Created By: Ekuran on April 11, 2011 Last Edited By: Ekuran on April 14, 2011
Troped

Infinite

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Trope
You could say it's... loopy.
How Did We Miss This One?, Needs a Better Description, Needs More Examples, Up for Grabs.

redirect: The Infinite, Lemniscate, Infinitely Big Number

Laconic: The limitless number that's often (incorrectly) used to denote something really big.

Infinity. Everything there is, has been, and ever will be. It's literally limitless.

When a big number just isn't BIG enough , writers turn to the Infinite. Rarely do writers touch upon on it's immeasurable nature, sometimes even assigning it to something that's just really large, although that version is usually Played for Laughs or is just the closest approximation they (or the characters) could find.

When you apply it to a character, you may be flirting with Immortality and its many related tropes. It's usually indicative of a world-breaking Eldritch Abomination if they happen to be Infinite in some way.

See all related Number Tropes, which can't possibly compare. You can, however, compare a Mouthful of Pi, which is Infinite in it's own way as it goes on and on and..., well, you get the idea. Don't forget that nothing is More Than Infinite. And if you were wondering, that sideways 8 thing is called a Lemniscate.

If you were looking for the Tabletop Game, you can find it here.

Yeah, I need help with this one.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In the "Waking the Dragons" season of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dartz' ultimate beast has an attack power of infinity, represented by the loopy symbol. Yugi defeats him by creating a combo with an attack of...infinity plus one.
    • There are several other cards that have Infinite attack and/or defense, most notably Exodia.
  • Not sure about the math, but it's not that hard to think mu has some connection to the idea of infinity, and it's the meaning behind Mugen's name in Samurai Champloo, probably in reference to the fact that nothing seems able to permanently kill him.

Comic Books
  • The Ultraverse had a reboot when they were bought out by Marvel at which time every surviving series had an issue numbered "Infinity."
  • In Marvel Comics, there was a one shot character named "Crazy Eight" - she wanted to be called "Infinity" to symbolize how nothing ever ends, but when an ignorant cop saw her Calling Card he reported it as "some kind of crazy 8" and the name stuck.
  • In an issue of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Sonic collects his millionth (or billionth?) ring and has a Disney Acid Sequence that eventually leads to him running around a giant ring shaped like the infinity symbol. You might call it a sort of "Mobius strip".

Literature
  • The Everlasting Gobstopper is an infinite hard candy. With finite volume and weight. Don't think too much about it.
  • Christopher Priest's novel Inverted World takes place on a weird planet that's shaped like a rotated hyperbola. In one direction it tapers to an infinitely long, thin spire, and in the other it spreads out into an infinite, flat plane. This means that its surface area is infinite, although its volume and mass are finite. It's actually Earth, seen through bizarrely distorted perceptions.
  • The concept of the infinite Moebius Strip is central to the main character's powers in Necroscope.

Live-Action TV

Video Games

Web Original

Real Life
Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • April 11, 2011
    SonicLover
    ...What, exactly, would qualify as an example here?
  • April 11, 2011
    Rolf
    If it's everything infinite theres a... lot of examples.
  • April 11, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^Any mentioning of infinity.

    ^^And yeah, there's a shit load of examples. It's why I was apprehensive about putting it in here in the first place. But... writers use infinity all the time, so we have to add it. It would be a disgrace not to.

    And as a side note, you guys can freely edit it this one. I need the help.
  • April 11, 2011
    SonicLover
    May I suggest you sit down for a moment and think about what this trope really is?
  • April 11, 2011
    Ekuran
    Your probably right.

    But, we still probably need something about infinity. Any idea on how to make this tropable?

    Perhaps we should limit to things specifically about the Infinite, and not any infinite (x) things. Or limit it to things that are infinite but also a major plot point.
  • April 11, 2011
    c0ry
    A common feature of world-breaking Eldrich Abominations.
  • April 11, 2011
    Generality
    Infinity is an important concept. Also, it's something we don't encounter on a common basis. It's a trope if anything is. The thing is, it's impossible to visually represent, so we tend to get indirect and symbolic references. When you apply it to a character, you flirt with Immortality and its many related tropes.
  • April 11, 2011
    Ekuran
    I somehow find it amusing that Generality is supporting The Infinite, but that could just be me.
  • April 11, 2011
    JCCyC
    • In the "Waking the Dragons" season of Yu Gi Oh, Dartz' ultimate beast has an attack power of infinity, represented by the loopy symbol. Yugi defeats him by creating a combo with an attack of...infinity plus one.
  • April 11, 2011
    Komodin
    Wait, is this trope supposed to be about the infinity symbol, or the concept of infinity itself?
  • April 11, 2011
    Ekuran
    The concept.
  • April 11, 2011
    JCCyC
    The Everlasting Gobstopper is an infinite hard candy. With finite volume and weight. Don't think too much about it.
  • April 11, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Comic Books: The Ultraverse had a reboot when they were bought out by Marvel at which time every surviving series had an issue numbered "Infinity."
  • April 11, 2011
    batgirl1
    Don't forget that Infinity is blue on the outside.

    This trope is usually associated with fantasy -- magic, mythology, etc., although it does come up in Real Life mathematical concepts.

  • April 11, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Phantom Tollbooth: Milo comes across a stairway to Infinity, which he walks up for a while without ever getting there.
  • April 11, 2011
    X2X
    Zero, the Deuteragonist (later Breakout Character) of Mega Man X, is designated by this symbol for his DWN serial number. Fitting, as he is the last and greatest of Doctor Wily's creations.
  • April 11, 2011
    Ghilz
    How is this a trope? It's a mathematical concept. But not a story telling device. It's void of meaning. The same way if I made a page on Eight and just listed examples of stuff with the number 8.

    Compare with Number Of The Beast which actually means SOMETHING. Or Rule Of Three - again, it has a meaning. Or Four Is Death.

    What's the meaning here? Are we just going to list stuff that's infinite? That's People Sit On Chairs teritory.

    Now, you can make a page on how infinity is sometimes treated as just being "Really a big number" rather than actual infinite. That's worth a page. But Infinity on it's own is not much of a concept.
  • April 12, 2011
    Hukky
    But we also have a page for pi. If pi is a trope, then so is this.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^^It's now noted to be commonly used in place of really large numbers.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ghilz
    ^^ Read the page. The page is not about Pi. It's about how Pi is used as a shorthand for science, geekdom and intelligence. To be more specific, it refers to someone listing the digits of pi as a sign of intellect.

    ^ The trope could then use a different name, so people do not think it's just about inifinity as a number, Dunno, something like Infinitely Big Number
  • April 12, 2011
    fulltimeD
    The Infinity symbol was used by the Soldiers of the One in Caprica.
  • April 12, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In Marvel Comics there was a one shot character named "Crazy Eight" - she wanted to be called "Infinity" to symbolize how nothing ever ends, but when an ignorant cop saw her Calling Card he reported it as "some kind of crazy 8" and the name stuck.
  • April 12, 2011
    Jordan
    Not sure about the math, but I think mu has some connection to the idea of infinity, and it's the meaning behind Mugen's name in Samurai Champloo, probably in reference to the fact that nothing seems able to permanently kill him.
  • April 12, 2011
    LeeM
    Christopher Priest's novel Inverted World takes place on a weird planet that's shaped like a rotated hyperbola. In one direction it tapers to an infinitely long, thin spire, and in the other it spreads out into an infinite, flat plane. This means that its surface area is infinite, although its volume and mass are finite. It's actually Earth, seen through bizarrely distorted perceptions.
  • April 12, 2011
    FuzzyBoots
    The explanation of Infinity in The Phantom Tollbooth is one of the best ones I've found for explaining the concept to people. As regards infinity, the closest I can think of where it's tropable is either situations where the lemniscate is important (as per the Crazy 8 example or Snake's infinite ammo clip) or situations where infinity is a known quantity somehow (c.f. The Everlasting Gobstopper).
    • In Metal Gear Solid, the infinite ammo code works in-universe because the clip of the gun is shaped as a lemniscate so that it's constantly refeeding.
  • April 12, 2011
    Stratadrake
    If this trope is about infinity, it should be named Infinity. Nouns always work better than adjectives as standalone trope titles.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    Can't. There's a work that already has the name, as you can tell.
  • April 12, 2011
    Generality
    The existing work could be moved to a subspace to make room for the trope.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    Yep, just did that. Another one is under Infinity now. I'll delete the original when this trope gets launched.
  • April 12, 2011
    RodrigoVega
    I'm with Ghilz, this doesn't seem like a trope to me at all. A trope is a pattern in fiction "Have you noticed how in this work there is X and also in this other work, but in the third work X is more like Y?" Have you noted that in some tropes... there is infinity? infinity is mentioned?

    This could be a trope if it was about how infinity can be treated in fiction not just list when it is treated.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    "Have you noticed how it's been 'noted to be commonly used in place of really large numbers'".
  • April 12, 2011
    AnonymousCat
    I'd say this sounds a bit more like a Useful Notes page than an actual trope.

    Although, using infinity as a shorthand for "really big number" does sound like a trope, so perhaps that could be split off and called something like Finitely Infinite.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    A Useful Notes page would be a bit too much for a single #, even if it's infinity.

    And the trope has been corrected.
  • April 12, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    Tom Paris once designed an engine that went to infinity (due to the writers using infinity as a substitute for "really fast" without understanding that infinite speed is not something you can accelerate towards)! Arthur Dent probably considered this Infinitely Improbable as a drive though (Douglas Adams of course being well aware of how ridiculous the same concept would be and playing it for all the absurdity it was worth, and pre-dating the "straight" use by Voyager by quite some considerable time).

    The concept of the infinite Moebius Strip is central to the main character's powers in Necroscope, apparently if you can calculate the infinite you can move anywhere in space and time.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ghilz
    ^^ Problem is most of the examples (and the title) don't really follow the trope's new direction (Infinity as a really big number).
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    The title stays for convenience and recognition. The examples will be edited later.
  • April 12, 2011
    0dd1
    • In an issue of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Sonic collects his millionth (or billionth?) ring and has a Disney Acid Sequence that eventually leads to him running around a giant ring shaped like the infinity symbol. You might call it a sort of "Mobius strip".

    (Just if we ARE keeping examples.)
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    Large number leads to infinity in an acid trip. Sounds good to me.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ghilz

    Also note that Main.Infinity is taken
  • April 12, 2011
    0dd1
    @Ghilz - Is there a Games namespace or something we can move it to?
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    I'm aware of this, and I've already moved a copy of it to here as a result. I've also moved all related links to it as well.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ghilz
    ^^ Works always get priority over tropes for name space. (or so people on TRS keep insisting). Don't replace the main namespace page without discussing it on the forum first.
  • April 12, 2011
    Ekuran
    Oh for fucks sake. I'll just go back and link the related pages... again.
  • April 13, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Works get priority over tropes or pre-existing terms unless the work is named after the trope or term in question (which is a matter of debate). Infinity is a well-established concept predating video games.
  • April 13, 2011
    Ekuran
    ...

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCK, do I have to change it, again, because I really don't want to.
  • April 13, 2011
    Ghilz
    That being said. I do suggest using another name. Simply because it's not a trope about Infinity. It's a trope about "Infinity as a big number."

    A more accurate title goes a long way to avoiding trope decay.

    And no, you don't have to change it yet. If the time comes to do it, I'll do it for ya.
  • April 13, 2011
    Ekuran
    Thanks, but I think I'll just use a different title. This isn't even really about infinity anyway.
  • April 13, 2011
    Ghilz
    I did suggest Infinitely Big Number. But I am terrible at naming stuff.
  • April 13, 2011
    Ekuran
  • April 13, 2011
    Rolf
    PI is not infinitely large, being approxately 3.14, but you cannot calculate till you get to the last digit of Pi as it's infinitely long.
  • April 13, 2011
    Ekuran
    It goes on for infinity. That's why I put it as "Infinite in it's own way."
  • April 14, 2011
    jate88
    Why does infinity get all the attention? What about negative infinity and the infinitesimal numbers?
  • April 14, 2011
    Ekuran
    Add trivia knowledge to the Real Life section.

    And we can try to add every mathematical concept, but they wouldn't get past here since they're either not used often or they're not even tropable. Ifinity=Really big number for some writers on the other hand is tropable, and, well, infinity get's used a lot.

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