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Empty Room Psych

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"Never provide a dungeon without treasure. The longer they search and find nothing, the more your players will be convinced that the treasure is bountiful and exceptionally well-hidden. If left unchecked, they will eventually dismantle and excavate the entire site in their search for loot."

Over decades of play, gamers have been conditioned with the notion that there is no such thing as an "empty" room — The Law of Conservation of Detail demands that if a room is placed in a game, it must do something of value, be it a scripted plot event or NPC, Dungeon Shop, monsters to slay, Inexplicable Treasure Chests containing healing items or weapons/ammo, Plot Coupons to pick up, etc etc. After all, programmers and writers have limited time and money to do this, so they won't needlessly create a majestic cathedral and fill it with ... empty white space to distract the player from more important stuff. Plus, why torture those players out for a 100% Completion by adding loads of copy-pasted rooms with nothing in them?

The purpose of this trope is often to keep players on their toes, either by filling the room with enemies (essentially a trap room) or to get the above confused reaction. Players who run into enough consecutive Empty Room Psychs may overlook or ignore a new one, thinking there's nothing in it, which is of course the one that does have a goodie. Other times it is entirely unintentional, when the developers forgot to remove a room that was part of greater expansion. Then again, it could be the designers really do just want to give us a pretty room for the sake of it. In many video games, rooms or spaces like this serve the purpose of giving enemies a place to spawn out of sight of the player. In these cases, the room is empty when the player gets there, but served a purpose other than distraction in the design.

Now if you wander into an exceptionally large empty room, especially one with a nearby Save Point, this usually means one thing and one thing only: Incoming Boss Battle!

An Empty Room Until the Trap is a common cause of this. If not, you may be looking at a Sidetrack Bonus, lucky you. Keep in mind that if the empty room is a place within Player Headquarters, and it remains empty, regardless of how much progress you make, it may very well be a spot reserved exclusively for those players who have beaten the Final Boss in the Very Definite Final Dungeon, and have seen the Closing Credits.

Not to be be confused with the psychological study of being left alone in an empty room. When Played for Horror, see Nothing Is Scarier. See Cow Tools for a non-video game sister trope. Compare Missing Secret. Contrast Sidetrack Bonus.


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  • Perhaps the oldest example of this is the Atari 2600 game Adventure. There is a dead-end section of three rooms where no items appear.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has Desmond and Lucy lampshade this trope when they discover a stairway leading up to a non-interactable door. "You'd think these stairs would lead somewhere. But they don't".
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has several of them. The biggest example by far is Celeste's Room, a special room inside the Livre ex Machina. It requires a key to open it in exactly the same way as the Optional Boss rooms. Inside there's a lot of cool stuff: a painting to look at, several music boxes to listen to, and a pair of chairs that the player can sit in, which causes a ghostly figure to appear in the opposite chair after a few seconds. The room doesn't do anything else, however. Many, many players spent a lot of time in frustration trying to figure out the non-existent puzzle.
  • Castlevania:
    • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin's empty rooms actually serve a purpose: To distract the player. Completing at least one quest requires the player to find a dead-end, seemingly empty room... and wait. Nothing else needs to be done, just... wait.
    • In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, there's a secret room in the Pirate Ship that can only be accessed by Maria, but is empty except for an unusable door/mirror. Appears to be for something that was Dummied Out.
    • In Dracula X Chronicles, one of the soundtrack records is now hidden there.
    • In Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, the final town, Yomi/Ghoulash, is a ghost town with nothing in any of the rooms except for an old lady who says "Let's live here together". The other towns and the mansions have many useless rooms as well. The most flagrant red herring, though, is the upper path from Dora Woods (the lower path leads to the aforementioned ghost town and Dracula's castle), which leads you across the East Bridge to Denis Marsh (no relation to Denis Woods), a swampy dead end with a unique lime green background palette, but absolutely nothing of value.
    • The original Castlevania had a very odd, if not unique, version of this: the manual itself told you to be on the lookout for hidden doors to...well, it didn't say what kind of rooms specifically, but it doesn't matter, because no one has ever found any such secret doors, because they aren't there. It's still a mystery why the manual even said they were there. So you could say this was a nonexistent room psych. The MSX version does have a level with Magical Mystery Doors.
    • The Top Floor in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow includes a room off to the side of the tower with a candle, but absolutely nothing else of value. No monsters, no treasure or other items, nothing.
  • In Dirty Harry for the NES, there is one room you enter where the only thing in it is "Hahaha" written on the wall. The door is gone, forcing you to restart your game. The developers were literally trolling the players in one of the most sadistic ways possible.
  • The .hack series contains a well-known example in an area (field) named Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground - the Hulle Granz Cathedral. It is an entirely vacant map, originally with a constantly overcast night sky, with a single short stone walkway leading from the cathedral to the middle of nowhere, around which was a lake of mist as far as the eye could see. There is absolutely nothing there and it serves no perceivable purpose in the MMO The World as it currently exists. Despite that, every subseries of the .hack franchise has featured a plot-relevant visit to the cathedral and many plot-relevant events have occurred there.
  • Enter the Matrix had an Empty Level Psych. One level in the vampire mansion consisted of walking from one door to another in the same room, then loading the next level. Considering how dodgy the game was, chances are it was just oversight on someone's part.
  • The Goonies II has many useless rooms (most with various people giving useless advice, like an old lady who's lost her glasses, or someone saying that it's fun to play the game) and one completely empty room. Lampshaded at one point by an Eskimo in the ice cave. "I'm Eskimo. There's nothing here." The empty-room dilemma manages to combine with another one — the hidden-object/passageway dilemma — to make the game a nightmare for first-time players who are completionists. Mikey has three tools he can use during the "3D" portions (fist, hammer and glasses) to either make items appear or to make a doorway in a wall/floor/ceiling. Also, in the side-scrolling portions, Mikey has very short-range bombs he can use to locate doorways. All of these factors come together into making quite possibly the most frustrating Metroidvania ever.
  • The Legacy of Kain games have a lot of these, mainly because lots of the content was cut, leaving areas you can get to, but not leading anywhere. There's even a site about exploring them.
  • Legacy of the Wizard: Happens frequently with how many dead ends there are in the game. Some of these areas are actually contained and were designed for collecting items in the MSX2 counterpart, but were moved in the NES version, rendering some of them vestigial.
  • The Legend of Zelda has offered plenty of examples over the years:
    • The Legend of Zelda rarely does this in the main game, but the second quest goes absolutely buck wild with it. You think the game would never force you to clear out a room filled with 12 blue Darknuts, only to find no hidden items, pushable blocks, bombable walls or invisible passages? If so, then you have another, 12 blue Darknut-shaped thing coming.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:
      • Some dungeons have a few rooms that lock the door behind you, make you fight tough monsters, then don't give you anything. Basically trap rooms.
      • A seemingly empty room in the fourth dungeon of the Dark World turns out to be important later. After bombing the cracked floor in the room above it, making light shine down into it, and bringing a girl you rescued into it, and having her stand in the light, she freaks out and reveals herself to be the boss, Blind the Thief.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • Relating to a TON of fan theories, there's a "hallway" in the water in Zora's Domain. It can be seen as both child Link and Adult Link, but it is too deep to reach with diving as a child, and as an adult, Zora's Domain is frozen, so using the Iron Boots to sink to the bottom is out of the question. A certain glitch can get you under the ice and down through the hallway, only to find that it's empty. Before the glitch was common knowledge, many said you could obtain the Triforce through this hallway, or access the Unicorn Fountain and get the Sword Beam, or achieve some other sort of goal.
      • There is a seemingly pointless hole in the roof of Darunia's room in Goron City which can be easily seen with both Links.
      • High up in Kakariko Village's windmill, there's a staircase that can be accessed with the Longshot, but it only contains a Cucco to let you glide back down.
      • In Gerudo Valley, on the cliff ledge there are Rupees in the formation of an arrow pointing at a wall that does absolutely nothing.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages both have a few empty rooms conspicuously placed along your path which can drive a gamer insane until you realize they are only used in the linked game.
  • The Lord of the Rings game for the SNES was filled with enormous, sprawling, gigantic... repeating screens. Literally ninety percent of every dungeon is absolutely worthless and serves no purpose other than confusing the hell out of you and getting you lost. And because of lazy graphics design, every room looks the same. Half the time, you think you're going in a circle, but you're not. It's just another goddamn empty room that looks just like the empty room you passed through a few minutes ago.
  • In Mega Man Legends, at the northern end of the Old City, there's a small area with a power plant and a few NPC workers. It serves no purpose storywise, no connection to any sidequests, no minigames, no items to collect, nothing. You could achieve 100% Completion without even realizing it was there.
  • This is the reason one spends hours upon hours of exploring every nook and cranny in Super Metroid.
    • Even though the game tries to throw you off with several apparently meaningless rooms complete with the 'dead end' background music. Sometimes there really is nothing there, but the player remains unconvinced. When you get the X-Ray Scanner, you can finally be sure — a quick sweep with the scanning beam will reveal any false or breakable walls and any hidden items.
    • Towards the end of the game, in the hidden part of Norfair there are one or two corridors that seem dead ends even to the scope - until you run forward and see that that wall is actually just part of the decor and you can run right past it.
    • Most truly "dead end" rooms have enemy spawners, for easy (if time consuming) energy/ammo refills.
    • Same goes for the original Metroid, notably the hard-to-escape fake acid pit in Brinstar to the left of a similar pit that leads to the Ice Beam, and the shaft in Kraid's Hideout to the right of the first Missile Tank leading to three identical enemy-infested hallways connecting to a second nearly-identical shaft, none containing any vital items.
  • Thief: Deadly Shadows: The entire Shalebridge Cradle level. Throughout the game, you overhear people talking about an abandoned building, an asylum/orphanage that became haunted after a fire. Naturally, you eventually have to break in there. At this point in the game, the player has been attuned to carefully listening to their surroundings to discern the whereabouts of enemies. There are no enemies in Cradle, but there are a lot of ghostly sounds, echoes of children and madmen who died in the fire, shifting shadows, subtle poltergeist phenomena and the like. Eventually the player has nowhere else to go but the attic, and at this point loud banging starts coming from behind the door leading there. When the player musters enough courage to open it, they'll find the room empty.
  • In Tomb Raider I:
    • The Caves level contains a secret room with a single medipack in front of an elaborate Mayan calendar. The room looks like it extends past that, but there is in fact no way to "open" the calendar.
    • The City of Vilcabamba has a spacious room with four decorative serpents. It contains nothing aside from a secret door, that can't be opened from that room anyway.
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation:
    • One complaint about the game, compared to previous ones, is that there are many rooms that look like they'd contain something, but have nothing in them. Usually it's justified by the level structure attempting to match aesthetic standards (like symmetry), but it's still frustrating. One example is a dark secret room in the Valley of the Kings, which contains...nothing.
    • The very first revision of TLR (only available on PS1 and off the Play Station Network) was missing a few items from the earlier levels. One egregious example was the fifth secret; the player would climb a ladder and flip a switch to open a door down below, and enter to find...nothing. In later revisions, this area contains ammo for the shotgun.
  • The dungeons in Ys I, Ys II and Ys IV are complete labyrinths, full of dead-ends and loops. It can be very hard to find the way forward, and easy to miss treasure chests containing important items. One conspicuous empty room in Ys I is revisted in Ys II, where it becomes important.

  • Empty rooms are found painfully frequently in amateur Interactive Fiction. Many authors implement houses with bare-bones bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, and so on; smarter authors either make these locations more interesting, or omit them with a hand-wave along the lines of "There's nothing you need in there."
  • In Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, Poirot comments during the introduction that in order to aid Hastings in solving the mystery, no unimportant rooms or characters will be included.
  • 7 Days A Skeptic from the Chzo Mythos. has a recreation room in the ship, with arcade games, books and an air hockey table and is pretty much the only room that has no relevance to the story besides decoration. Yahtzee's commentary on the special edition mockingly points this out.
  • Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures: Most locations contain nothing whatsoever of interest (sometimes they have a hidden health pickup under a random rock, but it's rare.) Thankfully, your map, once found, tells you which locations contain something and which are empty.
  • In Myst:
    • The temple in Channelwood is completely irrelevant to solving the game. It's just for decoration, and horror, what with the scary masks, the sacrificial altar, and the hologram of Achenar trying to speak the tree-dweller's language.
    • Much of the brothers' rooms are completely irrelevant to the game... Or so it appears on the surface. The only things necessary to complete any puzzles or game objectives are the pages and the page scraps hidden in there; every other interactable object in the rooms is simply there for ambience. They do however serve to provide some subtle but very important (and decidedly unflattering!) insights into Sirrus and Achenar's characters, and are crucial to the final puzzle of the game when you have to choose which one of them to trust... Or if you've been paying attention, Take a Third Option.
  • One of these was removed from Riven but can still be found in the code and in the background of one node. It takes the form of a bookmaking press on Crater Island (because, logically, there ought to be a bookmaking press on the island where they make books) that can be manipulated but serves no purpose. It was removed because playtesters kept assuming it was part of some puzzle.
  • Subverted in Safecracker, where what initially looks like a dead-end laundry room actually does contain the ceiling trapdoor that leads to the house's attic. Your character at first assumes that this trope is being invoked as a joke by the mansion's late owner.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island has the church on Melee Island - one of the first places you see...which is utterly empty for most of the game. Its only use is in the very final part where you are taken there automatically to stop LeChuck and Elaine's wedding. You can therefore play through the game without choosing to go into it at all.
  • The church in Shadow of Destiny. Exists in every time you travel to, but is nearly always closed off or otherwise unable to be entered. There is nothing in there. Well, you can pick up an energy unit there in medieval times, but that's about it.
  • Shenmue II was full of buildings with dozens of rooms and nothing whatsoever in them except for rooms that the player was told about anyway.
  • Played to the hilt in Yume Nikki. This being a game loaded with Nightmare Sequences, you can guess what they're intended to do to the player.
    • Same goes for Yume 2kki, Yume Nikki's fanmade "sequel." There is one room in the graveyard world that is particularly spooky – players call it the "weird room". All it contains is a long hallway with turquoise and green paint splotches and a small gray room with a weird, non-moving twisted creature on the floor. Not exactly an empty room, but the creature does not respond to anything you try to do to it in any way, so it may as well be a wall. There's some really creepy music playing in this area, but nothing actually happens here, and nothing changes when you leave. Well, at least 25 out of 26 times nothing happens, provided you walked all the way up to the thing before leaving.
  • There is a 400-story skyscraper in Zork Zero, comprising nearly 2,000 rooms, of which only three contain anything at all — and one of those three is an Easter Egg. The puzzle is working out which rooms you need to visit. (The clues are in the Feelies.)

  • City of Heroes:
    • Since the game makes heavy use of Instanced Missions and Copy-and-Paste Environments, there are quite a few examples of empty room psyche in the game. Most this takes the form of random offices and meeting rooms you may encounter on mission maps. There are certain places on the world map that really are empty and don't serve any purpose at all, like an outdoor Tiki Bar in St. Martial, the numerous floating islands in Ouroboros, and the "Emo Gazebo" in the Ski Chalet.
    • Also interesting are cases of empty door psych. Most missions are accessed through doors, and on occasion you may encounter a door that looks like it should lead you to a mission, but never actually does. Examples appear in the Midnighter's Club, the Ski Chalet, and even the Studio B room in the Architect Entertainment Buildings. It's possible these doors exist only to serve as "spawn points" for players logging in. (A player logging in will emerge from the nearest spawn point, such as a door or Hospital Teleporter). This doesn't stop people from wondering what the hell is behind those doors though...
  • The Elder Scrolls Online initially suffered from this. Many Non Player Characters had homes which could be entered, but served no purpose, or did nothing but have a single NPC to talk to once for a quest. Somewhat fixed when the Justice system was added, as these homes now all have at least a few items that can be stolen, so they aren't completely useless.
  • In Gaia Online' ZOMG! game, there are a number of areas that are empty or have NPCs that just stand there and don't say or do anything. Usually, this is because of the fact that ZOMG! is still in its beta testing stage and the gameplay (especially the earlier levels) are still being redone and altered. For example, the Barton Greens stage once had a golfing minigame, but that was scrapped and resulted in a screen with a Scottish NPC that doesn't say or do anything.
  • Star Wars: Galaxies has quite a few of these in every city in the game, including a theatre, the entire palace from Episode 1, a decorated beachfront with umbrellas, and a futuristic city-scape built on mountain tops with an impressive view. These do have a purpose in an MMORPG, as potential areas for chat, exploration, or deeper in-character roleplaying than normal games. Such empty rooms are expected and indirectly given a use as places that players can take their characters to get away from others or to immerse themselves further. Everquest, City of Heroes, and World of Warcraft also do this.
  • World of Warcraft initially suffered from this.
    • The earlier games in the 'verse had established the existence of certain places, but the developers simply didn't have time to flesh out the entire world. Placeholders, Insurmountable Waist High Fences or other obstacles were added to (unsuccessfully) keep players away. Many of these locations were fleshed out in subsequent patches or expansions. Notable examples include Silithus, Searing Gorge, Maraudon, Dire Maul, Naxxramas, Karazhan, Zul'Gurub, Ahn'Qiraj, Mount Hyjal, Forlorn Ridge, Outland, Northrend, Black Temple, Icecrown Citadel, Ulduar, Uldum, the Emerald Dream, Grim Batol, Quel'Thalas, Zul'Aman, Gilneas, Blackwing Lair, the Caverns of Time, Undermine, Kul Tiras, and Old Ironforge.
    • There is a truly empty room in Silvermoon City. It has pretty scenery that matches the rest of the city but no Non Player Characters, no items, no mobs, nothing. Several players have had their brains broken by the presence of this room that is simply there. Even when new trainers for a new profession were added, they were put in an already occupied room rather than in the empty one. It draws large crowds of roleplayers who find the empty room cool. Perhaps this was actually its purpose - to act as a playground for RPers.
    • Stormwind, Ironforge, and Darnassus have large numbers of empty buildings with no NPCs or apparent function. Also in Booty Bay, there's Deep South Tannery, which would be a place for leatherworkers to go, except there's no trainer there. There's nobody in the shop at all. Perhaps they'll arrive in a future expansion.
    • One conspicuously empty building in the trade district of Stormwind was later turned into an auction house to alleviate the overcrowding in Ironforge.
    • There are an unlistable number of Easter Eggs in this game that take the form of a useless but curious room or place. Some notable example would be Cut-Throat Alley, a small, named alleyway in Stormwind's Dwarven District with absolutely nothing in it, Challe's Home For Little Tykes, a random orphanage in the hills of Nagrand where a troll woman takes care of a few children and is rumored to secretly eat them, the crypt in Karazhan, a long expanse of tunnels under the tower with the nightmarish area called Pool of Forgotten Sinners (or something like that) which is a huge pool with dead bodies hanging upside-down from chains, and the Cleft in Teldrassil, a random cave southwest of Shadowglen which apparently only serves as a shortcut for attackers to enter the night elf starting area. There's also the abandoned Tauren village on the outer shores of Silithus, the random and useless Dwarf farm on the eastern shore of Arathi Highlands, and Newman's Landing on the western shore of Dun Morogh. The last is explained as where all Alliance players briefly appear before actually starting in the game. If you stand around there you can see new players flashing in and out like ghosts. They also put a merchant from Booty Bay with two guards here.
    • Both Dun Morogh and Tirisfal Glades have an huge, completely empty area in the western part of the zone. It's possible to enter both of these, but there's nothing there. Although it's speculated that there's an Old God living under the Tirisfal Glades area. Come Cataclysm, these areas have been revamped into Easter Eggs, the area in Dun Morogh is now home to dwarven sledders and a camp of black bears. The area in Tirisfal Glades is now home to a lake, extremely high-level animal mobs, and a ring of mushrooms where fairy dragons will occasionally show up and put on some type of show with them.
    • Newly opened zones of Cataclysm are more-or-less this to anyone who doesn't have the expansion. Uldum and Gilneas are accessible, there's just nothing there except a few mobs and critters.
    • There are also a few bizarre areas that look like they would be important, but no quests send you there. There's too many examples to list them all but a couple of them are a strange island off the coast of Darkshore, which holds a demolished house, a wrecked boat and a few things like an Alliance shield, a burning campfire, and a lit lantern, but there's nobody there. Another is the seemingly abandoned campsite in northeastern Deadwind Pass, likely added just for an attempt at Nothing Is Scarier.
  • The now-defunct Asheron's Call had an odd example: The Freebooter Keep Black Market had a room with a jail-style door that was locked and had a difficulty of 9999 to pick (i.e, impossible), but could be seen to contain many treasure chests and piles of gold. Someone eventually used the Shimmering Skeleton Key (a very rare item which could open any lock in game but could only be used once before breaking) to open it, and it turned out the gold and chests were basically just props that couldn't acutally be interacted with, and the room didn't have any hidden passages or switches.
  • The large city area in the online version of Uru: Ages Beyond Myst (the still-active MMORPG Myst Online: Uru Live) promises a lot but delivers relatively little - such as a long, barricaded corridor in the town square that has never been unblocked (and leads to nothing), and multiple floors of the library and museum that are ultimately useless (and, if one ventures there via glitching, seem to be made intentionally creepy and unsettling - somehow bypassing the library barrier feels resolutely nightmarish the further you go). A lot of this can be credited to the game still being SEVERELY unfinished; as a pay-to-play game, MOUL was meant to expand greatly, with these areas offering glimpses of what was to come. Unfortunately, the game's relative failure meant that these areas were never developed - though, as of 2021, the (now free) game is currently being expanded after a decade without changes, so they may well be someday.

  • 1001 Spikes follows one certain, extremely difficult level with a level called "Too Easy", which is absolutely devoid of enemies or traps. Only falling in the lava at the bottom can kill you, a nearly impossible prospect considering the ease of the platforming in this level. The only reason for its existence is pure Paranoia Fuel.
  • The original NES Bionic Commando has many dead-ends with nothing in them, but the remake has secret rooms and items hidden in some of these locations.
  • Crash Bandicoot (1996) managed to make this out of an entire level. The second-to-last stage is The Lab, which is filled with switch puzzles through obstacles that require precise timing and a lot of patience. The Great Hall is the last level before the final boss, so many players braced for the worst... only to be met with a single, easy jump to the exit.
  • There's the empty pillar room in Creepy Castle of Donkey Kong 64; a room with a stone pillar in the middle, a hanging light, and what appears to be an open shaft pouring light down. It's only accessible by one character through a series of transport pads, has a balloon for 10 bananas in it, but is otherwise empty and totally functionless. It borders on Mind Screw if you try to understand what effing purpose it has.
  • Fez has a few abandoned houses with absolutely nothing in them but foreboding music. At least the map screen is kind enough to tell you when you've found everything in a given area.
  • Hollow Knight's examples include a dead-end near the northwest entrance of Deepnest occupied by a useless NPC called the Mask Maker, another alcove in Deepnest housing a No-Face expy who has no relevance to the story either, a hall in the Queen's Gardens with a large insect corpse that does nothing, and a secret chamber in the Beast's Den sub-area with a trilobite sculpture that displays a Seal of Binding when hit with a Soul spell, but no valuable items or lore.
  • There is exactly one intentionally empty dead-end in I Wanna Be the Guy. It's called the Game Over Room, from the decoration that matches the message you get upon everything succeeding at killing you. It's the safest room in the game— in the Game Over Room, the only thing that can kill you is the suicide button. It even says so right there. Except it's not actually empty in the full game. It has one of the secret items needed for 100% Completion.
  • Monster Party has at least two or three empty rooms per level. Entering and leaving repeatedly would occasionally spawn a same '?' bonus you receive from defeating a boss, though.
  • The "Adventure Fields" in Sonic Adventure were absolutely rife with these; one particularly strange example is aboard the crashed Egg Carrier as Knuckles, it's possible to gain access to an area often referred to as "Eggman's Fun Room", a strange room of bright colors, a bed, and what appeared to be toys. The place served no purpose and wasn't even accessible to most characters, and was quite perplexing to some players. In the GCN port, one of the bonus Emblems is hidden here.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3:
    • One of the World 7 fortresses consists of a few very large, empty rooms (though there is a boss at the end). There is, however, a time limit — and no obvious way out. And one room in this fortress is styled like a large hall full of white platforms for Stretches, the circular blocks that Roto-discs usually orbit, and the candle props for Hot Foots... even though none of these respective enemies are actually there.
    • One room in the World 5 Tower to get to the sky has absolutely nothing in it save the two pipes used to enter and exit the room, and two low-hanging lights in the background with unique sprites. No hidden block, no enemies, nothing.
    • In the Super Mario World ROM Hack Vanilla Level Design Contest 8, the level that placed last place (out of 86) is literally this, impossible to lose.
  • Level 5-6 in New Super Mario Bros. 2 has this in the form of a strange series of floating platforms and spikes in the sky, which leads to nothing and has no possible reward for following it. No one seems to know what it was added in for, possibly a Dummied Out secret exit path.
  • Rhea Island, the, fourth island in Sonic Frontiers, was marketed and labeled in-game as an independent island of the Starfall Islands. In reality, it's simply the half of the first island, Kronos Island, that you weren't allowed to go to earlier in the game. However, despite Rhea Island clearly being designed as a fully explorable world, no objects, collectibles, or enemies exist outside of the very specific, plot-related path laid before you, meaning there's nothing to do on the island. This is because Kronos and Rhea, along with Ouranos Island, the final world, were all meant to be one gigantic world, but due to time constraints, they were split into three.
  • In Super Mario 64 if you swim under the water near the castle waterfall you’ll see a gaping square hole filled with blackness. You can bravely swim down into it but nothing happens and you risk drowning. It’s revealed that this hole is actually an exit to the Star 9 course.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, one of the early secret levels is a humongous wooden slide floating in the sky. It’s filled with holes, most of which will drop Mario into the void, but there’s exactly one - the first hole on the left - that instead leads to a hidden ledge alcove underneath the slide. There’s absolutely nothing down there, not even a Blue Coin, although it’s possible that one was hidden there earlier in development.
  • In Rabi-Ribi, there is a room in upper Starting Forest known affectionately as the Lonely Girl Room, since the only thing it contains is a single nameless NPC whose sole dialogue is an assurance that there’s nothing in the room.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps has several empty alcoves scattered throughout the map, but most nagging is a secret area in the lower right corner Windswept Wastes with a wooden elevator and blue moss wheel that never activate, with the only pickup being a Spirit Light Container. This was originally the entrance to a Minecart Madness Bonus Dungeon that featured prominently in the E3 2018 gameplay trailer, but was Dummied Out in the final product.

  • Antichamber: The room "Failing Forward" contains a quite long series of what might be the hardest puzzles in the whole game. You would expect to find another of the Developer's Room at the end of it (and, according to the difficulty of the puzzles, an extremely awesome one). Instead, you find a completely empty room. You can see it here.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine has many doors, some of which lead to small rooms or closets devoid even of bacon soup for Henry's Hyperactive Metabolism. Notably, there is a room in Chapter 1 - a chapter in which there are no enemies to fight - that only serves a second connection between another room and a hallway.
  • Manifold Garden: As of the game's initial release, one of the secret puzzles ends with a door that doesn't lead anywhere.
  • The Witness: Solving the apple tree puzzles simply leads to a random table littered with drawings of human anatomy; there is no beacon, or indeed anything of use, in sight.

    Role-Playing Games 
Action RPG
  • Monster Hunter Generations has an area in the Volcanic Hollow map that features a large spider web, monster carcasses hanging from the ceiling, large monsters ever appear here. This is because it had a purpose in a previous game: in Monster Hunter 4, before plot developments turn the map the way it is in the latter half of the game and in Generations, the map is called the Sunken Hollow and a Giant Spider monster, the Nerscylla, uses this map as its home, with that particular giant web zone being its rest area. A Gypceros can also come to this area, presumably because those webbed-up corpses are of its kind. When the map becomes the Volcanic Hollow, the Nerscylla and Gypceros stop appearing here, rendering the giant web room obsolete since no other large monsters use it.
  • This is one of the biggest complaints about Quest 64. Don't expect most rooms to have anything, lest you be driven to madness; the whole gameworld is mostly empty. Just don't get frustrated and ignore the conspicuously large patch of desert in the Barrens...
  • Dungeons in Ys games tend to have many blank dead-end rooms that seem to have no other purpose than to make backtracking more of a pain.
Eastern RPG
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm loves this trope. You’ll find plenty of rooms that seem to be empty - some of them turn out to be used in sidequests later, while others… aren’t.
    • The first one you’re likely to find is Bell Cave, a small mossy cave on Artistry Highway where you can hear the sound of softly tinkling bells. There’s nothing in there until the epilogue, when you’re asked to meet someone there as part of a bonus quest.
    • Deep in the haunted woods, there’s a clearing with an old lantern sitting on a stump. It can’t be lit, no matter what you try, and nothing else comes of this… until the epilogue, because it’s part of the same quest line as Bell Cave.
    • The LoversLab building in GameFAQs, which has some funny NPCs inside but not much else. This one really is useless, because the lab’s intended sidequest ended up being Dummied Out at the last minute.
    • The “Tower of Plot” dungeon has a huge hidden area you can get to by slipping through a gap in the fence near the entrance. There are a few things of value in there, like an extra scene with Tyalie and the unique “Lady’s Breath” item, but many rooms – like the tiny village with the shamrock people – are simply there to weird you out.
    • Lastly, there’s the graveyard path behind Amelie’s secret church. It leads into the trees, to an area with some kind of twitching, grinning serpent surrounded by a ring of greyed-out bodies. Nothing in this area can be interacted with, and it seems to only exist for the purpose of being utterly terrifying.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Players of other games will find the rooms in Final Fantasy II's dungeons strange — most of them are red herrings, not just empty but rigged with very high encounter rates. You almost always have to fight to leave the room. Final Fantasy also has lots of empty rooms, but doesn't rig them this way. Savvy players will abuse these rooms to do the game's equivalent of Level Grinding. In the remakes, where stat increases are much harder to come by, these rooms take on a whole new meaning as training rooms instead of trap rooms.
    • Final Fantasy IV throws some of these at you in the Sealed Cave. There aren't that many, but getting into one requires that you defeat a Trap Door monster, which is very powerful and uses an instant death move which is almost impossible to avoid entirely. Unfortunately, there is legitimately good loot behind several of these Trap Doors, so it behooves a player to fight them.
    • In Final Fantasy VII there's a manhole in Corel Prision which only has an empty chest inside and that's it. No random encounters, no other secrets, nothing. Many, many person-years have been spent trying to find out why (especially given all the other rumors about the game). A deeper analysis of the game's files reveals there is something down there...well, more or less.
    • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest: All of the cavernous "temples" on the southern continent. Absolutely nothing useful in them besides restorative items and one brief, optional encounter with the Old Man.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, there are quite a few areas like this, which at best have random near-worthless items and at worst have literally nothing. Such as the odd cave area in the north west of Somnom Woods. It's got a few blocks littered around with common items... and absolutely nothing of value to the storyline or 100% completion. Jarring considering that most other such areas have a real purpose in the main adventure. Same with that weird shrine like room to the north east of Pi'illo Castle.
  • Paper Mario:
    • In Paper Mario 64, there's a room in Bowser's Castle (the very last dungeon) that contains absolutely nothing. To get to it, you have to push a block and expose a hidden doorway, fight your way through a horde of tough enemies, and descend down countless stairs, all for... well, nothing. As it turns out, pushing the block in the opposite direction leads you to the room you really need.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door contains an empty house in Twilight Town. Nobody lives there and it's never significant to the plot. Considering that Twilight Town is meant to be creepy (and some think it is), its current use may be an attempt at Nothing Is Scarier, just to confuse the player.
    • A couple of places in Rogueport serve no important purpose. The house in the background of the flooded sewer area contains a single Star Piece and nothing else. The weird little enclave next to the harbor contains a single Star Piece and a badge. Nobody seems to live in either of these places, but there's evidence that somebody does and they just sort of went missing or something.
    • There's another one in the Glitz Pit in Chapter 3. Late in the chapter, the player has to pass through several abandoned locker rooms. There's a small, dimly lit den-like area hidden in the walls between two rooms, with a TV, coffee table, and lamp. Goombella briefly mentions it in her area tattle, just to lampshade how mysterious and pointless it is.
  • Pokémon:
    • Most players have been searching the answer to the following question, ever since Pokémon Red and Blue versions came out: "What the hell IS in the inaccessible grass next to Pallet Town?!" The wildest theories have found their way to the Internet, from wild Celebi (a Pokémon that didn't even exist in that game) over rare items to near-invincible Pokémon at level 100... however, if you use a hacking device to cross the barrier in front of the grass, you'll find that inside there is just one thing: Once you set foot in the grass, your game crashes.
    • There's a single truck in the game by the S.S. Anne that's only reachable if you learn Surf before having the SS Anne go away. Since you have to go out of your way to access it and decoration in the game was rare, there were loads of rumours about it holding a Mew. The remakes FireRed and LeafGreen gave a Shout-Out to this by placing a Lava Cookie (which can normally only be transferred from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald) nearby instead.
      • There's at least one fan-translation ROM Hack that actually hides a Mew under the truck.
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, you have the Ruins of Alph. There was quite a story about those caves, a whole special type of Pokémon & Pokédex associated to it (Unown and UnownDex), and even an odd radio signal playing. Yet, the players who spent their time exploring it and capturing all Unown would eventually discover they had been wasting their time, since there is nothing special about it. This was changed in Pokémon Crystal, and even further in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. There are also the blocked staircases in Silph Co.note  and the Kanto Radio Tower, and the reference to hidden rooms in the Soul House/House of Memories, a building which can have weird effects on your Pokémon in Generation IV.
    • The cathedral (officially called "Foreign Building") in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl has a special design and all, but there's nothing interesting in there, not even music. Some players go there so they can play music with the chiming sound on their badges or get Pokémon cries recorded. Silly, yes, but it has been done.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: There's a similar tiny cave right next to Fortree City in Ruby and Sapphire called the "Scorched Slab" that only exists to house a single TM. Hatching Pokémon in it will list it as a separate birth location, just like the above cathedral. While even the tiniest bodies of water elsewhere will contain Pokémon who attack when surfing or fishing, you cannot catch ANYTHING in the relatively large body of water you enter this cave in. It was widely believed that this cave would gain significance in Pokémon Emerald, but it remained as useless as ever. It was given significance in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, as it was expanded into a multi-floor dungeon, and while most of the Pokémon are lackluster (Zubat, Golbat, Magikarp, and Goldeen), there are two very significant finds here, though both can only be found after defeating or capturing the version mascot. One is a Mega Stone (specifically, Charizardite Y), and the other... well, what else? A Legendary Pokémon. It should be easy to guess for those familiar with Legendary Pokémon; besides Groudon, there's only one that would find a home in a fire-themed subterranean cavern: Heatran.
      • The only reason it seems to have is to be the in-game version of "Amano-Iwato", the cave where the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu fled to hide. This is why there is only one TM, "Sunny Day".
    • A ROM hack of the Generation III games had a similar truck, which would reference the original rumor if examined. There was also a patch of grass in Gold and Silver, similar to the one near Pallet, only accessible by wallhacking; there were actually Celebi in there.
    • There were many weird theories about Dark Cave and what happens if you walk through it without using Flash. As with many similar imageboard creepypastas, they were made up from start to finish.
    • There is an area that appears in both Hoenn and the Sevii Islands called Altering Cave. The only Pokémon you'll find here is Zubat. There was plans for Mystery Gift to change what Pokémon you could catch here, mostly to add several Generation II Pokémon that were unavailable in Ruby and Sapphire, however all of the Pokémon (Mareep, Pineco, Aipom, Smeargle, Stantler, Houndour, Shuckle, and Teddiursa) can be caught elsewhere (either in Pokémon Colosseum or the Safari Zone in Emerald) and traded over to FR/LG. Many of the areas in the Sevii Islands don't really serve any purpose. The ending areas usually hold a somewhat rare item or move tutor at best. The only exception is Mt. Ember, which Moltres was moved to from its original spot in Victory Road.
    • There's a house in the Survival Area of Sinnoh that you have to go onto the route just east, walk through grass of tough Pokémon, use Rock Climb to reach the ledge above and run back into town to get to. When you get there, the hiker living there tells you that you just did all of that for nothing, but it was great to finally have guests for once. (At least, he did in Diamond and Pearl. In Platinum it's one of the three move tutor locations.)
    • Pokémon Black and White has Challenger's Cave, a postgame-exclusive bonus dungeon that in-game dialogue implies is the home of a Legendary Pokémon. Those who fight their way through it, however, will find that there is no Legendary at the end. The cave's only actual association with Legendary Pokémon is that it was the personal training ground of the Musketeer Trio, but its three main members are found elsewhere in Unova, and their Sixth Ranger is event-exclusive. Even the sequel games never give it any significance, since in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 the entrance is caved in and the dungeon is completely inaccessible.
    • Pokémon X and Y has the Parfum Palace. Aside from one room containing the Amulet Coin, all of the other rooms are either empty, or contain NPCs that are of no use to you.
    • These versions also have the Chamber of Emptiness, a small, round cave only accessible with Surf and Waterfall. The only things you can find here are the Banetite and a Spooky Plate. The map describes it as "A mysterious void. It is said that nothing can exist within it". Despite this intriguing description, it's just an empty regular cave room that does nothing special.
  • SaGa Frontier has a few, but the most notable is a room off to the right in the large final section of the Luminous Labyrinth. It looks important, but although with some experimentation, you can aim the beam of light this way in any of six colors, nothing ever happens here. A Dummied Out room of similar design also exists within the game, suggesting this must have been for something at some point...
  • Sailor Moon: Another Story does this massively, and often in no-encounter settings. The hospital, elementary school and university in Tokyo have many repeated identical rooms with nothing but background objects. Later in the game you come across towns and ruins with whole buildings that contain nothing. Even worse, there are many barrels and similarly-inviting background objects, and only three of these in the whole game have items (necessary for 100% Completion of course).
  • In Trials of Mana, in the town of Astoria, there is a house in the top-right corner of the map. Inside the house is... nothing. Just a single room. No treasure, no NPCs, no character monologues, nothing. It serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever and is the only house in the entire game not to feature at least a token NPC. This is somewhat vindicated by a minor battle occurring in the house during an eerie revisit of Astoria, in one of the game's three final gauntlets.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse reuses a lot of geography from Shin Megami Tensei IV, but some of the reused areas have since been stripped of purpose and NPCs; many rooms will simply remain empty for the duration of the game.
  • In Tales of Symphonia:
    • There's a tall building in Welgaia with two identical rooms on each identical floor. Most of them are empty. One potentially contains Regal's Infinity Plus One Greave. That said, outside the building, you can see a platform above the ground level that connects to the building, as well as people walking (floating?) around on that platform. One suspects that one of those rooms in the building was originally meant to connect to that platform, and that the platform was actually going to lead to something, but was either cut from the game or never finished.
    • There are also a bunch of empty rooms that don't do anything in both Meltokio Castle as well as the Research lab.
    • In Palmacosta, there is a lighthouse that you can't enter because the guy in front of it says that everyone who goes up there gets sick. As soon as the first people to enter Palmacosta saw this they swarmed the Internet with questions about it. Some presented theories that a secret item/weapon/character/boss/ability was up there. Eventually people did some searching and found out that it was part of a mini-game (that didn't give you anything in the GameCube version and a Title in the PS2 version).
    • A popular theory was that Raine's Devil Arm was inside the lighthouse, as it can be found among the city's ruins after Palmacosta gets destroyed mid-to-late game.
  • While there are more than a few rooms empty of enemies or treasure in Vagrant Story, they all at least lead somewhere, except for one room early in the game which contains only a few enemies and nothing else, leaving you to simply leave the way you came in.
Tactical RPG
  • Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless features bonus rooms that may pop up between levels in the Item World, presented at random. One such room contains a knight with some dialogue explaining that this is his private room and apologizing for there being nothing more to it. It stands out as the only room without a purpose. Diligent players may discover that this room actually has two versions that appear identical at first, with one featuring an invisible path to a secret duplication shop. But as for the other version of the room, it is this trope.
Western RPG
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Frequent throughout the series. Given that one of the main draws of the series is exploration of the Wide Open Adventure-Friendly World, it makes sense that some rooms in the many caves, tombs, ruins, etc. have nothing of interest in them all. Players still often explore every one of them thoroughly, given that some of them are huge and that Bethesda simply loves to throw in secret areas and well-hidden items.
    • In Arena and Daggerfall, the dungeons are FILLED with these. In Arena many of them are useful because they tend to have beds or ledges where you can safely sleep without being ambushed. But for the most part, whether the room has treasure is randomized. Daggerfall has the excuse that the dungeons themselves are Randomly Generated, which naturally generates some empty rooms at times.
    • Oblivion:
      • Oblivion has quite a few, made all the more painful by the fact that there are usually highly valuable gems well hidden by traps.
      • Perhaps the strangest Oblivion example is "Nerastarel's House" in Skingrad. It's a seemingly normal house on a crowded street, but inside it's in ruins and filled with ghosts and undead. Naturally, the player expects something to come of this, but it's never mentioned by any NPC and there is no Nerastarel in the game.
    • Skyrim has the Thalmor Headquarters, (not to be confused with the Thalmor Embassy), a suite of rooms at Castle Dour in Solitude. Despite the name, no Thalmor ever appear there, and the area isn’t tied to any quests. The popular “Cutting Room Floor” mod at least adds a few agents who sandbox around inside, but they still don’t do anything important.
  • Fallout 2 has some areas where the copious amounts of searchable container are all conspicuously empty. But you know that if you don't search them all...
  • Fallout 3:
    • The game includes the Dunwich Building, which has a hideously evil altar in the basement. Unfortunately, it serves no function whatsoever, leaving players scratching their heads looking for the purpose. It took a year and a half for Bethesda to release an expansion (Point Lookout) that addressed it.
    • Mama Dolce's, which itself is mostly irrelevant, has a locked gate that goes nowhere, and may have been intended for a Dummied Out (possibly vaporware DLC) area. There are also two Very Hard locked doors that lead to brick walls.
    • A door in a cliff just below SatCom Array NN-03d opens to a concrete wall saying "Fuck You". The dish towers themselves contain only a few raiders and a little ammunition. Also, the southwest tower at NW-07c with the broken-off dish is completely inaccessible, and doesn't even have a door texture on the upper part.
  • In both of the REPCONN buildings (HQ and Test Site) in Fallout: New Vegas, there are tons of rooms with next to nothing in them...and a couple with thousands of caps of goods in them. Indeed, the Brotherhood of Steel bunker has this as well, actually, most of the game does. Such as the Tops casino, which has hotel rooms that are locked....with about 12 caps worth of goods inside. There's also the giant ant-infested Basincreek Building, which contains nothing of importance and only exists for a developer in-joke.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: In the first Vault in the game, there exists a side-corridor filled entirely with inactive Remnant machines. As the player walks through it, their team comments how creepy it feels, wondering if the machines are going to activate and attack. On seeing there's nothing there, the player turns to leave, and one of the machines falls over, spooking the crap out of the player's team. But that's all.
  • An all-too-common failing with beginning Neverwinter Nights mod designers. Sometimes you can even run across entire levels with not even the weeniest bit of flavor text.
  • Planescape: Torment has the Mosaic Crypt in the Weeping Stone Catacombs. The mysterious rusted vents, the worn-to-illegibility scribbles on the tomb walls, the suspiciously lethal traps and even one of the recently deceased Collectors (Gris: " smells different.") all suggest there's something special hidden in there. Aside from the massive, conspicuous sarcophagus with an enchanted hammer and some old bones inside, there really isn't. It's been one of the more maddening red herrings in recent CRPGs, most likely caused by the budget/manpower/time/sanity constraints so obvious in the Black Isle games of the time. The chamber also contains an acid trap, possibly as a Shout-Out to Cube, where a character determines a room to be trapped because of its smell (noticeably dry air to be exact) and the same character's later death via an acid sprinkler.
  • TaskMaker plays with this with the town of Lupercelia Lemma. The whole village is completely abandoned, with nothing but a few random rooms that have nothing in them. The flavor text upon entering the town says that wandering monsters may appear from the random monster generator, but even this is rare.
  • In Ultima V, behind the fireplace in the Jester Chuckles's room in Castle Britain is a secret ladder that leads to a room that has a dead body in it. Curiously, there's a prisoner in the dungeon who says that he didn't mean to kill "her", and that it was Chuckles's fault. But doesn't say any more on the subject and attacks you. Other than this, there is no other mention of this, and Chuckles has no dialogue regarding it.

  • Borderlands 2 has an entire house hanging from some cables on the Bloodshot Ramparts level, that a player can reach through some significant effort of jumping and looking for tiny ledges to climb on, but after all that effort to get there, all you're treated to is an empty room.
  • Dark Forces:
    • The Ramses Hed Docking Port level has a smuggler's ship docked with the space port. The goal is to find your way into the ship to plant a homing beacon, but when you enter it you have two choices of direction to follow. If you go left, you will navigate a seemingly endless series of corridors and rooms, blasting stormtroopers and aliens, until you arrive at ... an empty room. It's supposed to be the bridge on the front of the ship, but here's the rub: you're supposed to plant the homing beacon on the aft end of the ship. If you don't remember this tidbit, you're liable to spend hours searching for the switch, door, etc. that will end the level.
    • There's also two incredibly hard to access rooms that don't give you anything (possibly something was intended to be there; Dummied Out?) First, there's the prison level. You're given a code that will open the door of the guy you're trying to rescue. However, there's a cell that opens with a code that isn't written anywhere. Should you stumble onto it by trying different combinations, the door will open, giving you... nothing! Later, on Jabba's ship, there's a chute you drop through with a switch on the wall. With inhuman split-second timing, you can trigger a door to open... in the lower area you end up in if you fall into a hole in a certain part of the room (it's filled Gamorrean guards, the pig guys from Return of the Jedi. In this game, they're big-time Demonic Spiders material, very durable and their axes deal a lot of damage. Close quarters with a zillion of them? YOU WILL DIE.) Fight your way through what was intended to be certain death for the player, and you can get to a room... that has nothing.
  • Destiny 2 was supposed to have collectibles, but they never made it in. As a result, many lost sectors have little hidden rooms that serve no apparent purpose, since they were supposed to house said items. There are also rooms that only spawn chests during a Faction Rally event and are empty otherwise.
  • FreeDoom (a freeware version of Doom, currently in development) uses dummy levels in place of maps that aren't finished yet. These consist entirely of one empty room with an exit switch. Admit it - you're expecting something horrible to appear when you press the switch.
  • A mod for Doom ("Deathzor Online") uses this occasionally. The story of the mod has you going through 25 of the "worst websites in the world". Every now and then, you're given a free pass due to one of the sites spitting out a 404 error or the like, putting you in a single empty room with the exit switch right ahead of you. It eventually does like F.E.A.R. just above when at one point you're put through three 404'd sites in a row - the third one, upon pressing the button, reveals that it was just kidding as the walls open to reveal an actual level.
  • F.E.A.R. pulls this off with aplomb when you first enter the Armacham office building. You survive an intense firefight on the roof, and then... spend around ten minutes walking through a dimly-lit office building with nothing happening and you very likely jumping at every little shadow or slight noise. Worse is that there are signs of a struggle everywhere: broken windows, blood, the occasional corpse... but no indication as to what caused any of it. It's almost a relief when the enemies, notably the Assassins that were stalking you and responsible for this carnage, start showing up again half a level later.
  • Done entirely by accident for GoldenEye (1997), where the devs had zero experience designing a first person shooter, let alone FPS maps, and inadvertently created a world that was very believable because a lot of rooms simply didn't have an obvious function. While some rooms contained useful equipment or objectives, other rooms simply were. This was occasionally a problem, because it proved quite easy to get lost on some levels as a result without having a simpler layout of relevant rooms—Frigate was infamous for this.
  • Killer7: Despite the intense music in the background, nothing ever happens to you inside the Vinculum Gates.
  • The Marathon 2 level "Come and Take Your Medicine" has a large outdoor area that serves no purpose other than to get lost in. There's also a destructible circuit that does nothing, and a door that can only be opened by enemies. "Nuke and Pave" also has a few redundant rooms, and the series as a whole has many "Locked Door Psychs" (doors that never open), and the occasional Dummied Out (inaccessable) secret room.
  • My House, as one of its references to House of Leaves, features a hidden pitch-black maze consisting of Bizarrchitecture such as a network of non-Euclidean passageways, an extremely deep pool of water, and a "great hall" larger than the rest of the maze, at the center of which is an endless downward spiral staircase encircling a Bottomless Pit, but containing no monsters (despite a Mighty Roar randomly being heard), plot coupons, or easter eggs.
  • Some maps in Team Fortress 2 are built as such. These are usually meant to be staging grounds for engineers, since the lone entrance makes it easy to defend, but lack of anything inside said room means the engie must leave his nest to retrieve precious metal to build with. These can also turn into serious Oh, Crap! moments if you take a wrong turn while running from the enemy and wind up in a room like this, with about a split second to realize the mistake you made before you're gibbed.

    Survival Horror 
  • Clive Barker's Jericho has so many featureless dead ends that the psych factor is worn off by the first third of the game.
  • Clock Tower: The First Fear has a few rooms like this, such as the mannequin room (Which contains nothing but mannequins, one of which might have Bobby hiding behind it) and the trophy room.
  • DayZ is a couple of hundred square kilometres of this from a new player's perspective.
  • Fatal Frame does this a lot. Granted, most of the rooms in the games will eventually have something in them, but it is often the case that the first time you go through them they will be totally empty. The games also make a point of having you backtrack through previously explored areas which will frequently be empty. It is really, really creepy.
  • Galerians has bathrooms in practically every floor of every building the player can visit in the game. These bathrooms always offer at least one mirror that has the neat effect of actually reflecting the room and player (kind of a big deal in PSX-era games), several open stalls that cannot be entered or even looked into, and almost all (sometimes every bathroom you can enter in a building will) contain urinals. The player can usually "use" the mirror to prompt a thought on the current situation by the main character, but these rooms are otherwise universally useless.
  • I See You: There are many rooms where there's nothing but a bed and table and maybe some blood spattered on the walls and floor.
  • In The Last of Us, there’s heaps of empty derelict rooms, especially in the earlier game. They look amazing but serve no purpose for gameplay, instead serving to build tension and show how almost everything is abandoned.
  • Resident Evil. Rooms like this abound throughout the series, containing nothing at all, a worthless item, or an enemy ambush:
  • Silent Hill. The games (at least the early ones) involve psychological horror rather than full-fledged Gorn. Despite the fact that Nothing Is Scarier, an empty room is probably vastly, vastly preferable to a room with something in it.
    • In Silent Hill there are several empty rooms in the game. No items, no monsters - nothing. Disappointed, you turn to leave, when suddenly - breaking glass.
    • In Silent Hill 2 you're oftentimes forced to stick your hand inside dubious places, jump into gaping holes and traverse all sorts of Malevolent Architecture... and yet nothing will come from it. Then there's that one scene at the Toluca courtyard: the gaping, Sinister Geometry of the place, complete with a gallows in the middle, and the sounds of neighing horses stampeding in panic all around set up for at least a Boss Battle. You get a puzzle instead, an extremely simple one to boot.
    • Silent Hill 3 has many rooms exclusively filled with monsters and featuring no health, ammo, plot points, nothing. Many players will remember that one room with the decapitated mannequinnote , or the one with the mirror in the Dark World Brookhaven Hospital where you die if you spend too long searching in vain.
    • Silent Hill 4: The Room literally and almost entirely takes place in an empty room. The hospital also has the infamous hallway with about 20 patient rooms. One is your destination, a couple contain ammo or enemies, one contains a giant severed head. They're all randomized each time. Have fun!
    • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is made from empty rooms. Considering that enemies appear in scripted sequences built around major plot points and always signaled by a Musical Spoiler immediately turns everything else into an empty room expedition. The fact that the game manages to remain scary despite of this speaks boldly of its designers, though some might disagree on this point.
  • Subnautica downplays this. The Crater Edge biome is seemingly completely empty. There's no fish, no resources, no music, not even a seafloor. Just water, darkness and the sound of your own breathing... Until a whopping three Ghost Leviathans swoop in and try to eat your face off.

    Tabletop RPGs 
  • One of the dungeons in the 80s Dungeons & Dragons adventure X3, Curse of Xanathon, features a room in the Shrine of Cretia, titled "Empty room" and whose entire description is "This room is completely empty.", and there is no DM-specific text associated with that room. This is compared to another empty room which has nicks and gouges on the wall with a bit of GM-specific text specifying the purpose.

    Text Adventure 
  • Parodied by Homestar Runner's "Thy Dungeonman 3" game, where there really is a room that has nothing in it. It says so.
  • Parodied in Infocom's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984) text game. When you enter the engine room, the game (which didn't want you to go in there) tells you there's nothing there. When you use the look command it says, "I mean it, there's nothing to see!" Look a few more times and it finally relents: "Okay, maybe there are a FEW things to see..." And by "a few" they mean about five.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Akira's water closet never comes into play. Despite the spirits that frequently haunt his apartment, and despite every other room in the place having some relevance, the toilet never contains a scare or has anything else involved with it.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto IV has several empty apartment blocks with rooms you can enter. Some of them are occupied during missions, but there are plenty that aren't. Can be especially unsettling if the building has a lot of floors (like the plus shaped tower blocks) - you get the feeling you are being followed or that something is around the corner. Luckily you can escape at the top of most buildings.
    • They become immensely helpful if the player gets into a police chase.
  • Grand Theft Auto V has a few, though due to the size of the game, interiors outside of missions were cut down sufficiently. With that said, it has a few examples. A particularly odd one is the house next to a power line located up the mountain from the Altruist village, which though of the same design as the ones in the village itself, doesn't have any residents come out, nor any secrets around it, and you can't get followed there (in fact, the game doesn't generate any residents in the village whilst you are up there.). As this area is so out of the way, it is likely if there was any secret there, it was removed for space reasons.
  • Minecraft:
    • The game has caves that branch out into several paths which, most of the time, can lead deeper underground where diamonds and redstone ores can be found, lead to the surface, or even lead to underground structures like dungeons and mine shafts. However, since it's procedurally generated, some of the cave branches simply lead to a dead end with nothing in them other than the usual stone and dirt. Caves may also have an unnaturally large and circular-like room; supposedly this is where the cave generation starts behind the scenes, but it's certainly no use to you, unless, of course, you decide to make it the centerpiece for your new Elaborate Underground Base.
      • Zig-zagged in 1.18 and beyond. Updates to world generation plus the addition of new blocks means that it's rarer for any individual cave to contain nothing but stone and dirt. At the very least, variant types of stone like granite or tuff may be present. However, the number of caves seems to have increased, so it will still happen.
    • Outside of caves, it can also happen with the structures that generate in the worlds. Strongholds, mineshafts, ocean temples, woodland mansions, nether fortresses, bastion remnants, and end cities can all contain routes that lead to nothing at all.
      It's also possible to find entire villages made of small houses that contain next to no loot- and of course, they can be zombie villages, which means their population will have burnt up by the time you find them, effectively making them useless apart from raw materials.
    • The well known and accurately named custom map for Minecraft, Super Hostile Legendary, contains an unusually difficult dungeon even for a Super Hostile map. If the player eventually battles through to the only loot chest in the dungeon, they find...a stick. After the player breaks the chest to open it, a sign is revealed inviting people to donate if they like the map.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 has a large amount of map space that is inaccessible during the main story due to One-Hit Kill Border Patrol, and offers little in the Playable Epilogue either, though parts of it may be utilized by future DLC.

    Web Games 
  • Hoverboard has a few empty rooms you can find, with neither a funny scene in the background nor a coin to collect.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • One Knights of the Dinner Table strip includes the characters finding an empty hallway. One character mathematically works out how much time, money, and manpower it must have taken the builders to excavate thousands of cubic feet of solid rock, which leads him to believe that the dead end must actually serve some purpose. The group goes completely Off the Rails and hires a small army to continue the hallway, certain that they will find something.
  • Monopoly has the infamous "Free Parking" square. This is the only square in the game in which nothing happensnote  — it is, per the rules, "just a free resting space". Yet because everyone thinks each square needs to do something, many house rules have that square give some sort of bonus, like extra money, collected taxes, or the like.
  • An episode of Murder, She Wrote has Jessica Fletcher playing a VR game based on one of her stories. In the game, Jessica comes across a locked door to which no key actually exists. Almost as an example of Older Than They Think, Jessica outright tells the developers that having such a door is unfair to their players, as it will make them think something important is there when there's really nothing.
    • Subverted later in the episode when the door turns out to be quite necessary in solving the murder of the week.
  • Deliberately invoked in the Oglaf strip "Lair of the Trapmaster", with a room with nothing in it except the word "Overthinking" painted on the wall. Naturally, the adventurers spend the rest of the strip trying to puzzle it out.