of 10 centimetre (4 inch) action figures by Mezco depict Sackboy in various emotional states. He might be happy, angry, or simply encased in solid platinum! The company also produces a larger LittleBigPlanet Mega Deluxe Sackboy Action Figure which is 26.6 centimetres (10.5 inches) tall.

A further variety of keychains, towels, bracelets, patches, pins, posters, magnets, and other doodads bear Sackboy's likeness. There's rarely merchandise that wouldn't benefit from the application of a sackperson or two!

Other Goods

In addition to the downloadable content and other goodies described above, Sackboy is also depicted in various virtual products on the PlayStation Store. These include the LittleBigPlanet Theme for PSP XMB and the LittleBigPlanet "Sackboy on the Run" Dynamic Theme, which supplements the PlayStation 3's menu with an animated Sackboy running across the dreamscape at a time of day based on the system clock. Among the several costumes that have been adapted into avatars for the PlayStation Network is the LittleBigPlanet Sackboy Avatar, in which Sackboy is sitting and waving in his default appearance.


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