It's 100% true. Well, maybe not 100%. You kinda sorta gotta be able to jump in most platform games, BUT STILL!
When I was younger, I spent most of my time playing Mario World less concerned with beating the game, and more with just treating the levels like sandboxes to play in. This included a lot of making Mario emote by looking up and ducking (and hearing the music shift to "just finish the level already" mode a lot). I still reflexively make characters tilt their heads up towards things if the option is there.
I also liked doing such things in Sonic games, and especially in that one level in Sonic 3 in which I was like "what is this ancient temple like place where do I go I'm totally lost I can't go fast WHY CAN'T I GO FAST?!"
Making the characters "talk" by nodding is something I can't recall ever doing as a kid, and is something I've seen people do in Let's Plays. I LOVE IT O_O