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Invisible Wall

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"An invisible barrier. Sorry, your precious game doesn’t go on forever."

The Invisible Wall is a boundary that limits where the player can go, even though there's nothing physically there to stop them. It's as if someone decided to build a glass wall. You try to walk past it, but your character just stops or walks in place. You can't see the boundary, but it's there. There's not even a flimsy Hand Wave as to why you can't keep going. You just can't.

In 2D games, the edge of the screen itself frequently served as the Invisible Wall, working on the principle of "out of sight, out of mind"; you can't go there, but as far as you can see there's nothing there anyway, so why would you want to? Then again, once the edge of the screen starts crushing you, questions may arise.

Depending on the capabilities of the Player Character and the geography of the game setting, some Invisible Walls may at times be Acceptable Breaks from Reality. Since the game world is necessarily limited in size, a level designer ultimately has to decide if simply forbidding a player from going out-of-bounds with a seemingly arbitrary block breaks Willing Suspension of Disbelief more than having the player walled-in on all sides. One way of averting this dilemma is to use a natural Gravity Barrier, which is why islands in the middle of the ocean, floating islands or fortresses, and high plateau mesas with seemingly-bottomless cliffs are such popular game settings. Border Patrol can also be used in place of invisible walls (or at least to keep the player from ever reaching the invisible walls that do exist), though this isn't always practical.

Usually, the only indication that an invisible wall exists is when the player character suddenly bumps against solid air, but very occasionally designers will give it some architectural tells or special effect indicators (at least when the player hits it), turning it into Some Kind of Force Field with in-universe justification (though one that's usually not elaborated upon).

Generally acceptable when used to demarcate the edge of a level, but invisible walls are a renowned Scrappy Mechanic when used within levels, especially when mixed in with the regular level geometry, where they can seemingly arbitrarily block players off from routes or places that look viable. This goes double in games that encourage players to look for secrets, some of which are harder to encounter than invisible walls themselves. In the worst case scenarios, invisible walls can actually be bumped up against during regular gameplay, messing with the player's controls in the process. In all situations, the work of the designer is either to find "natural" ways to limit the player's movement, or at the very least to make it obvious what is and isn't meant for gameplay before the player tests it with their noggin.

When the invisible wall prevents you from walking past the edge of a platform, be it next to a Bottomless Pit or not, it's a case of Edge Gravity.

Compare Skybox, rendering a 3D game's sky as a cube that wraps around the world. See also Gateless Ghetto, a city street with no exits to the rest of the city.

Not to be confused with the former GameTrailers podcast/web show, Invisible Walls.


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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie The Cabin in the Woods, the entire campground is surrounded by one of these (except for a small tunnel), as some of the campers find when they try to escape. When run into, the wall becomes a Beehive Barrier.
  • Kevin and his gang encounter an invisible wall in Time Bandits while on the beach. It turns out to be an optical illusion; smashing it reveals the Evil Tower of Ominousness behind it.
    Kevin: So this is what an invisible barrier looks like.

  • Glinda of Oz: The Flatheads have an invisible barrier across the entrance to their mountaintop city. Rather than being removable, it turns out there is a small gap at one end.
  • The arenas used for The Hunger Games are surrounded with forcefields that repel anything that runs into them. Of course, the Gamemakers have plenty of other ways to shepherd wayward Tributes back towards the middle. Catching Fire also has one that traps Katniss and Finnick with the jabberjays sounding off the cries of their loved ones in pain.
  • In Greg Egan's Permutation City, the simulated city introduced right at the beginning contains a 3D model of a single apartment and enough of the rest of the city to accurately reproduce what you can see out of the window. However, get out of the apartment and the many limitations of the simulation become apparent very quickly, including that a couple of blocks out an invisible wall prevents you from proceeding further. Egan even wrote this specifically as an "edge of the universe" where any attempt to move outward is simply cancelled, rather than mere wall with a surface.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun. Dick Solomon is trapped in an invisible box by his Evil Twin. When he tries to get out, he quickly realises the horrible implications. "My God... HE'S TURNED ME INTO A MIIIIIME!"
  • In the short-lived The Cosby Mysteries, Bill Cosby's character confronts the murderer with his evidence. Naturally she tries to shoot him, only to find there's a screen of bulletproof glass between them.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Invasion of Time", Rodan's office is protected by a forcefield that doesn't even have a flash or a sound effect, just Leela miming "there's something blocking this apparently open doorway" and then Rodan explaining that there's a force field there.
    • In "Orphan 55", the walls of the environmental dome Tranquillity Spa is secretly built inside of are hidden by holograms, with this effect, as shown when Graham bumps his head on the wall while trying to walk around an area where the hologram's been temporarily deactivated to show a breach.
    • In "The Haunting of Villa Diodati", the Doctor realises a Perception Filter is altering the appearance of the villa to stop them escaping. She works out where the door really is, opens it to walk through... and everyone winces as she smacks her face on an invisible wall.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Valley of the Shadow", after Philip Redfield learns that there is something unusual about the town of Peaceful Valley, New Mexico, its mayor Dorn activates an invisible wall to prevent him from leaving. His car crashes into it and his dog Rollie is killed, though he is brought back to life. Later, Philip very reluctantly agrees to remain in town and another invisible wall is erected around his house.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "I of Newton", the demon creates an invisible wall so that Sam can't escape his classroom.
  • Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck: One of the animations has a mime Whammy climbing over an invisible wall.
  • In a sort of inversion, newsman Les Nessman of WKRP in Cincinnati would really like a private office, but it's not in the budget, so he surrounds his desk with taped lines on the floor. Les acts, and expects everyone else to act, as if these were invisible walls, and gets annoyed if anyone enters his "office" without "knocking" ... or comes in through a "wall" instead of where he's decided the "door" is supposed to be.


  • In Camelot, Morgan le Fay builds an invisible wall around Arthur at Mordred's request.
  • In Godspell, Judas starts to change his mind about the betrayal, but finds that invisible walls are cutting off every direction he can go except the one leading to Jesus.

    Video Games 
  • Action 52: The fifth level of Atmos Quake is Unwinnable due to an apparent invisible wall (or collision detection glitch) at the beginning of the level.
  • Afterimage: Some specific edges of biomes have no wall textures even though their locations on the overworld map indicate a vertical border. Interestingly, Renee can still Wall Jump on these "invisible walls". An example would be the upper-rightmost edge in the Town of the Exiled, though a more obvious one is found on the left of the Soulfield arena where you fight the Spirit of the Sword.
  • American McGee's Alice: There are several invisible walls. But they also use giant slimy tentacles as walls. You can jump on just about anything, but you can't jump on those tentacles — you have to find a way around them.
  • An/Other - A Game For Social Change: There are more than one, and they keep you from exploring the city, or going onto the road.
  • Assassin's Creed has points where whenever Altaïr attempts to wander off somewhere he's technically never been to yet, a not-quite-invisible wall appears and blocks his path, along with a message from the Animus stating that he cannot go there yet. Not only that, but the wall only blocks Altaïr if he attempts to walk into it at ground level. It's possible for Altaïr to cross over this wall at a higher point (say, by momentum from Le Parkour off a nearby building), but the moment you land you will die.
  • ATV Offroad Fury: In Freestyle mode, if you go too far, you not only crash into an invisible wall, but also fly a bajillion times farther than you would upon hitting a normal obstacle. You also could not quick-reset if you bail through this means. These crashes were actually pretty fun to watch... some people didn't even bother trying anything but freeride because they wanted to see if they could ever kill the rider. (They couldn't.)
  • James Cameron's Avatar: The Game usually makes a reasonable use of solid walls and only occasionally abuses a Gentle Slope of Unclimbability, but once you start riding a banshee or flying a helicopter, the invisible walls become your ultimate menace as they appear in the middle of the most obvious route, enemies just beyond range of your gun safely shoot at you from the other side, and your vehicle takes damage as you crash into them.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum has a variation with the electrical force fields, and another to enforce Batman's no killing rule, as mook cannot be throwing off a high ledge onto solid ground, or into electrified water, for instance. Batman: Arkham City has an almost literal case in that if a gliding Batman gets to the border of the map, he'll do an elaborate flip to go in the opposite direction.
  • Beyond: Two Souls: A variation. While there are invisible walls in several places, usually if a character wanders away from the areas the devs intended, they'll briefly stop to collect themselves and turn around.
  • Black & White: In land 1, before you build the temple or get your Creature, if you try going near the Aztec village or beyond the gates, you get blocked by an invisible wall. It lights up white if you crash into it, but if you don't it's invisible.
  • Borderlands plays the trope straight when you're furiously trying to drive a vehicle through a vehicle-sized gap in a roadblock to no avail.
  • Champions Online has an Invisible Wall around the edge of every zone. While they may not be explained, you at least get a warning that you're about to reach it — the screen suddenly goes black and white, and just a bit blurry.
  • In City of Heroes, some urban missions are explicitly described as taking place in neighborhoods which have been isolated with portable forcefield units, but other urban missions, as well as tasks in the Spirit World, have transparent boundaries for no known reason. (And strictly speaking, these walls aren't invisible when you're close up to them; then they're transparent blue.) The "War Walls" separating the various zones serve a similar purpose, although they're visible and again have an in-game explanation.
    • Every outdoor area also has an Invisible Ceiling: you can only fly/teleport/etc. so high.
    • There are standard-issue invisible walls in the Training Area, with no explanation. Interestingly, they aren't tall enough: the Jump Pack power lets you jump over them, leading to things looking a bit... broken.
  • The Crew has invisible barriers that, when passed, allows players to enter Canada or Mexico for a only a brief moment before their car stalls and respawn back in the United States.
  • Devil May Cry: Mission 22 begins in a temple surrounded by columns and a white light enveloping the outside environment. The space between the columns actually have invisible walls that you can even "kick jump" on when there's nothing for Dante to bounce off from.
  • Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64 had a very noticeable example where you could barely get off the beach into the ocean before you hit it.
  • Dishonored has these covering the non-physical boundaries of each stage, along with swarms of fish or rats that devour explorers who go near the edge.
  • Donkey Kong 64 is very guilty of this in its hub area, set in the ocean. Trying to swim past the limits of the world just end up with your monkey wading at the same spot over and over.
  • Dragon Age: Origins is full of these. As well as forming the boundary of each discrete area, they're also used internally to railroad the party along a particular path within each area.
  • Drakengard: Invisible Walls keep you from plummeting to your death in any of the dangerous-looking chasms. You can fly over them with the dragon, but you sadly can't dismount into them.
  • Doom Eternal: Invisible walls are often located to block players from exiting the intended location. Sometimes they are very easy to reach. For an example, in Sentinel Prime, there are a few locations where the player could easily run into invisible walls.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Averted in Morrowind, which takes place on an island. Instead, the oceans surrounding the island extend indefinitely.
    • Oblivion:
      • Should you try to cross the edge of the map, a caption will come on the screen telling you that you can go no further, which by then is perfectly obvious given you literally cannot go any further. Nevermind that the land and/or water continues, and you can see the terrain continuing into the distance, often with locations that would give you a strategic advantage over the enemies, or some rare plants with precious alchemy components just out of your reach. These border walls — unlike other invisible walls within the game — can be turned off with a switch in the game's .ini file. The area between them and the real end of the map is completely empty, consisting only of ground and vegetation. Similar to the "beauty strip" between a clearcut forest and a road, it exists only to mask the fact that at some point the world simply ceases to exist, cutting off in mid-air.
      • Within the game world, invisible walls are sometimes used to make certain obstacles, such as burning houses and steep mountainsides truly insurmountable, which becomes obvious when the player is buffed to superhuman skill levels far beyond what is achievable through normal means. Even though the player should be able to leap low buildings (even burning ones) in a single bound, they are stopped in mid-leap — ostensibly by an obstacle that, the third-person view shows, doesn't even touch them.
      • While passing most invisible walls only results in a glimpse of every layer of the art framework until its sudden end, crossing the invisible walls in certain places, such as in the painted realm, will eternally trap the character on the wrong side.
      • The mod "Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul" does away with the invisible walls that form the world's boundary. There's nothing interesting on the other side, though; only an endless ocean or grassland.
    • Skyrim continues this trend, although there is usually a wall of mountains blocking access anyway. There are a few paths that lead into other provinces but are blocked by invisible walls, and this happens in the ocean too. A message on the top corner of the screen will bluntly state "You cannot go that way."
  • In Europa Universalis, the map is spherical (but you can't travel to the poles) but certain areas are designated as "Permanent Terra Incognita" and cannot be explored (includes the interiors of Africa, Australia and the Americas.)
  • EverQuest had this as the way to keep players from passing beyond the borders of a zone at any place other than a designated zone transition. Most zones in the game were basically large square or rectangular maps with a wall-like hill around the edge with an invisible wall about halfway up it, and early on, when the game had no maps for navigation it was common for players to navigate by following the zone walls.
  • Fable II: Whenever you try to swim too far away from the land mass, the game gives you an Invisible Wall and says something along the lines of "There is no reason for you to go any farther." Still kills Willing Suspension of Disbelief a bit, but at least it's the truth...
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3: Try to walk off the map, and a pop-up box will tell you something along the lines of "You cannot go any farther north." Also combined with Insurmountable Waist-High Fence, particularly obvious in parts of downtown: there are piles of rubble you're not supposed to be able to pass, but the actual Invisible Wall is often halfway up the slope, leading to the frustrating situation of you being unable to climb a two-foot block suddenly, despite having easily leapt over noticeably taller barriers just seconds ago. Lampshaded in the Operation: Anchorage expansion, which takes place in a computer simulation. There are semi-visible walls showing you where you can't go in the simulation.
    • Fallout: New Vegas does this egregiously. Several mountain ranges that look like you should be able to jump over them just randomly won't let you. It's understandable when it's there to prevent Sequence Breaking, but in some areas it's pointless and completely arbitrary. Especially when they already have a perfectly good Beef Gate blocking the player. There are a few times these do make sense, such as the wire gate at the NCR Mojave Outpost which serves as a gateway in Lonesome Road after you choose to nuke the NCR's only way into the Mojave.
  • Family Guy: The Game features an unobstructed street where a mime is moving back and forth along an invisible wall. Trying to go around the mime prompts Peter to say "Damn these mimes and their invisible walls..."
  • First Encounter Assault Recon 3 has many, many places you should be able to get though, boxes you should be able to jump on and surfaces you should be able to climb, only for you to bounce off mid air if you attempt to.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has invisible walls that stop you if you try to use mount flying to go over an area's borders. Interestingly, they're not fully invisible, as bumping into one will form a Beehive Barrier for a second.
  • Forza Motorsport 4 has one on the Top Gear test track. If you go backwards over the hump on Gambon corner fast enough, you hit an Invisible Wall coming up from a wall that seems to be about a foot high.
  • Fresh Minty Adventure: There's one at the bottom left of the Cave of Wonder stopping Minty from riding a Timberwolf too far left of the tree branch.
  • Funtime with Buffy: While you can get to the top of the fences if you know what to do, you can't go beyond them to see the rest of the neighbourhood, or to get away from Buffy.
  • Gift (2001): Sometimes pretty nasty ones preventing Gift to a fireplace, for example. Also a very prominent one near Lolita's house.
  • Glider PRO: Invisible walls are typically found at the edge of any outdoor area. Ironically, visible walls have to have invisible rebounder objects placed over them if they're in the middle of the screen.
  • Gothic: The magical barrier that surrounds the prison colony is largely invisible until you walk into it, at which point you are surrounded by crackling blue lightning. Keep walking, and you'll start taking damage and quickly die. Unsurprisingly, there have been no recorded escapes from this colony. Gothic II avoids invisible barriers overland (it just has unclimbable mountains); but if you swim too far into the ocean, you just get eaten by a sea monster.
  • Ghost in the Shell have plenty of invisible fences that forbids you from leaving, say, if you attempt to flee from a boss. With the in-game warning telling you "Do not exit from the assigned area!"
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • San Andreas has a unique way of confining the player to certain areas of the game. Certain parts of the state are closed off to traffic with the use of barriers, but if you manage to go past the barriers (swimming, use of a boat, or flying a plane for example), you'll instantly get a high warrant level. Even if you use a cheat or the Pay n' Spray in the restricted areas, the warrant levels never go away until you go back where you're supposed to be. The barriers will disappear as you make progress in the storyline.
    • GTA 3 and Vice City have invisible walls in the ocean. If you keep trying to leave the city, an invisible wall will bring your boat or plane to a stop. San Andreas allows the player to go as far as they want. However, there's nothing interesting out there and the farther out you go the more time it will take to travel back.
    • Grand Theft Auto V avoids using invisible walls at all, preferring to use a Border Patrol of killer sharks instead.
  • Guild Wars 2 has a mixture of Invisible Walls mixed with natural barriers (a 100-foot-high wall or the depths of the ocean, for example), but sometimes the wall is seen in places that should be logically explorable, or the wall is extended a bit too far away from the steep mountain your character has come up against.
  • Gundam Vs Series: The series adds these in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Alliance vs. ZAFT, and for once it's actually a good thing. Past iterations of the series have the outer limits of the stage be a line that, if crossed, forces your Humongous Mecha to auto-pilot itself back into the stage, which is time-consuming, leaves you open to attack, and leads to an annoying sound ("You've left the mission area, please return!"). The use of Invisible Walls speeds up gameplay greatly, and they don't significantly reduce the size of the stages, so it ends up working out well in the end.
  • Gun Witch: Basically the game stops Beretta from running off into a pit at the northmost point of Luninsula.
  • Halo: In Halo 2, horizontal instant-kill barriers prevent the player from taking a shortcut from the top to the bottom of certain areas (for example, the elevator shaft on "The Oracle"), despite there being no fall damage in the rest of the game. Vertical "death walls" are also used, in addition to nonlethal invisible walls. They apparently forgot to patch up the holes in some places, though, eg. some seemingly insurmountable hills can be climbed, leading to major Sequence Breaking. Subsequent games have these, too, though the insta-kill barriers have been replaced by timed-kill ones.
  • Hello Neighbor: These prevent you from exploring the background neighborhood. Interestingly enough, in Alpha at least they aren't insurmountable, since they are not infinitely high and there's a glitch that allows you to levitate via jumping in a trash can. Go high enough, and you can jump over the barrier and explore the rest of the map.
  • Hunt Down the Freeman has several particularly egregious instances during Act 3. One traditional example crops up when you have to hop onto a train bound for City 17, in which trying to walk the other direction will have you running into an unseen wall while Mitchell comments that "this is the wrong way". Then there are two more of the "advancing barrier" variety which prevent you from walking backwards or to the sides — one when you have to follow a suicide bomber through the City 17 train station checkpoint, and another when Mitchell is being escorted to Boris' office by Combine soldiers.
  • Kingdom Hearts generally uses shiny circular or hexagonal walls to prevent you from going out of a given area's boundaries. They are also used to lock you into a boss battle or a significant encounter. This is played out in numerous ways:
    • In Kingdom Hearts:
      • Goofy and Donald bounce off invisible walls just before Sora fights Possessed Riku. It happens again in the final dungeon just before he fights Darkside.
      • The first area in the End of the World is literally an entire invisible maze — as in, it is a huge empty area full of invisible walls. Your only clue of how to navigate it is the random bits of rock at the center of each intersection, which form arrows pointing in the direction you have to go. The battle zones are similarly invisible, but during said battles the maze is visible.
    • Beginning with Kingdom Hearts II, the game will prevent you from going into areas you're not supposed to go to at the moment, and your character will remind you that it's not the right way.
    • 358/2 Days showed that this could be a blessing in disguise. It kept the "enemies heal when they disappear" mechanic KHII introduced, but not the "lock-on means you can't leave the area" mechanic, while several of its bosses don't use the invisible barriers. This means that you could be knocked out of an area by a particularly difficult boss's attack, only to return and find it fully healed.
  • Kirby Air Ride has one around every course, a well as the city in City Trial mode. The City Trail mode has an odd one, though. Though there are the normal invisible walls around the sides of the map, if you go at them from a high altitude you'll go through them. However, all you can do outside of the invisible walls is ride around on water, and if you continue going away from the city you'll reach another set of invisible walls which can't be bypassed. What's odd about the invisible wall system, though, is that in some places there are small ramps outside of the first invisible wall which will bring you back into the map instead of getting stuck at a wall, meaning the developers anticipated people bypassing the walls.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: On Tatooine, the explorable areas of the planet's deserts are surrounded by a series of glowing posts. They don't physically prevent your passage, but you can only walk past them for a metre or so before a message pops up pointing out that traipsing off into the endless desert is not a good idea.
  • Left 4 Dead has them, but unless you're an Infected who got bored you likely won't run into them. The game lampshades it when you're close enough by putting up a "Wrong Way" sign. It is quite possible to encounter invisible walls while playing as the survivors, but you would rarely find them. They are a bit more common in Left 4 Dead 2 and are in places such as over a fence or on top of a wrecked bus. This is to prevent players from exploiting the maps by being tossed in the air when knocked over by a Charger.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has invisible walls everywhere, though most of them involve using the levitation code on a Game Shark to get to places you couldn't normally go. You can however reach the one behind the windmill at Kakariko village using the cuckoo in the windmill. Sometimes you can hookshot or shoot your arrows at invisible walls without realizing it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker normally averts this — should you continue out-bounds through glitches, Link will literally fall over the edge of the world in a huge Bottomless Pit — but Hyrule Castle and the path leading to it are surrounded by an extremely tall, invisible barrier.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass: when you attempt to go off the Great Sea's map, you'll always stumble upon an Invisible Wall.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Nintendo did their best to hide them, but you can sometimes encounter them with the Beetle (which has a way of timing out faster than normal when you start to explore an area the developers don't want you to).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has invisible walls surrounding the edges of the Gerudo Desert and the ocean. Trying to go beyond the borders has the wall stop you with the game telling you that you can't go any farther. The north and northwestern parts of the world map are separated by a massive chasm that's too large to cross and where constant winds blow back towards Hyrule — attempting to glide across inevitably ends with Link plummeting into the abyss. There's also an invisible barrier in the sky if you somehow manage to get Link high enough in the air.
  • LEGO Adaptation Game: Certain games, such as DC and Marvel Super Heroes, have these surrounding their respective open worlds. In the case of Manhattan, the walls cut halfway across the bridges, where a construction worker informs you that the bridge is under maintenance. Keep trying to cross for long enough, and he'll confide in you that nothing exists on the other side. LEGO Batman really pushes this in the level Flight of the Bat. To progress through the level you need to take out obstacles like billboards and walls of flame. The only reason you can't fly right around them is you either hit an invisible wall or Bats turns the Batplane around. The only reason you can't fly over or under them is you can't change altitude.
  • Magical Battle Arena marks the boundaries of the battlefield with a literal invisible wall: a pink grid-like magical barrier that only becomes visible when you touch it (or try to blow it up), and only that specific spot that you touch. It's visible on the HUD minimap, though.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: The action scenes often have these to prevent you from running past the enemies you're supposed to shoot, or punching out an Immune to Bullets boss.
  • Metroid: Other M has you run into what appears to be one of these in the Biosphere, but almost immediately afterwards you run into a control panel that reveals that it was a real wall — the skyboxes in the ship's artificial biomes are holograms of some sort. Occasionally you will have to disable them to reveal an actual door to leave the room (presumably the panel locks the doors automatically when it turns on the holograms). It later plays it straight with a Missile Tank.
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator: Flying too far north and possibly south results in the plane hitting an invisible wall, beyond which the terrain is very low-res. Interestingly, the plane does not actually "crash" into the wall; instead, physics turns off for the plane, leaving it hanging in the air, until the plane is no longer in contact with the wall.
  • Motocross Madness has both a visible wall (in the form of high cliffs surrounding the arena) and an invisible cannon. Should you manage to scale the cliffs, you see an endless flat expanse, but driving more than a few feet into it gets you a free trip into the sky... for a few seconds. Then you crater back into the arena.
  • Mount & Blade: Every combat map is surrounded by a perfectly rectangular one of these. The wall itself isn't invisible, but if you're sufficiently close to it, you'll notice an abrupt change in the texture of the ground, as well as the fact that you cannot walk or ride across this change in texture. It's encountered most often with the highly mobile horse-versus-horse encounters, since the slower infantry don't usually get very far from the center.
  • NiGHTS Into Dreams... includes a variation of the Invisible Wall combined with an invisible cannon, ala Motocross Madness. The edge of a Dream World is marked by a change in the floor to a strange purple surface, and trying to go on it or over it results in Claris or Elliot being flung back a large distance. NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams plays this normally. Quite annoying, since in the original, at least you could temporarily stop the Egg Timer. Here, the Awakers can't be stopped, so if you come up against an Invisible Wall, you're pretty much screwed.
  • Ōkami mostly avoids them by having reasonable barriers, but they become very obvious if you decide to explore the coastal areas a bit more after getting the Water Tablet. In certain spots there are even islands you can see but not get to because Ammy just won't advance past a certain point.
  • Parasite Eve has these for battles. You are confined to a small portion of the room you are in for fights.
  • Persona 4: Arena: These are plot-relevant. The main characters run into invisible walls while exploring the TV World Yasogami High School, which trap them and prevents them from exploring further. The only way to pass these walls is to beat another person who is trapped within the same room.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue: The Fuchsia City Gym has a Gym puzzle of invisible walls. However (until the remakes, at least), there are slight pattern differences in the floor tiles that determine tiles which have invisible walls on them. If one plays the original games on a Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, or Game Boy Advance SP, the invisible walls can be seen.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield has the Spikemuth Gym play like Streets of Rage with its resident trainers attacking you in a sidescroller, where they have a Mr. Mime creating invisible walls in front of you for the effect.
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue only allows you to proceed to the next area after you rescued every captive in an area. Trying to leave without saving everyone and you'll comically hit a wall while the screen spells out "AREA NOT CLEARED" telling you to backtrack.
  • Primal Carnage: Geographical barriers like cliffs, ocean, mountains, and walls prevent most of the humans and dinosaurs from going beyond the playable area. However, small dinosaurs are able to jump over some of these and pterosaurs are obviously able to fly over any barrier. Thus, there are invisible walls around and over the arena to prevent them from flying away (if pterosaurs fly too low off a cliff, they rapidly start taking continuous damage).
  • Prodeus tried to avoid invisible walls. However, during the development, Double Jump and dashing abilities were added. This resulted earlier levels receiving invisible walls in places where the player could obviously reach.
  • [PROTOTYPE] tries to avert this by having the military launch air strikes at you if you try to leave the quarantined island, but it's fairly easy to dodge them on foot while running across a bridge, which lets you reach an invisible wall. The camera moves to an overhead view to stop you from seeing any further, but strangely, you can still target enemies beyond the wall - you just can't attack them. There's also a flashback segment where you're recalling what happened before the quarantine came into effect. If you try to leave the island, no military air strike happens, but the invisible wall still keeps you from leaving. Way to tax Suspension of Disbelief, guys!
  • Rayman Origins oddly averts this in some levels; running off the screen to the left at the start or end of a level will eventually kill the player. But in this game, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, so it doesn't really matter.
  • Raw Footage: If you try to leave the level, you'll run into an invisible wall a few feet inward from the edge.
  • Return Fire: In the first game, you can pilot the helicopter off the main play area (always an island) and away in the distance. However, if you overdo it, a sub will surface right under you and shoot you with a homing missile that's absolutely impossible to evade and will kill you in one hit.
  • Rogue Squadron: The games will turn your ship around if you go too far outside the mission area. Sometimes it's explained (getting too far from the action), on others (like the infinite featureless plane of the Death Star endurance level) it feels a little limiting.
  • Serious Sam II has a lot of invisible walls to prevent the player from escaping the stage or falling off. Serious Sam I uses teleport triggers instead and jump pads for those who still manage to get out.
  • Silent Hill: In the early games, invisible walls prevent you from falling into Bottomless Pits. Not so starting with Silent Hill 3.
  • Snowboard Kids you can do a jump and veer off to the side of the track, then hit an invisible wall in the middle of the sky and slide right back down.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3 pulls the Invisible Wall at the first Launch Base Act 2 boss. You SHOULD be able to jump to that ledge but you can't, and until Robotnik jumps into his machine, you can't do anything to him. Annoying, considering that the invisible wall disappears once he's been defeated.
    • In Carnival Night Zone, when Knuckles appears to turn off the lights. Sonic just stops, inches away from the smirking echidna... held back by an Invisible Wall. Even worse, you can have all of the emeralds by this point, and so Super Sonic can be held at bay by it.
    • Sonic Adventure: When you're taken into the past by a lens flare, you may see these little structures that are basically a roof and four supports at the corners. You can't go under them. Perhaps this is because it's easier to define an object as being simply this high, that wide, and that long rather than defining all the details of the shape of that object, especially when there's no reason to do so. It's still a little strange.
    • Sonic Colors uses Invisible Walls in spades. They get annoying in 2D as they prohibit backtracking in some areas, but in 3D, they're really for the best: they line the stage so that the player doesn't fall into the Bottomless Pits unfairly.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): The second hub city had giant invisible walls on the streets between buildings, with no indication that you can't go over there on your map. The game often ropes you into doing side quests by having the police block the way, even though you can jump over, move around, and in at least one case, walk BEHIND the officer in question.
  • Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter: The town of Ulence Flats is surrounded by a literal force field that prevents you from walking out (but doesn't obstruct airborne vehicles). Averted in other areas, where they use Border Patrol such as man-eating sand serpents to discourage going out of bounds.
  • Spyro the Dragon: In the early games, some kind of invisible force field keeps you from wandering off the map in some levels. Probably the most well-known are the barriers around Stone Hill in the original game, and those in Metropolis in the sequel. Most of these examples are justified through the use of little structures basically serving as fence-posts. Though that does make one wonder who put them up, and why. Amusingly, with codes you can jump over many of these and walk around outside the borders. Go too far and you'll find that the ground no longer has collision data, and through the floor you'll go.
  • Star Control II has this in both Hyperspace and Quasispace. Once you arrive to the borders of the maps of both dimensions you cannot go further away.
  • Star Fox:
    • In the SNES original, all stages consist of a linear corridor. Approaching the edge will display a triple arrow guiding you back where you're supposed to be, and your ship will drift back in to the corridor unless you continue to push against the edge of the screen.
    • Star Fox 64: In addition to the corridor levels, during the "all-range mode" segments, reaching the edge of the map causes your ship to automatically turn around.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed had lazy invisible walls during the whole prologue Level. You try to go over a cliff or jump? Nonono, young Padawan! You are allowed to do this first in level 2... it probably has something to do with you being unable to die in this level, even when your lifebar is nonexistent but they could have just taken the level deeper into the forest, where there are no descents.
  • Sunless Skies: Rather than the Border Patrol methods Sunless Sea used, when you're heading too far outside a star system the locomotive will automatically stop at the invisible wall, with a mark in your logbook that only an infinite, starless black void seems to stretch forth in that direction. Since "starless" means not even the laws of physics or anything resembling them apply in there, it's likely the captain hitting the brakes; you explicitly need the protection granted at Singh-Jenkins relays to avoid being torn apart by the sheer nonexistence or the things that don't exist in there.
  • Sunset Overdrive actually has FizzCo-branded Invisible Walls around Sunset City, as per the game's style. It is actually justifiable though as FizzCo have likely put them up to contain the OD outbreak and maintain the conspiracy. Oddly, the walls are totally visible when you get close to them.
  • Super Mario 64 tells you about them with a sign, saying that's where the paintings end. Seeing as all of Mario 64's worlds are in paintings, it... kind of works. The hub-world's castle grounds and separated garden, ruin the illusion though. Still, some gamers have encountered invisible walls in random, unexplained places not related to the edge of a world.
  • Super Mario Sunshine has one in the middle of the ocean which not only keeps you from going out too far, but also from sequence breaking by selecting a mission in one area and then swimming directly to another.
  • Team Fortress 2: A few fan-made maps feature these on staircases. One server has dubbed them "Stairways to Heaven" because they have to go somewhere. Although maps generally make good use of the Insurmountable Waist-High Fence, the Demoman and Soldier are able to send themselves flying all over the place, easily clearing most all of these. As a result, the invisible walls are called in. Can be particularly annoying not having an indication of which rooftops you can access and which are behind unseen barriers. Also, in one map, there are some roadside barriers keeping you away from barren desert. All normal jumps don't go taller than them, but the scout's double jump does. Invisible wall right there.
  • Thief games have occasional invisible walls, but all in areas the player isn't supposed to reach (such as the roofs of buildings). However, these are notable in that they are apparently made of invisible wood, and as such the player can smash them aside with their sword and continue.
  • Total Annihilation: The player's inability to move the mouse pointer outside the world limit makes it impossible to order units off it. However, should you order bomber planes to attack an enemy object that's close to the limit, they'll cheerfully fly off it and come back raining death. They can't land outside the world, though; tell them to stop and they'll first come back, and then land.
  • Turbo Overkill: Many almost out-of-bounds locations and some "you could clearly reach this" areas are blocked off by invisible walls, sometimes reducing Sequence Breaking.
  • Several areas in An Untitled Story that are found on the edges of the game's world, such as FarFall, tend to block the player from wandering off the edges with some invisible forcefield that simply bounces the player away instead of using any physical obstacles. There are also areas like CloudRun or MountSide, where hitting the top of the screen will make the player similarily bounce off it.
  • Vampire Rain: You're a stealth operative on the street trying to sneak around the city and avoid all detection, because most of the people in the city are vampires who will rip you in half the moment they see you. Most of the city is rendered at any given time but there are invisible walls all over the place to keep you focused on your next objective, and you likely won't even realize it until you try to cross a street to avoid a vampire and BZZT! "Mission Boundary!"
  • Warcraft:
    • Warcraft 2 almost plays this straight, with the one exception of whirlwinds, which are able to move at least a short distance off the edge of the map and then return.
    • World of Warcraft mostly averted this once flying mounts came out with its two main maps, Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. However, this trope kicks in full force in Outland, and the Draenei and Blood Elf starting zones. In Instances, each of which is its own isolated mini-map, you aren't actually supposed to run into invisible walls (many of them are dungeons of some kind anyway), but they're still there as a backup, just in case you manage to actually surmount the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence. Outland has invisible walls and an invisible ceiling for flying mounts.
      • There are certain Instances that DO have invisible walls, notably those featured in the Caverns of Time. These contain a replica of a present-day zone as it was at some point in the past. If you leave the standard play area, a mist forms around you, essentially warning that you can't go much farther. And then you hit the invisible wall, forcing you to turn around.
      • Instead of Invisible Walls, Warcraft mostly has invisible ceilings that are so high that you can't actually see the ground at that height anyway, and if you fly too far out into the sea you'll shortly die of Fatigue damage. The exception is the invisible wall over the mountain range dividing the Eastern Plaguelands and Ghostlands. This is because it would take up too much data to make the entire mountain range into an instance portal. Instead there is a portal at the gates through which you must go to get there. Even if you pay for a ride there, you still go through that gate.
  • Wizardry VII has a whole city full of invisible walls. The city is inhabited by a race that flies, which is comparable to making a snake with wheels.
  • The World Ends with You uses invisible walls in a very Fourth Wall-nudging way. The Reapers make the Reaper's Game more interesting by blocking off sections of Shibuya, forcing you to run as they want you to. Some of the walls are lowered by completing tasks assigned by Support Reapers — everything from defeating Noise in a certain fashion to bringing them food to answering a Pop Quiz. Later in the story, a character gains the ability to smash holes in them, allowing you to cheat your way out of the game-within-a-game. If you run into one, it briefly becomes a Beehive Barrier.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess throws several invisible barriers at the edge of levels to prevent Xena from wandering too far off from the game. The first level itself starts off with one solid wall with a forest painted on it, supposedly the "background".


    Web Videos 
  • JonTron considers invisible walls mostly harmless Acceptable Breaks from Reality, which is notable since he frequently nitpicks much smaller things for breaking a game's immersion or flow. He comments that a game can't go on forever and when you have to go out of your way past anything interesting to find them anyway, it's okay for the game to stop you before it crashes. He does have a problem with particularly blatant ones that look like somewhere you should be able to traverse, though.
  • Pirates SMP: The accessible parts of the ocean are separated by biome, and by extension, the coloration of seawater. To access new seas, players have to upgrade their boats to a sufficiently high tier; if not, a warning message will pop up in the in-game chat that they are in "dangerous seas", and their boat will eventually break if they don't go back the way they came.
  • Svyoshi has placed barrier blocks to mess with SMPLive players on several occasions.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, the Eds have built an office-like area with nothing but lines of tape indicating where walls would go. At one point Ed smacks right into one.
    Ed: Oops! Forgot about the wall!

    Real Life 
  • Inverted by this dog. There's no glass in the door but he waits patiently for his owner to open the door for him, even after he watches the owner step through the "invisible wall". Whether the dog is Too Dumb to Live or waiting for his owner's permission to enter is anyone's guess.
  • An "invisible wall" can be created by using the "virtual wall" setup with a Roomba or related product. This is meant for (let's say) a living room that merges with a den, where you only want to Roomba the living room, although people have plenty of fun with it too.
  • Earth's gravity tends to pull back anyone who tries to go much further, a lot of technology, work and expenses are needed to get about 10km above the surface (a commercial airliner), effectively acting as a virtual invisible wall for the vast majority of mankind; that and the fact there's no breathable air in space and falling from just a few meters results in instant death. The furthest humans have travelled from earth was 400,171 km,[1] and they barely managed to came back alive from this "invisible wall".