->'''Eames:''' They come here every day to sleep?\\
'''Elderly man:''' No. They come to be woken up. The dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise, sir?
-->-- ''Film/{{Inception}}''

A character, usually a hero, is knocked out or goes to sleep and wakes up in their own [[HappyPlace personal]] [[{{Heaven}} paradise]]. Whatever they wanted most all their life is finally theirs.

Actually, they're being held prisoner by another character who is using something; a machine, a PlatonicCave, or other {{phlebotinum}} to cause very intense and very realistic hallucinations. Sometimes the lotus-eater doesn't know it's all fake. Sometimes they do know but don't care. In order to escape, the hero has to [[BrokenMasquerade break the masquerade]] and give up their life's dream. If they're in too deep, friends hoping to mount an OrpheanRescue have to force the hero to BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind in order to escape. More often than not, a DreamApocalypse occurs.

Bonus points go to the villains if they attempt to drive the protagonist to [[DespairEventHorizon despair]] by turning the dream into a nightmare or otherwise play on the protagonist's emotions.

Because of the [[SchrodingersButterfly nature of this trope]], it often lends itself to doubts after the characters 'escape'. Sometimes it isn't clear whether their escape is genuine or not. This can range from EpilepticTrees theories by a handful of viewers, all the way up to extreme canon cases of a DreamWithinADream. In this tone, a particularly [[FridgeHorror Fridge Horrific]] ending for a villain (or a hero) may see them fall under the spell of the Machine, but only for a second before escaping, defeating their enemies, and re-making the world in their image. Cut back to reality, where they're still under the thrall of the Machine.

Often lends itself to {{aesop}}s against [[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife spending all]] of [[ThisLoserIsYou your time]] in [[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame a virtual fantasy world]].

In the majority of these cases, YourMindMakesItReal. May also be an [[TailorMadePrison exitless]] HappyPlace or not-so-happy OntologicalMystery or PsychologicalTormentZone. If the place isn't happy, but the hero is still made to believe it's real over his old life, it's a CuckooNest. May be used in conjunction with the LeaveYourQuestTest to create TheFinalTemptation. May be used to set up an EpiphanicPrison. If an entire society lives in one, it's a TerminallyDependentSociety. May involve MindRape at some point. Possible to involve VictoryIsBoring.

The trope name comes from ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', where Odysseus meets a society living off narcotic plants, to the extent that anyone who eats of the lotus no longer cares about anything else, including going home. This makes the trope OlderThanFeudalism.

'''Beware of spoilers. The revelation that the events in the story are just an induced fantasy is often used as a major plot twist.'''
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''GregoryHorrorShow'' has a weird variation. The hotel run by Gregory is the embodiment of the desire to escape from reality, and Gregory and his inhabitants will try their damndest to drive you mad and keep you there. You can escape, but of the two people we've seen escape, both eventually end up coming back and becoming one of the hotel's twisted inhabitants.
* ''Manga/AngelSanctuary'':
** The protagonist, Setsuna, is put into a dream world where Sara is not his sister but his girlfriend, his best friend Kira is a happy intellectual big brother figure, the guys [[spoiler:he had been framed for killing]] were still alive, and the overall Angels vs Angels thing was just a dream. He is awoken by the desperate crying for help of Kira, [[spoiler:who actually is the spirit of his sword, who actually is Lucifer]], while the dream Sara tries to convince him to stay in the dream.
** When Setsuna and Kato try to break out of Uriel's realm, a part of Enma-o's body places an illusion on Katou where he sees his family and himself as a little child, his sister (played by Enma-o) asks him to put away the bat because he doesn't need it here; even his father [[spoiler:who isn't his father at all, only the husband of his mother]] is nice and kind and tells him that he got that short temper from him. [[spoiler: Then, he stabs Enma-o with his staff and breaks the seal on the cauldron.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' Episode 178, [[spoiler: Ichigo is trapped within a special technique created by Saiga, a bakkoutou weapon used by the assassins of the Kasumi-Ooji Clan. He is trapped within a memory of his childhood where his mother dies, and he is alone, waiting by the river at the spot she was killed.]] Upon breaking out, Ichigo pulled out his [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Visored mask]] and promptly delivered an ass-whupping to his tormentor.
* Inflicting one of these is the power of the kakugane "Alice in Wonderland" in ''BusouRenkin''.
* In ''Anime/{{Persona 4}}: The Animation'', [[spoiler: Shadow Mitsuo pulls this on Yu in episode 12]], [[ContinuityNod and we get to see first-hand what being hit with Evil Touch]] [[AdaptationExpansion and inflicted with the Fear ailment really means]].
** [[spoiler: Yu does this ''to himself'' in episode 26, purposefully trapping himself in a GroundhogDayLoop after watching all his friends be dragged to their deaths by Izanami.]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' gives this trope a twist by having the Lotus Eater Machine actually be a highly addictive ''drug'', called Refrain. It's popular amongst the conquered Japanese (and may have been developed specifically as a weapon against them), since it causes the user to relive happy memories.
* ''KeroroGunsou'' episode 3: After trying various methods to disguise Keroro so he can go outside, Tamama tries the plant "Dreaming Alpha", which sticks its tentacles into Keroro's head and makes him hallucinate that he's in a wonderful field of flowers, but almost instantly drains his body away. (The plant itself is oddly similar to the one in the [[{{Homage}} Alan Moore]] story.)
** In the English dub, it's explicitly referred to as the 'Keronian Purple Mercy Lotus-Eating Lotus'.
* The [[ArtifactOfDoom Book of Darkness]] uses this against Fate Testarossa in the second season of ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs,'' [[spoiler: locking her into a dream world where her MadScientist mother Precia is [[LoveMakesYouEvil alive and sane]], Fate's late mentor and maid Linith, and Alicia, [[CloningBlues the dead girl she was cloned from]], also lived as her older sister]]. After [[spoiler:making peace with Alicia]], Fate shatters the dimension with Bardiche's [[{{BFS}} Zanber form]].
** It was more like ''for'' her, than ''against'' her. The Book of Darkness considered using it on Fate as sort of a MercyKill. She wanted Fate to sleep peacefully and happily within her.
*** The Book of Darkness also planned on doing this to her master [[IllGirl Hayate]], and the rest of the Earth, believing Hayate wished for pain of the real world to just be a dream and disappear. She drops the plan when Hayate tells that isn't what she wants.
** The experience also had the effect of helping Fate come to terms with herself [[spoiler:as a separate person from Alicia]], resulting in her accepting Lindy's offer to adopt her in the third A's Sound Stage.
* This is the main ability of Yukariko Sanada's CHILD in ''Anime/{{Mai-HiME}}''. An entire episode is devoted to this, as she uses its power of [[MasterOfIllusion illusion]] in an attempt to break Mai's spirit. [[spoiler: Mai manages to decipher it's all a lie and escapes from the HappyPlace, so the defeated Yukariko accepts her loss and commits suicide rather than hurting her further, bringing her evil lover Ishigami down alongside her.]]
** She uses the same treatment on Yukino and Haruka in the fourth volume of [[Manga/{{Mai-HiME}} the manga]]. Haruka's HappyPlace puts her TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture where she's uber-successful at everything, has her own naked [[SchoolgirlLesbians lesbian]] [[TransparentCloset harem]], and she's utterly defeated and humiliated her rival Shizuru, whom she now uses as a footstool for bathing. Once she realizes the whole thing is fake because she doesn't think she could ever be so happy, Haruka uses her HeroicResolve to break her and Yukino free and [[ItsPersonal kick Yukariko's ass]].
* ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'' has a character with a similar power: Tomo, Nakago's [[TheDragon right hand]]. He tends to apply it in a simpler and more subtle way than most examples, but is capable of building an entire populated town around the simple desires of one girl.
* In ''{{Mx0}}'', one of magical aptitude test is to leave a Lotus Eater Machine room within 10 minutes. If you do that, you'll forget everything that happened in there, and if you don't, you'll keep your memories but fail the test.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'''s penultimate episode was devoted to this, the culmination of all the psychological/spiritual TechnoBabble of the series. The twisted reality presented has become an actual {{Elseworld}} in official games and manga.
** [[spoiler: In a way, Instrumentality can be considered a LotusEaterMachine - a world born from every human soul in existence uniting to cancel out each other's fallacies and fears of loneliness to achieve perfect happiness through a twisted, forced evolution.]]
* This happens at least ''four times'' in the ''R'' season of ''Anime/SailorMoon'': when [[spoiler: Usagi is trapped in an illusion by a youma that saps her LifeEnergy away until Mamoru wakes her up with a TrueLovesKiss]], when [[spoiler: [=ChibiUsa=] is placed in a nightmare by another youma and led to believe she is back in her decimated home]], when [[spoiler: Ami is {{brainwashed}} into believing everyone hates her by yet another youma and has to debrainwash herself]], and when [[spoiler: [[BigBad Wiseman]] tries to brainwash Moon into serving the Black Moon Clan by breaking her spirit, but fails when she breaks away.]]
** Also happens in the ''[=SuperS=]'' movie when the villainess puts children (one of them being a kidnapped Chibi-Usa) to sleep in wonderful, eternal dreams so they can be an energy source to trap the whole planet into said dreams. When Moon tries to stop her, she too is put in a fantasy world. She's knows it's fake when Mamoru readily admits he loves her more than [=ChibiUsa=], something the real deal wouldn't do.
** Also happened in ''Stars'', when [[spoiler: Usagi is on her way to Nehelenia's lair but is brainwashed by an illusion (in the shape of talking flowers) into forgetting Mamoru and everything else. She wakes up when Makoto/Jupiter almost gets killed by Nehelenia herself while shielding her and one of her rose-shaped earrings falls to the ground.]]
** Occurs once in the ''Death Busters'' arc of the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] [[spoiler: where Makato, Rei, Ami, and Minako are trapped in their own ideal dream worlds before Usagi and the Outer Senshi free them.]].
* ''TenchiInTokyo'' episode 25: [[spoiler:The villain Yugi, after "destroying" her shadow (and Tenchi's love interest) Sakuya, sets up a "dream world" when Tenchi tries to come after her, in which Tenchi and Sakuya could be together forever. It nearly worked, Tenchi being willing to live in the dream world at first, but surprisingly, it's ''Sakuya'' (who has gained a will of her own) who [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome breaks Tenchi out of the illusion]], at the cost of her own life.]]
** This is pretty much the plot of 1999's ''Tenchi Forever!'', the final movie set in the ''TenchiUniverse'' continuity. Haruna, [[spoiler:Yosho's former lover]], takes Tenchi into her own universe to live out the dreams she never experienced.
* In ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', the [[spoiler:[[BigBad Anti-Spiral]]]] has this in the form of the "Multiverse Labyrinth". The underlying philosophical purpose, according to them is that the dimensional labyrinth recognizes the possibilities entertained by its victims, turning them into reality. As long as they are able to imagine alternatives, one can never escape from it, thus preventing the victims from utilizing spiral energy in the process.
** However, [[spoiler:the spirit and/or memory of Kamina shows up and saves everyone to the tune of ''[[AwesomeMusic/TengenToppaGurrenLagann "Libera Me" from Hell]]''.]] Cheesy awesomeness aside, he was able to free everyone from the illusion by exhorting them to not worry about the "should-haves and maybes" and focus on the reality in front of them. This fits in with the [[AnAesop message of the series]]: Don't be distracted, just always [[{{Determinator}} keep moving forward]].
* In the ''[[{{Gunnm}} Battle Angel]]'' manga, MadScientist Desty Nova traps Gally in a VR simulation in which she's a normal, innocent girl and he's the scientist who rescued her from the Scrapyard, setting himself up as her father-figure. (As a nod to the English translation, Nova also gives her a different name: 'Alita'. In the translation, of course, Alita is renamed 'Gally'.) Nova's intention is that Gally's personality will be altered by the experience, and she'll find herself unable to kill him after he releases her from the simulation. However, this backfires in two ways -- Gally recognizes that it's only a dream from the start and plays along, relishing the chance to briefly live a normal life; meanwhile, having genuinely come to love Gally/Alita as a daughter during his time in the simulation, Nova can no longer bring himself to shoot her in the real world. (Later in the series he becomes more-or-less a good guy, but his motives were always so obscure anyway that it's impossible to tell if it's a direct result, and he actually claims to have no memory of this incident due to the way he resurrects. He just backs up his mind and downloads to another body, but only backs up at certain time periods.)
* Played with very well in ''WolfsRain'', where Kiba is separated from his companions and wakes up in an idyllic paradise. Since the whole point of the series was to find paradise, and it had been hinted that Kiba was purer than the others, he might actually be there (and the viewers were kept in the dark as long as Kiba was).
* Played straight in ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent'', where Chief Ikari, one of the series' protagonists, is led into one of these, a choppily animated world where everyone and everything is paper thin. He stays there until [[spoiler: the last episode, when with some help from his dying wife he realizes that he shouldn't run away from his responsibilities, and so destroys the fake world with a bat.]]
* In ''SorcererHunters'', the team unleashes a book that makes everybody's desires real, creating two extra Carrots to fulfill them all. Carrot, the real one, saves the day, which is arguably what he most desired.
* Occurs several times in ''Anime/ErgoProxy'', as the proxies mentally war for supremacy. The ones involving Vincent have him and his friends appearing to steadily go mad, however one less serious episode involves little girl-robot Pino playing inside another proxy's gaudy Disney-esque Theme Park.
* ''{{Gatekeepers}}'' had one in episode ten where the team were taken away to a beach paradise, however, Shun suspects that something is up with the place from the start.
* In ''GetBackers'', Ban's Evil Eye technique can in fact be used as a Lotus Eater Machine. Often, Ban subtly changes the [[RealTime one-minute dream]] to seem as if it lasts for several hours, and/or changes the content from dream to nightmare.
** [[spoiler:In the final book, the entire world turns out to be Ginji's dream.]]
* An interesting case can be found in ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' where a MadArtist created a virtual reality that consists only of movie theatre in which the perfect film is played for all eternity. Everyone connecting with the program gets trapped and the only thing he ever wants is to continue seeing the film. Of course it's never shown what is seen on the screen, but it's apparently more like TheRing tape than an actual movie.
** It is so good it even makes the Major cry, who only once showed any genuine emotion except UnstoppableRage.
* The last two episodes of ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' [[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 season 2]] had a very sudden reveal of the BigBad, who used an alternate world where dreams come true to trap the Digidestined in their own fantasies. The way they got broken out seemed so contrived to some people that EpilepticTrees have been planted theorizing that the entire ending is nothing more than a dream-within-a-dream, and the battle never ended.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'': It was implied in the [[OvertookTheManga Anime-only Noa arc]] that Noa was put into one of these by his father after he died, and went mad as he realized this, and his father subsequently abandoned him because Noa wasn't playing along.
* In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' episode "Malice in Wonderland", Ash and his party get trapped in a dream-world, where Ash is able to defeat the champion Cynthia and owns every single badge in the world, Dawn is a undefeatable Coordinator, who has no problems taking on her own Mom and owns more Ribbons than one can count, and finally, Brock is surrounded by an army of Joys and Jennys, who all want to marry him. The cause is a Ghost-type Pokemon, Mismagius, who wants them to play with it... ''forever''. As soon as they realize that everything around them is not real, the dream changes into a nightmare, but they find a way to use their own imaginations to fight back.
** [[RecycledScript Done again in Best Wishes]], this time the work of a [[LittleGreenMan Beheeyem]] belonging to a crook. The trick here is that they can only be freed from the illusion once they are all fully awake, which is a problem since Meowth (who, at that time, was traveling with Ash and friends), instantly goes back to sleep every time they try to wake him up.
* ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' had Alala, a Fairy-like villain, who had the ability to use her song to either perform mass hypnosis or trap someone in a sweet dream so that person wouldn't want to wake up.
* When you're bitten by VampirePrincessMiyu as a part of your blood contract, your mind gets placed in a dream similar to this. She calls it "living in happiness", since it's a prerequisite of said contract to [[BreakTheCutie be a physically attractive person who has gone through horrible trauma]].
* ''Manga/InuYasha'':
** At the end of the story, Kagome is made to believe that she is living a normal life, forgetting all about the Feudal Era and everything she did there, while trapped INSIDE [[spoiler: the Shikon Jewel. When she remembers her adventures and comes to in the darkness of the jewel, it tries to trick her into making a selfish wish by promising her that perfect normal life if she wishes for it. Only remembering and being with Inuyasha prevents her from wishing selfishly on the jewel and being trapped in it forever.]]
** In the anime, when the Shikon Pearl is contaminated by Tsubaki the evil {{Miko}} and Kagome is affected by such a fact, she's temporarily trapped inside another one where the Inu-tachi doesn't exist and she can't remember them, despite seeing people that act and look like them (Sango and Miroku are a young married couple she passes by, Kaede and Shippo are an old lady and her grandson, etc. She only breaks out when she meets the equivalent of Kikyou, who poses as [[KendoTeamCaptain the captain of her school's archery club]] and starts questioning Kagome's motives to be there.
* ''Interlude'' [[spoiler:takes place almost entirely inside of one of these.]]
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'' Episode 116, Korin sends Goku to an icy wasteland to find a magic potion that will help him beat Demon King Piccolo. This icy wasteland is inhabited by a monster called Darkness, who traps Goku in a dream world where his friends are able to live in peace, because Demon King Piccolo does not exist. Goku refuses to submit, so the dream becomes a nightmare where his friends become violent. [[spoiler:Although Darkness was just testing Goku before giving him the potion, because it is fatal to the unworthy.]]
* In ''HunterXHunter'' anime, one of the first tests is running around a dark alley surrounded by tree roots. Anyone caught between the roots experiences a dream related to their darkest memories and sapped of energy until they die. [[spoiler: That's how we learn Leorio's backstory: he dreams about Pietro, his old friend who [[IllBoy died of illness]].]]
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', there is a spectral sword known as the Sakenagi Longsword which seals whoever is cut by it in a blissful illusion for all eternity. [[spoiler:Itachi possessed it as a part of his Susanoo jutsu and used it to defeat Orochimaru, who had spent years searching for it.]]
** The (real) leader of Akatsuki eventually reveals his endgame plan is [[spoiler:to put the entire world into one of these, having decided the [[CrapsackWorld current reality and all its senseless deaths aren't worth keeping]]. When he succeeds with his plan, the happy dreams of his cocooned victims are shown]].
* Particularly in the third arc of ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'', the Golden Land is portrayed like this. In the fourth arc, it's portrayed similarly, but [[spoiler:Ange convinces Maria]] that it will grant everything ''except'' the thing she wants most. Although that has more to do with the peculiarities of what she wants than anything with the Golden Land itself.
* [[CuteMute Kuchinashi's]] Lilith Temptation attack in ''{{NEEDLESS}}'' puts everyone into a dream world with what they desire most. This is then {{lampshade|Hanging}}d when [[spoiler:[[{{lolicon}} Blade]] isn't affected. To answer why he wasn't affected he points at each reason: "I'M ALREADY IN HEAVEN! LITTLE GIRL! LITTLE GIRL! LITTLE GIRL! LITTLE GIRL! LITTLE GIRL! ...Well, she's a little girl, too."]]
* In ''DanceInTheVampireBund's'', Mina Tepes awakens in a dreamworld where everyone she knows is a [[{{Muggle}} normal human]], Tokyo Landfill # 0 does not exist, and she is a young albino taken in by Akira's mother. [[spoiler:Her first reaction is to try finding out what is going on, but after her [[MissingMom mother]] shows up she makes up her mind that she does not care anymore and does not force herself to wake for a subjective decade ([[TearJerker on her wedding day with Akira]]).]]
* In ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', it appears that [[spoiler:Cosmo Entelechia, the illusory world where the BigBad wants to put all the residents of Mundus Magicus, is a Lotus Eater Machine tailored to each person affected.]] Another character, [[spoiler:Zazie's sister, Poyo]], owns a lesser version of this. [[spoiler:And before you go crying evil villain, this is because as far as they know said residents will all die. It's a complex situation where, in the end, the main moral reason for arguing against it is that it's being done without permission.]] Interestingly, [[spoiler:Chisame and Makie]] are both immune to the lesser version because they are already perfectly content in their lives, though the former loudly protests when [[spoiler:Poyo]] suggests this.
* In ''MuhyoAndRoji'', this is used on the haunt of [[spoiler:Yuki Otada]], causing him to hallucinate that his classmates are welcoming him onto a rollercoaster, and that despite being a [[HugeSchoolgirl Huge Schoolboy]], he can fit if he lets go of what he's carrying ([[spoiler:the people he kidnapped]]). As the rollercoaster takes him down to hell, Muhyo notes that the Lotus Eater Machine was meant to make the descent easier, as his past was apparently so traumatic ([[spoiler:being DrivenToSuicide after realizing that the classmates who bullied him weren't serious about becoming friends with him]]) that even Muhyo felt sorry for him.
* In ''BakiTheGrappler,'' one of Dorian's techniques is to hypnotize his opponents into thinking they're beating the crap out of him.
* Yukiteru from ''MiraiNikki'' gets trapped in one of these where he has everything he's ever wanted, including his parents and the girl he wanted.
* The anime version of ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'' features Umi getting stuck in a Lotus Eater ''Magic'', where she's back in Tokyo Tower because of her desperate wish to just go home and participate in her fencing tournament (she accidentally created it due to her strong will). There's a catch: [[spoiler:everything is frozen in time]], and on learning this, Umi broke down that this isn't the kind of 'go home' that she wanted. It's only after hearing her friends in distress that she managed to break away and return to Cephiro.
* In ''Anime/AngelBeats'', [[spoiler:Naoi, the newly promoted [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil Absurdly Powerful]] StudentCouncilPresident,]] tries to use hypnosis to put Yuri in a fantasy world where her siblings are still alive. She was sent to this afterlife because she blames herself for their deaths, and might be "obliterated" if she thought they never really died. But she resists, and Otonashi forcibly interrupts the process. [[spoiler:''Choosing'' to put yourself in a Lotus Eater as a means of filling in the gaps in your past life is the "goal" of the afterlife, and allows people to move on and get reincarnated.]]
* At the end of the anime version of ''Manga/{{Saikano'', [[spoiler: Chise's spirit creates one for Shuuji to help him cope with the fact that everyone else in the world has died]].
* The first season of ''LightNovel/HaiyoreNyarkoSan'' ends with a two-parter where Mahiro finds himself in a GroundhogDayLoop where he's the [[LastOfHisKind only person in the city (and maybe beyond that)]]. What makes it a Lotus Eater Machine is that the person who did it honestly wanted Mahiro to be happy, but misinterpreted his desire for a little peace and quiet (or at least his UnwantedHarem taking a day off from being clingy and zany) and honestly thought he would be happy if he was all alone. [[spoiler:And then it turns out there's TheManBehindTheMan who set up the entire thing as part of his own larger plan.]]
* In ''Anime/PrettyCureAllStars New Stage 3'', the villain traps every single Precure (except for the most recent team, [[Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure Happiness Charge]]) into their ideal dreams. [[spoiler: The first to notice that something wrong is [[Anime/YesPrettyCure5 Nozomi]], who eventually realizes that despite the fact that she's overjoyed to be a teacher like she's always wanted, she ''doesn't know how to actually teach''. The girls may have dreams, but they know that they'll actually have to work to achieve them despite the inevitable hardships and pain.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The story by Cary Bates in ''Action Comics'' # 492 (Feb 1979) in which {{Superman}} is caught in an "odd-shaped swirl of crimson energy" and has illusions of a future life in which he marries Lana Lang and has children, which turn out to be implanted by Phantom Zone villains to distract him while the crimson energy kills him.
* In ''Comicbook/XMen'' the ScarletWitch, Wanda Maximoff, had a nervous breakdown over the deaths of her children and created the ''ComicBook/HouseOfM'' alternate reality, where mutants were the dominant race and all the heroes had their hearts' desires granted (Spider-Man was married to Gwen Stacy with Uncle Ben alive, the X-Men were able to have normal jobs in a world free of persecution and bigotry, etc). Unfortunately, Wolverine's heart's desire was to remember every day of his life: he knew the world was fake and was the one to try to revert it. Unlike most examples, the ''House of M'' universe was as real as the one it replaced, but it served the same purpose -- to keep the heroes pacified.
* In the X-men Annual #8, some cosmic villain named Horde traps the team in one of these. One by one the X-men are seduced by their dream-visions, except for Longshot-who gets absorbed by the place because his childlike innocence had nothing to corrupt- Psyloke, -who tried to use her dream vision as a way to fight Horde, it doesn't work- and Wolverine, who had enough willpower to resist his own vision and the temptation of godhood, and broke evryone out of there.
* In ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'s'' Final Crisis story arc, evil scientists working for Darkseid put Batman in a Lotus Eater Machine so they can take advantage of his psyche for their own ends. (Not a pleasant one... the machine runs him through slightly off-kilter events from his life as Batman, with a focus on the worst experiences.) Batman deduces what is going on and is able to completely destroy all of their equipment and ruin their plans ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome without even waking up]]''.
* DoctorDoom once trapped the ComicBook/FantasticFour into such a device: They thought they were living idyllic normal lives in a place called Liddletown, when in fact their consciousness had been transferred to miniature clones of themselves, and the town was an intricate scale model.
** "Idyllic" is a stretch. Or more accurately, "Idyllic for everyone BUT Reed Richards, whose intelligence is dulled and confused so that Doom can play practical jokes against him, for kicks". Doom is a sore winner.
* An early ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'' comic has Robotnik trapping the Freedom Fighters in such a machine, where on top of the traditional ideal world, it actually changed to meet its inhabitants' wishes. After figuring it out, Sonic pushes the machine's "user-friendly" nature to its limit, takes control of Robotnik's war machines (currently on their way to raze Knothole), and forces Robotnik to let them go by threatening to turn them on Robotropolis.
** ''SonicTheComic'' did something similar to this effect in an early issue in the "Ruled By Robotnik" arc. Sonic woke up to find out that he was a human and lacked his abilities.
* Marvel's ''EarthX'' traps an aged [[Comicbook/{{Spider-Man}} Peter Parker]] in an illusory world in which, among other things, he is married to Gwen Stacy and has a son (rather than his real-world daughter, who is this reality's Venom - and who enters this world and snaps her dad out of it).
* Deconstructed in Creator/AlanMoore's ''ComicBook/ForTheManWhoHasEverything,'' featuring Comicbook/{{Superman}}. The Black Mercy plant gives the victim hallucinations of his biggest dream -- in Superman's case, that he's with his still-living parents (plus a wife and children) on Krypton. Little by little, though, the dream Krypton becomes a heartbreaking nightmare of the planet sliding into a self-destructing mayhem, spurred by Superman's embittered father. After it was removed from Superman, it fell on Franchise/{{Batman}}, and he also experienced his greatest fantasy -- that his parents were not murdered. After Superman is freed from the dream, he proceeds to unleash the mother of all {{Unstoppable Rage}}s upon Mongul, who mentions that he used the flower specifically to create a prison that Superman could not escape without giving up his greatest desire. The Black Mercy plant is eventually used on Mongul to defeat him, who dreams that he kills all the heroes and takes over the universe.
** The story later appears in the animated series ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' (reportedly, this is the only adaptation of any his works that Moore has liked). With a few differences. Krypton never decays to the degree it does in the comics, and Batman is freed so quickly that he gets to see [[HopeSpot his dad beat up Joe Chill -- only for the latter to get off a shot anyway just as the plant lets go]].
*** A similar story, perhaps written to echo the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode mentioned below, has the Mad Hatter trapping Batman in an idealized SilverAge world. He even realizes that the illusion is not real from the word "go", but eventually decides to accept it anyway. [[YankTheDogsChain Then he realises it really can't be real]], when nothing he reads makes any sense and breaks himself out of it.
** In an issue of ''GreenLantern'', Green Lantern and GreenArrow are ensnared by a single Black Mercy by Mongul's son, also named Mongul; Lantern's dominant personality made the ideal world they shared ''too ideal'' for the jaded Green Arrow, and they manage to escape.
** [[TheAtom Ryan Choi]] has a run-in with a variant Black Mercy in ''The All-New Atom''. It gives him everything he's ever dreamed of - but not the things he truly wants, which are back in reality.
** Turns out that Black Mercys are {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s who do this in order to end pain and fear, and later, [[spoiler:Mother Mercy joins the Green Lantern Corps.]]
* Also by Creator/AlanMoore, Dark Age volume 2 of ''Marvelman'' (aka ''Comicbook/{{Miracleman}}'') recasts the character's Silver Age adventures as Lotus Eater Machine dreams invented to keep him and his fellow post-humans in line while they were being studied and programmed.
* Steve Moore (no relation to Creator/AlanMoore) used this trope in his Jonni Future stories. One of Jonni's enemies is the Empress of the End, who trades people all their Earthly possessions to experience a (fatal) experience of their heart's greatest desire. A surprising number of people willingly make this trade, but when the Empress kidnaps Jonni's sidekick, Jermaal Van Pavane the Paraman and forcibly submits him to the machine, she has to rescue him.
** In another Jonni Future story, she has to be rescued from a planet which causes her to hallucinate ''her'' greatest desire. Which is apparently being swarmed by lots of naked versions of herself...
* Creator/EdBrubaker did a guest two-parter for ''ComicBook/TomStrong'', in which the title character got dropped in a really subversive one of these: first the hero is made to believe that he's mad, and then when he fights this, he discovers that he's the result of a government SuperSoldier program, and when the project was scrapped he was dumped on the street. The resulting existential angst almost kills Tom Strong... but then he realizes that it was AllJustADream, smashes the {{Phlebotinum}} keeping him there, and goes back to his loving wife and four-color adventures. Except the wrap-up is handled very quickly, leading some of us ([[Tropers/CaptainKobold one at least]]) to wonder...
* ''Comicbook/{{Zenith}}'''s Chimera is a living Lotus Eater Machine, an attempted SuperSoldier that [[EvolutionaryLevels self-evolved]] into a pocket universe, containing any reality anyone can imagine. This turns out to be useful when [[spoiler:there are a bunch of insane RealityWarper [[BewareTheSuperman former-superheroes-gone-bad]] to dispose of]]. No, this was ''not'' by Creator/AlanMoore (it was GrantMorrison).
** As was the Batman story with Darkseid's minions above. He obviously likes the trope as well.
* In an attempt to take control of his body and manifest in the real world the Devil Hulk once trapped [[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]] in a perfect fantasy land that existed only in his head. Bruce was married to Betty, had kids and was best friends with his father and General Ross.
** During ''FallOfTheHulks'', the Intelligencia trapped Bruce - and the other seven smartest men in the world - in a Lotus Eater Machine in order to drain their intellects. Not all that surprisingly, Bruce was married to Betty, had kids, and had killed the Hulk.
* One ''{{Xxxenophile}}'' story featured a villain trapping Orgasm Lass in a Wet Dreamtime Generator, bouncing her between fantasy lovers. She escapes by overloading the device... come on, this is Xxxenophile, you ''know'' how she did it.
* The comic book continuation of ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles has EvilRedhead Mezmerella capable of inducing this effect with her hypnotic powers.
* A rather nasty one was inflicted on [[ComicBook/{{X-Men}} Pixie]]. Some demons used their magic to make her own illusory powers trick her and her friends. She was essentially [[PoweredByAForsakenChild the power source]] for her own Lotus Eater Machine.
* In a ploy to steal their magical powers, some demons put Traci 13, Zachary Zatara, and Black Alice in a world where: Traci is uncontested ruler of the world, Zatara's lover is still alive and they are married with children, and Black Alice's mother is still alive. Traci rejects the fantasy because her father is dead. Zatara rejects it because he feels it is shaming the memory of his lover. Unfortunately, Black Alice refuses to give up her mother and attacks them. [[spoiler: Alice's mother eventually tells her that she needs to do the right thing and restore the world to the way it was.]]
* In ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'', Anglerfish and his son both have the power to hypnotize people who look into their head lures into seeing their greatest desires.
* In one issue of ''ComicBook/TheBooksOfMagic'', [[AMidSummerNightsDream Auberon of the Fay]] gets dared/guilt-tripped into putting his soul inside a globe supposedly containing his own Paradise. Once he does so he's both trapped and mindwiped of that fact, while his zombie-like body is put to menial labour.
* In ''Comicbook/RoboCopVersusTheTerminator'' this is Skynet's last line of defense against the [[BrainUploading electronic ghost]] of Alex Murphy. He's well aware that it's an illusion, a trap, and tells himself that he'll fight it... in a moment.
* A story arc of TheTriganEmpire featured little black boxes with attached wires which, when plugged to the temples caused the user to experience his or her favourite fantasy in lurid detail. They were a dangerous addicition.
* ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'': This is [[spoiler:Nightmare Rarity's]] ability. She tries to use it on Spike, trapping him in an ideal world where Rarity asks him to marry her and together rule as Queen and King. It doesn't work since dream!Rarity wants him to forget about their friends and doesn't know what the Fire Ruby means to him.
* In ''Comicbook/TheTransformers'', Rapture aka Katrina Vesotsky, is a human with the ability to ensnare other's minds into fantasies. It works on both humans and transformers. She was even able to ensnare ''Unicron''... for about thirty seconds before the PlanetEater snapped out of it.
* Shows up in two episodes of ''SuskeEnWiske''; both in ''De Tartaarse Helm'' and ''De Schat van Beersel'' they get placed into an illusionary world by Mr. Priem through hypnosis. However, Mr. Priem is not their enemy; the first time he did it as a reward for helping him and the second time it was in a last-ditch attempt to get out of a trap, and in both cases they wake up when the story in the illusionary world has reached its conclusion.
* In the Star Trek Mirror Universe comics, Lotus eater machines are the preferred method of torture for the empire. The rebels and scientists think they are safe and helping to free the universe with secrets and inventions explained only to their closest family members... while in reality they are in a small room in a very heavily guarded prison.
* This is the premise of the BatFamilyCrossover ''Gothtopia'', with the Lotus Eater Machine affecting everyone in Gotham City except the group of villains responsible. In Gothtopia, there is virtually no crime, Oswald Cobblepot is mayor, the Joker is just the logo of an ice cream company, and a white-clad Batman leads an organisation of brightly dressed heroes, including Selina Kyle in red-and-green as Catbird. Bruce's first indication that something isn't right is an increase in the number of suicides, as more and more people living "perfect lives" succumb to despair without ever realising ''why'' they're despairing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* The premise of the {{iCarly}} fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8629492/1/iSwear iSwear]] is that Carly is either in one of these, or UnstuckInTime, or a mix of both.
* In [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4185540/1/Orihime this]] ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' fanfiction, Szael traps Ishida in one of these during the Hueco Mundo arc where he is killed over and over again, except for the last hallucination, where he is [[spoiler:living with Orihime and his child by her in what is hinted to be a vision of the future, or one possible future.]]
* An ''AxisPowersHetalia'' fanfic ''[[http://glassamilk.livejournal.com/1162.html A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes]]'' has Denmark being ensnared by a [[{{Superman}} Black Mercy]] and dreaming where he is living in the perfect world. Unfortunately for him, as the rest of the Nordics and other countries tries to wake him up, his perfect world descends into a horrifying nightmare, as the Black Mercy is slowly draining his life at the same time.
* In the ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''[=/=]''Anime/OvermanKingGainer'' crossover ''FanFic/NobodyDies'', Shinji, Asuka, Mana, and Rei are trapped in one by Iruel. Shinji winds up in a [[HighSchoolAU high-school setting]], Asuka is sent to a MagicalGirl setting where her mother isn't a complete bitch, Mana is in a DatingSim, and Rei is... On second thought, let's not even ''go'' there. Of course, it's ''IRUEL'', the Angel of Terror, so things [[FromBadToWorse get worse]]. [[spoiler: Shinji watches a fake Asuka go from normal to insane numerous times, Asuka is completely taken apart by her mother, who gives everything she took, her eyes, her hair, etc., to Uriel, Mana is hit by a truck again and again and again, given more cybernetic parts each time, until she is entirely a robot and goes on a killing spree of the virtual counterparts of her friends. No clue what, if anything, happened to Rei, though.]] When [[spoiler: Ichi]] goes into the virtual reality to find the pilots, Iruel does the same thing to [[spoiler: her]].
** A second case happens when Arael [[spoiler:plunges the whole of Earth into a seven-week dream state. The exact reasons why she did this are not yet known, though only Shinji (through Lilith's meddling) and the Angels remember any of the dream. This was actually an AuthorsSavingThrow by Gregg to RetCon the entire fourth "season" of the fic, which was plagued with writing problems and was not well-enjoyed by the readers.]]
* In ''FanFic/ArcOfSacrifices'', a Franchise/HarryPotter fanfiction featuring a Slytherin!Harry, Harry takes a Dark curse featuring this. Unlike some other incarnations of the trope, the perfect world in the curse doesn't turn into a nightmare, but it also takes an outside influence with knowledge of the Dark Arts (in this case Lucius Malfoy) to convince him to break the dream world.
* One fan contribution to the ''FanFic/BothSyllables'' series is a WholePlotReference to ''ComicBook/ForTheManWhoHasEverything'', with Zim as Superman, Zurg as Mongul, and Dib, Lilo, XR, MALIK, and Kila as Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman.
* In the ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'', [[spoiler:Fluttershy's SuperpoweredEvilSide, Princess Gaia puts ponies under a spell, making them experience their own personal paradise. In a twist, she truly is a WellIntentionedExtremist who does this to make everypony as happy as they possibly can be. The mane cast even gets drawn into it as well. Applejack's paradise is to live with her alternate reality family she saw looking into the Truth. Rarity's has Prince Blueblood turn out to be her PrinceCharming after all. Rainbow Dash's has her become the leader of the Wonderbolts, rekindle her friendship with Gilda, destroy her old flight school, and marry Wonderbolts member Soarin' (Rainbow Dash has a lot of dreams...). Pinkie Pie's has her owning a theme park where parties go non-stop and her family even comes, with her parents becoming game show hosts (it's [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Pinkie Pie]], what did you expect?). Twilight's has Spike never having to grow up and leave her, and her friends all move to Canterlot with her so she can be with both them and Celestia. [[SixthRanger Trixie's]] has her being Celestia's apprentice and ultimately becoming queen of Equestria, after which she does everything she can to help keep her family happy. Only Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Trixie are able to break free of their own accord, needing magic to free the others. In a [[TearJerker sad twist]], Applejack is completely aware that hers is an illusion since she became a LivingLieDetector, but ''really'' wishes it were real. ]]
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2451057/1/Warriors_Secret Warrior's Secret]]'', [[spoiler:[[DreamWeaver Nightmare]] traps Meta Knight in one of these, and it's where the final battle takes place.]]
* In the Machinima ''A Link to the Smash'' Link is put into a dream state by Mewtwo's psychic powers, [[BrainwashedAndCrazy on Ganondorf's orders.]]
* ''FanFic/ChronomistressOutOfTime'': Queen Chrysalis traps ponies in eternal, blissful hallucinations about being together with their love interest, so that she and her hive may feed on the victims's emotions.
* In the 8th story of ''FanFic/TheJourneyOfGraves'' series, Graves experiences this when he [[spoiler: jumped in front of a crossbow bolt's line of fire to protect Princess Celesta.]] It turned out that the shot was loaded with a powerful drug called "Heart's Desire".
* In Fanfic/TheCadanceverse, Nightmare Moon's final trap to stop anypony from reaching the Elements is one of these. It almost works, too, trapping five of the Musical 6 in their own personal paradises (Octavia gets a life of solitude to perfect her craft; Medley owns a prosperous business; Lyra marries Bonbon; Bluenote indulges her hedonistic desires and loafs about; Vinyl is the most famous DJ in Equestria and performs at all kinds of epic concerts). Only Fluttershy can resist, because she is too focused on caring for others to allow herself to rest in her own paradise.
* ''Fanfic/LifeInManehattan'': The first trial to reach the Soluna Stone is a room full of Heart's Desire plants, the pollen of which has this affect -- Twilight becomes Princess Celestia's right-hoof mare, Trixie's act gains world renown, and Spike gets a whole cave of gems for himself. Honey Do, who managed to avoid the pollen and its affect, snaps them out of it by pointing out that those dreams, as presented in the illusions, would mean abandoning their friends. Since none of them are willing to do that, they're able to break free of the illusions.
* In the ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' fanfic ''FanFic/AHistoryOfMagic'', this is what happens when a girl attempts to wish away war or death or disease - they end up imagining a world like that, and transform from a lack of grief seeds.
* The aptly-named Lemmy (or LEM) in the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' fanfic ''[[FanFic/ArceusArchives Wings Have We]]'', whose specialty is taking these blissful visions and mutating them into the victim's worst nightmares... of course, sometimes he skips the happy parts entirely and cuts directly to the torment.
* The dreams the main characters are trapped in during the Circle Tower quest of ''FanFic/DragonAgeTheCrownOfThorns''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''FanFic/GettingBackOnYourHooves'', Checker Monarch draws the Mane Six into a Lotus-Eater Machine trap.
* [[spoiler:Wizrova]] traps the Links in one [[spoiler:during the battle in the Water Temple]] in the ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' fanfic ''FanFic/LinkedChronicles''.
* In the ''Anime/MaiHime'' fanfic ''FanFic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', [[spoiler:Natsuki gets trapped inside Yukariko's Lotus-Eater Machine, and has an experience in which her parents are still alive and living with her, while she has also met all her friends at Fuuka Academy.]]
* While trapped in the Dirac Sea in the ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''[=/=]''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' fanfic ''FanFic/ShinjiAndWarhammer40K'', Shinji spends some time in [[{{Canon}} a strange alternate universe]] where Tokyo-3 is mostly intact and the battle against the Angels has been less devastating, but Misato is only a major, Rei is strangely robotic, and Asuka's a total bitch. Afterward, he worries if his exit [[DreamApocalypse destroyed it]].
* In the Wish Fulfillment arc of the ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''[=/=]''Anime/CodeGeass'' crossover ''FanFic/SoulChess'', Kasumi does this to several characters and, eventually, [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou even the author]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''FanFic/SweetiesMansion'', [[spoiler:Sweetie gets trapped in one while Spiffy the butler controls her body on the outside to trap the unsuspecting Royal Guards and the Wonderbolts.]]
* Inverted in the ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'' PeggySue fic ''FanFic/TimeAndAgain'', where Naruto initially does not believe he has been transported to his 12-year old body, thinking it to be some kind of Lotus-Eater Machine instead.
* The Circlet of Morpheus used as part of Doctor Doom's EvilPlan in the [[Franchise/MarvelUniverse Marvel]][=/=][[Franchise/TheDCU DC]] crossover ''FanFic/TheLastSon''.
* In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''[=/=]''Series/{{Angel}}'' ContinuationFic ''FanFic/TheNyazianProphecies'', Connor, Andrew, Oni and Jamie are trapped in one by Cyvus Vail.
* In the ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}''[=/=]''Film/ReturnToOz'' crossover ''FanFic/TheShatteringOfOz'', [[spoiler: Elphaba has been captured by the Nome King and is being slowly coerced into a DealWithTheDevil through a tailor-made Lotus-Eater Machine.]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''Fanfic/ThePartyNeverEnded'', [[spoiler:Pinkie gets trapped in one, and Twilight almost falls victim while trying to get her out.]]
* In the {{Marvel}}[=/=]Anime/YuGiOh crossover ''FanFic/UltimateReImaginings'', [[spoiler: all of 'Real World' was created to be Joey's perfect little world in an attempt to keep him out of the actual real world]]. It backfired because he just couldn't let himself go.
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''Fanfic/FriendshipIsOptimal'' presents an entire universe turning into this, as an AI thought experiment. Equestria Online is created to satisfy values through friendship and ponies, by an AI powerful enough to reverse-engineer the entire human mind. Even when it involves a video game console, specifically targeted [=NPCs=] and encounters make it so much more fulfilling than life that the game has to turn itself off so the players don't harm their own health. Once virtual reality and brain uploading are involved, players are placed in an environment where the local rules of the universe care about them, individually, having a good time. [[spoiler: By the way, that "entire universe turned into" is literal. The AI turns several galaxies into computronium. Needless to say, this example has no escape clause.]]
* In the ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' fic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8452746/1/A-Perfect-World A Perfect World]]'' (here's the [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8454735/1/A-Perfect-World-Nonlemon-Version Nonlemon Version of the same fic]]), the heroes Touma Kamijou, Accelerator, and Shiage Hamazura wake up to find the world at peace and themselves [[MarryThemAll living happily with their respective]] {{Unwanted Harem}}s. Their memories have been altered so they believe it has always been this way, but they slowly begin to notice inconsistencies, like when Mugino cannot remember the date of her and Shiage's anniversary. [[spoiler:The fic seems to be cancelled, but the author released an outline revealing that Creator/AleisterCrowley trapped the heroes and their girls in this illusion to get them out of his way, and that it was slowly killing them. Everybody manages to break free, but Touma is forced to let Maria Kumokawa go, as unlike the other girls, she had been an illusion created by Crowley all along. Before the fake world is destroyed and she disappears, [[TearJerker she admits that she truly loved Touma]].]]
* This is even worse than usual in ''Fanfic/{{Pokeumans}}'': if someone spends an hour in one of Pokextinction's dream simulation machines, they wake up brainwashed into Mr. X's ideals.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'': The movie references the [[TropeNamer Trope Namers]] in the Lotus Hotel & Casino. The heroes eat little lotus-shaped cakes that lull them away from their mission for several days.
** (And they were lucky—others had been blissfully gaming the night away for forty or more ''years'' without so much as ''aging'', let alone realizing how much time had passed.)
* ''Film/TheDustFactory'': The main character nearly drowns and is transported to a comforting and dreamlike version of the real world where time stands still for all who end up there. They could easily stay, until the end of time if they so wished, lest they become unafraid to get [[UnusualEuphemism dusted]] and return to their real lives.
* The ending of ''Film/{{Brazil}}''. It's not clear if the villains have put Lowry in that state and he won't return, or if he's just completely snapped.
* In ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}'', this happens to Sarah twice over. The first time is the result of her eating a magic peach; her memory is erased and she is transported into a literal crystal ballroom where Jareth the Goblin King tries to woo her at a masked ball. The atmosphere becomes increasingly creepy; she realizes ''something's'' wrong (just as the clock strikes twelve -- significant because her quest must be completed by the time it strikes thirteen) and manages to escape by smashing the crystal walls... but when she lands in a junkyard, she still hasn't regained her memory. A Junk Lady then lures her into a perfect replica of her bedroom at home (which initially makes Sarah believe her journey was AllJustADream), albeit with all her favorite childhood toys and whatnot. The replica is a little ''too'' perfect though, because a copy of the play that inspired her adventure in the first place is there and jogs her memory; as Sarah realizes ItsAllJunk and that she has to rescue her baby brother, her friends arrive and the room's walls are literally torn down by tumbling rocks.
* Agent Smith and the Architect claim that this was the original form of ''Franchise/TheMatrix'', but almost all of the humans rejected it because it was too good to be true. However, both Agent Smith and the Architect have a very very low opinion or understanding of humans. While designed as a Lotus-Eater Machine, it very likely was closer to a virtual hell.
* In ''Film/MinorityReport'', the prisoners in containment are supposedly in virtual realities where all their wishes come true. Since the prisoners never actually managed to commit any crimes, having been prevented by Pre-Crime operatives, they're not being punished. They're being conditioned to never want to commit the crime.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek: [[Film/StarTrekGenerations Generations]]'' gives us the Nexus, where, in Guinan's words, it's as though joy were something tangible, that you can wrap around you like a blanket. "Once you're there, all you'll want is to stay in the Nexus." [[spoiler: The villain decides it's worth the sacrifice of several solar systems to get back in. Picard nearly agrees until Guinan talks him out of it, and Kirk loves it until he finds out that nothing he does there ''matters''.]]
** The holodeck has served as one in a few instances. In ''StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', the crew was stunned to find that Starfleet had [[HeadInTheSandManagement formed an alliance]] with the Dominion in exchange for technology and weapons. With the station now under occupation, Sisko gathers the others together for a coup -- which turns out to be a VR simulation in a cave somewhere. The Dominion's agents were experimenting on Sisko to see how he might try to undermine them in the future.
* The original ''Film/TotalRecall1990'' revolves around this, giving an ending with a "I am the enemy" revelation. Or was he his own worst enemy?
* ''Film/VanillaSky'', a remake of ''Abre Los Ojos'', [[spoiler:ends with the revelation that the protagonist actually committed suicide early on and was cryogenically frozen and put into a state of lucid dreaming where he lives out his fantasy life, gets the girl and gets an operation which fixes his disfigurement... however, the dream turns into a nightmare which culminates in him accidentally killing his girlfriend. At the end he jumps off a building in order to wake himself up despite being given the choice to have everything fixed so that the dream would be happy again.]]
* In ''Film/{{Solaris|1972}}'', the planet creates human-like beings on the space station based on the astronauts' memories of family members.
* In ''Film/X2XMenUnited'', Jason Stryker is a mutant with this power, who uses it on Professor Xavier in an effort to break his will. At one point, he shows Xavier a vision where he is able to walk again.
* In ''[[Film/{{Wishmaster}} Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled]]'' in a last ditch effort to get his third wish [[JackassGenie the Djinn]] offers Lisa a perfect fantasy world where all her desires can come true. She manages to reject him.
* Combined with CruelTwistEnding in the early-'90s Fangoria Films release ''Film/{{Mindwarp}}''. In a [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic]] Earth, the majority of the surface consists of large areas of radioactive wastelands, inhabited largely by violent mutant "Crawlers". The remaining humans, a.k.a. "Dreamers", live in a single biosphere known as ''Inworld'', and spend their time plugged into a computer living out virtual-reality fantasies; while retaining barely enough volition to take care of their basic physical needs. One Dreamer rebels and is exiled from ''Inworld'', fights Crawlers, and searches for her father who was similarly exiled for rebelling. In the end [[spoiler: she encounters multiple layers of DreamWithinADream, as she repeatedly "wakes up" from virtual-reality fantasies; and is ultimately revealed as just another apathetic Dreamer.]]
* Happens in ''Film/{{Inception}}'', where one character even runs this kind of place for people. Cobb earlier had warned Ariadne of using real life memories in the dream world because you might think that reality itself is another dream. [[spoiler:The ending leaves itself open to whether the whole thing was one for Cobb. [[NoEnding The film stops before we see the spinning top fall]].]]
* ''Film/RepoMen'': [[spoiler:Remy is stuck in one of these for the last third of the movie, due to suffering brain damage from a hard blow to the head.]]
* ''Film/RepoChick'': in the last scene of the film, we find out that [[spoiler: everything in Pixxi's reality has been happening in the table-top train set in the military command bunker.]]
* In ''Film/EndOfDays'', Satan offers Jericho a recreation of his deceased wife and child to win him over, but Jericho rejects it because he realizes it's ultimately not real. Satan turns the illusion nightmarish in response by forcing Jericho to relive his family's murder and unable to stop it.
* In ''Film/{{Contact}}'', when the heroine is knocked out, she awakes in her personal paradise. Apparently, the aliens used her childhood painting and [[AFormYouAreComfortableWith the image of her late father]] as the setting for their first contact.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The TropeNamer are the Lotus Eaters in Creator/{{Homer}}'s ''[[Literature/TheOdyssey Odyssey]]'' (chapter IX, 90-104), who use a magic lotus to enslave people into spending their lives lounging around in an apathetic stupor.
** Very famously reinterpreted, also, in AlfredLordTennyson's ''Lotos-Eaters and Choric Song''.
* Used at least twice by Creator/AlfredBester, usually not via virtual-reality machines (or the equivalent in sophistication) but with actors and (presumably) various more mundane aids:
** In ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination'', the failure Gully Foyle is put in a fantasy where he's rich, famous, and loved, and all his remembered past is part of a psychosis he's struggling to overcome; the goal is not to imprison him but to wring valuable information out of him. Fortunately, he's too stubborn to accept it.
** In the short story "5,217,009", Jeffrey Halsyon is dumped into successive science-fiction-themed juvenile fantasies: in the first, he's the last fertile man on Earth, with all that implies. This turns out to be [[spoiler:an unorthodox method of psychiatric treatment]].
* The drug thionite is this in Creator/EEDocSmith's ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' universe - the user goes into a "thionite dream" and experiences the fulfillment of their every desire, noble and base. Unfortunately the psychostimulant effect creates tolerance rather quickly and requires increasing quantities for the same effect, while the physiological effects of said doses ''add up'' rather quickly - a second dose taken immediately after the first dream WILL kill you, and thionite sniffers make sure they lock their stash up before taking a hit (so that the effort will bring them to their senses). Eventually the dose you take in order to keep having the expected effect will do the same. Thionite sniffers do not have long lives. Kim Kinnison turns an enemy base into the embodiment of this trope by dumping a massive dose into the air purifiers.
* ''Literature/TheMortalInstruments'' has a demon which can do this. However, its imagined worlds always have a flaw, as it always leaves something out (and in one case thought a good guy was evil).
* RayBradbury's ''Mars is Heaven!'' starts out as a sort of OntologicalMystery in the beginning. A crew from Earth land on Mars, which looks like Ohio at the turn of the 20th century. However, when their long lost dead relatives start appearing, it becomes more of a Lotus Eater Machine story. It has a DownerEnding: [[spoiler: the residents of the town are telepathic, shape-shifting Martians who put up the facade to throw the spacemen off guard. It works: that night, just as the Captain is beginning to realize this, his "brother" turns into an alien and stabs him to death. The same thing happens all over town. The next day, they have a funeral for the spacemen... and then take on their true forms and gleefully tear the ship apart.]]
** In "Here There be Tygers", three space explorers lands on an uncharted planet which turns out to be a beautiful, idyllic paradise which seems to cater to there every need. Being GenreSavvy types, two of the crewmen realize that it must be a trap, and leave, but the third insists that it must be genuine and stays behind. [[spoiler:As the two leave, they see natural disasters ravage the surface and the ecosystem tear itself apart... which is actually an illusion generated by the [[GeniusLoci living planet]], which is angry at them leaving; the third astronaut remains in a paradise.]]
* In ArthurCClarke's novella ''The Lion Of Comarre'', the protagonist discovers that "Comarre", a rumored place that is occasionally sought out by people who are never seen again, is a robotic Lotus Eater Machine facility. The government tries to keep the truth hidden, and to keep people away -- but not very hard, as it's considered a good safety valve for those who would otherwise be disruptive.
* Used more-or-less in WilliamGibson's ''{{Neuromancer}}.'' The hacker Case keeps getting pulled into hyper-realistic simulations by the AI he's supposed to free. The longest [[spoiler:which was actually caused by the AI's rival/counterpart]] lasts several subjective days and reunites him with his murdered girlfriend; the Machine breaks down, though, since he's just as miserable and lonely with her as without.
* In Robert Jordan's ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the test for becoming Accepted is to go through an artifact that does this three times. The dream world (OrWasItADream) takes many forms, sometimes horrifying, sometimes perfect, sometimes prophetic. To pass each round of the test, they must pass through an exit door that appears only once, at the time when they are least able or willing to use it.
** Possibly the entire universe. Multiple dimensions, and the time just keeps repeating in a cycle. Even people's lives keep renewing in a reincarnation, while trapped in the World Of Dreams in the mean time.
* ''Literature/ThePendragonAdventure'' by DJ [=MacHale=]: the territory of Veelox has Lifelight, a sort of virtual reality where people can live perfect lives. The world outside decays into a ghost town because of this. The titular Reality Bug is created to make the illusions less idealistic, but it has the unintended and VERY unwanted effect of [[spoiler:[[YourMindMakesItReal actually killing people]]. Unfortunately, Saint Dane's [[ThePlan plan all along]] was to have the bug deactivated.]] Bad ending.
* ''Literature/{{Accelerando}}'' by Creator/CharlesStross: Some {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s discover an Islamic scholar, and become interested in his beliefs. So they decide to throw him into a virtual reality version of Paradise, complete with 72 virgins. He responds by locking himself in the highest tower he can find and praying, as he knows immediately this isn't FluffyCloudHeaven; he's a ''scholar'', his idea of paradise is infinite knowledge straight from the most omniscient source around. Interesting in that this is the sort of Lotus Eater Machine that you can't break out of, even if you know it's not real. He has to be rescued by someone outside.
* In the novel ''TheLastTemptationOfChrist'', this was Satan's last attempt. [[spoiler: Satan gives him a vision of a peaceful life with Mary Magdelene.]] Jesus rejects it to die on the cross and redeem humanity.
* Part of a minor subplot in the novel ''Literature/HouseOfSuns'' by Alastair Reynolds. One character plays in a virtual reality game which malfunctions and replaces his personality with that of his game character. Eventually he has to be wired permanently into the machine as he can't function properly outside it any more.
* In John Aegard's short story ''Feng Burger'', [[spoiler: the main characters inhabit a shared lotus eater machine universe, while in the outside world their bodies slowly dehydrate. It is left unclear whether they go on living in the fantasy forever even after their bodies die]]
* In Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''Ghostmaker''. The Tanith 1st, a regiment of light infantry are fighting a regular enemy when they are suddenly placed under a psychic illusion where they imagine they are on their homeworld. This is important, as said homeworld was destroyed when the Tanith were first formed into a unit and were forced to evacuate the planet against all their wishes. The illusion is intended to make them fight harder by touching on what was most dear to them. As a result, the illusion gave the Tanith the chance to defend their homeworld that was forever denied to them. It works spectacularly well, as they defeat a force that outnumbered them a 1000 to 1 with only one casualty.
* ''PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' has the Lotus Hotel and Casino, named for the Greek TropeNamer.
* ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' has a non-literal version of this be "Plan B" when Sun Quan and Zhou Yu's plot [[spoiler:capture Liu Bei under the guise of an arranged marriage to Sun Quan's sister goes sour when the marriage, thanks to the intervention of their father-in-law and Sun Quan's mother]], and as advisor Zhang Zhao put it, "Liu Bei began life in a humble position and for years has been a wanderer. He has never tasted the delights of wealth." Unfortunately for them, Zhuge Liang saw the whole thing coming ''a year away'', and thus the second of his three "schemes in a bag" (literally) was to have Zhao Yun snap Liu Bei out of it. Oddly enough, it appears that ''a year away'' was as long as it took for Zhao Yun to actually ''remember'' that scheme # 2 existed... * facepalm*
* There was this CaptainFuture villain named Ru Ghur who discovered a type of radiation capable of doing that. He denied it was anything bad, but people were apparently a bit too desperate to get another dose.
* The Mirror of Erised in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'' appears to have become an unintentional example of this. It only ''shows'' an image of someone's greatest desire, but "Men have wasted away in front of it, even gone mad" indulging in the fantasy. Dumbledore stops Harry from becoming one of them.
* In the ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' side-story ''The Ellimist Chronicles,'' the main character finds himself in a dream world created by a semi-sentient sponge called "Father." It turns out that out of his entire race, he is now the only surviving member, and all the people he meets in the dream are the resurrected memories of the dead that Father had captured from his ship. When he has children in his Lotus Eater world, they only appear to him when he thinks of them. Unlike most Lotus Eater Machines, the Ellimist knows he's in a dream world, but he still has to figure a way out of it.
* In ''The City of the Iron Fish'' by Simon Ings the protagonists discover they are in a virtual environment by trying to leave. There's no edge, but the world becomes ''less'' with each step they take. The horror is that they lessen too with each step: from seeming human to wooden doll with metal joints to a child's sketch of a man. The City becomes ghastly place: the controls have been lost, reduced to prayers. And this fishbowl world just doesn't have enough memes in the end to stave off madness...
* While most ''{{Vurt}}'' feathers ([[HappyPlace blue ones are G-rated]], [[HappyPlace pink ones are pornographic]], [[BlackBugRoom black ones are video nasties]]) aren't inescapable enough to be examples of this trope, yellow ones can only be escaped by surviving to the end of the scenario. And the rare multi-coloured feather "English Voodoo" [[DreamWithinADream contains the yellow feather "Curious Yellow"]].
* In ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'', Toa Lesovikk is mind-tricked by the evil Karzahni into thinking that he is thousands of years back in the past, and his old Toa Team is still alive. He only gets out because the illusion eventually slips up and reminds him of the way his friends all died in the first place.
* The titular machine in KurtVonnegut's ''The Euphio Question'' gives such pleasure to listeners that they ignore everything else.
* In the BackStory of JohnCWright's ''[[Literature/TheGoldenOecumene The Golden Age]]'', Daphne Prime "dream-drowned" herself in such a world, such that she would, if woken up, regard the waking world as a dream and the dream as reality. [[spoiler:At the end of ''The Golden Transcedence'', she reveals that she had had "true dreams" so that she would, indeed, see how she affected her husband.]]
* In ''The Unincorporated Man'' widespread addiction to virtual reality leads to the collapse of Western Civilization while Nuclear War ends Eastern civilization. Alaskans eventually rebuild but require all citizens of what eventually becomes the Terran Confederation to experience a VR sim exposing the horrors of the addiction. The actual methods sound similar to those in ''Film/{{Inception}}''.
* In ''TheHistoryOfTheGalaxy'' series, the logrs are miniature alien computers/storage devices in crystal form. Each logr can hold a person's mind in active form and was originally intended by the [[StarfishAliens Logrians]] as a way to live on after death, spending eternity in contemplation. When humans get a hold of these, they quickly realize that an eternity of thinking is not enough for a human. The environment inside a logr looks and feels real. It is formed from the person's memories. However, since the mind has no body at this point, there are no emotions either (they're caused by chemicals, after all), just raw memories all recalled with perfect clarity, which can turn each person's paradise into hell if he or she wasn't a nice person in life. While it is possible to copy a dead person's mind back into a cloned body, this is specifically forbidden by the Logrians who fear immortality (with [[ImmortalityImmorality good reason]]).
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''The Slithering Shadows'', ConanTheBarbarian stumbles on a city full of black lotus eaters who prefer their dreams.
-->''You have heard of the black lotus? In certain pits of the city it grows. Through the ages they have cultivated it, until, instead of death, its juice induces dreams, gorgeous and fantastic. In these dreams they spend most of their time. Their lives are vague, erratic, and without plan. They dream, they wake, drink, love, eat and dream again. They seldom finish anything they begin, but leave it half completed and sink back again into the slumber of the black lotus.''
* In the ''Literature/{{Shannara}}'' novel ''Antrax'', [[spoiler: Walker Boh is captured by the [[AIIsACrapshoot power-crazed supercomputer]] Antrax and forced into an artificial reality where he's forced to use his magic to defend himself. He's led to believe that he will escape eventually by the simulation, all the while having his use of magic feed Antrax more energy. He can't escape the simulation by his own power alone, either.]]
* ''[[http://www.scribd.com/doc/87940745/Ivan-Kireyevsky-The-Opal The Opal]]'' by Ivan Kireyevsky is built on an attempt to defeat an invincible king that way. [[spoiler:In the end, the king loses his kingdom, all his treasures, and even access to the visions. He doesn't care about the two former, but the loss of the latter would have driven him into suicide if not for the fear of losing the memories of it.]]
* Hologram Fun World, a vacation destination in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', has elements of this. The holograms span all human senses and can make it hard to tell what's real or simulated. When offered a chance at a holographic recreation of Alderaan, Tash and Zak don't want to take it. Later they're swept into more nightmarish scenarios.
* In ''The Futurological Congress'' by StanislawLem there are layers upon layer of this. [[spoiler:Drug induced hallucination are used to give the population the illusion of living in a lush paradise world, while the over crowded cold world outside the, is dying rapidly. ]].
* In Creator/RuthFrancesLong's ''Literature/TheTreacheryOfBeautifulThings'', the changelings are completely trapped in the delusion that they are living out {{Fairy Tale}}s as the heroes and heroines. Tom is less deluded but still demands to know why Jenny thinks he would leave being the Queen's lover for a job in a second-rate orchestra eking out a living. Jack brings up the HumanSacrifice aspects.
* In ''Literature/TheMetamorphosisOfPrimeIntellect'', humanity has spent at least the last six hundred years in a simulated universe where they can not die, and can have anything they wish for. Prime Intellect won't necessarily make life as enjoyable as possible, but its response to every voiced desire gets pretty close. That includes a voiced desire to have the neurons responsible for pleasure directly stimulated. The main character spends quite some time trying to get free.
* [[Creator/RaymondZGallun Raymond Z. Gallun]] made Lotus-Eater Machines central to one short story and one novel.
** In "The Lotus-Engine" (1940) space explorers fall into the inadvertent trap of an alien machine which offers them an illusion of paradise. Since they receive neither food nor water while victims of the illusion, they must break its spell quickly if they hope to survive.
** In ''The Eden Cycle'' (1974) alien transmissions teach 21st-century humanity to build a vast supercomputer virtual reality generator, complete with life support for the users, which enable its users to live [[InsideAComputerSystem immortal imaginary lives]]. Within a few centuries humanity disappears into its collective navel: many millennia later, the protagonists become bored with their virtual Eden and attempt to recolonize the now-fallow surface of the planet.
* In ''Literature/ThoseThatWake'', Mike has a vision where [[spoiler:he just beats up Man in Suit and saves the world. He gets famous, rich, has a supermodel wife... but is told his child is worthless and it gets it from his side of the family. This drives him even further into hopelessness.]]
* Played with in AmericanBornChinese. When Jin was a young boy, The Herbalist's wife told him that he could be anything he wishes as long as he's willing to forfeit his soul. After all the struggles within himself and at school cause him to throw away and mistreat his friends, he dreams of her and she tells him that he's done it as well as asks what he will become. He wakes up as Danny. A white kid who is popular and very good at basketball. (Previously the reader believes they are reading three differing stories but this is the point where they all connect.) and its revealed that[[spoiler:Jin Wang has just been calling himself Danny and that Danny's Cousin was simply the embodiment of all the stereotypes about the Chinese Race that he had been trying to escape the whole time. The Monkey King intervenes to stop Jin's foolish behavior and demonstrate how futile it is to try and make yourself someone else. Especially given that being a member of any race alone says nothing about what you know, What you like to eat, your interests, or anything.]].
* In ''Literature/MoreThanThis'', Seth eventually remembers that [[spoiler:the "real world" in which he died]] was a simulation built as an escape from the actual real world.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* On ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'', Alana's Promicin ability is to create worlds inside hers and another person's head. The future people use this to romantically set up her and Tom Baldwin by creating a world for them where they've been married for a few years and nobody but them even remembers the 4400. Eventually Tom figures this out and he and Alana have to choose to leave the fantasy world after spending most of a decade together happily married.
* The main character of ''Series/{{Angel}}'' has a curse where if he's ever truly happy, he loses his soul and becomes a vampire serial killer. For plot reasons, the good guys needed this to happen, so they hire a somewhat nefarious looking shaman to cast the spell that would accomplish. [[spoiler:The shaman, however, is revealed to be an assassin, and attempts to kill Angel, leaving the spell un-cast, though Angel and company decide they have to face the BigBad regardless. Over the course of the episode, it plays out just like a normal episode, with gains and losses, things happening, until the BigBad is actually defeated and everyone is happy. Then... everything starts getting freaky as too much happiness results, with far too many good things happening, culminating in a rewind back to the supposedly "failed" spell, which actually worked. The entire episode was a hallucination of Angel's, creating a day when everything fit together perfectly in such a way that it culminated in a moment of true happiness. His soul was taken from his body, and we come face to face with Angelus.]]
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** Had an almost identical episode. And then the bad guy who made the fantasy world gets killed.
** Inverted in another episode where Clark is trapped in a ''nightmare'' world instead - he finds himself in an asylum, and made to believe that everything he has been through, superpowers and all, was paranoid delusion. [[spoiler: He is rescued by the Martian Manhunter.]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has had a few of these:
** In "The Family Of Blood", the Doctor has rewritten his personality to be that of an ordinary human named John Smith. When the titular Family comes after him, he finds the item that will allow him to restore the Doctor personality... but receives a glimpse of a full, happy life with his love interest, who he'll never truly be able to connect with as the Doctor.
** "Forest Of The Dead": [[spoiler: Donna ends up in one of these after a teleporter accident. She, like the thousands of others "saved" by the library, ends up in a recreation of 21st century Earth, and ends up marrying a man and having two children before she's rescued. However this does take place in the span of less than ten minutes.]]
** "Asylum of the Daleks": [[spoiler: Oswin Oswald is a human who lives in an asylum for insane Daleks, hiding from them and living on soufflés. Right? Wrong. She's been turned into a Dalek and set up that reality inside her head because she couldn't cope with her transformation.]]
** "Amy's Choice": The Dream Lord traps the TARDIS crew between two scenarios and forces them to choose which one is the dream, and which the reality. One is Rory's fantasy (married to Amy, baby on the way, successful Doctor in Upper Leadworth); one is the Doctor's (on the TARDIS, facing mortal peril). To make it trickier, Upper Leadworth is being invaded by the alien-possessed elderly who can reduce people to ashes. [[spoiler: It turns out ''neither'' is the true reality; as the Doctor ultimately points out, the Dream Lord only has power over dreams.]]
* ''Series/{{Eureka}}'':
** Given an interesting twist in an episode (apparently a take-off of the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Remember Me") where the entire populace of Eureka is slowly disappearing around Sheriff Carter, consumed by strange glowing portals, leaving him as the only one who even remembers them existing in the first place. Turns out he's hooked himself up to a prototype virtual reality psychoanalysis machine, which has trapped him in its illusion in a somewhat overzealous attempt to force him to come to terms with his fear of losing his daughter (at the time, the subject of a custody dispute between himself and his ex-wife). He breaks the spell by taking her to the edge of town and leading her into one of the portals, at which point the machine declares him cured and allows him to wake up.
** In the first three episodes of season five, Allison, Zehn, Fargo, and the rest of the Astraeus crew are trapped in a virtual reality where the ftl drive malfunctioned and sent them four years into the future. [[spoiler: In the real world they're missing for a month and after Jack, Henry and Jo rescue them the corrupt senator responsible is imprisoned in a VR of Jack's office, all alone, with no way out.]]
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': Crichton is twice made, by different factions, to hallucinate that he is back on Earth. The second time, he quickly realizes it's not real, but can't figure out how to wake up, and the dream steadily becomes more and more surreal. [[spoiler: When he finally makes it back to Earth by sheer luck, he initially assumes it's another mind trick. Oddly, the question he asks as a test when he makes it back to his own world and time is one that could have been answered by either of the previous two.]]
** The first one involved him realizing something was wrong when everything was /exactly/ like when he left as if he had gone back in time. He becomes increasingly aggravated at how everything is the same once he realizes this and manages to break out once he enters somewhere he has never been (ladies room) and finds a glowing wall, he is then spoken to by the creators of the hallucination.
** In the episode "John Quixote", Crichton and Chiana are trapped in a virtual reality game. Something that blurs the line between this trope and CuckooNest a bit is that, initially, they're quite aware of the nature of the world, however as [[spoiler: Near the end of the episode, Crichton apparently escapes and returns to Moya. He finds that, as he as feared since Scorpius came aboard Moya, Scorpius has gone crazy and betrayed them. Except, no, it was the game still, preying on Crichton's long-standing fears. Then, it turns out the game was designed by Stark, who was blaming John for Zaahn's death earlier in the series. The game was specifically designed to do this to Crichton, and only him.]] One interesting difference in this case is that, at the start of the next episode, Crichton actually mentions this and wonders if he really did escape at all. Typically, this possibility is almost entirely ignored outside of the episode it takes place in.
* "Tempests", an episode of the 1990s ''Series/TheOuterLimits''. The protagonist's spaceship, carrying a vaccine for his dying colony, crashes into the heart of an AirWhale in a gas giant's atmosphere. When he goes outside to check the damage, he's bitten by a nasty, [[GiantSpider basketball-sized spider]] and passes out just as he returns to the airlock. When he wakes up, he keeps passing out and reawakening between a reality in which he's lying on a hospital bed with his family at his bedside, having already been rescued and now hallucinating from his colony's plague, and a reality in which he and the remaining crewmen are struggling to fix their ship, in which he's hallucinating from the spider venom, while another crewmember is being [[BodyHorror webbed up and parasitized]] by the spiders while babbling happily to herself. He eventually rejects the hospital reality as a Lotus Eater Machine (and reasons that if there's any chance the colony still needs to be saved, he has to take it), finds a way to escape from the wrecked ship and delivers the vaccine. [[spoiler: At his moment of success, however, the view changes to reveal that the spiders actually overwhelmed the ship near the beginning of the episode, and now he and the entire crew are lost in their dream worlds while they're being webbed up and sucked dry. Both the good ''and'' bad realities were illusions.]]
* ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'' has an episode where the Mercury Ranger is made to believe that his fiancée is still alive, he was never mutated into a Lava Lizard, and the entire season never took place.
* ''{{Sh15uya}}'' takes place entirely within a Lotus Eater Machine, and although the viewers know this from the very start, the story revolves around the main characters figuring this out. It might not seem perfect at first (there's a three-way gang war going on, and violence is common) but as one character puts it, "Shibuya has everything that you young people want: the latest styles, fashions, entertainment, you name it." [[spoiler:It turns out that the Lotus Eater Machine is being used to rehabilitate the cast from teenage thugs to model citizens.]]
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** In "The Changeling", Teal'c finds himself bouncing back and fourth between three realities: one where he's human, and he and the rest of the team are firemen; another where he's back on the base living fairly "typically"; and a third reality where he's lying, injured, in the middle of a field, surrounded by dead soldiers, and sharing his symbiote with his equally injured OldMaster friend Bra'tac in a desperate effort to stay alive. However, he doesn't seem to remember the third one when he's in the other two realities, and when he's in those realities, he thinks the other one is a dream. [[spoiler: The third reality is the real one, and his delirious mind is creating the two fake realities.]]
** In "New Order", the Human-form Replicator Fifth, who has an obsession with Sam, kidnaps her and sets up an idyllic fantasy existence for Carter, where she's happily married to (her boyfriend) Pete. [[spoiler: Pete is actually Fifth, using his power over Sam's mind to disguise himself as Pete.]]
** In "Reckoning", [=RepliCarter=] captures Daniel Jackson and sends him into a similar false reality where he's talking to Oma Desala (actually the Replicator in disguise) to interrogate him for information about the Ancients.
** Inverted in "The Gamekeeper", where instead of being an idyllic paradise, the machine-created realm forces Jack and Daniel to repeatedly relive the worst moments of their past.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' used this in the episode "Home". The characters think they've found a way to return to Earth, though it doesn't become apparent until about midway through the episode that their Lotus Eater Machine is individual and doesn't include the others. Each of their worlds was designed with everything they wanted, to keep them from fighting back, but starts defying logic in ways that provoke their suspicion. Though, in Major Sheppard's case, he figured this out early (two deceased friends showed up without explanation) and, and to test it, included in his mental fantasy a sweet apartment he had never seen and an attractive girl that he remembers (unsuccessfully) asking out.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek''
** ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'': This was the plot of the original pilot, "The Cage," though Pike sees through the ruse easily. [[spoiler:However, another character trapped there doesn't want to leave the machine -- and knows that it's all an illusion - as after having been horrifically mangled in a crash the aliens were able to restore the illusion of her original beautiful appearance. They give her a illusory Captain Pike to live with until the real Pike returns to the planet in a later episode made up of the original pilot.]]
** ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'':
*** "Future Imperfect": Riker is trapped in a Lotus Eater Machine by a benevolent captor who just wants to be friends with him. When he realizes it the first time, it creates a second Lotus Eater Machine, in which he's a prisoner of a recurring enemy Romulan who was behind the first one as well. Both times inconsistencies/inaccuracies are what tip Riker off.
*** In "Remember Me", Dr. Crusher gets trapped in [[spoiler: a pocket dimension shaped by her own thoughts, in which the crew members disappear one by one and are forgotten by the rest of the crew, while weird portals (leading back to the real world) open up everywhere- eventually she's the only one left and the universe starts collapsing.]]
*** Poor old Riker is again trapped in one in "Frame of Mind".
*** "Ship In A Bottle". During one of Data's Sherlock Holmes holodeck adventures, Moriarty gains actual sentience. He then theorizes that he must have come to life, and he should be able to leave the holodeck, which he does. The rest of the episode is Data and Picard trying to figure out what's going on until they realize [[spoiler: everybody on the Enterprise suddenly is left handed, like Moriarty.]] They manage to escape the program, and create a small subroutine so that Moriarty, still living in his dream, can dream it for as long as he wants with the love he found in his Lotus Eater Machine.
** ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'':
*** In "Bliss", a NegativeSpaceWedgie in the form of a gigantic psychic creature (referred to as a "telepathic pitcher plant")[[note]] Naomi Wildman names it such. A pitcher plant mimics insect pheromones to make other insects fly into its mouth. The local expert on it agrees its a fitting comparison. [[/note]] tricks the entire crew into believing that it is a wormhole that leads to Earth, that the Doctor and Seven of Nine (who are both immune) have to be deactivated, then making them pass out and experience a supremely pleasant false reality in order to feast on them. DoubleSubverted for the characters Seven of Nine and Naomi Wildman, who are able to resist its effects because they have no particular desire to go to Earth. When they tried to escape, the creature was able to then exploit ''that'' desire and make then think they succeeded when they were still inside its stomach.
*** In "Waking Moments", telepathic aliens who exist primarily in a dreaming state invade the crew's dreams, forcing them to all join into a single group dream that seems totally real in order to attack them. Only Chakotay, the MagicalNativeAmerican, knows it is a dream at first, and uses his lucid dreaming / vision quest AppliedPhlebotinum machine to control the dream world. Eventually, the whole crew learns this skill to turn the tables on their captors and exit the dream state.
*** In "The Thaw", several aliens in suspended animation wait out a planetary disaster using such a system. Unfortunately their combined anxieties created a MonsterClown character who was the personification of Fear, tormenting them for its amusement.
** Several ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episodes hinge on this. In one, O'Brian is caught for espionage (he just browsed some files on some planet's "internet" where apparently it's hacking and illegal) and is instantly sentenced and given memories of years spent in prison, without actually serving the time. O'Brien angsts about what he supposedly did in "prison". While he understands that it was all fake, he still believes that his actions in the illusion were his own. Bashir explains that the reason he can't just erase the programmed memories from his brain is that it wasn't just an implant, it was an interactive (and incredibly accelerated) experience of spending decades in confinement. The place and people weren't real, but O'Brian's choices and actions within it ''were'', including [[spoiler: killing his friend/bunkmate of 20 years in a fight over a scrap of food after they had been starved for weeks on end]].
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** "What Is And What Should Never Be": After fighting a Djinn, Dean wakes up in a world where his mother is still alive and he and Sam are living normal lives. This included a slight inversion; rather than creating a perfect world for Dean, it granted him a specific wish, that being that the demon had never killed his mother. As a result, their father never became a monster hunter, all the people the Winchesters saved are dead and Sam and Dean have absolutely nothing in common. Eventually Dean realizes that, rather than changing the past, the Djinn just messed with his head to make him think he was in an alternate reality. Unusual in that Dean chooses to try and leave ''before he realizes that it's an illusion''. Just believing that all of the people he and Sam saved are 'actually' dead now is enough to make him go for the HeroicSacrifice.
** {{Heaven}} works this way, with each individual soul (or pair of soulmates) occupying a personalized paradise meant specifically for them. Unfortunately, each soul (unless they have a soulmate) is actually alone in their HappyPlace and any loved ones they interact with are just fantasies. These other people may not even be in Heaven. They could still be on Earth, in {{Hell}}, [[TheUnderworld Purgatory]], etc. However, at least one clever individual, [[spoiler:Ash]], figured out how to move between different people's personal paradises.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode "A Nice Place To Visit," in which Rocky, the unsavory protagonist is trapped permanently in a Lotus Eater Machine where he has easy access to money, women, and everything else that he wants, [[spoiler:that turns out to be {{Hell}} itself]].
* ''Series/TheXFiles'':
** "Field Trip": Mulder and Scully are caught in a... (wait for it)... Giant Underground Fungal Organism which uses hallucinogens to keep them trapped while it tries to digest them.
** "Amor Fati" also touched on this, [[spoiler: where Mulder was offered a world where he had everything he'd desired, including his sister back, but the cost was the rest of the world going to hell. Ultimately, he got pulled out of the trance by Scully.]]
** "Kill Switch" also incorporated this, though it was less of a utopia, and more like the Castle Anthrax scene of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' featured a magical version, with the [[spoiler: Source]] using it on [[spoiler:Piper]] to retrieve a spell to remove the sister's powers, which had been removed from the Book of Shadows, and existed only in her head.
* In ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'', when [[spoiler: Echo, Victor, and Sierra]] are in [[spoiler: the Attic]]
* ''Series/RedDwarf'':
** "Better Than Life" features a Virtual Reality Game that can make all your deepest fantasies come true. In the end, though, Rimmer's deep self-loathing results in the destruction of everybody's perfect worlds. In the books, the game is almost impossible to leave, because in order to leave, somebody has to ''want'' to leave, and nobody ever does (also, it's hard for people to realize that they're in the game in the first place, as the game sets itself up in such a way as to prevent people from realizing that). As a result, the person's real-life body will eventually waste away and die. Somewhat of a spoof in the novel, as the Cat is so self-absorbed that nothing will fulfill his desires short of living in a mountain kingdom and being waited on by giant, topless, singing, dancing Valkyries, putting even Rimmer's incredibly indulgent fantasy to shame, while Kryten can come and go freely as he has no hopes, dreams, or desires besides getting a new squeezy-mop.
** The novel version of "Better Than Life" ends with Lister having to make the decision whether to stay in the simulation or return to the hardships of traveling back to an Earth ''six million'' years in the future where he may well be the last human as he understands it. Talk about a DownerEnding. The second novel reveals that the Lotus Eater Machine digs deep into their psyche, bringing to light their deepest desires. Which, unfortunately for Rimmer (or fortunately, since it is what breaks them out of the fake paradise), revolves around his self-loathing. Rimmer's self-hatred ends up destroying the dream world. When they finally leave, they find that reality is suspiciously better than it should be (Lister's 2nd cup of coffee tastes better than the first, he drops a slice of buttered toast 20 times and it always lands butter side up, [[SerialEscalation a TV dinner tastes better than its cardboard box]], etc.) and discover that they're still in the game, at which point the game designer appears and congratulates them for figuring it out, then lets them leave.
** It is later reversed in "Back to Reality" by a hallucinogenic venom from a Despair Squid that causes the group to, together, hallucinate a reality that drives them to the brink of suicide. They are only stopped by Holly forcing Kryten to release a mood stabilizer.
** The three-part miniseries "Back to Earth" that aired in 2009. [[spoiler:Act II and Act III get increasingly bizarre until they are revealed as a Lotus Eater Machine hallucination brought on by a hallucinogen that links all the affected characters in a pleasant dreamworld. After finding out, Lister is tempted to stay but ultimately he opts for the real thing.]]
* The [[spoiler: flash-sideways timeline]] in ''Series/{{Lost}}'' is an interesting example because [[spoiler: the inhabitants of the timeline created it themselves]].
* In one episode of ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'', Hercules goes to The Underworld on a mission. He decides to take a detour to the Elysian Fields to visit his dead wife and children. [[spoiler: He's heartbroken to find that they weren't even ''aware that they were dead,'' an illusionary Hercules was with them the whole time, and they were living out their "lives" as a happy family.]]
* In an episode of ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', Xena goes to The Underworld and is shocked to find [[spoiler: her son, Solan, in Tartarus. Solan explains that he figured out the Elysian Fields' illusion, and begged to go to Tartarus because he was about to GoMadFromTheRevelation.]]
* On ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', Lyekka, who is actually a carnivorous plant monster, causes her prey to hallucinate achieving their deepest fantasy so they don't notice that she's consuming them.
* ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}'' A trap freezes our heroes into a trance where they experience their happiest place while the floor under they starts to crumble. Pete gets to make out with his girlfriend, making him realize that he truly loves her; Helena gets to play with her dead daughter, making her seriously freak out when she is forcibly thrown out of the dream; and Myka... gets to work on a hard problem at the Warehouse while her boss gives her praise and coffee. [[MarriedToTheJob Well, that is just sad.]]
* In an episode of the TV series of ''Series/{{V}}'', Donovan is captured by the Visitors and wakes to find himself in the bedroom of an apartment where it is ten years in the future, the war has been won and the Visitors vanquished and he is living happily with his son and his wife, Julie. In reality, of course, Julie and his son are Visitors wearing shapeshifting devices to alter their appearance and the aim is to trick him into revealing the time and location of a resistance meeting - information that he would believe was no longer relevant ten years later. [[spoiler: Donovan finally realises it's all a trick when the Visitors overplay their hand, leaving a future edition of a newspaper in his room which includes a picture of the Star Child still as a little girl. Donovan knows, but the Visitor's don't, that the Star Child evolved into a young woman at the start of the series. Although...you'd think that they'd have figured she might have grown up anyway ten years later, so why they still had her a child...!]]
* On ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Matt Parkman's father Maury is a living lotus-eater machine. Unfortunately for his victims, he doesn't trap them in pleasant scenarios, giving rise to his InSeriesNickname: "the Nightmare Man."
* Sally from the BeingHumanRemake gets trapped in a fantasy world within her mind by her alter-ego, [[GrimReaper Scott]]. In the dream, Sally and Scott are engaged and living together in a refurbished and decidedly more pleasant version of Sally's house. Zoe [[ISeeDeadPeople the medium]] must enter the dream to fish Sally out of it before "Scott" kills her, Aidan and Josh.
* ''Series/LegendOfTheSeeker'':
** In an episode, [[TheChosenOne Richard]] gets put under a spell by [[BigBad Darken Rahl's]] wizard, in which Richard wakes up back in his village with his father still alive and nothing amiss. He's with his girlfriend, who is actually Rahl himself in disguise. Rahl's goal is for Richard to tell "her" his "dreams" of being a Seeker, including where he hid the MacGuffin. Thanks to Zedd and Kahlan, Richard manages to see through Rahl's disguise and snap out of the spell just before being lost to it for good.
** There is also an inverse example in the second season, where Richard wanders into the Valley of Perdition, which traps him in a nightmare of [[OurZombiesAreDifferent banelings]] overrunning the entire world and killing all his friends... except Richard, leaving him the last person in the world. Somehow, he manages to snap out of this dream world as well, just in time to defeat Nicci.
* The warlocks of Qarth attempt to lure Daenerys with a vision of [[spoiler: her dead husband and stillborn son in the House of the Undying]] in the second season finale of ''Series/GameOfThrones''.
* Used in the episode "Out of the Blue" of ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}''. Will and Magnus find themselves in simulation of a different life, but periodically wake up from the hallucination, only to be put back to sleep by a group of scientists. At the end of the episode it's revealed [[spoiler:that it was a benevolent treatment to help them recover from the poison of a psychworm. This newly-discovered abnormal is a giant worm creature that normally puts its victims in these sorts of hallucinations so it can devour them quietly]].
* Done slightly differently in ''Series/TheLegendOfWilliamTell'' when there is no actual machine. Instead a whole valley uses this. The heroes get everything they ever wanted, but the illusions all turn nasty and try to kill them, sometimes overlapping with one person's illusion going after another person.
* The circus in ''Series/MaddigansQuest'' visited a community that tricked them into drinking "mindweed", a substance that made them believe that the worms they're eating is actually a banquet and the rough sacks on the floor are feather beds.
* One episode of ''Series/{{House}}'' has the titular character get shot twice, after which he wakes up in a hospital bed next to the guy who shot him. Due to an experimental treatment House can walk without a cane and is working on a case that gets increasingly bizarre. [[spoiler: It turns out House actually in a sort of dream hallucination world as a result of the trauma from the gunshot wound, and he breaks out by pushing the limits as to what his mind can accept as his hallucinated team begs him to stop, at one point even pointing out how much better off he is.]]
* In the first season finale of ''Series/SleepyHollow'', Abbie and Ichabod are faced with seperate dream worlds when they enter purgatory. Interestingly enough, they are presented worlds in which they never encountered the supernatural- [[spoiler: Abbie's dream is of her going to Quantico and Corbin and Andy still being alive, while Ichabod's is of him never defecting to the rebels and still having a good relationship with his father. The absence of supernatural-related characters such as Jenny and Katrina is palpable, since you'd expect them to be in Abbie and Ichabod's dreamworlds respectively.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* {{Opeth}}, what with being lead by a savvy fellow, have "The Lotus Eater"
* NickCaveAndTheBadSeeds have a song called 'Night of the Lotus Eaters' on DigLazarusDig!!! which seems to entirely be following this trope, a character sleeping through some kind of apocalypse. Of course being by Nick Cave, that might totally not be the case.
* TheEagles' "Hotel California" is about a hotel that turns out to be one.
--> ''"We're all just prisoners here\\
Of our own device"''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology And Religion]]
* The concept of Solipsism is that the only thing that is real is "the mind" (which is to say, the person reading this) and that "the mind" created the universe as an illusion to protect itself from the horror of the void. A self imposed LEM if you think of it that way.
* UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} essentially purports that the universe we inhabit is this.
** Same with UsefulNotes/{{Gnosticism}}, except that the LEM is imposed by [[GodIsEvil Yaldabaoth]] and his archons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* ''{{Bionicle}}'': Kharzani puts Lesovikk into an illusory alternate reality in which his teammates were still alive. He wakes up after remembering what really happened to them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* There's ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening''. The entire game takes place in [[spoiler:Link's/the Windfish's dreamworld. Link is sent to a perfect island paradise with plenty of adventure, friends, and fun, and he'll never have to work for anything again.]] Instead of staying, though, he's [[spoiler: forced to fight the game's enemies, the Nightmares, to wake up the Windfish and return to reality. In doing that he essentially destroys the entire island and all of its inhabitants he's grown so fond of.]] Even though most people know it's coming, it's still a pretty powerful ending. The manga is even worse.
* In the unfinished 80's video game series ''VideoGame/AlternateReality'', the character was abducted by aliens and placed into one of these for the entertainment of the aliens.
* In ''VideoGame/FableII'', [[spoiler: this happens to your hero after Lucien's attempt to kill him or her. Apparently on the brink of death, you awaken in "The Perfect World", a bucolic farm where your sister is alive, you have parents (who are conveniently offscreen on a trip, though), and everything is peaceful and beautiful. After a day of innocent fun, however, you awaken in the night to hear a music box playing, and if you follow the tune down a path away from the farm, your sister begs you not to leave, her pleas becoming more desperate before she eventually lets out an agonized [[BigNo "NOOO!"]] and vanishes, the trail becoming a war-torn battlefield full of fire, ruin, and dead bodies. Even more [[TearJerker heart-wrenching]] is that [[ButThouMust you have to leave all this behind]] so you can confront the villain and save the world.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'''s main quest brings the player character to Vault 112, where the residents inhabit a virtual reality simulation orchestrated by Dr. Stanislaus Braun, the vault's Overseer. The current simulation is for "Tranquility Lane" a 1950s-esque suburban cul-de-sac with the other residents of Vault 112 playing as the people of Tranquility Lane. However, the psychopath Braun merely torments them for his personal amusement, devising methods to traumatize and temporarily kill his vault charges. The player, stuck in the virtual body of a 10-year old child, can tell the residents that this is just a computer simulation, but they will respond in character thinking that it really is [[TheFifties the 1950s]] (or more likely pre-war 2077, which was heavily influenced by the 1950s). The only way to escape is either [[spoiler:play along with Braun's sadistic games (which causes major Karma loss)]] or [[spoiler: activate the hidden "Failsafe" which kills all of the Vault's inhabitants ([[MercyKill a preferable alternative]] to being eternally tormented by Braun) leaving Braun [[AndIMustScream trapped alone in the simulation presumably for eternity]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', Ness is knocked unconscious after visiting the last Your Sanctuary, leading the player to explore Magicant, a surreal, idealized version of the game's world, populated with figures from Ness' life.
** [[VideoGame/{{Mother1}} MOTHER / Earthbound Zero]] also features Magicant, but it's not the protagonist's dreamworld - it's [[spoiler: Queen Mary]]'s.
* The simulation of a pleasant brightly-coloured playground Raimi gets plugged into after becoming a ghost in ''VideoGame/{{Geist}}''. At least, until the [[StylisticSuck glitches start up]] and another ghost pulls you out.
* In ''VideoGame/GrandiaII'', one of the towns being terrorized by demons (think ''{{Series/Supernatural}}'', but with swords) has a sleep curse placed on everyone. When they go to sleep, they dream of a beautiful meadow, but they can't reawaken. The party actually stumbles on the "garden" on their way to the village, which is surrounded by otherwise-inhospitable snow and rocks. The garden is definitely not supposed to be there. [[spoiler:This dream world was constructed by the demon's host, a small girl from the village who wanted to make friends.]]
* Basically the whole plot of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' is one, mainly for Mewt, but also for his father and his friends.
** It's so effective that some players see Marche as a VillainProtagonist for trying to free his friends from it and force them to face reality.
* The adventure game ''VideoGame/{{Gateway}}'' featured a rare [[spoiler: TRIPLE Lotus Eater Machine. First the protagonist is placed in a VR paradise and must escape. Next comes a VR Hell, which is also [[LikeABadassOutOfHell escapable]]. (Given the lack of real torments and the presence of challenges, this is really a puzzle-solving adventurer's Lotus Eater Machine in disguise.) Finally, after the villain's apparent defeat, it is revealed that no escape has been made, and the player must act ''within'' the illusion to defeat the villain.]]
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' has new character Roxas discovering he is in one of these towards the end of the prologue, though a portion of it, "The Seven Mysteries of Twilight Town", gave away hints that the town and its people weren't what they seemed. Roxas, a Nobody that theoretically couldn't feel emotions was generally happy when hanging out with his friends (though he was going through a literal identity crisis [[spoiler:with Sora]]). When he learns that his "home" is a computer simulation he's been dumped in [[spoiler:to keep him safe until Sora is ready to reabsorb him]], he goes into a mini-UnstoppableRage against a computer monitor and a holographic [=DiZ=]. When he finally sees [[spoiler:Sora in his memory pod]], he resigns to his fate and when [[spoiler:Sora meets the real versions of Roxas' friends, Roxas cries through Sora for the friends that he never really had]].
* A non-happy example of this is ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid Mobile''. It starts off looking like a typical infiltration, with Snake being guided by Otacon and eventually talking to a scientist over the Codec. Then you discover that [[spoiler: the scientist is a computer program designed to lure you into disabling the security for the building so that terrorists can take over Metal Gear.]] ''Then'' you discover that [[spoiler: the entire ''mission'' is a computer program, and the mysterious person who calls you multiple times throughout the game without Otacon noticing is in fact the real Otacon hacking into the simulation. Of course, the only way to get out is to finish the mission. It turns out that the program was made by the Patriots, who kidnapped and drugged Snake before putting him into it. They decide he didn't give them enough information so they wipe his memory, cleverly obscuring the game's canonicity in the overall series.]]
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights: Hordes of the Underdark'' had a scene where an Elder Brain, in a last ditch effort to keep you from killing it, used its powers to make you think you actually live a peaceful life with your significant other in a cabin in the woods. It's easy to break out of the illusion, but if you want...
* ''PlanescapeTorment'' has two instances of this. The faction of the Sensates collect magical stones that contain memories and experiences. One of these [[spoiler: is a trap that one of your previous incarnations set for his later self, i.e. you, but isn't too hard to break out of.]] The other is [[spoiler: created by the main antagonist and found in the penultimate room, and even holds your brilliant ChessMaster previous incarnation captive]].
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'', the workers in the Factory district are brainwashed by [[spoiler: siren's song]] to make them happy, productive workers content to literally work themselves to death with endless shifts. Additionally... [[spoiler: The entire Arcadia district is one big Lotus Eater Machine; everyone is really strapped into chairs and hooked up to computers while living in a virtual paradise.]]
** [[spoiler: Actually Arcadia was a prototype, everyone would be hooked up to the machine once the plan was enacted.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' plays with this concept; [[spoiler:the other world is in Maki's imagination, but it's real at the same time. Confused? The (first) BigBad used his RealityWarper machine to make her dreams come true.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' One of Selphie's Hidden Limit Breaks is "The End", which sends the enemy to a serene field of flowers where they are put to rest.
* VideoGame/BioShock2 also featured this for the Little Sisters. The broken dystopia the PlayerCharacters see around them [[spoiler: is seen by the Little Sisters as a beautiful art gallery draped in white cloth and cluttered with roses. And the corpses they drain ADAM out of is seen by them as literal angels. As an apparent fail-safe, the little sisters seems to snap back to reality when surprised or in danger, such as being grabbed at by a splicer.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', the Circle of Magi has been taken over by demons, where you encounter a Sloth demon. Fitting his namesake, he sends all his victims (which eventually include the party) to sleep, their consciousnesses to the Fade, a dream world. Everyone is sent to a living nightmare, except your party, whom Sloth deems a big enough threat that he splits you up and gives each of you a perfect "life", where dead/lost loved ones have returned and no one has to fight anymore. Breaking these dreams means killing said loved ones (in the dream, of course), though luckily some are not easily tricked [[spoiler:([[DarkMagicalGirl Morrigan]] is unconvinced by the Flemeth she sees since it's not the monster she remembers and [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Sten]] can be brought back to your side by reminding him that he's honor-bound to follow you). Shale, the DLC Golem party member, "dreams" that it has been paralyzed again, and you just have to remind it that its been freed. Hilariously, Dog doesn't have a dream and takes no effort to free at all.]]
** Desire demons also have this power, though it isn't quite the same. The victim is technically conscious, but mentally checked out into their happy place. One guy attacks your party when the desire demon convinces him that you're there to kill his nonexistent wife and kids.
** The same thing happens in the prequel novel ''Franchise/DragonAge: Literature/TheCalling'' with the Grey Wardens (including young Duncan) and King Maric. A demon enters the body of the elven mage Fiona and puts everyone to sleep. Maric wakes up in his palace near his first love Katriel (whom he killed in the previous novel). He also finds out that Rowan (his queen) is still alive but married to Loghain. He quickly realizes it's not real, but Katriel still begs him to stay in the illusion. He ends up getting out and visiting the others' happy illusions. One Grey Warden also realizes it's an illusion but chooses to stay, even though it means death.
*** It's implied that Katriel is not an illusion but actually her spirit (the illusions take place in the Fade, where the living and the spirits can interact), as she ends up helping Maric to free the others.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', Feynriel is trapped in his nightmares by a Desire Demon posing as [[DisappearedDad his father]] and a Pride Demon posing as [[TheMentor Keeper Marethari]], and Hawke must enter into the Fade to rescue Feynriel from the demons.
* ''SuikodenTierkreis'' shows one of these first from the inside, then the outside. Inside, the protagonist relives the happiest day of his life, [[GroundhogDayLoop over and over and over]], until the player figures out exactly which sequence of dialogue breaks him out of it. Dead characters are restored to life, and his friends are as cheerful as ever, but he still can't help but feel lost and confused even before he fully remembers things. Outside the illusion, lonely figures wander the ruins of a city, blissfully unaware that the friends and family they imagine are either dead or lost in dreams of their own. Of note is that in-universe, this doesn't work very well--most of the cast has some long-term goal that can't be accomplished over the course of a day, and they grow sick of eternally seeing their progress undone.
* The title location of ''SecretOfEvermore''. It's all an alternate reality invented by a professor who then got sucked inside, along with his friends, granddaughter, and robotic butler. It's implied that they could have left at any time, they merely chose not to. What's odd is that time seems to stand still while inside Evermore; all the important [=NPCs=] have spent thirty real-world years and don't look any older.
* In ''[=StarFight=] VI: Gatekeepers'', the PlayerCharacter ends up being {{Mind Rape}}d by an alien creature. However, what it looks like is the player waking up and doing the same thing as at the beginning of the game. If the player ends up doing the exact same thing (i.e. follow the memory), then the crew is revealed to be just projections of the creature who then consumes the player's mind. The only way to get out is to do the one thing you can't do at the beginning, enter Engineering. Since there is no memory of entering it, the illusion is broken.
* There's an interesting subversion in ''[[{{Tsukihime}} Kagetsu Tohya]]''. The first part is that it's a dream world and that unexpected things break in and ruin it such as Shiki's nightmare of himself as a murderer. The second part is that [[spoiler:Len thinks she's doing it for him, but Shiki figures out that deep down she's doing it for herself. The thing is that it's actually something more like ''her'' idea of a perfect life: To Shiki it's nice, but nothing special. For Len it's something she's never had before, and she's dying. The dream does not end (though it could have if he wanted to and would have done so eventually anyway) until Shiki saves her through making a master/familiar contract.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' has this happen to the two main characters; after being defeated in battle by the game's BigBad, they are transported to a world where their fondest wishes have come true. For example, in Serah's world, if she [[spoiler:accepts Lightning's request to stay with her,]] she gets to see all of her friends again - Snow, Lightning, Sazh, Dajh, Hope and the other members of NORA. Catch? [[spoiler:Caius succeeded in his plans to destroy spacetime itself, and Serah will forever live in a state of denial, just not quite remembering Noel]].
* The main setting of ''VideoGame/SaintsRowIV'' has you trapped in a virtual-reality version of Steelport by the invading aliens. With superpowers available in the simulation, it's a pretty wild place.
** Part of the prologue sees the Boss trapped in a small, quaint town out of a cheesy sitcom from TheFifties. Then [[CrapsaccharineWorld things go downhill]] when the locals [[FelonyMisdemeanor object to the Boss's foul mouth]].
** It's later revealed that everyone is kept inside simulations of their own personal hell in an effort to break their spirit. It just happens that The Boss could only be broken by this trope. And even then, it didn't work.
* The ending to ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge'' was fan-theoried to be this, and confirmed in the third game.
* In one of the endings to ''Videogame/TheStanleyParable'', [[spoiler:the Narrator claims the entire game is this; Stanley is still in his office, pushing the buttons like he always has been, while imagining fantastic adventures until he can't tell which world is the real one and slowly killing himself in the process]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Occurs in ''VisualNovel/ShikkokuNoSharnoth'' when [[spoiler:M tries to reward Mary for not giving up, but in the end it appears he understood her no better than she did him. She rejects it.]]
* In ''LittleBusters'' [[spoiler:Riki and Rin]] are trapped in one in [[spoiler:all the routes up until they reach the end of Refrain. Unlike most examples, this is a more benevolent example designed to help them grow stronger.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'', [[spoiler:the whole island is a simulation meant to rehabilitate the students from their time as Super High School Level Despair.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''{{Starslip}}'', the captain of the 'Paradigm' is taken hostage by a bacterial colony that invades the brains of people and gives them visions of their heart's desires until they die. He's given visions of the woman he loved (who ceased to exist during a previous plotline) and retreats into a bizarre mind-space made of giant cups of tea and galleries full of portraits of the aforesaid woman. His crew dive in and get him out, but not before they learn of his fanatical obsession with bringing back his lost love.
* In the first storyline of ''Webcomic/{{Fans}}'', Thackerabilitus Sieughiewiecz hooks the whole Billberg SciFi Club (less Rikk, who's been shot- pity, it would have been interesting to see his) up to one of these. Rumy is an award-winning graphic artist and writer, Katherine is a female Knight of the Round Table, Tim is surrounded by a harem of his female friends and sexual fantasies, and Will is a crewman on the Enterprise-D getting counseling from a CaptainErsatz of Counselor Troi. Three of them break out because they've changed since Thack psychoanalyzed them (Rumy values companionship more since she heard how devoting himself to his career ruined her idol's family life, Katherine doesn't feel worthy of her knighthood since she noticed her Napoleon complex, and Will uses Troi's psychoanalysis to figure out that it's AllJustADream), but the author has acknowledged that Tim wouldn't have escaped on his own, and he has to be awakened by the others.
** Thack also plays around with this with Shanna, who he doesn't put into a simulation but instead tries to convince that she's been in one all along, trying to get her to "symbolically" put on his Mind Control glasses.
** Shanna would later be [[MindScrew Mind Screwed]] again by the FIB into thinking that all of her adventures with the Fans have been AllJustADream, but she got out by noticing the stress marks on her hands from squeezing the 23-Sider of Power when the alternate past says she was straight jacketed.
* In ''WebComic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'', during the "Spooky Stuff" storyline, Mitzi specifically warns Dark Smoke Puncher and Gordito (her youngest son and her oldest son's sidekick, respectively) that the opponent they have been tasked with taking down will try this on them. Gordito sees through Mitzi's trick right away; Dark Smoke Puncher...not so much.
** When it actually happens to Dark Smoke Puncher, all we see is a page of his father hugging him and saying that [[WellDoneSonGuy "computers are pretty cool"]].
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge''. George undergoes this when X tries to create a hive mind out of every living being on Earth. When he uses his electrical powers to defend himself he gets thrown back in time back to Mega Man 6. Which is more of a nightmare than an idealistic dream seeing as the last game he had to live trough he hung from a ceiling for nearly all of it. As soon as he recovers his electrical powers he rips a hole trough the illusion and ends up in a [[GhostInTheMachine representation of X's mind.]]
* Dream bubbles in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' are a more benevolent version of these, even though they're the products of EldritchAbomination. Feferi convinces said abominations to create a bunch of them for her and Jade to use since Jade's dream-self was dead and Feferi [[HeroicSacrifice let hers die]] to prove a point about the furthest ring as well as be able to access the dream bubbles herself. It doesn't stop them from [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004748 ending]] the [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004894 typical]] way for the trope.
* In ''{{Endstone}}'', there are hints that the SwordAndSorcery world is this. Which does raise the question of whether [[http://endstone.net/comic/issue-1-page-7/ wanting to destroy the world is proof that you are evil]].
* ''RumorsOfWar'', being based on GreekMythology, has a plot that revolves around the use of the actual lotus. Or more specifically, festival food that has been tainted by the lotus. Illyra, trapped at the festival, must fight off the effects of the lotus and face a deadly enemy from her past. We don't see the dreams of any particular character, but the characters' behavior is marked by [[FrothyMugsOfWater giggle fits, scattered conversation, and increased appetite]].
* In ''{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2133 Squidly and Crimney contemplate the possibility that they are just brains in a vat.]]
* Used in [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2633#comic this]] SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal episode, with a chip that alters your perception of time to simulate paradise.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0887.html gets stuck in a lotus-eater illusion]] while searching for Girard's Gate. However, Elan snaps the group out of it after realizing that his desire (his family happily reuniting) is much too implausible and childish for it to come true.
* The ''Such Stuff Arc...'' of ''{{Webcomic/Roommates}}'' involved [[MonsterRoommate Jareth]] (and his friends) getting locked in such a dreamworld by his [[TheFairFolk father]] as a ''gift'', which he only intended it to last for a day, but then his [[EvilMatriarch ex]] intervened and all went south from there. Getting out involved the TokenGoodTeammate's HeroicSacrifice and almost losing his soul.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Daydream dragons from the adoptable dragon site ''Website/DragonCave'' weave beautiful fantasies and daydreams, which they drop from their magical clouds to humans down below. People who live nearby are stated to have to be careful not to let their mind wander because they could end up spending days in a dreamstate, and it's implied that the dragons' powers can have these type of effects.
* The web animation WebAnimation/NightmareCity [[spoiler:is revealed to take place in one of these via EasterEgg.]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHMbsTh9lN8 this]] animation shows a good example.
* This infamous ''{{Creepypasta}}'' story.
-->''It has been reported that some victims of violence, during the act, would retreat into a fantasy world from which they could not WAKE UP. In this catatonic state, the victim lived in a world just like their normal one, except they weren't being raped. The only way that they realized they needed to WAKE UP was a note they found in their fantasy world. It would tell them about their condition, and tell them to WAKE UP. Even then, it would often take months until they were ready to discard their fantasy world and PLEASE WAKE UP.''
* In ''Roleplay/WeAreOurAvatars'', during the Incarnates Arc, the "Ultimate Mercy" that Incarnate!VideoGame/MegaMan uses, it has the strange side effect of keeping people from aging, though.
* In WebAnimation/LuckyDayForever, [[spoiler: this trope is used to keep the Lottery Winners in stasis, so they can be used as Human Resources. This trope is used because it shows that the Proles' attempts at becoming accepted in society by finding the way out are futile.]]
* [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1230 SCP-1230]] is a benign example: A book with the phrase "A Hero is Born" that will give the reader dreams of a fantasy adventure when they next fall asleep. The entity behind this (called the Book Keeper) bases these dreams on the reader's imagination and things they would enjoy, and seemingly just wants them to have a fun adventure for a while. Takes a tragic turn when one researcher enters the dream world [[spoiler: and refuses to leave, killing himself shortly after waking up again. The Book Keeper is devastated by this, and it takes intervention from another researcher to bring it back to its senses.]]
* The [[http://unshavedmouse.wordpress.com/ Unshaved Mouse]], a reviewer that normally does Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon reviews, has a subplot in which he gets trapped in a fantasy alternate universe by [[Disney/TheBlackCauldron the Horned King]] where he's a filthy rich and world-famous reviewer of Creator/DonBluth movies instead. He's able to escape from it with the help of [[ItMakesSenseInContext Sarcastic Map of Wartime Europe and Walt Disney's black magic]]. He also gets bonus points for having the resulting ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' review fall on AprilFoolsDay.
* [[TVtropesWillRuinYourLife TVtropes has you...]]
* In Marshall Brain's [[http://marshallbrain.com/manna8.htm Manna]], a good chunk of the population spends virtually their entire lives in one of these.
* The Condos from the Podcast/WelcomeToNightVale episode of that same name, which aren't so much 'condos' as 'giant gelatinous black cubes'. Once a person touches them, they're presented with perfect visions of their greatest desire. Carlos gets trapped there with a vision of thousands of beakers and numbers; Cecil goes in to save him, nearly to get trapped himself...only to realize that he loves Carlos more than anything the condos could show him, and carries him out.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "The Vacation Goo" has the family discover that every summer, Stan sticks them in a set of machines from the CIA so he can have some "me time". After Steve and Hayley do the same, Francine gets upset and the others resolve to give her a real vacation. Unfortunately, she assumes they're still in the goo and doesn't admit that they're not until ''after'' she's nearly wrecked the vacation personally. After the whole thing turns nightmarish, the Smiths declare LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain and the episode ends with a shot of all four of them in the goo, big smiles on their faces.
** Related, ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' had a season finale where Stewie killed Lois (but then comes back) and became [[PresidentEvil president of the United States]]... then when Lois was on the ropes and all hope was lost, Peter kills him in a BigDamnHeroes moment, and it was revealed to be a simulation the whole time.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Perchance To Dream", Batman wakes up in a world where his parents never died, he never became Batman, and instead he ended up hitched with Selina Kyle (who wasn't Catwoman either). He eventually figures it out by realizing that he couldn't read anything (which is supposed to signal that you're in a dream). It quickly becomes a nightmare as there's somebody else playing the role of Batman in said world...
** Interestingly in that case, [[spoiler:the Mad Hatter]] put Batman in the dream as a ''favor'', in the hopes that if Batman was given the ideal life, he'd just leave him alone. Batman was not very pleased.
*** Astute viewers can also figure out something's going on by how [[spoiler:versions of Mad Hatter's leitmotif play]] throughout the episode.
** For the record, in a dream, you CAN read, it just changes every time you look away. Also, clocks go insane.
* In one ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' episode, a villain traded rides on his Lotus-Eater Machine for stolen loot brought in by mostly unhappy teens. The machine also slowly killed them while letting them temporarily experience [[DealWithTheDevil their greatest wishes]].
** Taken as a metaphor, this isn't a bad DrugsAreBad episode if it's not too {{Anvilicious}}.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' (Batman can't get enough of this trope apparently), Poison Ivy traps Batman and Batgirl (along with a lot of other people) in a plant version of one of these, where the victims picture an idyllic lounge in a park as they are slowly digested by the plants they're contained in. In this case, Batman ''doesn't'' figure it out or fight it off. Instead, [[CrazyPrepared biometric readings in his suit detect his decreased level of brain activity and apply an electric shock to snap him out of it.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' fourth season premiere "Perfect Day": Enoch uses a machine to force the titular character to have a perfect day in his mind while he is being robbed of his ImportedAlienPhlebotinum. He is able to escape as he realizes that he is able to control what happens. The episode ends with Enoch trapped in the machine and TheReveal that he is not the true leader of the Forever Knights and that his boss decides to leave him in the machine as he has [[YouHaveFailedMe failed him for the last time]] (Cue the ''Ben 10 Vs. the Negative 10'' 2 parter).
** There's also the Cassiopean Dream Eater from the ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'' episode "Night of the Living Nightmares", which is a subversion, in which Ben is attacked by Albedo, who latches one such creature onto his face, which starts giving nightmares of his worst enemies attacking him in an empty Bellwood, and Kevin and Gwen demanding the Ultimatrix by force. [[spoiler:As it turns out, it's Albedo who's having the nightmare, because he slipped on a smoothie spilt by Ben and let the Dream Eater fall on his own face instead - hence why, in the nightmare, Ben manages to turn the tables on him without resorting to any of the Ultimatrix aliens.]]
** ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'' gives us the Hypnotick, a giant flying bug who's wings can ensnare prey into their personal dreams. Also doubles as a FantasticDrug, as according to Grandpa Max, people in-universe capture the Hypnotick for its hypnotic qualities for a high. When Ben becomes ensnared, he finds himself on stage surrounded by adoring fans. He is able to pull himself out by reminding himself that fame ''isn't'' what a hero's about.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CaptainNTheGameMaster'' come across a Carnival themed LEM, which made physical replications of things they liked (for Kevin an endless video game arcade, for Lana a clothing shop, For Dr. Light, a lab, etc.) and while these things weren't dangerous in and of themselves, they distracted the heroes from their main quest. But with the help of roll, Megaman breaks out of the spell, beats the Carnival's ringmaster, and forces the rest of the N Team out of there.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'', this is Nocturne--the Dream Ghost's--specialty, as he has devices that give the dreamers their happy paradise. The beginning portion of the episode is designed with this in mind for Danny, though he quickly snaps out of it.
* ''WesternAnimation/DaveTheBarbarian'': Dark Lord Chuckles The Silly Piggy tempts the good guys with literal rose-colored glasses -- whoever wears them will see (and somehow, hear) a perfect world. He is quickly defeated by someone putting the glasses on ''him'', causing him to go catatonic and laugh endlessly as he thinks he has finally attained ultimate power and wiped out his quirky enemies.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DragonHunters'', Gwizdo breathes in spores from a [[MonsterOfTheWeek dragon]] and falls into a coma; in his dream, he becomes a hero, Jennyline is a stunning red-haired beauty he falls in love with. This is the [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragon's]] usual hunt MO, as the unsuspecting victim sleepwalks to its lair. Which means for Gwizdo that he abruptly goes from a lovely, romantical island with the woman of his dreams (his fantasy) to an ugly, grim landscape with a dragon about to eat him. Whoops.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' TV movie ''Wishology'', the Darkness puts Timmy in one of these until his friends come and save him. It is an interesting case because [[spoiler:it is quite likely that the Darkness did this because it wanted to make Timmy happy - not because it wanted to trap him.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}''
** A nightmare version is portrayed in "Future Tense" when Avalon finally releases Goliath, Elisa, Bronx, and Angela from their quest and return them to New York, only to find that time had passed differently for them than it had for everybody else and it was now 40 years in the future and Xanatos had become BigBrother, enslaving the city. It gets worse, just about every plan fails, nearly all the characters die, the world is basically falling down around him, [[spoiler:Only to find out that the whole thing was an elaborate hallucination created by Puck in order for Goliath to hand him the Phoenix Gate]].
** The episode "For it May Come True" (from the out-of-continuity third season). Goliath wakes up to find that he's human, married to Elisa and has children. Naturally, his fantasy gets worse when he discovers that Xanatos is still a villain, the Quarrymen are still around, and Eliza has joined up with them to kill the rest of the gargoyles.
* The "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom" episode of ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'': Zim traps Dib in a Lotus-Eater Machine just to find out if it was he who threw a muffin at him. After extracting the information, Zim releases his nemesis in a fit of GenreBlindness, instead of [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim finishing]] him. But not before hitting him with a counter muffin. From a cannon.
* The [[FantasyIsland Fantasy]] [[{{Homage}} Planet]] in ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons:'' where you get to live out your fantasies... until [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor your fantasies start unraveling in hilarious ways]].
* ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]'' has its previously-mentioned adaptation of the comic ComicBook/ForTheManWhoHasEverything.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': A villain makes Numbuh One think he's on an island inhabited only by kids. In the end, the machine is put on him, and, in a rarity for this trope, this villain is left aware of this and miserable. It's later revealed that the [=KND=] scientists kept the device to use for a SecretTestOfCharacter.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' in "Evil Sits Down For a Moment": The villain traps the Tick in the "World's Comfiest Chair," which is so comfy that nobody ever wants to stand up again after sitting in it. No imaginary worlds or anything are involved; it's just ''that comfy''. The episode ends (like most serious examples of this trope) with the villain getting trapped in her own Lotus-Eater Machine.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' had an odd, not-happy, example set up by [[spoiler:Soundwave.]] The virtual world placed the Autobots into a series of increasingly bizarre scenarios. Seeing as the whole thing was [[spoiler:a distraction so Soundwave could reprogram the Autobots into his slaves, this makes sense.]] The Autobots were also able to manipulate the world around them to a certain extent, a la ''Film/TheMatrix''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' has "Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!" in which Dr. Venture builds, as he calls it, a "joy can." According to Orpheus it probes the user's mind to create hallucinations based on the user's deepest desires. Of course... with Rusty being Rusty, it's apparently PoweredByAForsakenChild. Brock gets trapped inside and we get a frightening vision of his apparent deepest desires. Using tinfoil hats, teenage limerence, and a urine soaked t-shirt, the boys are the ones that get Brock out. It's interesting to note that while the device does make an attempt to fulfill one's desires through hallucination, these fantasies appear to be horribly distorted in some way and all together surreal. Of course we're dealing with some fairly screwed up users here, so I'm guessing that point is moot.
** Interestingly, Brock knows full well what the machine is capable of, having dived in to throw another to safety. He's apparently enjoying [[BloodKnight an eternal battle]] against countless ninjas, dinosaurs, monsters, robots, and [[NinjaPirateRobotZombie ninja robots riding dinosaurs]]. At least for a while until he yells out "[[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments ALL RIGHT ALREADY! GEEZ!]]", at which point they all vanish, and [[{{UST}} Molotov]] [[MeaningfulName Cocktease]] shows up, finally giving herself to him.
** Are you reciting ''Jesse's Girl''?
* ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'' has a character ([[spoiler:Princess Elyon, the local DarkMagicalGirl]]) trapped in a Lotus Eater Machine for nearly [[StoryArc half the first season]], which is a key plot point, since the victim's actions affected the world outside. [[spoiler:Also, the LEM is set by her brother Phobos aka the local Evil Prince, in an attempt to manipulate Elyon long enough to steal her powers and seal her away during her crowning ceremony.]]
** Also [[spoiler:Nerissa in the series finale. Considering that she's a powerful [[MagnificentBastard Magnificent Bitch]], it's better to make her believe she's gotten everything she wants rather than merely imprisoning her.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth". The animals in Kukulcan's zoo believe that they are living in their natural environment, a hallucination generated by Kukulcan's machines.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'' the [[spoiler:Sadida Tree of Life uses this as a defensive mechanism, ensnaring [[LadyOfWar Evangelyne]] and [[RebelliousPrincess Amalia]] in dreams that contain everything that they desire. Eva's dream consists mostly of [[IdiotHero Sadlygrove being his usual self]].]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Power Animal", gnomes capture Finn and use his imagination to power a giant machine that will [[TakeOverTheWorld swap the overworld and the underground]]. Finn is mostly done for, but Jake comes to the rescue by allowing a placated Party God to turn him into the eponymous being, wrecking the LEM with Dionysian disregard.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales'' episode "Larry-Boy and the Bad Apple", this is how Bad Apple plans on conquering Bumblyburg. She begins by making the mayor, a reporter, and Larry-Boy believe they're in their dream world (i.e. a room full of fashionable clothes for the mayor) in order to eliminate leadership, communications, and law enforcement, and then creates a fun house for everyone to play at.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'' episode "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" Rick and Jerry get stuck in a simulation by aliens with a leader voiced by Creator/DavidCross, [[spoiler: which turns out to be three simulations in one]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/HulkAndTheAgentsOfSMASH'' episode "It's a Wonderful Smash", the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. are put in a Lotus Eater Machine by the Collector, in which they are acclaimed as heroes and have a skyscraper headquarters in New York (taller than Avengers Tower). The Comicbook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy are also in the machine, where they have successfully brought peace to the galaxy. Rocket Raccoon escapes and rescues the others, because the Collector's idea of his perfect world was based on the assumption that he was actually a raccoon.
* ''WesternAnimation/FantasticVoyage''. In "The Magic Crystal of Kabala", when the protagonists enter the title magic item they are each exposed to a fantasy that fulfills [[YourHeartsDesire their heart's desire]] in an attempt to entrap them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Philosopher Robert Nozick conceived of one of these in a discussion about utilitarianism. To this day Lotus Eater Machines are sometimes known as Nozick Engines.
* [[DyingDream Near-death experiences]] indicate that dying may be like this. The pineal gland (behind the forehead; associated with the "third eye," as it is stimulated by light) is thought to release N,N-dimethyltryptamine, a powerful, short-acting psychedelic, shortly before death. This chemical is theorized to also play a role in dreaming.
* For decades the MoralGuardians argued that television was a LEM. But luckily we've been saved from TV's addictive effects by the [[{{TVTropesWillRuinYourLife}} Internet]].
[[/folder]]
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