->'''Houston''': ''I just thought of something... how do these platforms float?''
-->'''*[[GravityIsAHarshMistress CRASH]]*'''
->'''Samus''': ''NEVER question the physics in a video game!''
-->-- [[http://www.metroid2002.com/maru_mari/030.html Maru Mari]]

Ah, the floating platform. A staple of platformers and many other games beside. Their popularity is usually attributed to their use in the ''{{Mario}}'' series.

What do floating platforms do? They float. In the air. Unattached to anything (some may arguably be attached to a background wall). Inexplicably. Usually motionless, sometimes moving in a circular or back-and-forth pattern. Their sole purpose of existence is to allow you, the player, to jump onto them to get to where you are going. After all, ''you'' [[SelectiveGravity can't fly]].

If it just so happens that you ''can'' fly, floating platforms will serve the opposite purpose and become inane obstacles in your way, forcing you to go around them. Unless, of course, you can only fly short distances, in which case, they allow you a rest to recharge your flight meter or whatever the game happens to use; maybe all you have to do is land for an instant and you're ready to go.

Floating platforms aren't just immune to gravity, but to all laws of physics. Regardless of what happens to them, they'll either just stay frozen in place as if in some state of dimensional stasis or keep moving in their pre-defined pattern, ignoring all thrusts of inertia which attempt to affect them -- unless it's a TemporaryPlatform, in which case the weight of the player will suddenly shock it back to reality in a couple of seconds and cause it to fall, crumble, or vanish. And woe is the player who lands (or, more accurately, doesn't land) on a FakePlatform.

Some games try to justify this, often by putting jet thrusters or something on floating platforms, or by making the platforms clouds (although that raises FridgeLogic of how it's solid enough to support the player and why it's perfectly shaped like a platform).

Floating platforms are quickly becoming a DiscreditedTrope in video games. Game developers are now opting for ways to make them seem more realistic to preserve immersion, such as attaching them to the surrounding terrain or making up excuses (see: {{Flight}}) as to why they're just hovering there. But other than that, this is ArtMajorPhysics and RuleOfFun.
----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/{{BioShockInfinite}}'': Almost the entire game happens in the floating city of Columbia, kept aloft by [[AppliedPhlebotinum the exploitation of quantum suspension of particles]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Bug}}!'': The ''entirety'' of the six levels take place on a floating terrain - which is actually part of a movie set.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'':
** Present and a SubvertedTrope where there are platforms in the middle of the empty air but it could be justifiably connected to the background wall of the castle. But that doesn't explain why the platforms may move or the platforms that are floating on empty air in the gardens.
** The moving platforms are SOMETIMES subverted when you can see them being connected to a set of wires or a set of chains or cables.
*** The castle is also often magically created by Dracula, and as such doesn't necessarily need to make much sense.
* ''Videogame/{{Clonk}}'': Gravity is somewhat selective, similar to ''Videogame/{{Minecraft}}'', and ground that you dig out (unlike sand) will simply float there. Bizarrely, they can still collapse due to earthquakes. There are also quite a few levels that take place entirely in the sky. Falling off these is a bad idea. Also, all objects (separate entities, as opposed to materials which are parts of the level) that behave solid are unaffected by all gravitation.
* ''Conquest of the Stratosphere'': Invents Phlebotinum called floatstone, a mineral that allows the floating fortresses of the game to--float. In practice, this is an virtually inconsequential feature of the game as the only combat that occurs from the ground involve artillery units that can missile you down, and you need to be use a special aerial view to target them. Otherwise, all fighting occurs at a single altitude.
* ''CreaVures'': Giant dragonflies act as floating platforms.
* ''VideoGame/CrystalCaves'': Has mechanical platforms with jet engines, allowing them to hover. There are also some classic floating platforms, though; since it's a game with a SideView, let's just say they're actually attached to the background.
* ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'':
** Largely averted, as the platforms are usually firmly affixed to a wall. When they aren't, it's clearly magic. At one point, the game looks like it's setting you up for a jumping puzzle with classic floating platforms... and then [[SceneryAsYouGo the platforms fuse into a bridge as you come near.]]
** One level in ''Devil May Cry'' sees you having to traverse a series of ''invisible'' floating platforms, presumably made of some kind of magical energy, to obtain the item needed to unlock the last room and proceed to the BossFight. These magical platforms are only visible when the lightning flashes from the storm outside temporarily illuminate them.
* ''DrawnToLife'':
** Has you draw two different varieties of cloud to serve as platforms, one sort which is stationary, and another sort which moves up and down or back and forth. And in the "floating in water" department, it later has you draw two kinds of ice cube, one which is stationary, and one which floats back and forth on the water. Certain parts also have floating, stationary Shadow Goo platforms which you ooze through.
** The main gimmick of ''Drawn to Life'' gives the player the ability to add whatever justification he or she likes. Sure the game advises you to draw clouds, but there's nothing stopping you drawing a metal platform with rocket thrusters, or a giant balloon, or some kind of non-moving bird. They'll still be floating platforms, but at least the justification is in the hands of the player.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'': The few platforms that do float are either powered by crystals and magic (Tu'Lia) or are in an area created by ungodly formless beings (Promivion).
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'': in 500 AF, evacuating Academia has somehow turned the city into a series of floating platforms, some of which also rotate.
* ''VideoGame/{{Glider}} PRO'': This is mostly a non-issue: tables rest on floors, and cabinets and shelves are presumably attached to the back walls of rooms. (They're also usually more like DeadlyWalls than platforms.) However, some user-created houses could have cabinets and shelves floating in the sky or in space: e.g., the notorious "Roofs" series.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'': Features floating platforms at the tops of the four Elemental Lighthouses; the Lighthouses are similar to {{Evil Tower Of Ominousness}}es until you beat the EvilCounterpart or the BigBad). The floating platforms are supposedly held up by Psyenergy (the series' version of magic).
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'': This game and its expansions are unusual in their use of this trope in their Xen segments (where the platforms aren't supported by any visible force), since the game's popularity is in part grounding the surreality of fighting aliens in a realistic environment.
* ''VideoGame/HarryPotter'': These games use them, especially the earlier ones. Note [[MalevolentArchitecture Hogwarts]] has got to be one of the few settings where floating platforms [[AWizardDidIt actually make complete sense]].
* The towers (race tracks) in ''VideoGame/IggysReckinBalls'' are made up entirely of floating platforms.
* ''VideoGame/IWannaBeTheGuy'': In one particular point, a spiked part of the ground actively floats up to try and kill you. It does have a thruster but it's probably just there to give it a larger hitbox to kill you with.
* Freeware ''VideoGame/NinjaSenki'' features plenty of these starting from the very first level. Sometimes they're attached to walls, but usually they are allowed to defy gravity.
* ''JakAndDaxter'': JustifiedTrope for the most part in this series, as all floating platforms are made with {{Precursor}} technology. In [[JakAndDaxterThePrecursorLegacy the first game]] they are explicitly 'fueled' by [[GreenRocks blue eco]], the eco of motion.
* ''VideoGame/LegendOfKalevala'': Has plenty of them, especially in the EternalEngine stage.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** In this series, some platforms, some more of which are hardlight, are activated by touch, lift you up, and then disappear, whether you like it or not.
** The most jarring example has to be in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', where, for no real reason, a crumbly-rock type platform hovers in the room you get the slingshot in. Saves all of three seconds of time, and just stands out in a game where most of the platforms are well placed and build, and the only floating ones are in more "magical" areas - why one suddenly needs to drop just stands out.
* ''VideoGame/LittleBigPlanet'':
** AvertedTrope AND Handwaved: All platforms must be attached to something in order appear floating unless of course it's made of dark matter then it just plain floats.
** Thankfully, the sequel lets you play it straight by attaching a tool to an object that allows you to make it float, making dark matter redundant.
* ''VideoGame/MagicalWhipWizardsOfPhantasmalForest'': Very common and there is no explanation. The platforms are just floating in midair in the middle of the forest.
* ''VideoGame/MapleStory'': Doesn't even bother to explain away why there are floating platforms ''everywhere'', from meadows to volcanoes. Given that it is basically a cutesy MMO MetroidVania, this is probably excusable.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': Collectors use hexagonal platforms inside their ship and bases. They seem to be built for quick movement around the huge caverns they seem to favour, but have conveniently located blocks for Shepard to take cover behind attacked. During one mission, the Collectors use one of these to spring an ambush by spoiler:allowing Commander Shepard to pilot one out into open space before locking it down and sending drones after the Commander. Shepard systematically blasts through every one before EDI can hack the platform and Shepard can escape. These platforms probably float around using mass effect fields.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'': Floating platforms in these games are usually justified by having propulsion jets attached. The jets' condition also indicate their status. Platforms with smoking jets are {{Temporary Platform}}s.
* ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'':
** Has jet-powered floating platforms. They simply sit on the ground when the power is off, and one puzzle involves filling a room with water to float such platforms. However, there are also plenty of non-powered floating platforms, including an underwater crash site with perpetually-floating debris that's perfectly spaced out for Samus to hop across.
** Also, the game never gives any explanation on why some platforms have rockets attached to them. Presumably the Space Pirates did it, but why would they bother strapping rockets to hunks of rocks?
** Well, they're already known for wacky experiments...also, they really like jumping.
*** It's more likely that [[AWizardDidIt the Chozo did it.]] They're the ones with the floating city, after all.
* ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'': This sandbox game allows players to build up structures, but the physics engine only allows for some blocks to be affected by gravity. Only sand, gravel, water, and lava will fall if the space directly beneath it is unoccupied. All other blocks are not affected by gravity and can be used to create floating platforms.
* ''{{Myst}} IV'': Hovering rocks are an important feature of Spire, one of the Ages. Adjusting the [[spoiler: electrical currents]] to raise, lower, or propel them is required to complete that Age's puzzles.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl'' (''Pokémon Platinum''): Has the area known as the Distortion World, and it's filled with only floating platforms.
* ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'': The Unstationary Scaffold fits, requiring a button or trigger to activate, but otherwise not unlike those in ''Half-Life''.
* ''VideoGame/ThePowderToy'': All solids behave like this.
* ''VideoGame/{{Revolution 1986}}'': They do pop up in the levels.
* ''VideoGame/RogueGalaxy'': You get a gun which can create floating platforms.
* ''Videogame/SecretAgent'': Has a lot of FloatingPlatforms, though it always takes care to make them at least a little realistic; even in outdoor settings, all platforms are visibly attached to something solid, like a pole. Though, curiously, the ''clouds'' sometimes serve as FloatingPlatforms.
* ''VideoGame/SeriousSam: The Second Encounter'': Has these in the forms of giant hovering caged fans. A variation is the ones that will sink while you are standing on them, but are not temporary platforms as they will stop sinking at a certain level, but still may sink enough to prevent you from making your next jump or you are required to stay on it long enough to jump to a lower area that would have been impossible to reach from a higher point due to an overhang. Also some of them move sideways while floating.
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'':
** This game and its sequel often have entire floating freaking ''roadways'' which no car would ever drive on, for reasons including, well, the loops, and, of course, the fact that there's no access point unless you can jump or fly. Also, as in the 2D games, there are numerous small platforms attached to nothing.
** The best example in the series would be Sky Sanctuary in ''Sonic & Knuckles'', which is the ruin of an entire floating city, traversed mostly vertically instead of horizontally as with most levels. Appropriately, the place collapses at the end of both Sonic and Knuckles's respective versions of the level.
* ''SuperMarioBros'':
** This series is fond of this. However, in ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'', the very first level had but a single floating piece of land called the [[LampshadeHanging floating island]] that looks ridiculously out of place.
** Ironically, Shigeru Miyamoto once stated in an interview that he still has some issues with floating platforms, due to the lack of any real logic behind them. He then said that he pretends that they are attached to the background in the 2D games.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'': Almost every level in every game of this series has some of these; heck, the entire level is often a wad of inert terrain floating inexplicably in the air.
* ''Franchise/TombRaider 2'': Included some of these in the next-to-last level, in the form of "jade islands"--which were outside the confines of Lara's otherwise relatively mundane reality.
* ''VideoGame/VagrantStory'': Floating platforms, or "cloudstones," are considered proof of very powerful (and ''dark'') magick, and they only exist within Lča Monde. Later on, Ashley acquires a Grimoire that allows him to raise cloudstones himself. At the end of the game, when [[spoiler: all the magic ceased to exist in Lča Monde, the cloudstones are seen tumbling onto the ground.]]
* ''VideoGame/AValleyWithoutWind'': Features player-placed wooden platforms that are critical for navigating dungeons, but must have a backdrop to adhere to - trying to place them on empty air results in them dropping to the ground. Chunks of land can also naturally occur suspended in mid-air, but are always held up by the background.
* ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe'': Floating platforms are lifted by propellers on the bottom. Speeding up or slowing down time will also speed up or slow down the propellers, causing the platforms to rise or fall respectively.
* ''VideoGame/{{Worms}}'':
** Many of the maps have inexplicably floating platforms. And that's just to start out with; as in so many other artillery games, you can blast away everything around a single pixel, and it will remain gravity-proof.
** Scorch aka "Scorched Earth", self-proclaimed "the mother of all games", averts it - by default, the ground particles fall. XScorch and Atomic Tanks follow the suite.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Films ]]

* A rare example and justification of this: the newer ''JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth'' movie has floating stones large enough to stand on suspended by magnetic force.
* In James Cameron's ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', massive islands of stone known as the Hallelujah Mountains (Thundering Rocks to the natives) float high above the planet Pandora's surface. It is [[HandWave loosely explained]] that the [[AppliedPhlebotinum magnetic energies]] from the literal {{Unobtainium}} keep them suspended mid-air due to the [[TechnoBabble Meissner Effect]]. It's also known that the resulting magnetic "Flux Vortex" also interferes with the navigational instruments of human aircraft. The Principle is actually scientifically sound; A superconductor like unobtanium would float whe exposed to a sufficiently powerful magnetic field. However, a magnetic field strong enough to make mountains float would do a lot more than interfere with navigation.
* In WesternAnimation/ToyStory2, Rex is seen playing a Buzz Lightyear video game, and walks up some magically appearing floating steps to fight the final boss.
* When Queen Amidala's starship arrives on Coruscant in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', it docks at a floating landing platform. [[NoOSHACompliance One with no apparent handrails,]] which was mocked severely by ''WebComic/DarthsAndDroids''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Robert Jordan's Literature/TheWheelOfTime series feature the Ways, which are seemingly suspended in nothing. AWizardDidIt.
* The Worlds of Power Bionic Commando book actually features moving floating platforms without the slightest bit of humour.
* Laputa in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. It is flying with help of magnetic force. Or so they say.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Manhua ]]

* As the game Long Wei creates in ''Manhua/InfinityGame'' is prodominately made of pillars and bars, a lot of them float and are mostly used by enemies. The team eventually make their way to a falsely titled "floating city" which is really a series of floating platforms, that they reach by using an anti-gravity spell.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Card Games ]]

* In the MagicTheGathering expansion ''Zendikar'', several geographic formations float in mid-air, including floating plains, mountains, and islands. This can be clearly seen in the artwork of the appropriate land cards. Of course, this expansion is based on the idea that the land is alive and is very volatile/unstable.
** The ''Urza's Saga'' storyline for ''Magic'' featured the {{Heaven}}-like world of Serra's Realm, which was made up of [[http://magiccards.info/br/en/22.html idyllic meadows]] and [[http://magiccards.info/us/en/325.html majestic cathedrals]] floating on huge slabs of rock.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/BarbieAndTheSecretDoor'', Alexa, Romy, and Nori use a floating platform to get around Zinnia. It floats via magic.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Everybody is currently positioned on a giant floating platform which we can all navigate around in all directions suspended above a BottomlessPit, with much too much of a BrokenBridge to get to the next platform. Also planes.
** Although our platform is falling. It's just moving sideways fast enough that the ground (really, super-hot plasma) keeps curving away underneath us.
----