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Not Disabled In VR

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The character in question is disabled, sick, or otherwise prevented from living a normal life. They are however lucky enough to live in a world advanced enough to feature virtual reality games, where their limits are nullified. Moreover, such a person tends to fare even better than most players, since they usually spend way more time online.

May be a form of Dark Lord on Life Support. Sub-trope of Throwing Off the Disability. See also Disability-Negating Superpower when the problems of a disability are negated by new powers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • .hack//SIGN: In the epilogue, it is revealed that Subaru's player is an introverted paraplegic girl in Real Life, who plays The World for the freedom to travel anywhere and to make friends she doesn't have offline.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon V-Tamer 01, Rei Saiba lost the use of her legs after an accident in the real world, which is the reason for her brother Neo's evil actions. When Rei's transported to the Digital World, she can use her legs, though she somehow still doesn't feel anything through them.
    • In Digimon Next, Yuu has a heart condition in the real world, which disappears when he's in the Digital World, leading to him not wanting to go back because he's afraid of the heart surgery awaiting him. He grows out of it eventually.
  • In Gundam Build Divers, it is suggested this trope is the reason why Rommel is so dead set in seeing Sarah deleted (and thereby preserve GBN), as it is hinted that his second in command for his team, Kurt, is hospitalized in some way.
    • In the sequel, Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, the rest of BUILD DiVERS are surprised to see that Parviz’s real life identity is wheelchair-bound.Also, like in Log Horizon, it's discovered that they haven't always been in VR...
  • Masamichi Haru from Real Drive woke up from a 50 year coma to find his body is now 80 years old. He can't move around without a wheelchair or Minamo's assistance. It's not possible for him to upgrade into a full-prosthetic body, but he does have a cyberbrain. This allows him to find a purpose as a "diver" into The Metal, where he can conduct research and investigate anomalies being caused by the interactions of others.
  • In the Virtual World Filler Arc of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, Seto Kaiba's adoptive father Gozaburo Kaiba originally had the virtual world created for his biological son Noah after Noah was hit by a car and left permanently disabled.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Togo, one of main cast of heroines, is normally in need of a wheelchair. Then the Hero System comes and Togo's powered-up form is quite versatile, highly mobile and hardly hindered by her bad legs. Then more of Hero System comes into the light, starting the "Free disabilities for everyone!" campaign. And even that is not enough by the time of story climax, the wheelchair changes hands.

    Comic Books 
  • In a somewhat TRON-inspired issue of Batman Inc, Barbara Gordon gets to be Batgirl cyberspace.
  • Red Robin: After being paralyzed Lonnie Machen ends up taking back up his old mantle as Anarky in the Unternet while his physical body is lying in the hospital.

    Fan Works 
  • DC Nation had a similar plotline to the Batman Inc example. Jericho's powers misfire, sending Barbara Gordon-Grayson into cyberspace. Babs then realizes two things; she doesn't need a wheelchair there, and that she can alter the world around her by thinking about the code needed to do what she wants.
  • Played With in the TRON fanfic "The Contingency." Alan Bradley is dying of a brain tumor (though not incapacitated), and is brought to The Grid with the hopes he can be cured. The cure works, but it involved a transfusion of Iso code, effectively making him a hybrid of User and Iso, both of which paints a big target on his back because of Clu's coup.
  • In New Hope University: Major In Murder, Lucina Sorenson, the Ultimate Conductor, is unable to speak, but regains that ability when entering a virtual reality simulator for the fifth trial.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Apocalypse series, virtual reality technology is being developed, as demonstrated to the protagonist by Willie Spino, a computer whiz in a wheelchair. The Antichrist offers a form of the tech that makes the virtual real, letting the blind see in real life and letting Willie walk again if they turn to his side.
  • Invoked in James Cameron's Avatar: Jake Sully is paraplegic. Using remotely controlled, artificial Na'vi body, he has full use of his legs again. As he becomes increasingly athletic and in tune with nature in Na'vi form, his human form feels like more and more of a shell. At the end of the film, he undergoes a ritual that transfers his mind into that of his avatar permanently.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors:
    • Will, who is paraplegic, can walk when in the dream world. He also has magical powers, inspired by his D&D game. Neither save him from Freddy.
    • Similarly, Joey is mute in the real world, but has Super-Scream powers in the dream. His disability seems to be psychological however, as he can speak normally in the sequel.
  • In Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Grandpa Cortez - an elderly, retired spy using a wheelchair - joins Juni Cortez on the adventure in the virtual world, and they immediately come across a powerup that lets him stand on his feet for the first time in years. Unfortunately, he has to go back to using the wheelchair when their mission is over...
  • Also invoked in Strange Days where illegal technology exists that allows people to record their own experiences and for other people to play them back. One of the sleazy dealers of these recordings has a special one made for his legless friend of someone running along a beach, seeing a pretty woman and falling over in the surf. The friend is overjoyed to watch it but starts crying when the recording stops.

  • Accel World: Played with.
    • Kurasaki Fuuko (alias Sky Raker) is legless in real life, but able to live normally with prosthetics. Her Accel World form on the other hand looks a lot like a person in a wheelchair, and while she used to have legs, she lost them when Kuroyukihime, on her request, destroyed them because Sky Raker hoped that without the extra weight, she'd be able to fly.
    • Utai Shinomiya, also known as Ardor Maiden, is unable to speak in real life without using her Neurolinker to type messages (she can say the "Burst Link" command, but it takes a great deal of effort), but can speak in Brain Burst.
  • Arcane Sniper's Ha Leeha is confined to a wheel chair after an accident leaves his legs' nerves damaged. However, within the VR world Middle Earth he can walk and use his legs just fine. Upon first logging in, he's so happy to walk again he runs himself out of stamina non-stop 10 times in a row (and gets an achievement for it to boot). He also hates being inflicted with the Fear status since it stops his mouvement by paralysing his legs.
  • Poul Anderson's Call Me Joe: "Joe" is the character played by Edward Anglesey, on Jupiter. Joe is a pseudojovian manufactured to live on the surface of Jupiter. Since Anglesey was paralyzed as a young man, he operates an esprojector that conveys his thoughts along a psibeam to fully immerse himself in the pseudojovian's mind. He eventually leaves his human body and lives entirely in his pseudojovian body.
  • In Roger Zelazny's Donnerjack, Virginia Tallant is severely disabled by a neurological disease in the real world, and as a result elects to spend her entire life working as a surveyor in Virtù.
  • A variant in the Guardians of the Flame books. James is severely disabled on Earth but when he's transported to the other world is transformed into the physically hale dwarf warrior Ahira. As a result, he's one of the few members of the group who isn't in a great hurry to get back to the real world.
  • In Idoru, Zona Rose, the supposed leader of a Chilanga girl gang, is ultimately revealed to be the severely disabled daughter of a lawyer.
  • In the Land of Leadale: Keina Kagami was rendered vegetative due to an accident at 17 and put on life support. She was attached to the VR MMORPG Leadale, where she is completely able-bodied.
  • The main character of Piers Anthony's novel Killobyte is Walter Toland, a newly paraphlegic former cop who suffers from depression because of his new disability until he discovers Killobyte, a deep-immersion virtual reality game.
  • John Scalzi's novel Lock In uses this as its central plot device. A plague left a significant portion of the planet with Locked In Syndrome and so the government built a huge VR system to allow Locked In folks freedom of movement in a simulated setting. This includes one of the central protagonists.
  • Both downplayed and exaggerated in Log Horizon: "Elder Tale" is not a VR MMORPG, but when its players are dumped into the RPG Mechanics 'Verse of the game world in the bodies of their characters, this includes the paraplegic Touya. This is displayed best in a flashback to when he and his twin sister first realize what's happened — His sister Minori is despairing at being taken from their home, while in the background Touya is too elated making use of his new, working legs for it to sink in.
  • Otherland: Orlando. He's dying from progeria and spending most of his time in a VR game as Thargor the Barbarian.
  • In The Overstory, Neelay Mehta and his father share a poignant moment of exploring together in the unreleased beta of the video game Neelay designed, Mastery 8, like they used to do when Neelay was young, despite how in real life Neelay is paralyzed and his father is sick and dying.
  • Snow Crash has Ng, who was disfigured and rendered quadriplegic by a Southeast Asian war. He travels in meatspace in an enormous armored truck he calls the ultimate motorized wheelchair, and conducts most of his life in The Metaverse, where he walks through his mansion and drinks tea with visitors.
  • In Supreme Commander by Nikolay Gudanets, General Andrey Berezin has lost both his legs during the Second Russian Civil War. He's now in command of an XCOM-like task force charged with fighting with alien attacks on Earth. Physically, he spends all his time in his apartment with his batman serving his needs, such as shopping and cooking. However, his VR helmet allows him to work in a virtual office, where he moves around on virtual legs. He also attends all meetings as a virtual avatar, capable of walking. During some missions, he personally remote-controls a small tank. At the end of the novel, he has been relieved of command, but the reverse-engineering of some of the alien biotech now allows people to regrow lost limbs, so he may be able to walk again after all.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • The Sleeping Knights is a Guild entirely composed of terminally ill players. Exaggerating it even further, their leader is Konno Yuuki, who is dying of AIDS and has been voluntarily living in a virtual environment 24 hours a day for three years - a whole year longer than the victims of the SAO incident were trapped in the game.
    • An inversion: it's possible for otherwise non-disabled people to suffer a "Full-Dive Nonconformity" of varying levels of severity that can leave them at a crippling disadvantage during gameplay. In Progressive, Nezha suffers from this and is essentially legally blind in-game. His group worked long and hard to find a way for him to fight well alongside them, but ultimately decided to put him to use scamming players for money to buy better gear.
  • In User Unfriendly, Shelton, who plays the wizard Cornelius in a VR game, has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair in the real world.
  • In the short story collection Warriors of Blood and Dream, Fearless by Dave Smeds is about a teen wheelchair user who competes in virtual martial arts tournaments and wins consistently.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A subtle one in Red Dwarf with Rimmer, who is intangible due to being dead, being able to have physical form and interact physically while in the VR game "Better Than Life" in the titular episode.
    • Inverted or played straight in "Back To Reality" where the gang wake up on Earth finding the whole show was a virtual reality video game and Rimmer isn't really a hologram. Then this all turns out to be an illusion.
  • In Robocop The Series, Diana is physically just a brain in a jar thanks to the scheme to use her as a living computer. She can interact via an intangible hologram, but can only actually touch someone if their brain is also plugged into the virtual computing system.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Lifesigns", Denara Pel, a Vidiian suffering from an incurable flesh-eating disease (the Phage), has her mind transferred to a holographic body by the Doctor which is notably disease-free.

  • There was an Adventures in Odyssey two parter "A Touch of Healing" where Jason Whittaker modifies the Imagination Station (a virtual reality exhibit) so that blind users can see and lame users can walk. However, when he tests it on a girl born blind, it does not make her see, but when he uses it on a boy who became lame through an accident, he can walk. Jason thinks it is because the boy knows what it is like to walk, but the girl does not because she was born blind.

    Video Games 
  • The Cat Lady has this with the final villain of the piece, who uses internet chat rooms to gaslight numerous people to death, including eventually his father despite only being able to move his eye.
  • Addressed in Fallout 3 during the "Tranquility Lane" mission: Stanislaus Braun was a decrepit old man prior to becoming the Overseer of Vault 112, and though life support systems in his Tranquility Lounger have kept him alive for over two hundred years, he's now terminally dependent on it - as he puts it, the strain of trying to stand up would kill him on the spot. It's for this reason that Braun prefers to remain in the virtual reality scenario linking each of the Loungers together, where he can be as young and as powerful as possible - and torture as many people as he likes.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Doned is a sickly boy who uses a wheelchair because of his unspecified illness. In the dream Ivalice, he's perfectly healthy and able to walk, and very much does not want to return to the real world. When his older brother Marche (the protagonist) starts working to dismantle Ivalice, Doned sabotages him in various ways.
  • Discussed by Soap Beatty in Ripper, played by Jimmy Walker. He's a tech shop owner bound to a wheelchair, and secretly a hacker on the side. Soap mentions that he's able to walk, run and even dance when decked into cyberspace.
  • Downplayed in TRON 2.0. In the analog world, both Alan Bradley and his son Jet need glasses to see. The Glasses Come Off once they're digitized.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, we find out in the final chapter that every one of the students besides Chiaki were once members of Junko Enoshima's despair group, and in multiple cases were covered in self-inflicted mutilations from their desire to feel despair, with some looting Junko's corpse for body parts to replace their own. The survivors from the first game placed them all inside the Neo World Program with the intent of reforming them by erasing sections of their memories from before they all entered high school and got involved with Junko in the first place, which restores them to their youth to keep the illusion real and gave them bodies to reflect this.

  • Homestuck: When characters are warped into the videogame Sgrub, there's a mechanic where any time a player sleeps, they assume control of a "dream body"—a completely healthy version of themselves that can also fly. Tavros is paraplegic (and has dreamed of flying even before he lost the use of his legs) so when he enters Sgrub, he spends as much time flying around in his dream body as possible.
    • Played With since the dream body is meant to reflect a player's dream self. Vriska, who lost an eye and an arm, has them back in the dream world, but Terezi, who went blind, is also blind in the dream world because she prefers it.
  • Something*Positive: Davan introduces his family to role-playing games (specifically a superheroic one). His sister, who's a wheelchair user, spends the session describing her character dancing around.

    Web Original 
  • Noob has played with this trope a few times, but has yet to do it straight:
    • Subverted with Kevin, Sparadrap's player. He first appears in a wheelchair, but quickly turns out to be messing around with one belonging to his grandmother and be perfectly able-bodied.
    • Ivy's player happens to be narcoleptic, but it mostly causes her to frequently be late or asleep in front of her computer. She's a decent player provided she's awake.
    • Spectre's player has what could be considered a gamer's Beneficial Disease: it basically gives him Hyper-Awareness, but has the drawback of making him addicted to the game to the point of neglecting his health. Another character aware of his condition heavily implied that if anything, playing actually makes his condition worse.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Family Guy episode "Brian Wallows and Peter’s Swallows" Brian falls in love with an old woman who was a movie star in the 1930s. He convinces her to step outside of her house for the first time in years, and she gets hit by a car. As she is dying in the hospital Brian uses a pair of VR goggles (which had been set up earlier in the episode) to show her a virtual version of them getting married, having kids, etc. so her last moments would be happy.
  • In Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, they try to get Jeremiah Surd to become a Boxed Crook in exchange for access to Quest World. This backfires, and trying to take it over because of this trope becomes his main motivation for antagonising them. Eventually inverted when he's trapped in Quest World in his crippled form.
  • Felix in Kim Possible uses a wheelchair in their RL, but has the use of his legs in their virtual reality game world. Also played with, in that badass, athletic Kim is a tiny little helpless pixie who can do little more than float in the same game world, and the Mighty Tunnel Lord is Rufus, the naked mole rat, tiniest of them all in the real world.


Video Example(s):


Grandpa Valentin

Juni brings his wheelchair-bound grandfather into the video game to help him beat the Toymaker and save Carmen. Seconds after he does, a Mega Legs powerup spawns, negating Grandpa Valentin's paraplegia and allowing him to walk for the first time in thirty years.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / NotDisabledInVR

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