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"All he can do is consume. He's pursued by demons that are probably just in his own head. And even if he does manage to escape by slipping out one side of the maze, what happens? He comes right back in the other side."
Colin Ritman on Pac-Man, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

A video game mechanic where the edges of the screen are hyperspatially connected: move past the left side, and you appear on the right. Or walk to the south, and suddenly you're in the north. It serves as an alternative to the Invisible Wall that would normally be present if one tried to walk off the screen.

How this trope is applied differs by the game's genre. In a Platform Game, typically only the horizontal directions wrap around, loosely implying that the game world is cylindrical. In other games, it's common for all four directions to wrap around, with the slightly more confusing implication that the game world is shaped like a torus.

Some games have used this mechanic in certain Gimmick Levels.

Wrap Around in some older games can also be unintentionally present and can be exploited only by using glitches. Tool-assisted Speedruns often exploit it.

Four-directional wraparound is quite often used in Role Playing Games' world maps - see Video Game Geography.

Not to be mistaken with Wraparound Background. See also Unnaturally Looping Location, for an in-universe location repeating endlessly.


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  • Kid Icarus (1986) displays this to take advatnage of its reliance on vertical level design. This does not happen in Of Myths and Monsters because, due to the Game Boy's resolution, the screen scrolls horizontally.
  • Frogger has the assorted obstacles and platforms wrap around, but if the player tries it, they lose a life instead. In the Atari 2600 version of the game, a player can wrap around without losing a life, depending on difficulty settings.
  • Most Pac-Man games contain one or more "tunnels" that wrap around to the opposite side of the screen. The monsters can use them just as well as Pac-Man can, but only Pac-Man goes through them at full speed.
  • Wizard of Wor similarly featured Escape Doors connecting the left and right ends of the dungeon mazes for players. Worluk, however, would use them to quit the level entirely.
  • Astro Man's stage in Mega Man 8 has horizontal wraparound.
  • Some of the invaders in the Space Invaders Extreme series wrap around right-to-left, descending a little lower as they do so.
  • In the MSX version of Parodius, one of the powerups simply turns left-right wraparound on for 30 seconds. In a stroke of game design genius, this power is required to get past a solid impassable wall in the last stage.
  • Touhou Project:
  • True to a ridiculous extent in Cortex Command, in which, on a small or mid-sized map, a weapon with sufficient muzzle velocity can fire a projectile that circles the world and ends up blowing off your own head.
  • Metal Storm has vertical wraparound, especially in Stage 2 and Stage 6. It allows the player to fall indefinitely instead of into a Bottomless Pit and lets enemy harass you from both above and below.
  • Scorched Earth lets you change the behaviour of the walls, including making them act like concrete (missiles explode when they hit it), padded (missiles bounce off slower), rubber (bounce off at same speed), spring (bounce off faster), and of course, wraparound.
  • Karoshi series often utilizes this variation in often clever ways.
  • Action 52 has several games to include that mechanic. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.
  • In the NES game Super Dodge Ball, one could hit an opponent so hard that they do this a few times, and it's even possible to get them to land on your side if you do it right.
  • Purple uses horizontal wrapping in vertical sections. Things that chase you (like your frisbee, or some enemies) still respond to your position relative to the screen, making situations where you can put player character on one side, toss frisbee through the edge and watch as it repeatedly whacks an enemy on the other side of of the screen trying to get back to you.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series have vertical wraparound at several points, such as in Labyrinth Zone and Ice Cap Zone. Sonic 3 & Knuckles, since the two acts of each zone are Direct Continuous Levels, also has hidden horizontal wraparound, which means with the right glitches, you can loop back to a zone's first act, resulting in the graphics glitching up.
  • Civilization and its clones use flat cylinder-shaped Earth.
  • Animaniacs has a PC game set released; one features Dot in a Mario Brothers-like game, but shooting limites ammo horizontally rather than hitting platforms. Dot and enemies both can wrap around. Dot can even warp around to get hit with her own shots ... for limited invulnerability. The SNES game features this in the final boss battle against Pinky and the Brain. Taking advantage of it is the best way to avoid their attacks.
  • Rockman 4 Minus ∞ has a vertical wraparound section as an homage to the Labyrinth Zone. There is a secret path hidden in the blocks.
  • In Flicky, the screen would scroll horizontally, but wrap around before too long.
  • In Nuts & Milk, the left and right sides of the screen are connected for Milk.
  • In Alpiner, wrapping from the left side of the screen to the right, or vice versa, is useful for avoiding trees. You can actually climb while straddling the wraparound border.
  • Bubble Bobble, but vertically instead of horizontally.
  • Doki Doki Penguin Land has horizontal wraparound at the very top of the screen, to which the penguin will go after falling off the bottom of the screen, which is odd because dropping the egg would reveal more level below.
  • There is one area of one dungeon in Live A Live with horizontal scrolling. Otherwise, the whole game world is closed off.
  • Super Arabian has this for pages 3 and 4, although it only works when you jump.
  • The Fairyland Story allows wrapping from left to right if there are high enough platforms to jump over the walls, and certain stages have pits in the bottom floor where anything that falls in reappears at the top of the screen.
  • Door Door has arrows indicating platforms which wrap from left to right.
  • Earnest Evans doesn't use it in gameplay, but every level wraps around horizontally, likely just due to how the game engine works.
  • The BlazBlue series allows Arakune to wrap to the other side of the screen by airdashing against a wall.
  • Balloon Fight features this in every level. It even carries over into the stage based on it in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
  • North And South has horizontal wraparound in the battle stage, which helps prolong battles since individual units are not permitted to move backwards.
  • Nidhogg features this as a Comeback Mechanic. The player who is on the defensive has the option of running off-screen to respawn in front of the leading player if they can't catch up to them.
  • Levels 8 and 10 of Dangerous Dave feature open pits at the bottom of the screen that, when you fall through them, drop you atop the ceiling of the level. This is, in fact, necessary to complete those levels.
  • Clarence's Big Chance: Some pits will do this. Lampshaded, of course;
    "Sometimes, space just all like warps in on itself, y'know?"
  • DK: King of Swing uses this in an interesting way in the course Treacherous Twister, where wind is constantly blowing Donkey Kong to the left as he tries to climb to the top. Getting blown off the left side of the screen shows Donkey Kong flying helplessly back over to the right in the background, then becoming controllable once again when he wraps around, giving the impression that the wind is moving in a circle, befitting a twister. The second half of the stage reverses the directions, but the effect is the same.
  • Water's Fine: If Wave swims off one horizontal side of the screen, he will appear on the opposite side.
  • Bug Fables does this with the Ant Kingdom City. If you go one screen right from the main square, you end up in the residential district. Go another screen right, and you are in the commercial district. Go another screen right, and you're back in the main square.
  • The world map of Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom wraps around horizontally, without any reason given or attention brought to it.
  • Curse Crackers: For Whom The Belle Toils:
    • Some rooms will require you to move offscreen in one direction to get to the other side in order to navigate towards the exit. The first boss also makes use of a wrap around where the only way to hit it is to throw Chime offscreen so that he'll hit the boss from behind.
    • One of the Tickets is found by solving a wrap around puzzle in the overworld where you must travel up, left, or right through the mountains based on a series of cryptic hints. Getting the correct sequence of directions will take you to a new area where the Ticket is found, otherwise you'll keep looping around the same part of the map until you leave.

  • The joke Interactive Fiction game Rox, written for a competition of parody adaptations of classic arcade games, is a turn based text adventure adaptation of Asteroids, together with an actual Excuse Plot and written from the perspective of the crew of the spaceship. Whenever the iconic wrap-around happens, it is suggested to be caused by a Negative Space Wedgie.
  • In ChuChu Rocket!, characters will wrap around the edges of the playing board. In particular, a Chu and a Kapu will miss each other is they wrap around the screen at the same time. It can take a lot of trial and error to perform this trick on puzzles that revolve around it.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy is notable in that all maps featured this, not just the world map. Most maps had "exit tiles" set in places that prevented the effect from being visible but at least one town allowed the player to see back to where they came in if they went far enough to the right and one dungeon treasure required walking down a narrow corridor to the right to get back to the far left of the map.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: The trope is Defied (but not averted). When you bring up the mini-map on the overworld for the first time, the world is projected onto a sphere. Toggling the mini-map again switches to the classic flat map. In fact, the map wraps around in four directions, but the globe mini-map uses clever tricks to give the illusion that the world is a sphere.
  • Mario Party DS: The minigame Globe Runners has all players running across a globe whose gravity allows them to fully run around without falling onto the drawer where it's placed; this is also reflected on the map, which is shown as a rectangle instead of a three-dimensional figure and thus can show the characters heading onto a side and reappear in its opposite. The objective for each character is to look for the others and shoot them to score points. After 30 seconds, whoever has the highest score wins.
  • Secret of Mana: The world map is a wraparound square, but when flying over it on Flammie, pressing START will display the map in a globe-shaped manner.
  • Skies of Arcadia: This becomes a plot point when the crew decides to be the first to sail around the world after the acquisition of the Blue Moon Crystal.
  • The freeware game Jumpman plays with the wraparound trope by making the wrapped area smaller than the screen, revealing copies of the room and the player to the left and right.
  • Some levels, including treasure rooms, in Gauntlet and Gauntlet II have this property.
  • Tetrisphere does this so you can scroll across the playfield in any direction without the orientation changing, but it keeps just a circular portion of the field visible at any time so it looks like a sphere.
  • The arcade version of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has levels which loop on all sides; the NES version uses 2D wraparound because many levels have lava pits at the bottom.
  • Technically Bosconian has this; it occurs on the "radar" screen.
  • The entire main area in VVVVVV and some rooms themselves as well. In fact, this is one section's entire gimmick.
  • King's Quest I the kingdom of Daventry wrapped around after six screens in a direction, both horizontally and vertically. King's Quest II, III, and IV had their worlds wraparound vertically, but not horizontally. Only from King's Quest V onward did the wraparound actually cease.
  • Action Biker on Atari 800/Commodore 64 does to. Probably due to the small world, its even more obvious than other games listed.
  • Solium Infernum has a wrap around map. Aesthetically, it shows Hell is a strange place. Strategically, it means your territory can completely encircle the map or flank an opponent.
  • In Portal, you can easily create a wraparound effect by placing portals on opposite sides of yourself (and at any angle), and this is an important mechanic for solving the game's many fiendish puzzles. For example, portals placed on the floor and ceiling of the same room create a space through which you can fall infinitely.
  • Populous: The Beginning. The world is a globe, completely round, which is very rare for a Real Time Strategy game.
  • Monster Truck Madness 2: Drive in any direction in a straight line and you'll eventually get back to where you started. There is no border on most or all of the maps.
  • 1nsane also did this.
  • The 2D/2.5D entries in the Mortal Kombat series feature teleport moves that work this way, both horizontally and vertically. Rain's roundhouse kick is notable for causing the other player to do this.
  • Almost every map in Yume Nikki does this. Makes much more sense than most examples, because hey, it's a dream.
  • Some versions of Snake have wrap-around.
  • Freeware game Fetus and its sequel, suteF. Except when it doesn't.
  • Antichamber:
    • Used primarily to mess with the player's spatial senses. Various hallways and exits can take you to virtually any part of the Antichamber complex, and you often cannot go back the way you came.
    • The end section of the game features a seemingly endless open area consisting of walkways connecting towers and decks. The Bottomless Pits in this area actually loop around—falling off of a walkway just means you'll come down from above your starting position in a few seconds, which is necessary to reach the end. If you exploit the fact that you can stand on the black block, you can even skip the entire puzzle by just jumping off the starting bridge.
  • A Trip in A Tree from Something Else is an homage to World 5-3 from Super Mario Bros. 2. It even uses enemies from Super Mario Bros. 2: the Bob-Omb and Albatoss.
  • Seija Kijin has access to this ability in Danmaku Amanojaku ~ Impossible Spell Card via use of an item called the "Gap Folding Umbrella".
  • World Destroyers, playing like Asteroids, has four-dimensional wrap-around which is visually represented, resulting in strange situations like a ship with different parts of itself on all corners of the screen. Enemies and Homing Projectiles see through the wrap-around as well.
  • Nearly all versions of RPG Maker have the option to create maps that loop horizontally or vertically or in both directions. This feature is oddly absent in RPG Maker XP, but thankfully there are scripts for this. It's also generally suggested to be used for The Lost Woods to give the illusion of being definitely, positively lost.
  • Both of the main stages in Killer Queen have horizontal wraparound, but one of them also has holes in the bottom platforms that lead to the top of the stage if they are jumped through.
  • Transcendent tears in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth are a lot like this. If they go through a wall, they come out the other side. Several Afterbirth items give you transcendent tears, while the battle with Hush incorporates these tears in its Bullet Hell sequences.
  • Chrono Trigger uses this kind of torus-shaped world, unfortunately the ending shows the planet to be spherical.
  • Doom mapspace will "wrap around" when reaching the borders, though no official map ever extends this far. This can be seen using no clipping; running in one direction away from the game world will eventually result in the player approaching it again from the other side. Player-made maps can take advantage of this though a level of such size can cause issues in some ports of the game. Additionally, strange effects occur at the "border" of the mapspace, notably with monster pathfinding not considering the open border of the mapspace to be a valid pathway.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan: There are passageways in the floors of the Misty Ravine which, due to the influence of the effect of the atmosphere's miasma, end at one point in the map and resume in an opposite end; the terminals can be either horizontal or vertical. It is here where the number icons of your map's legend come very handy, as otherwise it's pretty easy to get disoriented during navigation. The Bonus Dungeon takes this to the logical extreme - the wrap-arounds in the first and third floors are all located in the map's borders.
    • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: The Untamed Garden has this in the west and east edges, as the place consists of a terraformed forest lying well beyond the planet's stratosphere. You literally are looping around the floors' areas - it's a large-scale cylindrical surface.
  • Leprechaun 1982: If you walk off the screen on one point, you reappear on the polar opposite side.
  • OFF:
    • In the purified Zone 3, there is an endless white room that leads to the Grand Spectral, which is required to get the option to obtain the secret ending.
    • The Fan Sequel HOME has a similar room, located in the purified Zone 2'', this time with pillars instead of just being an vast, empty white room. Unlike in the official game, this room is required to beat the game.
  • Lenna's Inception: A late-game item allows wrapping around the current screen. In addition, a flashback shows a stack of pizzas wrapping around the screen twice.
  • In Motos, if you use Jump parts to jump off one side of the screen, your Motorspanner will appear on the opposite side. While there are ways to make use of this, you must be careful that there are tiles to land on wherever you end up.

    Non video game-related 

  • Terry Crews does this in one of the Old Spice commercials, where he punches a guy to his left by sticking out his arm to the right.
  • The "Vid-Grid Pac-Maze" in Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball utilizes four-way wraparound.
  • This is an important aspect of the "closed universe" of The Land Of The Lost. If you travel far enough in one direction, you wind up back where you started. If you climb the tallest mountain and look at the next peak over through your binoculars, you'll see your own back and realize it's the same mountain, endlessly repeated to create the illusion of an infinitely long mountain range.
  • The Matrix Revolutions: The Trainman's subway, whose wrap-around occurs for being an Unnaturally Looping Location ruled by the Trainman himself, who traps Neo during the start of the movie.
  • In Greg Egan's Orthogonal trilogy, spacetime is a closed loop in all dimensions, which means the entire universe is both a Wrap Around and a Stable Time Loop.
  • This is a feature of at least two variations of the game of Chess. Cylinder Chess posits a board which the players need to view as a cylinder — i.e., the two sides of the board are visualised as wrapping round into a cylinder, so that a piece may apparently leave the board on one edge and return in the appropriate square on the other side as one continuous move. In the Discworld continuum, this is further refined in the specialised game of Assassins' Chess - two extra files are added so the board is eight squares long by ten across. Specialised rules cover transitions across opposite sides, but the new Assassin piece may more or less move where it wants and the Assassin's Pawn has extra abilities. (as befits an Assassin's assistant and operating back-up). Although intended only as a throwaway aside in the books, clever people have codified the rules and made it playable.
  • While seemingly ruled out by newer observationsnote , some astronomers have suggested the Universe could be smaller than the observable Universe, in which case what looked like distant galaxies would actually be close ones, those images formed by light that had time to circumnavigate the Universe since having been emitted. A hypothetical (intergalactic) traveller who went on in a Universe of this type would find again and again, in a way similar to the Land of the Lost example detailed above, the same galaxies (albeit changed because of their evolution during the ages and thus usually being difficult to recognize them).
  • There's a theory that the universe is finite and recursive, meaning if you travelled long enough in a straight line, you'd eventually end up back where you started.
  • On a smaller scale: Since Earth is round, this is Truth in Television to some degree, but we would have be much larger in relation to Earth to get the trope effect. (Still, it's frequently used as a you-can-see-your-own-back-of-the-head-in-the-telescope gag in cartoons.) In the last stable orbit around a black hole (where light goes in circles) this effect would be real, though.
  • The Flat Earth Society speculates that exactly this happening is why planes can't see the ice wall at the edge of the Flat World they believe in, even calling this "The Pac-Man Effect".
  • In Trogdor!! The Board Game, all enemies can wrap around the 5x5 board during their movement step. Coach Z wrote a song about this mechanic for the Rulebook EP, ending in the line "Sorry Tragdar. You can't do it." That line is, however, not entirely true. Trogdor can wrap around, but only while under Stonklar's control or while using a wraparound action card.
  • Tower of Babylon is a retelling of the Tower of Babel story by Ted Chiang, where God has not struck down the tower (everyone's a little nervous about His silence on the issue) and it has ascended to well past the moon and hit a ceiling. The protagonist is part of a group of miners brought in to tunnel into Heaven. After a series of accidents he becomes separated from the group and ends up ascending through a series of caves and ends up back on the ground. He then realizes the tower didn't incur God's wrath because mankind wasn't going anywhere.
  • Red vs. Blue: One of the show's "Please subscribe" eyecatches has Caboose jump off-screen after delivering the advert, only to appear from the opposite side and wonder "What the heck just happened?"
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! When our heroes are held captive on an infinitely flat plane on the Cone Ship, they wonder if the artificial landscape may be recursive, "like a video game."
    Voluptua: "If this place recurses, it's still big. I can't see our backs on the horizon."
  • Always present in the German children channel (Kika) night program with poor "Bernd das Brot", where every attempt of Bernd to leave the screen runs into this trope. He constantly lampshades this joke as lame and overused, but his tormentors couldn't care less.
  • The song "Schaffhausen ist eine Illusion" by Swiss band "Die Aeronauten", who boldly declare their hometown is...well, not real.
    "eine Hohlwelt als Hologramm - wo ich weggeh, komm ich wieder an"
  • This is a feature of the universe in Shadow of the Conqueror, where the bottom of the world is located about twenty-four hours' worth of free fall from the top, and anyone who falls off of the World in the Sky eventually ends back up at the top.
  • This is actually a massive plot point in the fourth trial of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Miu discovered a virtual reality simulation featuring a map appearing to be relatively normal, minus the fact that sound and sight cut out in the middle of it, though the students could pass through just fine. However, while trying to solve Miu's murder, everyone on the left side of the map had heard Miu crash onto the right side after she was murdered, which was supposed to be impossible. Shuichi eventually realizes that the map wasn't how it had seemed, due to Miu tampering with it. What they had thought were the edges was actually an invisible wall only Miu could pass through, and the odd cutoff in the middle was actually the real end of the map and they were passing through it, making the layout a cylinder in actuality.
  • Pleasantville: Early in the film, the town's topology is such that someone going off one side of the town would end up on the other side.
  • The Worm Protocol: Examon fires a shot that crosses the equator twice before landing in its target. Unlike most examples of this trope, it took nearly eighty-five minutes to travel.
  • In The DCU storyline The Lords Of Luck, Supergirl and Lobo find themselves lost in Destiny of the Endless' Garden of Forking Ways, an extradimensional "location" where space and time are permanently warping and twisting themselves in ways that are incomprehensible to the human mind. As trying to find an exit, Supergirl flies upwards and skyward, and bursts out of the very ground spot she had just taken off from.
  • King's Quest: The sometimes odd and inconsistent geography in the King's Quest games is justified by use of maps and an explanation that the world is in "magical flux" and geography changes sometimes daily, or in some cases lands are surrounded by a "magical law of 'containment'" (to explain the spatial wrapping-around in the earlier games).


Video Example(s):


X is knocked off the pillar

The basket that A Better Name Than That launched to X knocks him off the pillar, making him fall back to it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / WrapAround

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