[[quoteright:350:[[http://frenic.deviantart.com/art/Ground-Zero-74620192 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/350px-crapsack-world_275.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[DespairEventHorizon No hope.]] [[AndIMustScream No release.]] [[FateWorseThanDeath No end.]]]]

->''"The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears it is true."''
-->-- '''Creator/JamesBranchCabell''', ''The Silver Stallion'', misattributed to '''Robert Oppenheimer'''

A Crapsack World is a horrible setting where the [[TheCynic jaded]] notion of "[[FinaglesLaw anything that can go wrong]] will go ''horribly'' wrong" almost always applies, and it corrupts its inhabitants into [[HumansAreBastards perpetuating that nastiness against each other]]. More succinctly, trying to survive in one of these places [[ThisIsGonnaSuck is gonna suck]].

Although there are countless ways Crapsack Worlds can be depicted (often with SceneryGorn), it is usually {{dark|erAndEdgier}}, and on the [[CynicismTropes cynical end]] of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism, so it will have either GreyAndGrayMorality or BlackAndGrayMorality, if not outright EvilVersusEvil in the worst of cases (beware of DarknessInducedAudienceApathy if you decide to go this route though). Settings like these are not kind at all to [[WideEyedIdealist idealists]], who usually get [[BreakTheCutie traumatized]] and/or [[CruelAndUnusualDeath die horribly]] when their attempts to change the world through idealism meet tragic ends.

Heroes in this setting are usually {{Anti Hero}}es, and often have at least a bit of the DeadpanSnarker about them. [[BeingGoodSucks Being good will suck]], and if there are genuinely good heroes in this setting, expect them to be [[KnightInSourArmor Knights In Sour Armor]] and/or {{Hurting Hero}}es--more idealistic heroes such as the KnightInShiningArmor tend to not last long in this kind of setting. Any victories they manage to win over the forces of this world are likely to be {{Pyrrhic|Victory}} in nature.

Villains tend to run the gamut from sympathetic {{Anti Villain}}s (on any level of the SlidingScaleOfAntiVillains) right down to the most horrific monsters to grace any kind of media. Truly awful villains are especially common in these kinds of settings, both to represent the misery of the setting in general and to give the AntiHero someone to whom he can look good in comparison. In truly extreme cases, even the most [[VillainWithGoodPublicity popular]] or powerful of these monsters [[BeingEvilSucks suffer just as badly as everyone else]]. And AnyoneCanDie.

From here, these worlds can be depicted by authors in various ways, whether it would be dramatic or comedic, immutable or mutable.

* A ''[[RuleOfDrama dramatic]]'' Crapsack World [[TrueArtIsAngsty has plenty]] [[DysfunctionJunction of angst]] to go around, and often makes {{Woobie}}s out of its sympathetic cast, particularly the protagonist, as they [[TraumaCongaLine suffer horribly]] in their attempts to do the right thing or pursue their dreams. Expect characters [[BeingGoodSucks who do the right thing]] to [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished suffer for it]]. Expect characters who do the wrong thing to prosper... and ''[[LonelyAtTheTop then]]'' [[PyrrhicVillainy suffer]]. Examples: ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'', ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'', ''ComicBook/SinCity'', and ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''.
* A ''[[RuleOfFunny comedic]]'' Crapsack World is PlayedForLaughs and is made up of [[LethallyStupid idiots]], [[JerkAss jerks]], {{Butt Monkey}}s, [[TheChewToy Chew Toys]] and the occasional OnlySaneMan, with plenty of ComedicSociopathy to go around. These include the BlackComedy, the SadistShow and the WorldGoneMad. The "upside" is that it's usually [[SatireParodyPastiche parodic]] and [[CrossesTheLineTwice funny in its extremes]]. Though people die left and right, it likely has NegativeContinuity to facilitate the inhabitants' suffering. Examples: ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'', ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'', ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'', ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', ''WebAnimation/MattNDusty'', ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'', and ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''. ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' is [[BlatantLies not an example of this in the slightest.]]
* An ''[[StatusQuoIsGod immutable]]'' Crapsack World has agony InherentInTheSystem, both physically and metaphysically, and cannot be saved or made a better place. Trying to break TheCorruption [[StatusQuoIsGod will instead always result]] in [[BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu breaking every bone in your body]] [[DownerEnding and it winning]], and any positive changes that you try to make will ultimately be torn down and revealed to be AllForNothing--or, even worse, they will only succeed in [[NiceJobBreakingItHero making things even worse for you and the people that you were trying to help]], and/or [[GambitRoulette even accomplish whatever the villains wanted in the first place]]. Examples: ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'', ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', ''TabletopGame/{{FATAL}}'', and the [[Creator/HPLovecraft Lovecraftian]] [[CosmicHorrorStory Fiction]] genre in general.
* A ''[[ScrewDestiny mutable]]'' Crapsack World simply ''starts out'' as crappy, but a determined protagonist and his TrueCompanions, be they the [[KnightInShiningArmor Knight In Shining]] (or in many of these cases, [[KnightInSourArmour Sour]]) [[KnightInShiningArmor Armor]] or a simple old PI, can actually cause some, but mostly few, [[EarnYourHappyEnding positive changes in the setting]]. See also AWorldHalfFull. Examples: ''Film/{{Elysium}}'', ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'', ''Film/MadMax'', and ''Film/{{Waterworld}}''.

This kind of world often occurs AfterTheEnd. WretchedHive and CityNoir are city-sized versions of the Crapsack World. A {{Dystopia}} is a speculative Crapsack World ruled by repressive forces modeled after real-life politics. A TeenageWasteland is a Crapsack World run by kids. If the Crapsack World's continued misery is caused by supernatural forces, see DarkFantasy, HellOnEarth and CosmicHorrorStory.

If a SugarBowl (usually the antithesis of this trope) turns out to be one of these under the surface, then you have yourself a CrapsaccharineWorld. If the people who live in the Crapsack World don't realise or pretend it isn't a horrible place to be in, it is a FalseUtopia. A VillainWorld or DeathWorld is likely to be this, and BadFuture is a SubTrope. Someone who just thinks the world they inhabit is this is a [[TheCynic Cynic]] or a StrawNihilist (or a GrumpyBear, if he lives in a pretty nice world).

For worlds that are almost literal sacks of crap see TheDungAges. See YouWouldNotWantToLiveInDex for other crapsack environments. On a less negative note, the WorldOfBadass will also be likely to have elements of the Crapsack World, to give justification on why kicking ass is very important to survival. Compare WorldOfJerkass, a world which is only unpleasant because all of the characters are horrible people.

This trope is also known as World Half Empty, for the expression of pessimism being a state of seeing a glass with half the amount of water in it as being "half empty". Also, a half-empty glass means it can only be emptied, and can't be refilled. It represents [[DespairEventHorizon hopelessness]] [[FromBadToWorse and inevitable doom]], fitting this trope perfectly. By definition, contrast AWorldHalfFull. Creator/CTPhipps talks about some of the appeal to the concept here. [[http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/07/the-appeal-of-grimdark-by-c-t-phipps-author-of-esoterrorism/ The Appeal of Grimdark.]]

''Administrivia/NoRealLifeExamplesPlease This is a metaphysical trope that's clearly defined by the writer, not an opinion by people complaining about the world as a whole (localized places that '''are''' very horrible in Real Life should perhaps go to WretchedHive and other non-metaphysical tropes instead).''
''Also, do not use this page to [[Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike complain about worlds you don't like]].''

* CrapsackWorld/AnimeAndManga
* CrapsackWorld/AsianAnimation
* CrapsackWorld/ComicBooks
* CrapsackWorld/FanFic
* CrapsackWorld/{{Film}}
* CrapsackWorld/{{Literature}}
* CrapsackWorld/LiveActionTV
* CrapsackWorld/{{Music}}
* CrapsackWorld/MythologyAndReligion
* CrapsackWorld/NewspaperComics
* CrapsackWorld/TabletopGames
* CrapsackWorld/{{Theater}}
* CrapsackWorld/{{Toys}}
* CrapsackWorld/VideoGames
* CrapsackWorld/VisualNovels
%%* CrapsackWorld/WebAnimation
* CrapsackWorld/{{Webcomics}}
* CrapsackWorld/WebOriginal
* CrapsackWorld/WesternAnimation
Everything is NOT awesome...