Would anyone else like to enter the Fly of Despair?
Breathe the Fire;
Walk the Air;
Drink the Earth;
Warm your hands at the Water.
For the times when you enter a space-time rift and the next dimension reminds you of the last time you dropped LSD
When characters go to Another Dimension
, it'll never resemble anything from our reality, but instead it will be... weird. Some can look like the inside of a lava lamp, some have landscapes that look like those Salvador Dali paintings
, and others are not so
pleasant. What's for sure is that the dimension won't resemble anything like our own, and the rules of physics are different or nonexistent. This can be Played for Laughs
Contrast with Cloudcuckooland
. What makes Cloudcuckooland weird is that the cultural norms there are very different from what we're used to. Acid Trip Dimensions
may not even have inhabitants, and the dimension's physical laws themselves are wonky. And that's if the Acid Trip Dimension
is even fleshed out, sometimes it's just a brief sequence to show that the character is doing some interdimensional traveling.
For a more musical experience, see Disney Acid Sequence
. See also Hyperspace Is a Scary Place
, Eldritch Location
, Ludicrous Speed
and Reality Is Out to Lunch
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Anime & Manga
- Doctor Strange - most other dimensions (especially Dormammu's). Steve Ditko was famous for his depictions of these, and every other artist on the book has tried his hand at it.
- Jack Kirby's early depictions of the Negative Zone in Fantastic Four would qualify as well.
- On a bad day, the Phantom Zone from Superman can get like this, most notably in the 1980's Phantom Zone miniseries by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan, which revealed that the whole place is actually the physical manifestation of the mind of an Eldritch Abomination. As long as you don't probe about too deep in the Zone, it's a perfectly safe place, albeit very barren; but heaven help you if you deliberately attract the thing's attention.
- Some depictions of the Bizarro World are like this.
- Mr. Mxyzptlk's fifth dimensional realm is always like this, although how cartoony it is varies from one version to another. It's telling that in a crossover story with Bugs Bunny, the Dodo Bird of Wackyland (see Western Animation below) was basically Mxy's counterpart in the Loony Tunes universe.
- The Special Zone was portrayed this way in Sonic the Comic. Referenced when a character claimed the part where most of the action took place was the weird part.
- There are, however, parts of the Special Zone which are "normal". It's a Cloud Cuckoo Land to Sonic, but it's pretty average in comparison to the swirling mass of colours that make up the rest of the dimension.
- Delirium's world is like this in The Sandman...at its most coherent.
- During Grant Morrison's run of JLA, Martian Manhunter takes them to The Joker's mind.
- The Mindscape, home dimension to Sleepwalker, was depicted as this. Sleepwalker himself was perfectly at ease there.
- The dimension outside "angled space" (the 3-dimensional universe) in HP Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch House fits this. It's a black space filled with portals, and living beings passing through it appear as strange shapes.
- The "reality" seen under the effects of the machine in From Beyond also qualifies.
- The "Unseen world" (or "wraith-world") in Lord of the Rings which the Nazgūl inhabited, and which exists along with the Seen world; in it, things in the "Seen" world are typically perceived as dim and shadowy, but other things can seem plain which are hidden to the "Seen" world. For example, on Weathertop Frodo puts on the Ring, he vanishes from the Seen world, but can see into the Wraith world (being "half in the wraith-world" himself), and he sees the Nazgūl as they appear in the Wraith-world, i.e. as their normal human forms (which is also how the Nazgūl appear to each other, despite being invisible in the Seen world). Likewise, Frodo is drawn gradually further into the wraith-world after being stabbed by the morgul-knife. Glorfindel, meanwhile, lives in both the Seen and Unseen worlds at the same time, since he has dwelt in the Blessed Realm; but he appears as a "shining figure" in the Wraith-world. (In the movie, however, Frodo is apparently entirely in the wraith-world whenever he puts on the Ring, while the Nazgūl seem as glowing distorted figures rather than plain men; meanwhile Gildor Inglorion (or Arwen, who takes his place in the film) becomes the "shining figure" despite having never dwelled in the Blessed Realm).
- An example in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the dimension the Heart of Gold shifts into when it's travelling. When Arthur and Ford first experience it, Arthur's arms and legs start falling off, Ford turns into a penguin, and they're accosted by various bizarre entities including a talking elderberry bush.
Live Action TV
- In the Disney Channel show Adventures in Wonderland, a modern-day Alice steps through her mirror into one Once per Episode on her way to Wonderland.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has one that's "a dimension of all shrimp". We never see it, but Anya mentions it.
- So does Illyria. It's reportedly very boring.
- Anya also mentions the Crazy Melty Land, which probably fits this trope better.
- The time vortex from Doctor Who can range from being trippy to down-right scary!
- The Star Trek universe is constructed of a matter universe and an anti-matter universe, separated by a "neutral universe;" the anti-matter universe is identical to the matter-universe in every way, but the neutral-universe is quite bizarre.
- The wormhole in Deep Space Nine appears to be actually a different dimension that touches normal space in two separate points. The inside looks like nothing even roughly similar, but thankfully space ships can travel through it without any trouble if equiped with the neccessary technology.
- The Twilight Zone TOS episode "Little Girl Lost".
- Silverball Mania has a relatively mild version of this, with the playfield depicting mercurial fountains spewing pinballs and glowing gradients of blue, yellow, and orange everywhere.
- The plane of Limbo from Dungeons & Dragons cosmology. It's a roiling mass of chaos matter, which changes randomly or based on the will of people traveling on the plane.
- There's also the Far Realm, which exists outside the bounds of the multiverse. Nothing there even resembles the real world, and the text which actually describes the appearance of the plane (Of which there is very little) carries the note that nothing on the Far Realm can possibly be comprehended by a human being, therefore you can't even imagine what it's like. Oh, and to top it all off: The Far Realm contains more than one dimension, and you can see all the other dimensions by looking down and, in some areas, can be in several dimensions at once.
- JAGS Wonderland, based on Alice in Wonderland. The lower a Chessboard is, the more different it is from the real world. The lowest level ones are very odd indeed.
- The World of Darkness, both Old and New, provide an assortment:
- The natural laws of Arcadia in Changeling the Lost are determined by Contracts forged with the land, not anything so pedestrian as physics, biology, or common sense. Need to reach out, take hold of the moon, and hoist yourself up onto it? Make it an offer. Some featured settings are a manor set apart from time (so the first thing you see as you leave is your past self passing you on the way in) and a small house containing an infinite number of rooms that start out tame and get steadily more alien.
- True Fae within Arcadia sometimes take the form of Realms: self-contained, sentient settings that operate according to their own narrative laws. This provides locations like an infinite lake of lava (safe to swim in, but filled with icebergs that inflict lethal frostbite) and an unending house that rearranges itself whenever it gets bored. To add to the fun, more powerful Fae can manifest in more than one form simultaneously: the sprawling castle, the King, the Crown Jewels, and his entire army could be different aspects of the same entity.
- Astral Space can be... less than intuitive. It comprises the individual Mental Worlds of every individual, the shared dreams of humanity, and the collective unconscious of the entire planet. Sometimes this produces sane, recognizable landscapes — but then you notice that time is relative and space is negotiable.
- The Supernal Realms in Mage the Awakening are described as "not locations ... but a near-infinite collection of platonic truths." Concepts like linear time, spatial dimensions, cause and effect, and whatnot don't apply, because the Realms are where reality as mortals understand it is generated. Consequently, only the most powerful beings can visit even temporarily: it's necessary to filter the Realms through a personalized set of metaphors and symbols, and even then, prolonged exposure will break the mind, overwhelm the soul, and delete the poor bastard from reality. It's mentioned that a sufficiently talented archmaster can make a gateway to the Supernal Realms for anyone to pass through, but they have easier ways to kill people.
- The Abyss in Mage the Awakening is a gangrenous non-reality filled with everything that could have been but is not. Intruders from the Abyss pervert or outright ignore natural laws, because the Abyss has none. The rule book notes that a thrown rock might accelerate endlessly, hover in place and suck the heat away from the area, or ignite in a cloud of venomous worms.
- The only places in the Abyss where there are consistent (if unrecognizable) rules are, themselves, immeasurably powerful and completely incomprehensible entities. One example given is the Blasphemous Scribe, a dark alternate history of Earth that becomes more real the more extensively its phenomena are documented in the real world. Too much, and Earth and the Scribe will switch places...
- The Shadow in Werewolf the Forsaken and Mage the Awakening is comparatively sane, being the animistic reflection of the physical world. Any particular natural feature might be alive, though. Is that particular lake the spirit of a benevolent oasis that provides life and sustenance to a region, or the incarnation of dark water and the terror of drowning? Better find out before you fill your canteen.
- The Wyld in Exalted isn't a separate dimension, it's just the writhing Primal Chaos that exists past the borders of Creation, where The Fair Folk live. It otherwise fits this trope perfectly.
- In Grim Fandango the world of the living is represented by a weird collage. Manny mentions that the living creep him out.
- In Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon there are two single-screen "dream" levels like this. Not that the rest of the game makes much sense, mind you — this series is a Weird Thing from France — but these two locations are deliberately bright and bizzare. Oh, and the way to get to them? Eating mushrooms. Both times. You can't get a more literal example of this.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion features at least two:
- The quest A Brush With Death features you entering a painting to fight painted trolls who killed their painter
- The daedra quest for Vaermina features you entering a dream dimension where up becomes down over time.
- The Ethereal Void in Ultima Underworld 2.
- Moonside from EarthBound, where you fight some of the more absurd enemies like Dali's Clock, gas pumps, fire hydrants, and paintings. The denizens aren't much saner.
- Psychonauts, every single Mental World. The graphic style is already pretty stylistic, even in the more 'realistic' settings, but the psychic journeys dive right into trippy.
- "The Milkman Conspiracy" is especially notable for its irregular physics and being a scarily accurate rendering of how a Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist sees the world.
- American McGee's Alice. That is all.
- Heavy Metal FAKK2, the elemental planes, especially fire.
- RuneScape has a fairy ring transportation network which can send you to a few different versions of this trope.
- Yume Nikki, since it's essentially about exploring a Nightmare Sequence disguised as a Wide Open Sandbox, and the dreamer clearly has... issues.
- Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The entire game as a whole could count, but a good example would be the inside of the Moon's mouth. Yes, you read that right.
- Kingdom of Loathing has several areas that are only accessible while your character is under the influence of hallucinogens, where you fight things like Interesting Wallpaper, or The Feeling You're Being Watched. Drinking too much virtual booze has predictable effects.
- LSD: Dream Emulator is exactly what you would expect.
- The plane of Xoriat you can visit doing the Dungeons & Dragons Online quests Delirium and Acute Delirium. Highlights include that for chasing a beholder, you need... An Airship! Made of 12 beds and 6 bookshelves.
- Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou was made by the same guy who made LSD: Dream Emulator. Nothing more needs to be said about this one.
- It's sequel, Chu-Teng, is even stranger and was only realeased in Japan!
- Anodyne is a Zelda style dungeon crawler set in a bizarre world inspired by Yume Nikki, mentioned above.
- One of the bonus levels in McPixel, reached by finishing 3 puzzles in a row without failing, is deliberately designed to look as if your game suddenly glitched out.
- Star Fox have found themselves within a most trippy Unrealistic Black Hole leading Out of This Dimension in Star Fox 1 and the related comics as well as in warp-gatey...things in Star Fox 64.
- Super Charisma Bros seems to take place in one of these.
- The inside of Yukari's gaps from Touhou Project is presumably this, considering that, looking at them from the outside, they're full of eyes and arms trying to claw their way out.
- Homestar Runner has the world of Strong Bad's "crazy cartoon" Sweet Cuppin' Cakes. It's flat checkered plain with distant teal mountains and a black sky, whose inhabitants include a talking wheelchair, a trapezoid-shaped fellow called Eh! Steve, and a pig-like hovering creature described by Strong Bad as "a cross between a cow and a helicopter".
- Many Youtube Poops.