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Bottomless Pits

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"When you fall in a bottomless pit, you die of starvation."
What's Her Face, Teen Girl Squad

One of the longest-standing video game hazards in existence: Pits that send your character plummeting to an early grave, usually costing one of the player's lives. In many games, there are sheer-faced bottomless pits nearly everywhere you travel, waiting for you to mistime a jump (or get smacked into it by annoyingly placed enemies).

If the player character does not take damage from long falls so long as they land on a non-damaging surface (as was common in the early days of Video Games), this can be especially jarring. There may be certain levels where you fall many, many, many screens down, but hit bottom completely unharmed; yet a simple pit would end your life instantly. More egregiously, bottomless pits are almost always instantly fatal, even in games where your character can take a point-blank explosion or a volley of bullets and only lose one point of health. However, the biggest threat to a player's Willing Suspension of Disbelief are the pits which are treated as being fatal, even when they are located above safe landing ground. The screen will simply refuse to scroll down if you fall into it.


With the advent of 3-D, and Falling Damage, most "bottomless" pits are shown (or assumed) to be really, really deep pits. Still, one wonders why science labs, factories, and temples have so many deadly drops built in them, or why the building inspectors allow them. Sometimes, the pits are clearly not bottomless but are treated as if they were anyway, because the player would be unable to get back up to the designated path.

Note that, in many cases, not all pits are "bottomless". Sometimes, the designers try to explain their lethality by putting something in them, though this often leads to other cases of weird logic. If the pit has water in it, it's a case of Super Drowning Skills. If there's lava instead, then you likely have a case of Convection Schmonvection. Other times, there may be deadly chemicals, Spikes of Doom, or a host of other things, which brings us back to Malevolent Architecture. Note also that "bottomless" in this context is a holdover from older English usage, and means "than which there is no deeper."


Watch out for Ledge Bats, which live to knock you into these while you are jumping.

A Super-Trope to Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits, Bottomless Pit Rescue Service.

Compare with Floating Platforms.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The early Castlevania games were very annoying about this, especially when the "bottomless" pit was only one screen deep. Very often, you would climb a set of stairs out of one screen with nothing but solid ground all around, sometimes very close to the top. But as soon as you left the screen, it no longer existed, and falling off the platform you were on would kill you, instead of just falling the few spaces to the screen below. Not only was falling damage never suffered anywhere else, but the fourth level of the first game began with a quick cutscene showing Simon falling down a well shaft to the underground cave! And the level you just beat ended at the top floor of a tower.
    • Super Castlevania IV has parts of stages where you must climb up, a platform on the screen will be safe only so long as it remains above the bottom of the screen. Once you scroll the screen above it, it ceases to exist; try to jump on it and it will be the same as falling into a bottomless pit.
  • In Enter the Matrix, most holes are too deep to see the bottom of, but you have no idea which ones are bottomless until you have the misfortune of falling into one.
  • In Ratatouille licensed game, each time there’s a slide through the pipes, there will be gaps in the sheeting to slide around as well as the possibility of sliding overboard. Thankfully, it’s not an insta-kill, although it does remove 2 segments of the health bar (i.e 50% at the start and 25% at the end). If you do die in this way, the cutscene will even show Remi falling and falling, not once hitting the ground.
  • Drakan, particularly the sequel, has a ridiculous number of these, especially in jumping obstacles in dungeons. This is made especially weird because partway through the fall into an endless abyss, Rynn bursts into several bloody chunks, seemingly from nowhere.
  • Many The Legend of Zelda games have bottomless pits that usually put you back in the beginning of the room at the cost of a heart.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link subverts this; bottomless pits (i.e. ones with no water or lava) are one of the few things that can't kill or even harm you. In fact, you frequently have to jump into them to get where you need to go.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the first game of the series to properly introduce them as they are known today. Although some pits drop you to the floor below (usually they are textured), the stark black pits result in Link being sent back to where he fell from and losing half a heart. Of particular mention is a large chasm which surrounds the bottom of Death Mountain and divides it into two parts. It's too dark to see the bottom, but star-like sparkles appear in it. It's unclear if they are meant to be gemstones, or if something else is going on. The Dark World equivalent at least does appear to have a bottom, as veins of lava can be seen running through it. Only the Light World counterpart presents an actual fall hazard (it is not possible to jump into the dark world chasm) and it has the same effect as any other bottomless pit.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the last dungeon has a gimmick where the floor and the ceiling switch places, making it possible for Link to fall into the abyss of the sky!
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, bottomless pits are not actually bottomless pits, at least from a technical standpoint. The so-called bottomless pits actually have a bottom, as seen when a bomb is dropped into one of these pits (the bomb falls in and impacts a floor). However, Link will either fall through the floor and respawn or respawn before he hits the invisible floor.
  • Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy features traditional-style bottomless pits that cause the player to lose a portion of the Lego studs he has collected so far before teleporting to their edges again. However, the game also features a few pits in which the player can clearly see the bottom - which may not even be very far down - but that nonetheless kill the player upon impact.
  • Goof Troop has bottomless pits in some rooms. You lose a life if you fall into them, but you can also push enemies into them.
  • One ending of Reventure involves falling down a bottomless pit, and since it's bottomless, the cause of death is starving to death while falling.
  • The console and PC versions of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions have a unique spin on bottomless pits. While some will kill Spidey outright, there are many others where he is given a chance to shoot a web to sling his way out of it - if you can just hit a particular button within a few seconds of falling in.

    Action Game 
  • Some games — including the God of War series, and the Area 51 First-Person Shooter — apply Bottomless Pit rules to all falls; one either kills you, or does nothing, there's no middle ground where it's simply damaging.
  • XCOM Enforcer has a level spanning across the roofs of high-rise buildings. The landing makes a crater decal rather than simply entering the normal death animation.
    • There's also a bonus level that includes bottomless pits.
  • In Brain Dead 13, Lance can fall into one and die if he hasn't beaten all the bosses before meeting up with Fritz in the final battle.
  • Dynamite Dux has these from the third stage onward. They cost a life when you fall into them, but thankfully there are warning signs placed near them.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has these in the Absurdly Spacious Sewers levels; you fall, you die, no exceptions.

    Adventure Game 
  • If you fell into a bottomless pit in Zork: Grand Inquisitor, you'd end up raising a family with another unlucky pit-faller, and eventually die of old age. The question of food was not answered, nor the one about terminal velocity. Just go with it, kay? It's funny.
    • Most of the Zork series averts bottomless pits because of a Fridge Logic problem. In most adventure games of the time (Colossal Cave in particular), pits were plentiful in dark areas to keep you from just stumbling through blind. They were in the original version of Zork, but then someone pointed out this meant you could fall into a bottomless pit on the second floor of a house. The result, after much revision, was the grue. This is lampshaded in the prequel Zork Zero, where you actually use magic to close the bottomless pits, forcing the grues that dwelled in them to find new hiding spots...
  • Uninvited has a regular-sized hole with an endless void below. The hero has the option to jump in and as the text puts it, he'll "continue to fall..."
  • A subversion is found in Fantasy World Dizzy, wherein the titular egg hero must jump into a (labeled) bottomless pit, travel through the earth, and pop out (upside-down) on the other side of the world.
  • A little freeware sidescroller called Microman had an actual bottomless pit—that is, if you jumped into it, you would pretty much fall forever. Eventually you would take a hit out of nowhere and die, but why didn't they just do that to begin with?
  • The only way to die in The Neverhood is to fall into a very clearly marked bottomless pit. Which of course means you'll do it once anyway.
  • One Nancy Drew computer game has a bottomless a hotel, accessible by climbing around in the elevator shaft.

  • Streets of Rage has these in one stage. If a player character falls into one, instant life loss. If an enemy falls into one, they're not coming back. In the penultimate stage, an outdoor elevator climb, jumping off or being knocked off the elevator has the same function. Streets of Rage 2 does away with them, but they come back in Streets of Rage 3's Stage 3, where enemies will die as usual upon falling into one but players will simply bounce out with a lot of health lost.

    Driving Game 
  • In Driver 2, the bottom of the skybox was pictured as water, but was really a disguised bottomless pit, with the screen fading to black upon falling in. Sometimes a Game-Breaking Bug would occur where the player could fall through a hole in the polygons into the "void".
  • Rainbow Road in the Mario Kart series are usually set in space or high in the sky, thus it's hovering over nothing and falling off the track is treated as being out of bounds. Rainbow Road in Double Dash is set above a city while the Wii version is in space once again, but with the Earth right below. The Ghost Valley tracks in the SNES Mario Kart also had nothingness below.
  • All over the place in the Jet Moto racing games, one of the things making the games that much more Nintendo Hard.

    Fighting Game 
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series, the goal is to knock your opponents into a bottomless pit. Knocking them off screen from the sides or in the sky works, too.
    • Lava/Acid on the Metroid stages avert the trope and only damage the player as long as it's high enough... if it's offscreen, it doesn't exist and players will fall to their doom. Brawl also has water that characters can swim in... but only for a short time before they drown instantly. Yes, even Squirtle.
      • Fittingly enough, the character who has the shortest time to swim is Sonic. Though the mere fact he can swim at all is an improvement over the series of origin.
      • And for extra "fun", you have the 'Trout of Doom' on the Ice Climbers' stage. Shudder.
    • Super Smash Bros. being the wild success that it is, it has naturally spawned many, many imitators, including Rivals of Aether, Brawlhalla, and Brawlout.
  • Nidhogg features these, which the fencers can take advantage of by dive kicking one another into it for a quick kill, especially if they lost their sword. Some have conveyor belts and crumbling floors leading into them. If both fencers fall it, the right of way resets, forcing both fencers to fight to gain it.
  • In general, any fighting game that allows a player to earn victory via Ring Out (such as the Soul Calibur and Fighters Destiny franchises) and does not have in-universe fighting leagues with established arenas that have well-defined boundaries to enforce said victories will probably have arenas surrounded by bottomless pits in order to explain why being knocked out of bounds equals defeat. However, traditional fighting games generally put a lot less emphasis on the bottomless pits than their Platform Fighter cousins, so a player usually has to be exceptionally careless in order to actually fall in.

    First Person Shooter 
  • While the official Duke Nukem 3D maps doesn't have any bottomless pits, an unofficial add-on called "The Lost Duke Episodes", which replaces every level of every episode in the game, does have one that is literally bottomless. Inspection of the level in question in the BUILD editor shows that mid-air teleporters are used to produce the effect. If playing with the original registered release (v1.3D of the game), the jetpack can get you out. If you're playing the Atomic Edition (v1.4 or v1.5), the only ways out are to kill yourself or load a saved game.
  • Among the official and "official unofficial" maps Team Fortress 2, there are the Atomic Pits after they get blown up by BLU's cart on the Payload maps, and the pit around Control Point E on Steel.
    • The Arena map Lumberyard's claim to fame is that the one medkit on the entire level is located on a thin log above a pit of death.
    • Upward, another of the official maps, is located on the top of a mountain. A huge bottomless pit surrounds the battlefield, and another one is the pit in RED's base, where the BLU team must dump the payload cart to win.
    • Ghost Fort, the 2012 Halloween map, has one deep enough to get lampshaded by some of the characters when they fall inside.
      Scout: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH- Holy crap, this goes on forever.
      Spy: AAAAAAGGHHHHH! ...come on, I don't have all day!
  • Most Imperial bases in the Dark Forces Saga come fitted with at least one Bottomless Pit as standard. There are truly depraved architects in a Galaxy Far Far Away, and the Empire, being the Empire doesn't care. This is understandable — they're evil — but how to explain Nar Shadaa, the vertical city, sort of a mini-Coruscant in that the entire moon is covered in superskyscrapers and people almost never actually touch the ground...except there are no guard rails. This serves to make Force Push the most powerful offensive power in the game.
  • The Metroid Prime games (with the exception of the first one) have these. In Echoes and Corruption, you only lose 5-10 health when you fall in, but in Hunters, falling is an instant kill.
  • The Halo games have several deep pits to fall in, but nearly all of them have a bottom, even if it is very far down. However, there are space levels in some of the games, like the first and second, where you could "fall" into what would logically be a bottomless pit.
  • The original Half-Life and its expansion packs had a few. There was even one area in Opposing Force where the ceiling is so high that you can't see it either. The Fan Remake Black Mesa replaces them all with visible floors.
  • Some of the maps in Paladins have them on the edge of their boundaries. They're generally not a major concern, but skilled players can use knockback to throw enemies into pits for an easy kill. However, some champions can use their mobility skill to get out of the pit before it's too late.
  • Ken's Labyrinth has bottomless pits as well, though, since its engine is as two-dimensional as Wolfenstein 3D, they're represented as sprites rather than parts of the level geometry. They come in two flavors: the first is basically your standard garden-variety hole in the ground. The second kind has red eyes and moves around. Either way, move over one and you die. Enemies can fall down the permanent holes (yes, the living holes can, too). They won't, however, go down the moving holes.

  • Grand Chase: at certain levels (Temple of Fire, Kastulle Ruins, and Bermesiah's Last Stand, to name a few), you have to cross a stage filled with ever-shortening ledges, environmental hazards, and falls that knock off your limited number of lives like there's no tomorrow.
    • Its spiritual successor Elsword follows up the trend, but it's subverted as these pits aren't instant death and cannot kill you, only leaving you with one HP. They start showing up in Feita, and appear at least once per town.
  • World of Warcraft generally averts this; the damage taken from a fall is proportional to the distance you fall, modified by parachute-like effects. However, there are a few places that actually do have bottomless pits which are accessible but have no way back up, so you die when you hit the ground no matter what.

    It's also possible to fall off the edge of the world on Outland, the shattered remnants of a planet floating in the Twisting Nether. You fall for a while, then the camera stops and watches your body recede into the depths, and you respawn at a graveyard since you can't recover your body normally. The same thing happens if you fall off the edge in the new area of Firelands.
  • Certain pits in Moria in The Lord of the Rings Online canonically do have a "bottom" ... for example, jumping into a well will usually take you to the "Water Works" section of the region, even though that makes no sense based on the map unless either the wells have a substantial horizontal component, or the map of Moria, unlike every other map in the game, is laid out so that "down" actually means "down" rather than south (though to walk from the top of most wells to the Water Works does indeed require you to head south). Characters who fall into a pit (or off certain cliffs in both Moria itself and other regions of the game) will generally die before hitting bottom, though it is possible under certain conditions to jump into a Moria well and survive the fall. One particularly egregious fall is from the Bridge at Khazad-Dum, which Gandalf survived (you can even find his discarded hat at the bottom), though a) that's a case where you die while falling and b) you respawn in the bridge area, not (as would make more sense based on other examples) in the Foundations of Stone where the hat is found.
  • A key mechanic in a few jumping puzzles in Guild Wars 2. The main challenge of the first half of the Windy Cave mini dungeon is fighting/avoiding enemies on a very narrow bridge through a bottomless pit that instantly kills the character. The Forsaken Fortune mini-dungeon has a jumping puzzle section that's a strange hybrid of this and Non Lethal Bottomless Pit; fall off a ledge and your character dies quickly, but you are slowly resurrected back at a checkpoint at the beginning of the puzzle.
  • Nexus Clash has Purgatorio, a plane composed entirely of bottomless pits in between the occasional Floating Continent. If you fall off the edge, it really is the fall that kills you.

  • Gigantic has these, usually around the edges of maps. A favored tactic of many players involves pushing enemy heroes into them by using abilities with knockback.

    Platform Game 
  • Bottomless pits are everywhere in the Super Mario Bros. games.
    • Pretty much every 2-D Mario game features Bottomless pits, as well as water pits and lava pits. Super Mario Bros. 3 and onward tended to avoid the water pits (since Mario had learned how to swim consistently by this time), but every other pit was fair game. In addition, the 2-D Mario games other than the Donkey Kong/Mario vs. Donkey Kong series never show Mario suffering fall damage from any other drop.
    • Super Mario 64 had bottomless falls in some levels, making many stages Floating Continents.
    • Super Mario Galaxy, as part of its Recycled In Space theme, used black holes as bottomless pits, in addition to the regular ones. While Mario usually adhered to any small object as if it had Earth gravity, nearby black holes caused objects to function as traditional platforms where Mario could fall off. They never seemed to affect any other matter and were everywhere later in the game. There were also situations where clever jumping or carelessly shooting Mario out of a cannon could make Mario essentially achieve escape velocity towards deep space, leaving him flailing off towards the void to suffer death by breakdancing.
    • Super Mario Sunshine dramatically reduced the amount of Bottomless Pits found in the game, for the most part limiting them to the special stages. However, one stage, Pianta Village, is positioned directly above a bottomless pit. One wonders how many villagers they've lost over the years.note 
      • In these special stages and in Pianta Village, the bottomless pit has a textureless floor that Mario can cast a shadow on. This is visible when Mario nears this barrier, below which the game kills Mario. note 
    • Super Mario World. Chocolate Island. It was just a Palette Swap, but it's still notable for being one of the only games where you can die by molten chocolate pits.
    • Well over half of the Kingdoms in Super Mario Odyssey are of the Floating Continent varietynote , and much like Super Mario Sunshine, there are numerous sub-areas that take place over completely-empty space or Grimy Water for no particular reason.
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • There are four of them in the original Banjo-Kazooie game. Notably, one of them is in one of the game worlds (where you have to recollect all notes and Jinjos if you die), making that particular location an example of That One Level. They all use the same "fall into lava" sound effect when the player falls in, even when the pit is very obviously not lava.
    • Banjo-Tooie uses bottomless pits more liberally, perhaps due to the fact that notes and Jiggies are permanently collected and that the player no longer has a finite number of lives. In fact, every level but three feature at least one, and one of the levels even consists of a big ol' World in the Sky which is basically a bunch of platforms above one big death hazard.
  • The Crash Bandicoot series has many of these, and they were probably the most common hazards in the earlier games besides the enemies.
  • Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy creates an egregious example. In the laboratory level, the left side of one floor has a bottomless pit, while the right side has a pit that simply brings you further down the level. If you reach the bottom-right of that area, you can get a powerup that lets you fly - including up the bottomless pit. If the fly powerup disengages, you get killed if you are in the bottomless pit, but not if you on the other-side of a one-way-wall. Further, flying permits you to go up the pit, but stop at an invisible floor when you try going back down.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Mega Man (Classic):
    • In Mega Man, the infamous Nintendo Hard Guts Man stage, which had bottomless pits crossed via moving platforms that dropped out from under you at certain points on their track. It's infamous because this was at the very start of the level; many players simply gave up without seeing more than 2% of Guts Man's stage.
    • No one can forget the Mecha Dragon chase on floating blocks over a Bottomless Pit in the first Wily stage of Mega Man 2. At least those weren't disappearing blocks.
    • Two egregious examples of the disappearing blocks: in Heat Man's stage, where you have to jump between them over a Lava Pit and a Bottomless Pit, with no way of knowing on the first try whether the next block will be ahead or above you. And Magnet Man's stage, where you have to jump across them over a Bottomless Pit and have a magnet pulling on you.
    • Then you have to do it again (albeit with non-disappearing blocks) in Mega Man 3's Gemini Man's Slippy-Slidey Ice World, if you don't have the Rush Marine.
    • Then there were the dreaded "rocket platforms" in Spark Man's stage, over a Bottomless Pit, of course, which tried to push you into the Spiked Ceiling Of Doom.
    • Later on in 3, there are two situations which require you to have a fully powered Rush Jet, one over a long Bottomless Pit, the other over a long stretch of Spikes of Doom (2 also did this in Wily Stage 2), if you have run out of juice after the Point of No Return, the stage is Unwinnable unless you lose all your lives and start over. And you've got various Goddamned Bats (dragonflies, bees, parachuters, etc) bombarding you all the way.
    • Incidentally, 3 accidentally left in a debug feature that lets Mega Man survive at the bottom of these pits if you hold Right on the second controller. If you run out of health while in this state, you also become invincible (but you can't shoot the Mega Buster anymore).
  • Prince Of Persia 1 made an early attempt at averting the trope, favoring falls that were too far for you to survive or had Spikes of Doom at the bottom over truly bottomless pits (of which there were a grand total of one). Prince of Persia 2 was less successful in averting this trope, having bottomless pits in the opening Roof Hopping level and in several levels toward the end of the game.
  • Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure had bottomless pits in nearly every level. Which doesn't really make sense considering he had suction cup hands and could stick to walls.
  • The Klonoa series features many of them - especially in Vision 6-1 and 6-2 of the first game. In the latter level, they usually had to be crossed by jumping on incredibly tiny floating platforms.
  • Freeware Ninja Senki features them beginning from the very first level. Sometimes they're filled with water, but usually they're the plain variety.
  • In the Contra series, the player character dies from merely touching a pit past a certain point - say, knee-deep or so - making the lethality of said pits even more questionable.
    • Or falling to the bottom of the screen in vertical levels, due to the Ratchet Scrolling. In co-op mode, you can kill your partner by scrolling him off the screen.
  • Pac-Land is an early example of bottomless pits appearing.
  • The original Tomb Raider series generally doesn't use bottomless pits (with the lone exception of Tomb Raider II's Floating Islands level), just really deep ones (or ones with Spikes of Doom or lava etc. at the bottom); sometimes the Game Over screen appears before you hit bottom. There are a few apparently-bottomless pits in the next-gen series.
  • Played straight in the first Rayman game, but subverted in the third, where falling into an area that looks like a bottomless pit instead lands you in a basement-level area that can be escaped by climbing rubble or by other means. Falling into a 'fake' bottomless pit is actually required to move on in one point of the game.
  • In Dynamite Headdy bottomless pits appear frequently, but they don't kill you instantly — Headdy jumps out of it (and high enough to regain footing) and it takes off about a third of his health.
  • In Wario World, bottomless pits always lead to the "Unithorn's Lair", where creatures called Unithorns steal your coins. You have to escape by finding the escape spring which is hidden in a random box.
  • Pits are a standard obstacle in Jumper series. Oddly enough, Ogmo dies the instant he goes below the screen, even if he has an extra jump left.
  • Pits are a common hazard to face when fighting against bosses in Banana Nababa.
  • Bug! has them all around you. Your character is on a level suspended over mid-air, so falling off Floating Platforms or the terrain itself could spell certain death. Thankfully, Edge Gravity is in play on most terrain with a "border" so as to prevent falling off via walking the wrong direction.
  • In Shadow Of The Ninja, the bottom of the screen means instant death, even when on rotating platforms that just dip off the screen for a few seconds.
  • Seen in some levels of Trine.
  • In Tesla: The Weather Man, Tesla dies instantly if he falls off the bottom of the screen.
  • Both taken Up to Eleven and averted in Speedy Eggbert. Falling into a bottomless pit is an instant Game Over, but there aren't any in the single player mode.
  • In Atlantis no Nazo, many levels are full of bottomless pits. The infamous "Black Hole" level is nothing but a giant bottomless pit. Guide Dang It!: certain pits will warp you to another stage instead of killing you.
  • A common hazard in Shovel Knight. Their bottomlessness is somewhat in doubt, however, due to the presence of an item that lets you fish in them.
  • Most Kirby games have bottomless pits, which is odd considering Kirby can fly indefinitely in most of the games as well. (They're mostly a danger while inhaling, since Kirby can't inhale and fly at the same time, and also while using abilities like Stone.) In fact, the bottom of the screen must contain some sort of special Kirbicide, for if Kirby so much as grazes it while hovering near the bottom, he dies.
    • Strangely enough, the Helpers in Kirby Super Star are completely immune to the effects of these bottomless pits (in most cases they simply return to Kirby upon falling in), further supporting the Kirbicide theory.
  • One of many types of obstacles in Impossible Mission. One of the best-known sound effects from that game is the secret agent's scream as he fell down yet another one.
  • Plentiful in The Adventures of Lomax. Especially annoying in The Wild West world and right before the fight with Evil Ed.
  • Pepsiman has bottomless pits all over the place, including on city streets.
  • Low G Man has bottomless pits in some levels, mostly later ones.
  • In Dustforce, plenty of levels have them implied in the form of instant-death-zones below the stage. Genuine bottomless "pits", however (really just the area outside of the level) can be found if you manage to make your way out of the main stage area or find an opening in the aforementioned death-zones.
  • In Freedom Planet they exist, but are surprisingly scarce. They only appear in two levels, and since the first of these levels is on a series of flying airships, and the second is on a large warship orbiting the planet (with the airlocks open), they are justified.
  • In Vice Project Doom, the platforming stages have bottomless pits all over the place, though sometimes the game does require you to descend a ladder.
  • The first level of Gamer 2 is set on rooftops, and failing a rooftop jump is an instant death.
  • Inverted in Default Dan, where falling into a bottomless pit send you to the top of the screen.
  • Strider (Arcade) has plenty, and in the final stage, there is an area with inverted gravity where you can die by falling upwards.
  • Spoofed in A Hat in Time, in which the Game Within a Game Corgi Quest 7: The Leashes That Bind includes a canyon which is "very large, and measurably deep should you posess the immense means to do so."

    Puzzle Game 
  • Back To Bed has these as one of the most common hazard types. Others include things like man-sized knives placed in Bob's path.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine:
    • Henry comes across one (and comes across one) in chapter four.
    • The Ink Machine room is now a giant shaft that stretches all the way to the bottom of the studio. You can look into different sections off the shaft once per chapter and see the Ink Machine riding down to the bottom.
  • Gruntz has them in various fashions according to the current world - tar pits, fall from very high, cooking plates...
  • Hunt the Wumpus was another text-era computer game with bottomless pits. You had to explore a maze and deduce where the Wumpus was (which would let you shoot it) without entering its room (and getting eaten) or entering a room with a bottomless pit.
  • Kindergarten has the Nugget Cave, a pit Nugget dug in the sandbox that is so deep that Ms. Applegate the teacher can't see the bottom. The only way to survive jumping down it is if Nugget first throws down a load of nuggets to cushion the landing.
  • Lemmings and its many sequels have this as an all too frequent hazard. It comes in several different flavors; literal bottomless drops, i.e. falling off the screen (which you can make yourself if you have spare digging attributes and want to wreck the level), falls onto ground that's too far away for the Lemmings to survive unaided, and falls that end in water.
  • Nibblers has this as a mechanic starting in the mountain levels. While they may pose no real threat to the player unlike most other examples, movable Lizards or fruit can be dragged into one, removing them from play.
  • Portal lets you make your own bottomless pit; put one of your portals on the floor, and the other on the ceiling directly above. For fun, drop something into it. For nausea, drop yourself into it. There is even an achievement awarded for falling far enough in this fashion.
  • Portal 2 is full of bottomless pits, especially when the facility starts falling apart, revealing just how far down it goes. This is especially egregious, as Chell has boots specifically designed to prevent fall damage from terminal-velocity landings. At one point while Chell and GLaDOS are falling down a bottomless pit together, GLaDOS chooses to use that time to deliver some exposition, but not before once again reminding everyone of her status as Deadpan Snarker.
    GLaDOS: Since it doesn't look like we're going anywhere - well, we are going somewhere, alarmingly fast, actually... But since we're not busy other than that, here's a couple of facts.
  • Portal: The Flash Version includes bottomless pits in a few levels. You have to either avoid them or use them to knock turrets out of the game. The 3D map pack for the Source engine substitutes them with the acid pools from Portal.
  • Revolution (1986): Going off the edge of the level or falling through gaps between tiles results in this and in you losing a life.
  • Spelling Jungle: Dark Pits in Spelling Jungle, Glacial Crevasses in Spelling Blizzard. Animals will not enter them under any circumstance.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In StarCraft, missions which take place in installations usually feature bottomless pits. They are even named so in "Installation" map tileset in the editor. Luckily, your units can't fall into them — they are just there to restrict movement in the same manner as mere walls do.

  • In previous versions of Dwarf Fortress, maps sometimes featured bottomless pits, into which dwarfs could accidentally fall, and refuse (inanimate and otherwise) could be deliberately dumped. In the current version, the Underworld features eerie glowing pits that can only be entered from the lowest possible z-level. Anything that falls into a glowing pit is destroyed forever.

    Role Playing Game 

    Shoot 'Em Up 

    Sports Game 

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Metal Gear Solid: One of the most incongruous examples of this trope is the bottomless pits in the armory.

    Survival Horror 
  • The Silent Hill series is full of places where the ground inexplicably drops away into nothingness, but Silent Hill 3 is the only game to actually use them as a hazard. On the higher difficulty levels, Heather doesn't even do her "whoa" animation to warn the player that she's about to fall into one. As if the place wasn't dangerous enough without them...
  • Haunting Ground: A room near the end of Debilitas' section of the game features a very dark room, with two especially dark patches on the floor. Unfortunately for Fiona, there are two pits hidden in the shadows. On the flip side: fortunately for Fiona, Hewie (among other things) can lead her safely around them.
  • Vanish: One appears in the Water Pump Room. Fall into it and you die. Notably, it's the only way to die aside from being caught by the Molemen.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City, your character has Super Drowning Skills, resulting in instant death if you fall in the water. However, polygon drop-out glitches sometimes occur, allowing you to fall into the "void", but if this happens, you just get teleported back to solid ground. An unintentional example of Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits.
  • The world of Cortex Command seems to be surrounded by bottomless space. Move a little to the left or right of the screen, and you lose control of the body. Rocket too high into space, and you either return to the mothership or lose the body. Dig just a little too deep in the ground, and you fall off the screen and lose the body.
  • The Void in Minecraft lies beneath the bottom of the map (or at least the deadly part does), and kills you within seconds if you manage to fall into it.
    • It is important to note, however, that the Void is impossible to fall into in survival mode, except in The End. Unless you count things like mods, cheats, glitches, custom superflat worlds, and edited maps.

    Tabletop Games 

    Non-Videogame Examples 
Comic Books
  • Wonder Woman (1987): When Neron opens a pit to hell nabbing Diana, Artemis, Jason Blood, and Cassie and Helena Sandsmark off the street it appears to be bottomless from the topside, but as Donna and Hippolyta realize when decending there's more of a portal effect going on and part way down those entering it are warped to the "bottom".


  • Discworld: The literal-minded citizens of Lancre have a tourist attraction called the Place Where The Sun Does Not Shine. This is implied to be a bottomless pit, but apparently lots of unusual things show up there, such as undesirable jobs, improbable excuses and things which imply a degree of physical pain and discomfort.
  • In Which Witch?, one of the witches creates a hole that is really bottomless, an admirable feat of dark magic. Of course, it is kind of impractical to have something like this in your garden. A Lemony Narrator tangent goes into some detail about how a bottomless pit is not the same as "a hole that comes out in Australia."
  • Priscilla Hutchins: A strange variant occurs in Chindi aboard a massive alien space ship when a character falls into a deep shaft. The others think that he fell to his death until he suddenly flies back upwards past them, only to come back down again, repeat. They realize that the source of gravity onboard the ship is near the center and that he is flying through it only to slow enough before hitting the other side and be pulled back. They eventually devise a way to get him out of there safely.
  • In Consider Phlebas these serve as launch tubes in an abandoned underground missile system. During a shoot-out someone falls inside and when the protagonist peeks over the edge, he can see the flare of their energy weapon getting smaller and smaller as the soldier is still falling. Later when he has to carry a prisoner down the same shaft (using an anti-gravity harness) she asks him to shoot her first if he's forced to drop her for any reason.
  • Tunnels: There are seven of these connecting the Deeps to the Garden of the Second Sun, appropriately called the seven sisters. There are three named in the novels: the Pore, Puffing Mary, and Smoking Jean. Characters are constantly falling down and climbing up them, and they have a habit of sucking in ships from the surface, ranging from Spanish treasure galleons to a modern Russian nuclear submarine.

Live-Action TV

  • The Prisoner (2009): One shows up in the fourth episode and becomes a critical plot point later. It's a sign that the dreamspace is falling apart.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer: The Great Maw, the god the Ogres worship, takes the form of a vast fleshy pit lined with sharp fangs. Those few Ogres who made the long, dangerous journey to the Maw claim that it's completely bottomless — just endless rings of teeth going down, down, down. A few especially far-travelled Ogres claim that this goes to its logical conclusion and that there's a twin opening at the other end of the world, the Maw having bored its way clear through the planet's diameter, but most dismiss such claims.

Web Animation

  • Teen Girl Squad: Issue 4 has So-and-So falling into one of these, setting up the page quote. However, as the Homestar Runner wiki notes, you would actually die of thirst first, not starvation.

Web Comics

  • Girl Genius: There's at least one pit that appears this way under a Trap Door in Castle Heterodyne. The castle drops Othar into it upon hearing that he's a hero.
    Sanaa: What did you do that for?!
    Castle: Eh. He is a hero. I don't need much of a reason.
    Sanaa: But... but the Heterodyne Boys were heroes!
    Castle: Yeeees... they didn't come home, much.
    Sanaa: No, really?
    Castle: Oh, but we had such fun when they did! Well I had fun... I rather miss having a hero about!
    Sanaa: Well, if you drop them down bottomless pits every—
    Castle: Oh, tosh. If he was a real hero—
    Othar: This is an annoying place, isn't it?
  • PO Psickle STRIP: Deconstructed. Two stick figures stand by a bottomless pit and discuss the mechanics of it, including how it comes out the other side of the planet, and how it's really just a long tunnel.

Western Animation

  • Gravity Falls: In "Bottomless Pit!", Dipper, Mabel, Soos, and Stan accidentally fall into one. When they notice they're still descending, they pass time by telling stories. At the end of the episode, they find themselves plummeting towards a light. As they "hit" it, they fly out of the same hole they fell into, and no time has passed.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: The Abyss of Nothingness from the first season, which is described in its debut by Heloise as "just a big hole", though Lucius (in the same episode) goes further to explain that "it's a dark, dreary place filled with misery and despair." That being said, characters have ended up in the place, return the next episode without explanation.
  • Kim Possible: Parodied in "Hidden Talent". Dr. Drakken gives Kim a description of the Death Trap he's about to drop her into, leading to confusion on Shego's part when he mentions the pit being bottomless but also filling up with water and an irritated Drakken explaining that "bottomless" was just hyperbole.
    Drakken: First, you'll be sealed in a reinforced titanium box. Next, you will be dropped into this bottomless chasm. Then, the chasm will be filled with water. Then, man-eating sharks and a giant squid will be released into the water!
    Shego: Huh? Wait... If the chasm is bottomless, how can you fill it with water?
    Drakken: [exasperated] IT'S VERY VERY DEEP, ALL RIGHT?!?
  • King: The Clockmaker moves into a bottomless pit in "The Monster Who Would Not Arrive". Loopy describes it as the hottest new lifestyle choice. The people in the bottomless pit are shown to be living very stable lives despite being in perpetual freefall.
  • Samurai Jack (2017): Jack and Ashi descend the hole where Jack lost his sword on the back of giant bird, but it still takes them several hours, if not days to reach the bottom. They actually camp out on the way down so the bird can rest.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied in "Treehouse of Horror III" in "Clown Without Pity". Homer, who is trying to get rid of the Krusty the Clown doll that's trying to murder him, stuffs the doll in a sack of stinky socks and goes to the local bottomless pit to toss the sack in (though it doesn't work). Played for laughs in that shortly after Homer disposes of the doll, a man throws down a box of nude photos of Whoopi Goldberg only for the pit to reject it, the box flying back up into the man's arms.
    • While living with Mr. Burns, Bart tells Lisa that Burns has a bottomless pit somewhere in his estate. Lisa doesn't believe it.
  • Kaeloo: In an episode where Your Mind Makes It Real plays a major role, Mr. Cat pushes Quack Quack into a "bottomless pit" and says things to fuel his imagination, so Quack Quack physically experiences being thrown into a bottomless pit.

Real Life

  • Pretty much black holes in Real Life.note 

Alternative Title(s): Bottomless Pit


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