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Body Uploading

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"If you feel a little tingle, that's just your consciousness being sucked right out of your body!"

"Your ECHO device will digistruct you right into the VR construct.
I'd go in there myself, but, uh... VR stuff totally squicks me out. No one's gonna take my body apart molecule by molecule without a fight! I'm an analog man!"
Vaughn, Borderlands 3

If you have a Cyberspace or Inside a Computer System setting and you want to involve humans, how do you get them there?

Brain Uploading, a.k.a. downloading your mind into a computer and removing the need for a brain at all, is one possibility — but it's usually a one-way street. This is clearly not good if you want your characters to keep a physical body and interact later with other humans face-to-face. A Brain–Computer Interface is another option, but leaves the body even more vulnerable; it's unguarded, but still needed to keep the person alive, requires physical maintenance, and has Poop Socking concerns.

So instead, you use this trope. Somehow, you turn a character's whole body into data and put them into a computer (or Cyberspace or whatever). This leaves fewer issues to be concerned with, assuming you can get the person back out again — and if you can't, that presents a whole new plot possibility.


Downplayed if things are in a storage medium of some kind as part of a teleportation system instead of immediately going from one place to another.

The related trope Telephone Teleport involves moving a physical object through a system for moving data. When people are physically transported into television shows and other media, that's Trapped in TV Land. Use Portal Picture, Portal Book, and Magic Mirror for the actual objects that may be used to suck people in.

Digitized Hacker is not a Sub-Trope (in that the hacker may use Brain Uploading instead), even if some examples of this are called "digitization".



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played With in Hunter × Hunter with Greed Island, allegedly the world's hardest-to-obtain video game. When Gon and Killua get access, they are seemingly teleported through a computer system into the game. However, it is later revealed that they were teleported to a real island that runs on video game rules.
  • Pokémon: In "Electric Soldier Porygon", Ash and his friends use some sort of cylindrical "transfer machine" go into cyberspace with a Porygon to stop Team Rocket from stealing trainers' Pokemon.

    Films — Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase: The titular character and his friends are turned into data and trapped inside a computer game after being zapped by an experimental laser, and have to win to escape.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The TRON series: The process is called "Digitization", and done through a process that involves firing a laser at things:
    • TRON: Can work on anything, from oranges to people.
    • TRON: Legacy: Only used on people.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future: The "digitizing" of humans that Lord Dread and his evil Bio-Dreads do. It transforms them into data which is then stored in the Master Computer Overmind. Although this process can be reversed, victims tend to be irrevocably changed by the experience.
  • Stargate SG-1: Objects are only sent through the gate in one piece; when only part of an object is past the event horizon, it is held in a hyperspace buffer until the rest of the object enters the gate and the entire thing is transported to the next gate. If the gate were to shut down with part of an object in the buffer, that causes a Portal Cut. Major Kawalsky is killed this way in the first season.
  • Star Trek: The Destructive Teleportation system has a buffer, which holds the disintegrated object until transmission to the place where it's reconstituted.

  • Sonic The Hedgehog And The Silicon Warriors: Anyone who touches one of the computers connected to Dr. Robotnik's EGCS (Electronic Graphics Creation Computer System) network is scanned by a beam of light emerging from the monitor, then their body twists its shape into two-dimensions, and disappears into the screen, and into the digital world within the system. Getting out proves to be a lot trickier (which, of course, was Robotnik's plan).

    Video Games 
  • The Borderlands series: Used in two of its games, through some use of "digistruct" technology, where, normally, scanned things disintegrate and can be reconstructed elsewhere. Word of God describes "digistruct" as basically Black Box, Precursor technology: "it's mostly unknown - derived from Eridian tech discovered by Atlas corp. It's like harnessing fire before understanding it":
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: The Claptastic Voyage DLC, basically "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, but with a robot, with a process created by Handsome Jack.
    • Borderlands 3: Used on the Player Character for one quest. Described as basically a type of Destructive Teleportation, involving deconstructing the subject molecule by molecule. The possibility of cloning people through copies of their digital data form if they are convertible into data is used, for Vic, Vaughn's second in command, who, by quest's end has two copies of them, one with a regular human body, and the other a head in a jar living on some kind of nutrition / preservative fluid.
  • Digimon World: The protagonist is literally sucked into the Digital World, though a handheld "V Pet device".
  • At the endgame of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, The Chinese and Russian supercomputers stage an infiltration on AM's systems, by converting one of the five humans into a stealth virus program to be sent into AM's RAM-space to defeat him once and for all. If you fail, AM kicks you back to analog, netting you the same ending as the original short story.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: "Space Paranoids", the TRON world, is inside Radiant Garden's computerized defense system. The computer has a laser scanning system that turns external objects into little digital cubes inside the computer (and vice-versa); Sora and company are sent there for the first time unwillingly, when the MCP takes over the system and tries to eliminate them as a potential threat.
  • Mega Man X4: Cyber Peacock's stage is set in Cyberspace where your player character - normally physical robots - has to get to the end to face him.
  • Mega Man Zero: The fourth game has Zero being teleported into the Ragnarok's security systems to fight the security AI within. This would allow the heroes to teleport Zero to the inside of Ragnarok later.
  • Pokémon: Pokemon, living creatures, can be preserved inside a electronic storage system, made by Bill before the events of in the first game, as the game mentions, for retrieval in at a later time, and there's also slight implication that's how Pokeballs work, as the Pokemon must be inside them to be stored inside the system.
  • Omikron: The Nomad Soul: Your inventory takes the form of a wrist-mounted personal computer (called a "sneak" for some reason). All your weapons, items, and power-ups are digitized and stored inside it until needed.

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary: Implied in two parts with the Gatekeepers' wormgates, especially with how anything sent through the teleportation mechanism can be copied, like data: 2002-05-29: A computer system with memory buffers. 2002-05-30: That computer system needing to scan the information of people being teleported by Cool Gates.
    • Later in the series the younger races start employing Brain Uploading to inhabit virtual realities, but when a probe visits a Precursor Planet Spaceship the virtual crew finds themselves meatjacked by the Precursors that can apparently take the Gatekeepers' Matter Replication technology to the extent of uploading/downloading conscious bodies rather than just static patterns.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! episode "OreTron Trail", Roger goes through an emotional crisis when he realizes he will continue to live long after the Smith family have passed away. After first faking his death and attempting, poorly, to be a Renegade, he returns to the Smiths. His next move is to upload the Smiths into an old Apple computer, where they will never die. The Smiths decide to go into The Oregon Trail in order to print a winner's certificate as a help message to Klaus. The games legendary challenge leads to the Smith clan dying many times in various horrific ways they actual feel. Ultimately, seeing these deaths through the game text desensitizes Roger to the Smiths' mortality and he restores their bodies.
  • The Batman Beyond episode "Lost Soul" deals with an elderly, dying tech CEO uploading himself into a computer in order to continue running the company he created. The board members decide to deactivate him after five years. Thirty years later his grandson, forced into the CEO position after his father dies suddenly, re-activates him for help. He doesn't realize his grandfather plans to download himself into his descendant's body, a process that will erase the young man's consciousness. He is also able to take control of the high tech Batsuit, the only one ever produced, forcing Terry to use the skills he gained to defeat his own high powered costume.
  • Big City Greens: In "Green Mirror", Gwendolyn Zapp's "Flawless You" project sucks the personalities of herself and its subjects out of their physical bodies and uploads them to cyberspace so she can correct their flaws. They return to the real world by going through the download door, but if the program resets while they're still inside, they will disappear forever, unless their brains are backed up.
  • Code Lyoko: Called "Virtualization", leads into a supercomputer, and grants superpowers while in that world. In the Alternate Continuity of the novelizations, it only works on children, as adults (other than Franz Hopper, the creator of the system) using it Go Mad from the Revelation, due to the Lyoko form reflecting their inner, true self, with a child's innocence, a.k.a, a lesser amount of regrets, mistakes, and horrors, keeping them from turning into a monster and undergoing a Heroic BSoD.
  • Cyberchase: Not called anything, but the human protagonists, Jackie, Inez, and Matt, are brought bodily into Cyberspace, accomplish a mission, and are returned to the regular world after.
  • Freakazoid!: The titular character came to be because a regular kid accidentally discovered a precise sequence of characters that, when entered into his keyboard, sucked him into the internet and transformed him into a superhero.


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