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Yes, that is a desert on the same latitude as the frozen tundra.

"I've always said, the best thing about dwelling in the desert caves is the easy access to the lush rainforest."

In the real world, the landscape is determined by a complex combination of climate and geography. Deserts, for instance, are usually created by cold ocean currents along their shoreline, with the cold preventing water from evaporating and forming rainclouds. Tundra has to be at the right temperature to remain frozen, which means being either at high altitude or high latitude. Rivers have to source their water from higher terrain (from rain running off mountain slopes and collecting in vast basins). Swamps are generally located in flat-lying areas where the water collects rather than rapidly draining away.

Not so in the world of fictional geography, where you can have a vast jungle next to a desert with nothing separating them and no reason why the two should have different geological features aside from an invisible line. You'll also have swamps on mountain tops and caves full of ice slightly below a sunny surface.


Particularly notable in video games, which often try to pack in a variety of environments in a relatively small space. In older games in particular, a simple Palette Swap will turn green grass into yellow sand, white snow, blue water, or red lava without a hitch. Also tends to happen to maps of Magical Lands. Which somewhat makes sense — everything's possible with enough magic, let alone divine intervention. May be excused by Gameplay and Story Segregation; a game with 12 levels that are all grasslands would be boring. In addition, may be Hand Waved by saying that the game is not to scale with the world it's depicting; that invisible line between the jungle and the desert in the game may be described as several miles of mixed terrain in the tie-in novel.

All that being said, climate can do some weird things in Real Life. As mentioned above, the factors influencing the climate of a particular place are highly complex. Something that should (or shouldn't) happen based on one factor may be cancelled out by one or more other factors which are also present - or even due to phenomena originating hundreds or even thousands of miles away! See the Real Life section below for details.


Something of an extreme opposite form of the Single-Biome Planet. See also Hailfire Peaks, where the different climates are smushed together into a single area. Also note that the sea is typically off to one side and the whole thing fits into a neat square (like any good quilt should). The colder regions are also often located north of the map, and the warmer regions to the south.

For when it's justified by some force randomly or deliberately slotting regions together to create one of these, see Patchwork World.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Digital Worlds of the Digimon franchise are almost always portrayed as this (the big exception being that of Digimon Tamers, which had a very different structure). Thinking back, this is exactly what should be expected in a digital universe. After all it may very well have gotten its strange geography from video games.
  • One Piece: On Grand Line, there are four different kinds of islands — Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Islands. Obviously, that (partly) explains the ridiculously unpredictable weather changes. It also causes the Drum/Sakura Kingdom and Alabasta Kingdom to be neighbour countries. Played straight with Punk Hazard, that has ice on one side and lava on another. It was caused by the battle between Admirals Akainu and Aokiji.
  • Kemono Friends: Japari Park's geography doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it has the Sandstar keeping things working.

    Comic Books 
  • Madcap, nicknamed "the crazy moon", from the Firefly spin-off comic Float Out. Wash uses the wet-to-cold-to-hot environmental changes to take out a pursuing ship.
    "Its weird spin and egg-yolk sun give it those turn-on-a-dime climate changes, one right on top of the other."
  • Battleworld, from the Marvel Comics crossover Secret Wars (1984). It was literally cobbled together by landmasses from different planets, including one from Earth.
  • The Green Lantern storyline Mosaic featured something similar when a renegade Guardian of the Universe stole parts of a bunch of different planets and pasted them to Oa. They eventually all got sent home.
  • Turned Up to Eleven by the creators of Grim Jack, in which the city of Cynosure consists of a more-or-less stable central region surrounded by areas — "dimensions" — that phase in and out of contact with the central dimension at irregular intervals, so that the composition, size and shape of the city is always changing. A map of the city was published in one issue, with instructions to cut it up along the "dimensional" boundaries shown, then toss the pieces into the air: at some point in their "flight", the dimensions would be in exact correspondence to what the city looked like at one instant in its history (which point and instant was not specified).
  • Similarly to the snow in South Park stopping at the Colorado border, at least one "The Jocks and the Geordies" strip in The Dandy showed it raining in Scotland, and the rain stopping dead at Hadrian's Wall.
  • In Middlewest, the Winter Woods is located through a tree line on the other side of a dead Ethol field. It has a very... obvious border.
  • Justified in Legion of Super-Heroes's Sorcerer's World. As seen in The Great Darkness Saga, its geography is constantly changing due to the wizards' love for showing off their magic. So you have a mountain range populated by rock monsters big enough to build cities on them next to an ocean where "cities built atop waves [are] frozen in motion".

    Fan Works 
  • A minor example in With Strings Attached is the Poison Swamp in Goblin Valley; John immediately pegs it as artificial, noting that the land should have been much too dry for a swamp.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Lion King has a tropical rainforest paradise right beside a large desert. It's made even more confusing in the sequel when it's shown that the jungle is connected to the Pridelands through the barren, dusty gorge. There is a river with a waterfall running through that rain forest. Perhaps it never rains in that region, and so all the wildlife grows right by the river.
  • Zootopia: The titular city has several extremely climate-controlled suburbs — a snowed-over polar zone is sandwiched between an extremely dry and windy desert and a wet equatorial jungle. Justified in that the city's infrastructure works to transfer atmospheric conditions from one area to another, creating extremes in both. For example, the air conditioners that freeze Tundra Town produce a lot of heat exhaust, which heats the adjacent Sahara Square.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 10,000 BC changed from (for example) freezing mountains to humid swamps with little transition.
  • In the comedy Caveman, one character gets swept by a river that is situated in an arid prehistoric landscape and ends up in a "Nearby Ice Age".
  • Return to Oz features the Deadly Desert being right smack-dab next to a thick lush forest. This is a carry-over from the original Oz books; see below under Literature.
  • Appears in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The planet in question had recently been created with unstable technology, which made for interesting climate patterns. In the novelisations, the scientists behind Genesis had apparently been competing to see just how improbable they could make the geography by hand-designing things Just So. Although that code was supposed to have been removed… The instability of such climatic adjacencies is shown in the film as well. When they follow their tricorder readings into a desert complete with large cacti, it's currently being covered with snow by the blizzard that blew in from the adjacent tundra region.

  • The Belgariad: Lampshaded by David Eddings in The Rivan Codex, where he states that because he's not a geographer or climatologist, the map of his world is probably geologically impossible. At least it's not as blatant as some of the examples here. Somewhat justified in that the geography at the time the books are set was caused by an insane evil god trying to use a magical source of power to kill his enemies and ended up Breaking the World, a cataclysm that kills most of the human race, raises mountain ranges and splits the crust of the planet so a new sea is formed when the oceans flood the gap, cooling the magma rising up from beneath into new crust (which in turn appears to lower the sea level a great deal). If you look at the world map from before the Breaking of the World, found in Belgarath the Sorcerer, it's a lot more geologically plausible.
  • The titular island of Dinotopia has grasslands, rainforests, snowy mountains, deserts, swamps, canyons and temperate forests, all crammed on a single island about 200 miles across.
  • Referenced (and averted) in the notes to The Discworld Mapp, wherein Stephen Briggs quotes Pratchett as describing traditional fantasy novel mapmaking as "putting the wiggly river through the pointy mountains", before adding that when he showed Pratchett the first draft of the map (which was indeed drawn that way), he got the response "Do you know what a rain shadow is?" and a brief lecture on climatology.
  • The Inferno in The Divine Comedy is made of this trope. A burning plain (to punish sodomites and usurers) is right next to a forest (to punish suicides). The center of hell is apparently a frozen lake. Sort of justified, since it is hell, after all.
  • In Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy, a major river has its source on one side of a group of mountains, flows up through them, and empties out in a bay on the other side. Yay, gravity! This can happen in real life, if the river is older than the mountains it flows through; it cuts through them as they rise, creating a water gap. This can also happen in stream capture, where two streams erode towards their sources and one captures the other. Which isn't to say that that's what Rawn was thinking of when she drew this map...
  • Lampshaded in Everworld — the titular Magical Land was created by the mythological gods of our world, with each pantheon having its own territory; however, they didn't bother keeping the geography the same, so the Vikings are about a two-day boat ride from the Aztecs' jungle, who are about a two-day walk from the British landscape where King Arthur's remaining knights live. At one point the protagonists are walking from Everworld-Greece to Everworld-Africa and notice the environment completely change within the course of a few feet.
  • Implied Spaces takes place in a world where technology is advanced enough that every rich kid can design his own little world. Most of them try for patchwork maps. The main character is a scholar studying what happens on the borders between the patches, when the physical realities of these constructed worlds start to act. These borders are the titular implied spaces.
  • Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle has a desert right next to a dense forest in an otherwise medieval setting. Justified due to the forest being noted to have been grown with the elves' magic and the desert also being very close to a twelve mile high mountain range. The numerous large lakes that lack either tributary or distributary rivers without emptying or overflowing are a little harder to explain.
  • Cranked up a notch in "Kubla Khan", where a range of climates are placed within a ten-mile circumference:
    It was a miracle of rare device
    A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
  • The Land of Oz:
    • L. Frank Baum's series offers up perhaps both the original and definitive example of this trope: Oz is a more-or-less perfect rectangle, filled cheek-and-jowl with every known and unknown variety of bizarre landscape and surrounded on all sides by wide expanses of desert. Baum should also be considered a patron saint of Continuity Drift, but in one of the books he established that a passing Wizard (or rather, Fairy Queen) Did It.
    • Wicked gives Oz a far, far more realistic landscape, incredibly using only existing continuity to make it into an equivalent of 1930s Earth, right down to the general geographic locations of the regions/continents, which became counterparts. Gillikin is Europe, Munchkinland is (roughly) Asia, Quadling Country is Africa and the Vinkus is North America (specifically, the Native Americans of the Great Plains).
    • Alternatively, one could view the Oz in Wicked as a counterpart to the United States, with urban, forest-filled Gillikin as the Northeast; agricultural Munchkinland as the Midwest; swampy Quadling Country as the South (more specifically, the Mississippi Delta and Florida Everglades regions); and the barren Vinkus as the Mountain West. Even Oz residents' opinions of certain regions mirror American regional stereotypes. Quadlings are seen as filthy and uneducated. Gillikin is where the best universities are and the Gillikinese come off as snobbish. The Vinkus is seen as wild and untamed, and something of a wasteland... etc.
  • In The Neverending Story, a desert reaches right up to a forest. It is revealed that a magic talking lion causes everywhere near him to be a desert, but it returns to normal when he's not nearby. At another point, it's explicitly mentioned that it's indeed possible in Fantasia that an icy area borders a hot desert. It's Fantasia, after all. In fact, drawing a map would be impossible even if the country weren't infinite — it's written that the borders between lands aren't always even determinable and are prone to shifting; the lands that a given traveler will encounter tends to have more to do with the nature of their journey than with regular geography and the direction they set off in.
  • Lampshaded by the Nintendo Adventure Books, which describe Mario literally crossing an invisible line dividing the lush green grasslands of World 1 from the bone-dry desert of World 2.
  • Old Kingdom: The series has a downplayed yet also unique version of this trope. The Old Kingdom has normal regions of mountains, swamps, rivers, forest, laid out perfectly plausibly. However, this ends at the Wall. On the south side of the Wall is the country of Ancelstierre, which, unlike the Kingdom, has no magic, although northern Ancelstierre seems to have a fairly similar climate. However, the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre are strongly implied to actually be two different realities joined together at the Wall, as the season and time of day is different each side of the Wall. In addition to this, north of the Old Kingdom, the steppes inhabited by barbarian tribes end at the Great Rift, which is described as having either a forest or a dead world on the other side. In general, it is implied that the world is a mixture of multiple realities that happen to overlap.
  • Aenir in The Seventh Tower works like this, with different biomes often being separated along straight lines.
  • Mild example in A Song of Ice and Fire. The general pattern of colder in the north -> hotter in the south holds true from the Land of Always Winter down to Dorne. However, Essos doesn't seem nearly as badly affected. Word of God has it that the explanation is supernatural and not astronomical; Word of God also states that Essos isn't quite as badly affected because it's located at a more southern latitude. Westeros is long north to south, narrow east to west, while Essos is the reverse: the northern coast of Essos only reaches up to the mid-point or so of Westeros (where the Neck is), extends a bit further south than Dorne, and a considerable distance to the uncharted east. It doesn't snow in Dorne either, even in winter.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's A Time Odyssey trilogy, planets in pocket universe have mismatch of terrains brought from different times in history as a museum.
  • Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe seems to suffer from this. Roughly based on the outline of Western Europe, it nevertheless possesses a southern desert apparently similar to the Sahara, though smaller.
  • Occurs in Suzanne Collins' The Underland Chronicles: in the Underland there are plains, jungles, maze-like tunnels, small seas, arable land and desolate areas all within one or two hundred miles of each other, and no transitions.
  • Lampshaded by Brandon Sanderson in the annotations to Warbreaker, where he points out that the geography he needed for Hallendren (essentially a kind of rain forest valley in the middle of a more temperate region), is probably physically impossible... which is why he was vague about exact geographies and didn't include a map of anything bigger than Hallendren the city.
  • In Clive Barker's Weaveworld, the odd bits and pieces of terrain incorporated into the Fugue were stuck together in a frantic rush, creating literal patchwork geography.
  • In the SF Well World series by Jack L. Chalker, the surface of the Well World is divided into regular hexagons, each featuring its own environment, often startlingly different from its neighbors in climate, biome, atmosphere, gravity, or even achievable tech level, with no apparent separating mechanism other than force walls that just about anyone can shove through without noticing. Justified as the construction of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Puzzle Island by Paul Adshead: The titular island has lots of different environments, like a desert, a volcano, beaches, grasslands, bodies of water surrounded by lush vegetation, and a valley inhabited by dinosaurs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Warehouse 13, the titular Warehouse is located in the South Dakota badlands/desert, but the nearby town of Univille — stated to be just eight miles away — is lush and green.

  • Parodied in Red vs. Blue: "The Burning Plains are next to the Freezing Plains? I bet there's some pretty wet plains in between." And it turns out there are some pretty wet plains in between, since after going through the burning plains, but before the freezing plains, they cross a swamp. OK, so it's not exactly a plain, but still, Caboose got something right!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Settlers of Catan is played on a map of a single island made of hexagonal tiles, each tile depicting exactly one biome (mountains, hills, forests, pastures, grainfields, and desert); the map is laid out randomly at the beginning of each game. Thus, it more or less runs on this trope.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • You just gotta love those rivers in the Greyhawk setting. They start at the northern shore, and wind their way south to the bay.
    • Eberron:
      • The continent of Xendrik works like this explicitly, with such occurrences as sweltering deserts abutting arctic tundra. A Wizard Did It, in that it's all caused by a magical cataclysm in the continent's past.
      • It happens in Khorvaire too. Consider Karnnath and The Mror Holds, who have weather like northern Europe or Canada, with lots of snow. Slightly East of them are Lazhaar Principalities, with a Caribbean-like weather and palm trees. Must be a really warm ocean. Regalport (the main Pirate town in a tropical weather) is further north than Frostmantle and Rekkenmark, both of whom are described as cold. So warm ocean indeed. Similarly, Breland is supposed to be a tropical, rainy country, but most of the neighboring lands are depicted as temperate. Khorvaire also has rivers that start nowhere and occasionally go nowhere, and lakes alone in the middle of nowhere.
    • Planescape has the ultimate example in Limbo, the Plane of Pure Chaos, where pieces of the plane randomly and seamlessly shift between being completely dominated by one element or another. But, well, justified; Plane of Pure Chaos, you know?
    • The Forgotten Realms has the burning-hot Anauroch desert immediately next to the High Ice, Faerun's equivalent of the North Pole. A Wizard Did It.
    • The trope is fully justified in the Ravenloft setting. The Land of Mists is composed of artificial landmasses created and sustained by mysterious Dark Powers. Each landmass is separate from the others and bordered by the Mists, in which they drift. The Core (the largest) has a truly patchwork appearance, because each subregion is a "domain" specifically formed to imprison an individual darklord, and its geography and climate has far more to do with that darklord's culture and personal issues than reality. For example, the domain of Lamordia has a far colder and more wintry climate than its neighbors, and the tropical island of Markovia is less than two hundred miles off the coast. The shape of rivers is even more bizarre, as some literally flow into or out of nowhere, apparently emanating from the Mists themselves. There is also a massive hole (the Shadow Rift) cut straight out of the middle of the Core where other domains used to be (they got relocated during a plane-wide cataclysm).
  • Averted in Pathfinder, where the world of Golarion is fairly respectful of geographical science. Even areas that are explicitly magically influenced don't stray too far from what's plausible— the land of Irrisien is locked in an eternal winter due to Baba Yaga's magic, but it's far enough north that the winter isn't any worse than normal for the area, it just lasts year-round. Likewise, the enormous hurricane known as the Eye of Abednego is significantly larger and longer-lasting than any normal storm, but it is at least located in an appropriately tropical area of the world.
  • Legend of the Five Rings is horrible about this trope. Rivers go any which way (including uphill), cities and whole geographic features are outright misplaced onto the wrong ends of the Empire because the mapmakers weren't paying attention, and to top it all off, it might be an execution-worthy offense to question the actual in-game mapmakers if the gamemaster feels like being strict over it. And it's not really justified by "the spirits", because unless specifically asked they don't do weird stuff like that (they're lazy).
  • In one fan-created variant of Magic: The Gathering, you shuffle basic lands into a "board", start out with one creature, and the lands on boards where your creatures are can be tapped for mana. This results in Urza's Saga plains (in Serra's cloud world) being next to...anything. And islands being surrounded by land. It gets weirder if you add nonbasic lands.
  • Creation in Exalted goes with having four major climate forms (desert and volcano, ocean, tundra and glaciers, plains and forests and jungles) and simply confining them to each of the cardinal directions (with the central island continent being largely mountainous). Justified by the fact that things like climate and geography are controlled entirely by gods, as well as by the fact that Creation was designed by beings with some pretty odd ideas about how a world should work.
  • The author of The Order of the Stick has also published an (unfinished) series or articles on his site about creating a tabletop campaign setting. One of the first things addressed is how to create a realistic map, especially needing to pay attention to things like rain shadows and how rivers behave in order to avoid this trope.
  • The GURPS fantasy setting of Yrth mostly tries to avoid getting too egregious, if only by sticking to the basic principle of "cold in the north, warm in the south" — though the center of the continent seems fairly lush, while the deserts are more coastal, which seems a little odd. (Some of the deserts were blasted into that status by a magical cataclysm, to be fair.) However, that leaves the peninsula of Sahud, north of some bleak mountains and on a similar latitude to the sub-arctic Nomad Lands, which is kind of temperate, being similar to Japan or coastal China. The updated version of the setting in Banestorm attempts to explain this by some handwaving involving a warm ocean current, but it's a pretty blatant kludge.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Chaos Wastes are a bit at odds with reality thanks to the Realms of Chaos bleeding through from the Polar Gate, so the Grim Up North is interspersed with regions of forest, desert, jungle, and even incongruous farmland.

  • BIONICLE's islands of Mata Nui and Voya Nui suffer from this, as each has volcanic, icy, desert, and forest/jungle regions pushing up against each other. On Voya Nui, a couple characters actually note that the forested "green belt" doesn't make sense and they hazard a guess as to why it thrives (there's a Mask of Life nearby; they think it's leeching energy and promoting growth), but we're never given an official explanation for it.
    • Mata Nui is ultimately justified when it's revealed that That's No Island.
    • This is also lampshaded by Nuju in one of the novelizations, when he is at a loss to explain the ice mountain.
    • Zigzagged in the reboot. Okoto's eastern half is part jungle, part marshy lagoon; across the central mountain range there's an abrupt change to volcanic regions, craggy canyons, and large deserts separated by small mountain ranges of their own. The whole thing is capped by an icy region that's separated from the desert by yet another mountain range and which overflows into the marshy lagoon land. On the whole, though, the division of regions is mostly realistic, and there's ancient ruins in the mountains themselves that might explain some of the stranger oddities...
  • It was even worse with the earlier Slizer line. Just look at the Slizer Planet: we've got a perpetual Swirly Energy Thingy, a Mega City, a frozen mountain range, an ocean, a Lethal Lava Land, a jungle, and a desert, all perfectly shaped to take up exactly one-seventh of the planet's surface.

    Video Games 
  • This is what the original World of Warcraft looked like from space. It is explained in that the world was forged by god-like creators: an entire continent was blasted to smithereens to form four smaller ones and a few island groups, and magic plagues/life-giving trees/Eldritch Abominations all contribute to weird design. That, and the fact that it does need to be patchworked for game design. Still, somewhat downplayed — aside from the stark transitions, though again, kind of necessary for a reasonable scale for play — since, aside from a couple of places like Un'Goro and Desolace that are explicitly called out as being affected by powerful magic, the biomes do make a fair bit of sense, at least in an "armchair geographer" sort of way:
    • Silithus, Tanaris, and Uldum are all adjacent deserts, and while at the same latitude as the jungle of Stranglethorn, combined with things like Feralas in relation to Thousand Needles and Ashenvale in relation to Azshara, it can be assumed that the prevailing winds blow west to east, and since the western side of Kalimdor is quite mountainous, a rainshadow resulting in arid climates on its eastern side would not be out of place. In contrast, the Eastern Kingdoms' west coast tends not to be very mountainous, so it has wetter climates at the same latitudes.
    • Additionally, places like Dun Morogh and Winterspring are mountainous, having higher elevations than most of the rest of the continent, and so being covered in year-round snow would not be too much of a stretch. Of course, it isn't perfect since Dun Morogh is west of Loch Modan which, according to this reasoning, ought to be rather arid, but is instead, a large lake surrounded by fairly temperate evergreen forests.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • Extremely evident in Majora's Mask. The world is cleanly divided into four totally different environments (swamp, snow mountain, beach and desertic canyon). A Giant Did It. Four Giants, to be exact.
    • Spirit Tracks does much the same, but partly averts it with the snow realm by having it gradually change from "snow everywhere" to "it looks sort of cold" as you get close to the border.
    • Whoever designs the map for the Zelda games clearly has no idea how rivers work. They do normally start high and end low, which is better than a lot of examples on this page, but they do all kinds of crazy stuff on the way. The worst offender is probably Twilight Princess, where two rivers cross.
    • Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess have the lush-lake-near-a-desert thing just as bad, if not worse.
      • This in OOT may be somewhat justified in that Zora River (whose water is at least vaguely implied to be somewhat magical in some way, or at least magically generated) empties into Lake Hylia, which is right next to Gerudo Desert. However, in both games the two are separated by what look to be mountains. This would be justified if Lake Hylia would be desert if not for the water emptying into it.
      • A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds show the same lake near the same desert, with a field (steppes?) and mountains or hills separating them. Again, justified if Lake Hylia and the river leading to it are all that's keeping the rest of the region from desertification.
    • Four Swords Adventures. A desert and snowy region are right next door. This is justified in that the snowy region has been in an endless winter due to the Tower of Winds vanishing. The ending even shows what it looks like after thawing out.
    • Link's Awakening also has some crazy map parts. Most of the island is single-biome woods and mountains, but some levels feature volcanic activity that's nowhere else on the map. Also a mini desert next to a swamp and the friggin ocean. Justified, since the whole island is just a dream of the Wind Fish.
    • Breath of the Wild does much to justify the usage of this trope — the icy regions of Hyrule are all high in altitude and thus have a lower temperature. The desert is separated from the rest of Hyrule by tall mountains and plateaus, meaning it can exist in (relative) proximity to the more temperate regions elsewhere. And all the differing air pressures from everywhere else would indeed result in the rainforest being where it is.
  • Ragnarok Online suffers quite a bit from this; Ragnarok Wisdom comments on it.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas somehow manages to get around this one by placing the desert and the forest in different land masses. Not surprising, since it's based on California (notice the redwoods?) and Arizona, which really do look like that.
  • Fire Emblem (well, the three GBA games at least) does this slightly differently, where forest and other terrain types are spread out in a ridiculously random way.
    • Easily observed in Fire Emblem Awakening. It isn't as bad as most examples, but Ylisse has a normal grassy plains climate, yet the only location to the east of Ylisstol, the capital, is a Desert Oasis. Which implies it's part of a larger desert. Which would be odd, considering it's on a peninsula. Looking at the map closely even shows a forest of trees along the path that just kind of end when you get there. Plegia is also pretty jarring when you pay attention. There's water on the west, a great wall on the north that separates it from Regna Ferox which appears to be perpetually snowy once you get over the wall, and the lush greenery of Ylisse on the east, and yet Plegia itself is nothing but desert wastelands, except for the southernmost part: a large village surrounded on all sides by extremely thick forest. Regna Ferox itself is perpetually snowy, which makes sense since it's the northernmost part of the continent, suddenly doesn't appear to be cold at all when you reach Port Ferox which is still on the same latitude. Possibly justified as you canonically only go to Port Ferox once, so it may just have been during warmer times. However, once you reach Valm, it's extremely lush and green all over, even the parts with higher latitude than Regna Ferox.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy X puts the Macalania Forest next to the eternally frozen Lake Macalania. While that could be explained by the presence of Shiva (the aeon of ice) in the latter, it wouldn't explain how the lake stays frozen after the aeons disappear. Another example is the Calm Lands, a lush green plain right below the snowcapped Mt. Gagazet.
    • Final Fantasy XII has the Phon Coast — a beach map with a very obvious ocean — which is somehow at the top of a mountain. There's also Golmore Jungle next to the frozen Feywood. Most of this can be explained by the Mist, according to background information. The concentration of Mist in a certain area significantly affects its climate, though that still doesn't explain the beach at the top of a mountain.
    • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was an even greater offender; the world is divided into four climate zones of identical size, one representing each of the four classical elements, by a pair of planet-spanning mountain ranges that run directly along the equator and the prime meridian.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance even lets you make up your own map by placing different regions on the map. The sequel on the other hand does a surprisingly good job at averting it.
    • Final Fantasy XIV attempted to avert the trope back in its original release, but after the game was remade, a lot of areas were condensed for the sake of travel convenience, thus you get situations like, as of the Stormblood patch cycle, a forest area directly between two different desert regions. However, the developers did try to make the zone transitions somewhat seamless by having the area next to the zone border being a mix of two zones. For example, Eastern Thanalan is a mostly dry and arid zone, but to the far east of the map, there's some grass and trees growing in a few places and it becomes more dense when you approach the zone border that leads into the South Shroud, which is a forest region. Looking at the world map implies that the distance between each zone may be many miles apart, but the player will never actually walk that much since they'll appear in the next zone via loading screen. There are also applications to the effect of A Wizard Did It for more obviously-jarring transitions - Coerthas was originally temperate, mountainous grassland in the original patch cycle, but after the fall of Dalamud, its weather was screwed up, leading it to be reworked into an eternally snowy region - right next to the still-temperate forelands and hinterlands of Dravania introduced with Heavensward.
  • The Elder Scrolls series downplays the trope on a continental scale with Tamriel, the continent where every game in the series has been set to date. Oddities do exist, but they are less extreme than most instances of this trope. A number can also be explained by geography working in a similar fashion to the real world. For reference, see this map of Tamriel. To note, broken down alphabetically by province:
    • Black Marsh, also known as "Argonia", is a dense swampland and the homeland of the Lizard Folk Argonians. To non-Argonians, it is also an example of The Savage South and Swamps Are Evil. Hot, humid, and wet, it is riddled with diseases which plague non-Argonians. One caveat for Black Marsh is that it is supposedly one of the "twelve worlds of creation" destroyed by Padomay during the act of creation. During the Dawn Era, Anu assembled the pieces of these "shattered worlds" into one: Nirn. Black Marsh is believed to be one of these pieces, originally part of the home world of the Hist, sentient trees who still exist in Black Marsh and who are worshiped by the Argonians.
    • Cyrodiil is the central province of Tamriel, base of the various Cyrodiilic Empires throughout history, and homeland of the Imperials. It has a generally temperate climate which varies along the borders to match those of the bordering provinces (for example, the north is colder and mountainous similar to Skyrim, while the southeast is warmer and marshy like Black Marsh). According to the lore, this was not always the case, however. Cyrodiil is said to have once been a tropical jungle, but the Deity of Human Origin Talos performed a Cosmic Retcon upon ascending to godhood to make it more temperate in honor of the Imperial Legions who served him so well in mortal life as Tiber Septim. As seen in The Elder Scrolls Online, a prequel to the main series, this change was retroactive as well.
    • Elsweyr is the mostly desert homeland of the Cat Folk Khajiit. The southern regions are more fertile, and home to Elsweyr's many Moon Sugar plantations. Its desert nature is in stark contrast to the provinces bordering it.
    • Hammerfell is another primarily desert region, homeland of the Redguards, surrounded by much wetter and cooler climes in the provinces surrounding it.
    • High Rock is a coastal province with inland mountains, home to the Bretons. It has a culture based on medieval Britain and France, with elements of Renaissance Italy as well, and these influences reflect in its climate as well. Despite much of it being on the same latitude as snowy Skyrim, High Rock has a much more temperate climate, though this can be justified by its proximity to warmer coastal waters as well as the inland mountains serving as a barrier to the cold winds of Skyrim.
    • Much of Morrowind, homeland of the Dunmer (Dark Elves) is an alien volcanic desert region completely distinct from the rest of the continent. This is generally justified due to the presence of Red Mountain, the massive volcano of the Vvardenfell island. Additionally, the border with Cyrodiil is stated to be more temperate while the southern regions which border Black Marsh are similarly swampy and hot.
      • The island of Solstheim, which lies to the north between Morrowind and Skyrim, is a largely barren and mostly frozen-over rock inhabited for thousands of years by only the Skaal people. After Ebony was discovered there, the Empire set up a legion fort and the mining colony of Raven Rock in the late 3rd Era. The Ebony soon dried up, leaving it to be nearly abandoned once again. Following Red Mountain's eruption during the Red Year, Solstheim's southern coast was blasted with ash, making it very similar to Morrowind. Vvardenfell's flora and fauna were able to make a successful migration there.
    • Skyrim is the snowy, mountainous northernmost province and is the homeland of the viking-inspired Nords. Very much a Grim Up North region to non-Nords, it goes from boreal forests and icy peaks in the south to tundra to a frozen ice-choked northern sea coast. Similar coastal latitudes in High Rock and Morrowind are not nearly as icy. (Though, as mentioned, these borders include mountain ranges which block Skyrim's icy winds, arguably justifying it.)
    • The Summerset Isles are a tropical archipelago to the southwest of mainland Tamriel, and are the homeland of the Altmer (High Elves). With Tamriel following the North Is Cold, South Is Hot philosophy, their climate is rather justified.
    • Valenwood is a Lost Woods themed province enveloped by dense old-growth forests, and is homeland of the Bosmer (Wood Elves). Valenwood's forest climate makes it an odd fit directly to the west of the deserts of Elsweyr.
  • Yoshi's Island has a grand total of six biomes (though you only see five in the first game, and we're not counting the final world of the first game which is not apparently on Yoshi's Island), none of which seem to take rain shadows or elevation into account. Some levels in the "desert" world even have highly visible trees in the background!
  • Metroid
    • Metroid Prime had swamps, snow, and volcanoes all within a few minutes of each other on Tallon IV, but the speed of the elevators probably means they were fairly far apart. The recent impact of the Phazon meteorite (aka the Leviathan), coupled with Phazon radiation, probably have a role in all of this.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was similar in this regard for Aether, and unlike with Tallon IV it was explicitly because of the effects of the Phazon meteorite impact. The Agon Wastes used to be lush green farmland, while the Torvus Bog was once a forest. In fact, it's implied that the whole section of Aether that Samus explores in the game was a fairly temperate biome overall before the impact threw the environment into chaos.
    • Justified in Metroid Fusion, as the game takes place on a biological research vessel, and the various environments have been artificially created to support creatures that need a watery area or a fiery area.
  • Just Cause 2 has a greatly varied environment, consisting of arid deserts, snowcapped mountains, lush jungles, open ocean, and the occasional bit of urban sprawl... all contained within a tropical island cluster slightly smaller than Oahu.
  • Pac-Man World 2. Here we have the Forest (actually a meadow) in the east, the Tree Tops rainforest in the south, the icy Snow Mountain in the west, and the volcano in the northeast.
  • Jak and Daxter
    • In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, there are such oddities as a beach, volcanic fissure and jungle next to each other, a lava pit opening onto a lush green mountain pass, and (most perplexing of all) a snowcapped mountain directly above a massive volcanic caldera. This game sure loves its Convection Shmonvection...
    • Averted in Jak 2 and 3, where most of the environment is a barren wasteland mixed with boreal forests and snow-capped mountains, to obviously fit the post apocalyptic appeal. Jak 3 takes this further with most of the game being a massive desert. Ironically enough, the Woodlands in Jak 2 are patched in between the mountains and desert.
    • Jak X: Combat Racing includes three large cities (Haven, Spargus and Kras) and the Icelands all in close proximity. There are also jungle, deep desert, and tropical island venues, adding to the patchworkiness.
  • Civilization IV has a map option called "fantasy world" where the terrain types are strewn about randomly. Any given tile is as likely to contain tundra as forest, desert, etc.
  • Averted somewhat by Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, partly because it has less diverse terrain than its sister Civilization games, and so could put more work into the distinctions it did make. Rain shadows do exist, and it's even possible to create them on purpose by raising terrain. However, while one would expect the fertile Monsoon Jungle to be rainy, it can actually be placed in arbitrarily dry place by the map generator; same with the Great Dunes, which can end up wetter than the Jungle.
  • Also averted by Dwarf Fortress, which pays attention to things like rain shadows and biomes when generating worlds. Generating a new world can take about a quarter of an hour, depending on the size of the world and the number of potential worlds rejected for not having the right terrain distribution. On the other hand, the world generation is very powerful and flexible and you can set parameters that create worlds with glacier, sand desert, swamp, and mountain range all rubbing shoulders. Regions in half the map bursts into flames as soon as the game starts and the other half freezes every living thing dead within a minute are statistically uncommon (you really do have to make the effort) but not otherwise unusual. However, bugs in some versions can cause unusually powerful fluctuations in water temperatures.
    • "Fluctuations" means creatures spontaneously melting on contact with water, if you weren't aware.
    • Also, the average temperature is set for each section, often leading to perfectly square borders were there is and is not snow, rain, etc.
  • The setting of Enchanted Scepters has a jungle, a desert, an ocean, a forest, a volcano, an Egyptian sphinx, a Mayan temple, and some Easter Island heads, all within walking distance.
  • Averted in Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom. The starting "world" is actually one of seven isolated pods of a generation ship. Most seem to be temperate, with varying amounts of grassland, forests, rivers, and lakes, but some have unusual climates, such as an ice world and a desert world. An early first generation quest suggests the ship's weather control system regulates the climes.
  • Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising takes place entirely on an island chicane (artificial archipelago) located somewhere around New Zealand. The environment varies from hot to frozen over. Justified by the chicane undergoing rapid, hostile (un)terraformation. Especially visible in the last mission.
  • Unavoidable in NationStates. You can make your nation's map as realistic as you like, but you can't really do anything about what the nations next to you do.
  • Justified as a major plot point of Suikoden Tierkreis, starting from the opening scenes where a forest mysteriously appears near your village. Sometime later, a massive savanna pops into existence in the middle of a snow-covered mountain range.
  • An extreme example in the graphic chat/MMO, Furcadia, users can make their own maps (called dreams) that other users can explore, chat, and RP on. Quite a few users have made dreams based on the Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter. In the books, the four clans of wild cats live in slightly different territories, such as one clan lives in moorland while another lives in a forest. In these fan-made dreams, however, the differences in the territories tend to be very drastic. It is not at all uncommon to find a Warriors dream with a barren desert, murky swamp, snowy tundra, and lush forest all sitting right next to each other with little or no transition in between, made even more drastic by the fact that the area of the dream would probably wind up being only 15 square miles or so in real life.
  • Justified in Endless Frontier which ends with five different worlds getting mixed together in a fairly haphazard way. Of course, Nature is soon to start asserting itself, so...
  • Morning Land in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. It has the wooded Forest Village, next to the beach/oceanic like Pirate Island, which in turn is right next to the volcanous Dino Mountain, which is next to Blizzard Castle (guess). And in the middle, with all the others surrounding it, is Sand Ruin! Circus Park and Giant Palace don't count, seeing as the former isn't in any particular biome, and the latter is in the sky.
  • Simon the Sorcerer. You have a temperate forest right next to a swamp right next to some icy mountains, and so on, and so on; in its defense, it IS a magical world.
  • Played straight (presumably for humorous effect) in the "Big Super Happy Fun Fun Game" level of The Simpsons Game. The main hub of the level is a forested area, which leads directly (read: you open a door and you're right there) into a lava area, an ice area, and a sky area. Lisa actually questions how the lava area and the ice area can be so close together.
  • In RuneScape the border between desert and grassy fields is a fence, both from the northern and western sides. The western border eventually turns into a river and a sea. The eastern border is a river and a sea all along, and across the river from the northern part of the desert, both to the east and the west, lie separate swamps. Another swamp lies in the corner of the desert, separated from it by a plateau from two sides and bordering with the sea from two other.
    • Isn't helped by that fact that a bright and sunny, almost Mediterranean fishing village (Catherby) is positioned right next to a snow-drenched arctic-esque craggy hill. Might be justified by the altitude, though — if the world wasn't compressed for player convenience (to the point of two longitudinal or latitudinal minutes being the minimum distance a player can travel, doing so in 0.6 seconds at walking pace), the White Wolf Mountain would possibly be quite high and capable of being cold. Ice Mountain is located at the same latitude.
      • Additionally, the very northern reaches of the world are so cold, the player takes all-stat damage. The Ghorrock fortress is located even further north. Squeeze past an ice block into the Wilderness, and without changing latitude, you'll reach a scorched land with surface lava features in seconds.
  • Pokémon has this with practically every new region. This one is partially justified in that it's implied the Pokemon themselves influence the enviroments around them, especially in regards to Legendary Pokemon.
    • The Pokémon Gold and Silver remakes provide a near-literal example of this trope. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, you can customize the Safari Zone, allowing you to put any terrain near any other, theoretically allowing fields next to deserts and lakes next to savannahs, etc.
    • Unova, the setting of Gen V, has Route 4, which is a desert surrounded by forests and a huge city, with the transitioning area being about as long as a building. This is especially egregious because Unova is otherwise a dead ringer for (a strangely underdeveloped version of) the New York City metropolitan.
    • There are other examples throughout the series. For example, in Sinnoh (where the fourth generation takes place), a snowy city is fairly close to a tropical island, and in Hoenn (third generation) there is a rainy route near a desert route.
    • The biomes in Kalos (sixth generation), after the central Kalos region, change practically every route. After entering west Kalos onto Muraille Coast (cliffside with beach at the bottom), go on a detour through Route 9/Spikes Passage (rocky cliffs). Menhir Trail turns into simple grassland before going into Miroir Way, a mountain trail that provides the entrance through Reflection Cave to reach an oceanside city. Navigate the oceanside Fourrage Road, which provides the entrance to the open-ocean Azure Bay, and go through the next city and you'll reach the red-rock Lumiose Badlands. Pass through Lumiose City and you'll drudge through the marshy Laverre Nature Trail. One city later and you're in the lower-mountain trails of Brun Way and Mélancolie Path. Next city leads to the icy mountain containing Frost Cavern and the snow-covered Mamoswine Road. The next two routes are mountain valleys before reaching the snow-covered Snowbelle City (justified because the local Gym is putting out lots of cold air) that has a detour to the Winding Woods forest area. The final major route ends in a simple mountain area right before the rugged Victory Road. Phew!
    • In both the anime and the FireRed/LeafGreen games, there are tropical archipelagos not too far south of the icy Seafoam Islands (or at least, they're implied to be icy, given that that's the only place in Kanto where a lot of Ice-type Pokémon, including Articuno, are found. In Pokémon games in general, the "icy cave/island" which forms the Ice-types' lair tends to come out of pretty much nowhere).
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon finally breaks the trend with the tropical Alola region (which is based on Hawai'i), which has a nearly completely uniform climate. The closest it gets to this trope is Ula'ula Island, which puts both the desert and the ice area right next to Tapu Village. Even then, the ice area is Pokémon's version of Mauna Kea, meaning that it's largely cold due to its altitude.
  • Dragon Quest VII has a similar zoo, although you don't customize it; you find the plans for each biome.
  • Somewhat deconstructed in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Since the two worlds merged together, the climates have gone insane. Deserts are freezing over and the north pole is melting.
  • The island in Backyard Football 2006.
  • Averted in Lord of the Rings Online here; but when someone else has already done the dirty work, it's a bit easier to pull off.
  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! takes place in the land of Serenia, which is mostly forest, but it is bordered by a hot desert to the west and a cold mountain range to the east. Sort of. The mountain is not on top of the forest; it's stated the screen's a few hours later. It's still implausible, but not quite bordered.
  • Done so blatantly in Banjo-Tooie that it almost counts as a lampshading. When Banjo rises to Cloud Cuckoo Land, we see the Isle O' Hags laid out below, with all the disparate levels right next to each other — most significantly the blazing volcano and freezing mountain of Hailfire Peaks.
  • Averted in Diablo II, where there's a specific "travel gap" between the different Acts — an (unseen and assumed) caravan takes you from the temperate Rogues camp to the desert of Lut Gholein, then an unseen boat takes you from the desert to the jungle of Kurast, then the end of that Act a magical portal directly to Hell is opened. If you have the LoD expansion, a helpful angel teleports you directly from Hell to the snowy mountains for the fifth Act.
  • Similarly averted in Torchlight II. An Embercraft takes you to the Ossean Wastes of Act II then Grunnheim of Act III, Act IV simply involves you travelling underground into a similarly hellish environment. Though Act I does feature snow just North of rain frequented badlands but it's more due to the fact you travel far up a mountain. The loading screen maps also show where each of these act areas are in relation to each other (including the burning town of Torchlight) but there's no figure of distance, meaning it could be averted or played straight depending on the scale of the map.
  • Lampshaded in Paper Mario 64. While two separate areas being next to each other and having different climates isn't rare, there's one part of the game where a forest borders a gulch, and the sky is lit according to which side of a gate you're on. Goombario's description mentions how it's amazing that the scenery can flip between the two so quickly.
  • Impossible Creatures is set on an island chain called Isla Variatas which manages to contain polar, forested and desert islands.
  • Brütal Legend has about half a mile and a deep chasm between icy mountains and sweltering jungle. Most of the other transitions are better, though.
  • Zig-zagged in Minecraft:
    • Originally, the game tried to simulate biomes according to wetness and temperature; therefore, a change in either of them would mean a change of biome. This system was eventually abolished, and afterwards you could walk in rapid succession from a temperate forest, to a tundra, to a sandy desert, to a tropical rainforest. Without skipping a beat. The Beta 1.8 update changed that once more by making biomes significantly bigger, reducing the starkness of the contrasts, though you can see a desert that shares close boundaries with a very large, temperate forest and ocean. The Large Biomes world option obviously makes these borders even less obvious/common.
    • Update 1.7, known in the fandom as the Update that Changed the World, severely overhauled the biome generation system, with the aversion of this trope being one of the end results. Biomes are put into one four main categories: snowy (self-explanatory), cold (mountains, conifer forests), lush (other forests, prairies, swamps, jungles), and dry/warm (deserts, savannahs, mesas). Biomes are only placed next to biomes from their same category or an adjacent one, except oceans, which belong to none of these groups and can appear next to any biome. In essence, this means that biomes tend to be placed next to biomes you'd expect them to in real life, although the system isn't foolproof — you can still find a lush jungle next to a snowless taiga forest, for instance. Since this system doesn't account for precipitation, there's also nothing stopping a swamp or jungle from appearing right next to a barren, lifeless desert.
    • This trope still persists on a large scale. The location of the biomes is still randomly generated, and there is no equivalent in Minecraft's Flat World to arctic circles or an equator. As such, a typical Minecraft world ends up looking like a stretch of chiefly temperate environments with areas of arctic cold and tropical heat randomly scattered around everywhere.
  • The Hunter Classic: hunting reserves are situated on archipelago with various biomes from Arctic to Australian desert & rainforest
  • Ys is a frequent offender. Ys V has Shifting Sand Land, Jungle Japes, The Lost Woods, Death Mountain, Bubblegloop Swamp, and Green Hill Zone (across a Broken Bridge from the desert, no less) all in the same vicinity. In Ys VI, Quatera Island is mostly forested while the adjacent Canaan is mainly grassland, and the latter has barren rocky mountains a stone's throw away from the meadows. Ys II has a Slippy-Slidey Ice World and Lethal Lava Land directly connected to each other.
  • Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, which has Direct Continuous Levels in parts, goes from Slippy-Slidey Ice World to Shifting Sand Land to Green Hill Zone to Palmtree Panic and back to Slippy-Slidey Ice World in the second half of the game. The Dragon's Trap is also somewhat guilty.
  • The lower areas of Paradise City in Burnout Paradise are tropical and resemble Florida, then there's the geologically implausible California-style mountains with a parody of the Hollywood sign, and temperate forests/vegetation.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3 not only has jungle with Misplaced Vegetation and savanna right next to each other, but Mt. Kilimanjaro is way too close to the Tsavo/Mombasa area.
    • Forerunner installations like the titular Halos are like this too, but it's justified by them being artificial worlds deliberately designed to have their systems to enforce this trope.
  • An Untitled Story has its entire world compressed into few hundred screens. As such, there's a snowfield that borders with a sunny town and a grassy (and moonlit) hill without any barriers, or a lava covered factory that borders directly with a water grotto, a grassy plain from above and a tree.
  • Notably averted in Mabinogi. Regions are laid out in a relatively realistic manner. eg. The region of Rano is divided into roughly equal parts; the rolling prairie land of Maiz Plains, the scrubland of Muyu Desert, and the lush, verdant Karu Forest, sitting side by side in that order. However, each region is separated from its neighbor by a high, almost impassible mountain range that effectively shadows the desert from the moisture laden air to either side of it. The only notable exception is the deserts of Connus; but this is justified by the in-game backstory as the result of a magical catastrophe resulting from a great war, which also resulted in the frozen wasteland of Physis.
  • Inazuma Eleven GO has a desert area sandwiched between an icy tundra area to its east and a beach/water area to its west. Justified in that they were man-made (the nearby windy valley area even has gigantic fans to create the wind), complete with walls separating them.
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn does this literally. Patch Land is split into several distinct areas, each with its own unique ecosystem and no transitional regions whatsoever.
  • Justified in A Valley Without Wind, where a recent cataclysm has shattered reality and made continents out of "time shards" from different times and places at complete random, so it's entirely possible to have a region of deep Ice Age adjacent to some Lava Flats. Also mentioned are powerful and very hostile forces holding the world together this way; putting one foot across the border of a time shard is fatal (unless you're a Glyphbearer).
  • Very common in most games by Nifflas. The geography tends to change halfway through a screen, indicating a new area.
  • Fossil Fighters takes place entirely on one smallish island and a couple of tiny ones around it. Yet, the selection of locales include Slippy-Slidey Ice World, Lethal Lava Land, Green Hill Zone, Build Like an Egyptian, Death Mountain, Minecart Madness, The Lost Woods and Shifting Sand Land, all clustered closely around a lust lagoon with a Gangplank Galleon at the bottom. The convection alone should cause a permanent storm-cell over the island, and yet, it never even rains anywhere on the island. Despite occasional weather-reports to the contrary.
  • The world of Scribblenauts Unlimited is a blatant example, having several biomes right next to each other within walking distance (putting aside why you would ever need to walk in a Scribblenauts game). This isn't just an approximation for convenience of the map, either, nor is there any gradual transfer in unseen areas between the locations; at several points in the far right end of the map, you can see the geography suddenly turn from that of one region to another. This includes a swamp cutting into plains, which leads to a tundra, which leads to canyons, which has its neighboring desert end at a seemingly tropical beach.
  • The Lost Hex in Sonic Lost World, made up of random groupings of hexagonal pieces housing different biomes.
  • The world map of New Super Mario Bros. U. For example, it suddenly cuts from plains to desert, then it leads up to a tundra with nothing in between.
  • The enigmatic island of The Witness doesn't appear to be more than two miles across, yet as these pictures show, there is a desert, a tropical forest, lots of temperate forests, and several other environments packed in that tiny space.
  • Donkey Kong Country
    • Donkey Kong Island goes from a tropical rainforest, to a mine setting in the side of a grassy hill, to a temperate forest, to an ice capped mountain, to a polluted grassland, to a giant cave. This is actually justified, as most of the game involves you climbing up a very large mountain which will have similar changes in scenery in Real Life. It's pretty logical about the change too; the temperate forest is at a higher altitude (and thus colder) than the jungle, and the ice cap is higher still.
    • In the second game, once you reach Crocodile Isle, you go from a volcanic region, then to a swamp, then to an amusement park in the swamp, then to an ancient deciduous forest, then to a castle on an ice cap. Here it seems that the lower parts of the island, which connect with the sea, are all swamp except for the volcanoes, and the forest is much higher on the map than the swamp.
    • The third game isn't as justifiable, having stuff like a ski resort level in the sunny lake world, a deep water coral reef level in the mountain world and a whole jungle world in a game where the settings should be entirely based on northern geography (with said world being at the northernmost point in the map even, ironically enough).
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns actually justifies the trope by having the first levels of each world being a transition between it and the previous world. For example, the first level of the beach world has Donkey Kong leaving the jungle from the first world, and the first level of the factory world has several rock formations in the background which belong to the previous cliff world.
  • The Mario & Luigi series generally isn't terrible about this, as the first three games all take place in kingdoms that are presumably wide enough to encompass a wide variety of biomes. There are some exceptions, though; Superstar Saga places the icy Joke's End in the middle of an otherwise fairly temperate ocean, and Dream Team manages to cram plains, jungle, volcano, desert, and beach environments onto one island. Bowser's Inside Story has a variant of this in that the areas don't really seem to connect to each other, they just go from one biome to another when you cross an invisible line.
  • Played perfectly straight in Terraria, in which the biomes are randomly generated and divided from one another upon world generation. Like the page image, you can go straight from a frozen tundra into a desert. The only consistency is that the Snow and Jungle biomes are never next to each other depending on which side of the world the Dungeon is generated in. The Snow biome will always be in the direction of the Dungeon and the Jungle is located in the opposite direction from the center spawn point.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
  • OutRun 2's course grid is a mashup of disparate locales from around the world, such as Lake Geneva, Windsor Castle, the Black Forest, Transylvania, the Pyramids of Giza, Paris, etc. all within miles of each other.
  • The Witness: There are an awful lot of different biomes close together on such a small island. It's possible to stand in one biome and see three others at any given time.
  • Mount & Blade is another offender: there are no less than seven distinct biomes (tundra, steppes, desert, heavy mountain, temperate forest, coastal, plains) all within casual travel distance of each other. You can start in a corner of the desert and be shivering on the deep tundra in less than a day, but only after having traversed either the steppes or the low plains.
  • Zig Zagged Trope in The Battle For Wesnoth. Campaign maps will try to keep the terrain relatively sane (although the varying scale of the maps means that there will sometimes be deserts right next to snowfields), but multiplayer skirmish maps have to be a wild patchwork for the sake of balance, since different units have varying movement and defense ratings on different terrain types.
  • The Adventure Worlds in LEGO Dimensions take the worlds of their source materials and size them down to the size of a large island, which in some cases results in this:
  • In Theta vs Pi 7 this is lampshaded with "The Land of Confusing Weather".
  • A common complaint about the world in Dark Souls 2. While the world of the previous game was very cohesive to the point that you could frequently spot other locations off in the distance, and extreme changes in climate had proper justifications (such as the fire area being hidden deep, deep underground, and the ice area being its own isolated world inside of a magic painting,) the world of 2 had no such cohesion. You could go from the poisonous Harvest Valley up Earthen Peak, an isolated windmill at the end of the valley, and from near the top ride an elevator further up to suddenly find yourself at Iron Keep, another series of ruins inside a massive lake of lava, or from Aldia's Keep up another elevator and end up at the Dragon Aerie, a castle on top of a series of massive rock pillars with dragons flying all around them, that should be easily visible from multiple locations but isn't. Drangleic Castle can be seen from multiple locations, but even then when you approach the tunnel leading to Dranglec Castle it's just off to the left of the tunnel, and after travelling in a straight line through the tunnel suddenly it's way off to the right instead.
  • Monster Hunter: World: While the game's various settings (the Ancient Forest, the Wildspire Wastes, the Coral Highlands, the Rotten Vale, Elder's Recess, and Hoarfrost Reach) are distant enough to not be obvious, Iceborne introduces the Guiding Lands, a single zone that contains elements of all the other levels slapped together, which the Research Commission notes is highly unusual.
  • Fe at least partially averts this, with all of the biomes having logical transitions between one another; e.g. a river flowing downhill from the mountains to the sea, a backwater swamp, a rain-shadowed desert valley, and glaciers at high altitudes.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps is ostensibly set in a temperate forest, but the Luma Pools region is blatantly tropical. The placement of the icy Baur's Reach and the Windswept Wastes desert is at least partially justified by the former's high altitude and the latter being set inland beyond a mountain range, in addition to The Corruption's influence on their climates.
  • Xenoblade has one bizarre case of this. Most areas on the Bionis are distant enough from each other to avoid this trope (it's generally assumed the characters are travelling a larger distance than what is shown in-game), but Valak Mountain, on the Bionis' right shoulder and upper arm, is right next to Makna Forest, on its upper back. Makna Forest is a tropical jungle (in which the characters complain about the heat), while Valak Mountain is a frozen tundra. It's pretty explicit as well: there's one area of Makna Forest where you can see the jungle very suddenly and jarringly transition to the frozen landscape of Valak. Why Valak would be so cold is unexplained: Eryth Sea is at a higher elevation and is temperate, and the Bionis' left shoulder is a grassy plain.
  • The Wolf and the Waves: The island has a savannah, a forest, and a desert right next to each other.
  • In Overcooked!, the maps you travel across have bits of ocean next to bits of desert, with bits of an alien planet right next door.


    Western Animation 
  • The city of Ba Sing Se in Avatar: The Last Airbender has a large area of Ghibli Hills between its inner and outer walls, but it appears that just outside the wall is a barren dusty desert. Then again, there's a lake inside the area, so maybe they just have good irrigation, and the walls are higher than some of the clouds. (Not to mention a lot of Earthbenders to create channels, transport fertile soil, etc.)
  • Transformers Animated has a volcano on an island in the middle of Lake Erie.
  • You know how there's always snow on the ground in South Park? When they went to Nebraska the snow gave way to green fields, with the boundary being exactly at the Colorado-Nebraska state line. Or was the state line being placed exactly on the snow-grass boundary?
  • Similarly, there was a Bugs Bunny cartoon where the drab, unpleasant Northern U.S. was separated from the verdant, flowered South precisely at the Mason-Dixon Line.
  • The Flintstones did it in one episode. Rain up until a border.
  • Justified in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Eye of the Beholder". On the planet Lactra VII the Enterprise crew finds deserts right next to forests, and Mr. Spock comments on how unnatural it is. It's eventually revealed that the alien Lactrans did it to make their planet a giant zoo.
  • Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1,001 Rabbit Tales has a lush jungle near or in the middle of an Arabian desert.
  • In The Simpsons, Springfield apparently borders almost every type of terrain and climate, with the possible exception of tropical jungle (so far).
  • Iggy Arbuckle is set in Kookamunga National Park which contains a swamp, a forest, a desert, a tropical beach, a volcano, a frozen tundra, glaciers, geysers, and a lake; all jammed up against one another. Played for Laughs, obviously.
  • Daria: Blink and you'll miss it (and perfectly fitting this trope), but in "Speedtrapped" the countryside goes from the lush greens of Lawndale to the dry desert lands of Fremont in an instant when Daria pulls over to let Quinn drive.
  • Adventure Time is set in a world where The Magic Came Back and really did a number of the landscape. In particular, the Ice Kingdom and the Fire Kingdom are right next to each other, with only a small temperate strip of land between them.
  • The Smoggies: Coral Island has snow-capped mountains, iceberg-filled waters, warm beaches, farmland, forests, and more, all crammed into one tiny island.

  • Geographical term charts such as these: [1] [2]. Their purpose is to showcase a visual representation of different landforms, though it's fairly amusing to see a tropical, desert, and arctic terrain all bunched together in the same location.

    Real Life 
  • Can be truth in fiction when the reason for desert/not desert is not obvious. For example there are parts of the world where there is hardly any rain, but copious mist. This condenses on the trees and waters them. However, if all the trees are cut down, the saplings can't take advantage of this and nothing can grow. There are attempts to make artificial rain catchers (sails) to get the trees kick started again. Such an area could have a forest in one place and a bare desert next to it.
    • One such example is the Pampa del Tamarugal, over 20,000 hectares of forest in the middle of the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. Much larger in the past, it was cleared for firewood by the mining industry during the saltpeter fever, and it's being replanted since the '50s, and declared a National Reserve in 1987.
  • Likewise rain forests may be self sustaining but can be destroyed. For example the rich soil is continuously used and replaced, thus once the trees are gone the soil is also gone in two or three years. Farming is abandoned, leaving bare ground that radiates far more heat than the forest ever did, preventing rain. I.e. forest and desert are the only two stable equilibria, and could theoretically be close to each other.
    • This occurs in Colombia, where the arid scrub grass covered llanos abut directly against the lush rainforests.
  • Another example occurs with the largely sheltered canyons of, for example, eastern Washington state, which allow you to have a large river running through bone-dry desert/xeric shrubland.
  • The Eastern U.S. has a relatively continuous climate that gradually changes from cold in the north to hot in the south, and from wet in the east to dry in the west. The West is mostly desert, everywhere, except for Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, which are strongly defined by the complex boundaries between forest and desert. You can stand almost anywhere in Silicon Valley and see brown hills on one side and green ones on the other. If you park off I-84 in Oregon you can walk from forest to desert, along a big river flowing sideways through a mountain range. It does happen.
    • This is especially true where the Mojave meets the Sierra Nevadas. The scorching desert will often give way to muddy wetlands, snowcapped mountains, and lush forests with little to no distinct gradient between them the more north one goes.
    • The "rain shadow" phenomenon plays a big role in the patchwork nature of western North America. Basically, when rain clouds travel over a mountain range the pressure differential makes them dump all their precipitation on the windward face of the mountain. The land on the other side of the range is left virtually bone dry. Since the prevailing winds in the west are coming off the Pacific and the western half of North America is a patchwork of mountains and the spaces between them...
    • What happens when you go from west to east in California also deserves a mention due to the contrast of the cold ocean temperatures and hot valley temperatures. Basically, the hot air in the valleys pulls the fog that condenses over the ocean onto the state. As a result, areas right on the coast are colder, foggier, and damper with the land being wetter and greener to reflect this. But drive just 10-20 miles inland and you'll find yourself in hotter and drier climates with the geography being more arid. The temperature between coast and inland can differ by as much as 30 degrees.
  • Also true along the northern coast of Iran, where rain shadows play merry hell with the ecology of the Alborz Mountains. Moisture coming off the Caspian Sea causes their seaward slopes to be covered in lush forests, while their landward side is practically desert. In some cases, the two biomes can be on different sides of the same hill.
  • New York City's Central Park has a perfect transition with the cityscape. It's manmade though.
  • New York State itself, in the terrain sense. It has lowland plains, two plateaus, three sets of mountains one of which is cut off from any other range, and some islands. Climate wise it does stay pretty regular.
  • Israel. In a country smaller than New Jersey, there are snow-capped mountains, a desert, coral reefs, and the lowest point in the world.
    • This is partially due to the immigrating Jews who made some changes in the scenery, like drying up some swamps to avoid certain diseases (notably malaria in Hadera) and planted trees native to their homelands due to being homesick. A notable example of both was planting eucalyptus trees to drink up the swamp water (though few Jews actually did come from Australia), an attempt that was mostly a failure, as the trees drank water from the ground and not the swamps themselves. (They eventually resorted to using other types of trees.)
  • For that matter, Lebanon also counts, possibly even moreso considering that it's also smaller and less populous than Israel. Minus the Negev, Lebanon and Israel's geographies are actually quite similar, except that Lebanon has more mountains.
  • In that same vein, Venezuela has snow-capped mountains, desert, gorgeous beaches, thick jungles, plains, snowless mountains, hills, and more!
  • One of the most dramatic change in scenery and map patchwork is Western China, due to the little-known mountain range known as the Himalayas shielding the interior region from rainfall. You have lush farmland directly to the south of the mountains in India, then shifting abruptly to the highest mountain range on Earth, snow-capped all-year-round and having the largest and highest amount of glaciers on Earth (the Himalayas is the world's third-largest stock of untapped water, after the Antarctic and the Arctic). Directly to the north is the dry Tibetan Plateau, also known as the "Roof of the World". These combined heights created one of the driest, hottest, and, curiously, the coldest places on Earth: the Tarim Basin, which contains the Taklamakan Desert and its ever-changing temperature. Further north will take you to the the grassy steppes of Central Asia, which itself also contains a desert (Gurbantünggüt) containing the remotest point from the sea on Earth.
    • The Himalayas itself also deserves a mention. It is actually located in the subtropics, on the same latitude as North Africa and the Southernmost United States including Texas and Louisiana. Yet it manages to not only be snow-capped all-year, but becomes the world center of glaciers on account of its sheer size, purely due to its great altitude.
  • The Desert of Maine, 40 acres of, well, desert-like landscape surrounded by mixed forest with little brooks. TECHNICALLY it's not an actual desert as much as it is the product of over a century of utter agricultural mismanagement. And technically it's glacial silt, and not sand. It doesn't stop them from having a huge Fiberglas camel on site for photo opportunities.
  • In Australia, parts of South-East Queensland have small pockets of sub-tropical rainforest in water catching hollows and along creek beds in what would be relatively dry eucalypt forests.
    • On a larger scale the Great Dividing Range separates the relatively well watered eastern seaboard from the dry plains that gradually transition into the deserts of the interior. The transition as you go over the range can be fairly abrupt, especially as you go further north.
  • Using the Indus river as a dividing line, Pakistan has lush farmland to the eastern banks (the Punjab), desolate wasteland on the western banks (Balochistan), the sea shore and the Mega City of Karachi in the south, and snowcapped mountains in the north (Khyber-Paktunkwha).
  • One of the reasons so many production companies love New Zealand so much is its large diversity in a relatively small area. You have cities, mountains, beaches, forests, and pretty much everything except desert wedged into a couple of land masses roughly the size of Colorado. Watch a show like Power Rangers (post Ninja Storm) to see just how diverse New Zealand is. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, also shot entirely in the country, managed to convey the scope of an enormous and varied world much bigger than actual New Zealand with barely any reuse of the same location for more than one place.
  • The island of Hawai'i (commonly called "The Big Island") packs a similar amount of diverse geography — lush rainforest, staggeringly deep valleys, barren swaths of land ravaged by recent lava flows, a volcanic desert, wide-open highlands suitable for ranching, and mountain peaks that look like the surface of the moon when they're not covered in snow — into a space slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. It's possible — though not terribly practical — to ski or snowboard on Mauna Kea (the world's tallest, though not highest, mountain), and then go surfing an hour or two later. Climate-wise, the island has been described as a miniature continent.
    • A bit less varied, but the island of Kauai is small enough to drive most of the way around in a single day, going from lush rainforest in the north and east to dry, Grand Canyon-like terrain in the south and west.
  • Both the Susquehanna (in Pennsylvania) and the Brahmaputra (in India) rivers flow across mountain ranges, and it's thought that the rivers pre-date the mountains and eroded their beds faster than the land around them uplifted.
  • The transition between the northernmost regions of Spain and the rest of the country is somewhat dramatic, when you go from the endless, almost flat, and with few trees Spain's plateau to the lush and mountainous Green Spain as is known after crossing the Cantabrian mountains. Weather makes it even more sonote , especially in summer when you can have in the plateau cloudless skies and searing hot temperatures and in the other side cloudcast skies and (often) drizzle, as well as quite milder temperatures.
  • Due to the Colorado Plateau, Arizona transitions pretty abruptly from ponderosa pine forests that regularly get snow (north, near Flagstaff) to desert (most of the rest). You can be traveling down from Flagstaff and see nothing but pine forests, and five minutes later be staring at the start of the desert and a rather large amount of saguaro cacti.
  • Common for rivers flowing through deserts, with lush, fertile ground abruptly giving way to barren waste with little border. The Nile in Egypt and the Tigris and Euphrates in the Middle East are some of the better known examples. Modern irrigation techniques can have a similar effect on a smaller scale, making for interesting satellite pictures in some areas showing perfect green circles scattered across otherwise brown land.
  • Gardening, landscaping, or even farming in general can be considered means of invoking this trope.
  • Maryland has so many different landscapes that it's nicknamed "America in Miniature". It's not a very big state, but it features sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, marshes, islands, rivers and bays, beautiful caves, grassy plains, oak-covered hills, and pine-covered mountains. About the only thing it doesn't have is a desert.
  • Textbooks showing pictures and names of different landforms will have this to illustrate them and name the features, using Acceptable Breaks from Reality to put deserts and rainforests next to each other.

Alternative Title(s): Patchwork Fantasy Map


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