Idle Musing: The Joy Of Falling Through The Floor

However hard games try to create worlds, they remain artifice. They are stage sets. Painted boxes. And when you step outside them, you get to see how unreal that game world actually is. This, from time to time, can be a wonderful thing. Let’s raise a glass to the strange lands that lie outside the game you were meant to see, that glitchy empire of the game outside the game.

I’m pretty sure that my first experience of “glitching through the floor” or other space-breaking transgression, must have been during my time with the Amiga, and the early 3D games I played on it. I vaguely recollect flying underneath the world of (I think) ancient Carrier Command clone, Armageddon, and marvelling and the blank plane of nothing that lay beyond. Why didn’t they build out here, my tiny young brain wondered. They had so much space…

Nor were the leaps into the unknown always down to game errors. They can arise from intentional features, too. The demo version of four-player Dungeon Master-with-guns, Hired Guns, contained a teleport device which allows you to get to parts of the level that you could not have reached via normal means. This allowed for a game of exploration far beyond that which the designers had intentionally prescribed. The device did not appear in the full game, presumably because the developers realised it would be used for only one thing: breaking the walls of the game and stepping outside the experience that had been defined for the player. A tricky sort of feature to design for.

This breaking down of walls, or floors, has occurred routinely over the years, occasionally improving the experience. For example, the mediocre Monster Truck Madness title on the original Playstation was a game that held little interest for me and my friends, until we realised you could leap outside of the bounds of the first level. Over a textured cliff and into the sky beyond. Out there lay a vast landscape of abstract valleys and vertiginous cliffs. Suddenly the game proper was abandoned, and a surreal adventure in leaping from vast polygonal precipices became our preoccupation.

In the years that followed I continued to fall through the floors of dozens of different games. With the explosion of user-made content for the online FPS games I found a wealthy of glitchy otherworlds on map servers for different games. Several Quake III maps I discovered had large, weird, leftover landscapes filled with chopped up polygons, like some outsized cheeseboard. All it took was one big rocket jump into the skybox, and I was strolling about in some discarded thought-process, left there by untidy amateur level designers. A gallery of accident.

Even games which have near limitless game space can end up getting weird at the edge of their world. Although apparently dealt with now, earlier versions of Minecraft generated a place called The Far Lands. This was a final edge-world where the normal generations of landscape would break down and cause a terrain of weirdness to appear. The Far Lands was a location where normal Minecraft laws did not apply, and the formations it produced were startling. There’s an extraordinary beauty to this: the unintentional collapse of laws that generated a world: something that reveals that is simple mathematics running on silicon. Flawed mathematics that do not exactly add up to a world. It’s like the scene at the end of The Truman Show where… well, if you’ve seen that film you know how that goes. Stepping outside the reality you thought you knew is a powerful metaphor, and an even more potent reality.

And I will never grow tired of seeing these strange realms rise up beyond the game. I couldn’t help hacking my way out into the desolate, bald landscape of the rest of Tamriel that lay beyond Skyrim the most recent Elder Scrolls game. It wasn’t a part of the game I was meant to see. And you know what that meant…

So here’s to the limitations of games, and their thin, crackly walls and floors, often too frail a boundary to hold back the gamer. Let’s cheer the netherworld borders that these processes create. May they always play host to explorers who want to get beyond those painted corridors. We should not – cannot – be contained.

Images from here and here.


  1. Reefpirate says:


    • westyfield says:

      What are you on about?

      • roryok says:

        he’s implying some sort of ‘cash for mentions of minecraft’ scandal.

        on a pc games blog.

        in a year in which minecraft is one of the most popular pc games.

        • Drinking with Skeletons says:

          I thought he was referencing the jagged cliffs rising up in that Minecraft screenshot. They are (somewhat) reminiscent of the Greek islands.

          • Sarlix says:

            I thought he meant that Notch is paying for us all to go on a cruise to the Greek Islands.

            I guess I’ll unpack my Hawaiian themed shorts and shirt combo then..

            [sad face]

          • RakeShark says:

            Just be sure to pack a bib, a stomach pump, and a firearm. The Greeks love lamb, booze, and celebratory fire.

      • qd says:

        I think it’s a parody of the accusations of RPS being corrupt, found in the today’s article about Nvidia’s new GTX 680.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Careful what you say… I think Westy here might be on Notch’s ‘allowed to use the Mojang jet’ list.

        • westyfield says:

          I won’t say I am, and I won’t say I’m not. What I will say, however, is VROOOM NEEEYYOOOOOWWWW WHOOOOSHHH LOOP THE LOOP WHEEEEEEE!

          I hope that clears up any ambiguity.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          You know Majong don’t use a jet for transport right? Notch is Swedish, so uses one of these
          link to

    • marlin says:

      That’s utterly ridiculous….

      Everyone knows Jim hates the Greek Islands.

  2. sekullbe says:

    In Daggerfall it was possible to work your way out of the randomly-generated dungeons and find that they were really just hollow tubes twining around in 3-space. So you could walk out of the world, climb atop the tube, and walk wherever you liked without any combat or obstacles.

    • phlebas says:

      …before realising you have no way of getting back in, and having to revert to a previous save despite having a clear view (a clear view through a wall, granted) of your objective? Mm, Daggerfall was my first thought too.

      • Zippy says:

        Finding a glitch to get back in was often easier than finding your way through the twisty, randomly generated tunnels.

        • roryok says:

          I remember getting stuck in one once, out of which there was simply no escape. had to reload.

          good times.

          • DrScuttles says:

            Daggerfall taught me to fear jumping and climbing inside dungeons. If I recall correctly, Bethesda included a ‘warp back to last position’ type cheat in a patch to help with their horrifically buggy game (they’re nothing if not consistent, I guess).

            One of my favourite examples of leaving the ‘known game world’ was also in Daggerfall. If you buy a ship, it exists within the game map in the very north west corner. Fast travelling to it, leaping out and wading through the waist-high ocean one grid further north west (just off the map of the Illiac Bay) would bring you to a tiny square of land with a little door leading to the endgame dungeon.
            Funny, ‘cos I thought it was meant to be in Oblivion, not just off the shore of High Rock.

          • GraemeL says:

            “You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.”

  3. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Seems like more of a “feature” to have some kind of world-bending no-man’s land at the end of the world in a game all about exploring and building. Make the monsters there be found nowhere else, and you’ve got a ready-made Mountains of Madness simulation.

    • Urthman says:

      Except that it would take you about six months to walk that far in Minecraft (assuming you played about 8 hours a day every day).

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        Even better! A reward for the truly hardcore.

        I don’t play Minecraft, so I don’t really care.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    The experience I best remember is Morrowind; coming ‘out’ of a cave tunnel and seeing the whole twisted, intestinal tract-like system spread out before me was quite amazing. More recently, I had a bit of glitchiness in one of the Minecraft PRCs that made the top blocks invisible and showed me the entire world beneath. *That* was jaw-dropping, but since it also showed me the location of several nearby abandoned mines and fortresses, it kind of spoiled the map for a bit too.

  5. NathanH says:

    I found that if I managed to get my head through the ceiling in Morrowind, I could steal what I liked and nobody would notice. That was fun.

  6. Blackcompany says:

    While testing dungeon mods for Oblivion, I was able to move outside the dungeon, through the walls and into that “black void.” I thought it so intriguing – this game outside the game, or perhaps, to paraphrase China Mieville, ‘The Game and The Game’ – that I designed one level of the dungeon as nothing more than a long, white Ayleid corridor through nothing.
    Of course, I had to place invisible collisions along the hallway to prevent players from actually falling off into the void. Which admittedly took a lot of the fun out of the void. Oddly, I never released the dungeon mod, as I grew bored of Oblivion shortly thereafter and moved on.
    Still though…the surreal world outside of the world, if you will, intrigues me no end. I find myself wondering, as Jim does here, whether this might ever become a feature, as opposed to an off-limits, behind-the-scenes “stage area.”
    Imagine a door in a Skyrim dungeon – maybe that deep, dark dungeon – that let you cross into a voided area of empty black. From there you could, conceivably, move off into the nether until you find a “door back into the world” somewhere in the blackness. And these doors could be provided. If you could get past the Guardians of the Black.
    Because here, in the empty void between worlds, lurk worse things than Dragons and Trolls. You’re off the edge of the map. Here there be Monsters.
    I wonder how such a mod might fare…

    • Bhaumat says:

      Whilst that does sound cool, as soon as you harness the void into the game, you’re destroying it’s existence as ‘outside’ the game. In your own example you talk of invisible collision boxes, and that’s precisely the problem.

      The spaces outside a game are broken by merit of never being made to work. You can fall forever, randomly crash, there’s broken pathfinding and mechanics that just don’t work. Those things aren’t fun, they’re frustrating. What’s fun is the discovery of discarded content, mechanics which behave differently, ethereal voids and the view from the outside looking in.
      To make it fun you added collision boxes, and in doing so you made it just another ‘painted corridor’, albeit with walls the colour of the default buffer clear colour.

      If someone pulled of a fun game/mod using an un-sanitized ‘outside’ space, it would be a thing of wonder. Your true enemies would be buggy behavior, and failure could mean anything from being trapped for eternity to save game corruption. But harnessing that broken space and wrapping it in a layer of gameplay would require understanding of an unimplemented system; Difficult if not impossible, dependent on the base game.

  7. brog says:

    I love this! I’ve been trying to capture this kind of feeling in some of my games – Game Title: Lost Levels is the best example, you may like it (you should play Game Title first).

  8. Ringwraith says:

    Oh hey, Hired Guns, man I haven’t heard of that game in a long time.
    That did have some massive environments you could often explore most of, like massive buildings could often be climbed upon somewhere.
    This led to the amusing level which looks like an estate of blocks of flats and if you hung around too long monsters would fall off the rooves and attack you.
    Good times.

    • DrScuttles says:

      You could kill Lemmings in the short bonus missions of Hired Guns, couldn’t you?

      Never got very far in the game, on account of being young and not very good at things. But I have fond memories of it. Got the demo on a coverdisk of Amiga Format. Happy days.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Honestly don’t remember.
        Although I was playing it with invincibility cheats on account of being in a similar situation.

  9. JackDandy says:

    In the Tribes Ascend training mode, I enjoy abusing the “quick-class” + Thrust pack combo.

    Basically, it allows you to accelerate to insane speeds, (Even in Tribes terms), and jump over the map borders, exploring the entire thing as you find fit. It’s neat!

    • Skabooga says:

      That reminds me a bit of my experience in Tribes 2 (well, the only major similarity is that both experiences come from Tribes games). The play area is delineated by a cage of green lasers, in which all the major pieces of the game are contained: respawn points, bases, buildings, the occasional tree or rock. Beyond the lasercage the landscape continued sans any other features: just the roll of the land alternating between its steep hills and deep valleys stretching towards the horizon. Players were free to exit through the lasercage as they saw fit, the only major restriction was that you couldn’t take flags beyond this limit; indeed, many bombing runs would zoom over a base while dropping bombs and continue straight out of the play area before turning around for another run.

      I always wondered how far out the landscape stretched, so one day I joined an empty server, got in a shrike and headed straight north. I passed beyond the limits of the cage within a quarter of a minute, and kept flying on my established course, watching the hills tumble on below me. The landscape did not seem to repeat, at least not to my eyes. Sure, it had the same general theme, but never any discernible pattern.

      Ten minutes passed and the horizon was no closer, so I turned around and viewed the empty landscape on all sides before heading back south. After a minute, the play area was not in site, so I knew there wasn’t any treadmill magic at work either. I crashed my shrike into the ground and let the issue lie.

      To this day, I wonder how far out that horizon stretches, and why.

      • Admirable says:

        Yeah I remember that feature of Tribes2 as well, I think the terrain was procedurally generated so it would literally go on forever without repeatition… or maybe at least to the limits of your system’s memory?

  10. chesh says:

    In Final Fantasy XI, there are a few areas where it’s easy to fall through the floor entirely on accident. Most classes wouldn’t have a means of teleporting out, and as such had to call a GM to move them. I recall one of my friends once get sent to GM Jail for some ridiculous reason when she asked. Horrible and arbitrary then, but hilarious now!

    • Somerled says:

      GMs frowned upon it because for a while glitching into unreachable places was a pastime.

  11. simoroth says:

    Outside the confines of its areas, Stalker had massive sections of the game still sitting there, unused. So frustrating that I could never get to them

  12. Soon says:

    I’ve been falling through the floors in Mass Effect 3. For all it’s polish, its world is such a thin veneer. The moment something is out of view it’s abandoned to some abrupt fate. It’s understandable, but just seems almost too clinical and calculated, like there’s suddenly no love for the game beyond the very specific experience. Compared to, say, Thief, where the world seemed solid and substantial. Even when you climbed onto the roofs and looked into the empty horizon you still felt like you were in The City rather than outside the game.

    • Apples says:

      You’re looking way too far into something that is just a limitation (largely of consoles) that requires them to save space by disregarding occluded geometry/objects. That’s what keeps the game running fast, it’s the sign of a highly efficient engine that is optimised to gameplay goals that don’t include freeroaming and large open spaces. It’s not that there was no love for it, it’s that it’s actually optimal for it to operate that way – unless of course it goes wrong and the player realises how thin the ‘shell’ of the game is, but basically every game is composed of an illusory ‘shell’. Even Thief was, though I guess for you it kept up that illusion better.

      • Ringwraith says:

        It’s possibly less obvious in Thief due to the way levels wrapped around themselves more often than stretching out in a single direction, so it means it looks more cohesive when seen from the outside looking in.

      • Soon says:

        Oh, no. I’m aware of why they have to do it. My claim of lost love is completely unfair. It’s understandable, as I say. It’s just moments, where, sometimes, I wonder whether the devs feel saddened to have to limit their world and vision to such confined spaces.

    • Setheran says:

      That seems to be how most console-developed games like this achieve the graphical fidelity that they do. I think it’s part of the reason for the trend towards more linear games – everything behind and in ahead of the area you’re in is streamed out so there are more resources to focus on detailing the walls of the virtual corridor you’re trapped in.

      Becoming a level designer has sucked a lot of the wonder out of exploration in games for me, because I’m too aware of all the corners games have to cut in order to look as good as they do. You’re always fighting to save every scrap of memory you can, so all those buildings you’re walking past can’t afford to have rooftops that will never be seen, secret areas can’t afford to be too secret, and generally there’s a trend towards re-using as many assets as possible in order to be efficient.

      • Soon says:

        I’m in the opposite boat. I model things for the real world instead, 1:1 scale, sometimes literally down to the nuts and bolts. If I model something, it’s generally shown in situ, so the surroundings often need to be there. And sometimes the surroundings are a few square km.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      It’s oddly easy to get out of the Mass Effect 3 levels- been doing it a lot on accident. “I wonder what that object on my nightstand is?” Walking forward to investigate and going too far, I am able to walk out the front of the ship, and can actually access any part from there. Same kept happening in other levels, too.

  13. cliffski says:

    One of my first jobs at elixir was to make the players camera collide with buildings in republic, because until then you could fly through everything. So i did it, but I remember thinking at the time that it just made controlling the camera a real pain in the backside*. It’s not like the player didn’t realise they were in a game, and it just meant a ton of CPU cycles got wasted to make the UI more annoying.
    In an FPS, sure, or even an RPG where you want immersion. But games like Sim City, or their ilk, really why bother?

    I’m sure some coders put in object collision out of habit, when it’s amazing how much easier it is to code a game where there isn’t any collision at all.

    *it probably all changed afterwards, I shifted projects.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Republic was a massive shame. You could see they had hugely high and noble goals, and ultimately it didn’t really work.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I’ve always loved when that happened (as long as I had saved recently, of course). I don’t remember when I first passed some supposedly unpassable polygon or level boundary, but even as a child I was always amused by it.

    The last time it happened was in Oblivion, when I found a spot in a forest where a large part of the floor was missing. I jumped down there and marveled at the world from below for a while. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to travel very far, since the game placed me back on the regular floor when I tried to go under it.

  15. ambience07 says:

    My first was Quake. That game scared me to no end when I was a kid with the monster sounds and the amazingly unsettling NIN soundtrack. It was headphones only. I loved randomly dropping into a basement of sorts to see lava from underneath and all these unfinished corridors and then the void….oh the void. It ended up adding to the game. It felt like Limbo in Hell or a mad sublevel. So many good times with id software.

  16. SMiD says:

    In Motocross Madness, there was a level called Widowmaker where you could sometimes climb the edge cliffs and begin to ride away from the central arena. Of course, after roughly 20 feet or so, the almighty, invisible foot of God would punt you and your ride several stories into the air and back into the map proper. It was a glorious moment of discovery for my brothers and I once we found this out.

    • Berzee says:

      Aaahhhhh, many wonderful memories of hours spent seeing who could get punted the furthest!

      • squiddy3000 says:

        My brother and I did the exact same thing. Glad to know we were not alone in the “who can get thrown across the map, after going up the hills around the map, the furthest competition.”

      • SMiD says:

        You guys have no idea how happy it makes me to know there are others out there who knew about this and cherished and embraced it. Awesome.

      • MultiVaC says:

        My cousin and I did this for hours when we were kids. We probably spent more time doing that than playing the actual game for a period of time, trying to see how far we would be thrown. I think we eventually had a crazy one where it glitched out and sent the rider straight up at incredible speed until he was just a tiny dot in the sky. That seemed to be the ultimate feat, and we went back to playing the game normally not long afterwards.

    • Fumarole says:

      Such a fun game to play at a LAN. My friends and I especially liked the keep-away mode where you all fought for possession of the beachball and could only score points while it was in your possession.

      Using a joystick to control the bike felt quite natural.

    • Joe W-A says:

      My brother and I, too. Amazing.

  17. csuzw says:

    Hellgate: London was great in this respect. I played it for a reasonable amount of time with a couple of friends and very quickly we stopped playing the game as it was meant to be played and spent all our time trying to find new glitches for travelling about faster. I can’t remember much of it now other than it was great fun and almost every ceiling had a glitch somewhere that allowed you to travel through/out of it.

  18. Lambchops says:

    I remember this happening in a few games but I can’t really recall which. I think Deus Ex was almost certain;y one of them. I guess when these things happened to me I didn’t see a place to explore but rather a nuisance to wish away by reloading (with the inevitable loss of progress) when attempts to break back through to the “real” game world proved futile.

    Perhaps if I’d come across some more memorable glitches I would have remebered them and looked upon them more fondly.

    Anyhoo, nice article, really enjoying this series.

  19. morgofborg says:

    A notable example is TES:Redguard, where if you went way beyond the intended play area, floating point rounding errors made the ocean spiky. The kicker is in Morrowind, this was canonized into the setting as “the world’s teeth” link to

  20. Sarlix says:

    Me and my horse once got stuck in a perpetual time loop.

    edit: I should probably point out that happened in Oblivion and not IRL.

  21. maktacular says:

    You used to be able to get into a great upside down world in GTA3 by driving a bus into the subway and getting out. All the buildings shot up from the underside of the oddly mirror-finished roads and pavements. Although if you took a wrong step you fell forever.

    • DrCBVI says:

      GTA3 also had that great bit where you could take the clipped-wing plane and fly off the edge of the world. If you ended up flying behind the mountains in the distance you found the city from the intro cut-scene, all quiet and eerie.

  22. Apples says:

    Lot of mentions of Elder Scrolls games here – the Sermons actually reference this themselves in-game. “They walked farther and saw the spiked waters at the edge of the map. Here the spirit of limitation gifted them with a spoke and bade them find the rest of the wheel.” The ‘spiked waters’ refer to the edge of one of the game maps (Redguard? Daggerfall?), which consisted of endless spikes of water. There is a picture out there somewhere of it. (edit: god damn it beaten to it >:( but my quote was different at least)

    This is also why Portal was so cool. It was like legitimately walking outside of the game, escaping its rules.

  23. Ian says:

    I went through the floor in Minotaur China Shop.

    It was like a descent into oblivion.

  24. Setheran says:

    I think one of the best hidden areas in recent games is Skyrim’s NPC underworld, where named characters are apparently stored after their bodies have been cleaned up in the environment. You can only get there by teleporting to a dead character with a console command, and once there you can’t escape or fast-travel – you’re stuck with all the creepy naked corpses until you use the console to teleport out again.

  25. Cheebahh says:

    One of my fondest glitching memories was getting polymorphed into Old Ironforge.
    link to

    5 years ago, damn…

    • Bhaumat says:

      I laughed. I don’t think polymorph was the word you were after, friend. Although if it was, damn that’s one severe bug.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Oi, anybody seen a gnome around? I last saw him right where that huge dwarven stronghold was, there in the bushes.

    • benkc says:

      Exploring areas you weren’t supposed to get to was one of the best things in vanilla WoW. Old Ironforge, the IF airport, the IF summit, the mountain farms, the valley over Gnomeregan, the vast space between Coldridge Valley and Northshire Abbey, the under-side of Stormwind, the Karazhan crypts, the troll village between Darkshore and Winterspring, old Zul’gurub. I used to take friends on tours of those broken areas, showing them how to get there and the highlights of what there was to see. The expansions didn’t have nearly enough of that.

      • Jackablade says:

        Impressive. The best I ever managed was climbing on to the walls of Orgrimmar from the outside and peering down into the partly built city.

  26. Skystrider says:

    +NaN L.Y.

    — The classic netherworld of Noctis. I remember it well.

  27. Quine says:

    Hidden and Dangerous 1- on my first ever mission I crept stealthily up the incline bounding the play area and fell right off the end only to land atop what appeared to be a gigantic wooden tabletop, thus implying that the overhead 3d tabletop model of the level was in fact the actual model of the level.

    My mind was blown, even before I got sniped…

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Yeah, I was thinking of Hidden and Dangerous. I don’t know if the magic of exploration Jim was talking about is quite the same when you just literally fall through the floor when you’re trying to walk from one place to the other.

      And that reminds me, this needs an HD remake more than anything. Make it so Game Developers! Thanks.

    • Mr Chug says:

      Funnily enough, the first time I remember reading a Rossignol article was one of his ‘Game for a LOL’ pieces back in the mists of PC Gamer history, which featured him playing an unpatched H&D, falling through the floor, and wandering around for a while. The Jim circle of my head is now complete.

  28. Cvnk says:

    Any here mess around with the Dawntide open beta last year? Falling through the world is not always an endearing glitch.

    I do recall an Atari 2600 game where my cousin showed me how you can glitch through a wall to see the level designer’s signature. I believe the game was called “Adventure” (or I could be combining my old memories) — it was the one where you played a circle with an arrow indicating where you were pointing (and shooting) and you wandered 2d caves killing skeletons and maybe a crooked dragon. Anyone remember this and the glitch I’m talking about?

    • djbriandamage says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, Adventure was one of the very first computer games (on the PDP-10 or something) which was text-based and become the inspiration for Zork. It’s not the most unique name so there could be loads of games called Adventure.

      I think it might have been the original Pitfall in which you travel from left to right, swinging on ropes and hopping on logs, but if on the very first screen you walked left instead of right you’d see a screen with the name of the sole developer whose credit had been removed from the box by Activision.


      Okay, derp. I just checked and you were right all along – Adventure was the name of the Atari 2600 with the programmer’s name as an easter egg. This was an entirely separate game to the other Adventure text-based game.

      • Cvnk says:

        I do recall that text-based Adventure game too. We used to play it on my friend’s father’s Kaypro suitcase PC (with the tiny little monochrome screen). That and some ASCII Star Trek strategy game. What memories.

  29. Jimbo says:

    Hidden & Dangerous was amazing for this. The best part was that it would often happen just running over that first little hill you come to about 5 seconds into the first mission.

    I also managed to fall through the floor in Uncharted 2 though, so maybe I just have a knack for it.

  30. djbriandamage says:

    Too cool that Jim mentions Monster Truck Madness. I played the bloody hell out of the demo for Win95 and, just like Jim, ignored the game proper and spent my time careening over hills and jumping chasms, just reveling in this queerly angular 3D place like a hobbling toddler learning the properties of the physical world.

  31. Herzog says:

    idspispopd !

    • djbriandamage says:

      chaingun acid trip!

    • nindustrial says:

      Yes! This is tangential to both of your knowing winks, but to give away the game, my first experience with going outside of worlds was actually Doom II with the no clipping cheat. (Later did this in DOOM as well, but I actually played Doom II first). I remember being just blown away that I could step outside of the levels and study the background art, as well as finding it oddly transfixing to stare at the acid trip tracers you weapon would leave as it swayed in front of you while you ran nowhere.

      Loved it so much, glad this article made other people think of this too.

      EDIT: Oh, and this! (though not the same thing)

  32. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I’m bemused by that Portal image, because it isn’t a glitch at all. Chell is standing with the top of her head just protruding through the blue portal in the ceiling, so naturally she can see her head protruding equally through the orange portal.

    The only “glitch” is that her eyes are blank white, which is an artifact that always occurs when Chell is partway through a portal.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Well, if it’s a first person perspective shouldn’t the camera be looking at her headless torso? Upsidedown?

      • Skabooga says:

        I didn’t realize it at first, but now that you mention it: MY MIND IS BLOWN.

        • djbriandamage says:

          I’ll admit to having to rewrite that comment 4 times until I had my head wrapped around it. (AGH UNINTENTIONAL PUN)

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Well no, that would be like saying if you stood beside one portal and stuck your hand through it, you would see your body protruding from the other portal, rather than just your hand.

        • yougurt87 says:

          Except that you look with your eyes, not your torso. If it is a first person perspective, then the head coming out of the orange portal would be the one looking… Hence the Glitch.

    • SMiD says:

      It’s “mirrored” instead of “wormholed”… I think… It’s Friday – I don’t need to think with portals.

  33. Jim9137 says:

    My save glitched out in ME3 once. It was during the geth ship mission. For some reason, the game decided to spawn me outside the map – thus I kept falling and dying. As I had similar bugs before, I thought restarting.

    So instead the game placed me in the empty normandy cockpit, with gun in hand, no way out, and my companions taking cover by Joker’s seat.

    Best part in the game.

  34. Skusey says:

    Me and a friend used to have loads of fun glitching our way around COD4 maps, creating a rudimentary language out of jumping as we didn’t have microphones.

  35. Skabooga says:

    Edit: Horace has regurgitated my first comment, rendering this one redundant.

  36. bick4ord says:

    My first experience with this was in the original Metroid when I was a wee lad. It was extremely difficult to do the repetitive bomb glitch to get you far enough above the screen from the doorway, but it was like exploring a new land after knowing every inch of the game world.

    link to

  37. mrwonko says:

    I remember driving on and on in Trackmania. Eventually you fall off the world, but it’s surprisingly huge.

  38. DrGonzo says:

    Monster Truck Madness Mediocre!? On PLAYSTATION?

    You sir, have the wrong game. It was a fantastic game over LAN. And it was a Microsoft title, that as far as I’m aware (and Wikipedia is) it wasn’t ported to console.

  39. Eukatheude says:

    The top screenshot reminded me of that weird Crysis map.

  40. Fumarole says:

    Playing Gran Turismo 2 my friend found a glitch online where hitting a particular corner at just the right angle and speed on a certain map would allow you to leave the map in your car. We did this using a Dodge Viper late one night and for shits and giggles left the game running overnight with a book holding the accelerator stick all the way up. When we checked on it the next day the car had driven 3,000 miles at something around 300 MPH through empty space.

  41. Reapy says:

    I found the magic of getting outside the world sort of died after it had happened a few times in various games, and further got destroyed if you spent any time trying to make your own level in the editor. The view you get when you start falling is typically the one you have when editing a level, so it is a bit less exciting when you know whats happening.

    I didn’t know about ‘the far lands’ in minecraft though, that is pretty cool to have some player made lore, as well as really bringing into reality what happens when an int gets too big. I think that is a lot more fascinating to think of it that way, where the rules go wacky and you are in some sort of never never land, rather than just squeezing through a wall when the FPS drops and falling outside the geometry.

    Sometimes I wish I could put the man back behind the curtains and pay him no heed.

  42. Dreforian says:


  43. Unicorn-Soup says:

    I’ve always enjoyed this kind of “behind the scenes” peek. Both for seeing how the world works, and for the sense of vertigo I feel when my brain tries to parse the inside-out geometry. We made a comic about this, inspired by a conversation with friends as it happened in GTAIV, but we set it in TF2 so I could draw the Pyro…

    link to

  44. wodin says:

    “why didn’t they build out there they had so much space”

    that comment explains why games years ago in our youth games where so impressive oozed immersion and exciting. Our ignorance fed our imagination, games to us had no limits it was stuff of magicians.

  45. Lacero says:

    A video review of Big Rigs, a game where you fall through the floor:
    link to

    Always a good one.

  46. Brun says:

    Been going outside the map in every game I played since Halo. I’m definitely an “explorer.”

  47. Davie says:

    My hideously unstable Skyrim install has been doing this lately–I’ll walk through a door to find nothing but a chunk of tile floor and an endless fall into the void. Once or twice the high-detail objects have failed to replace the distant LOD models in outdoor cells, so I’m wandering about in a landscape of speckled ground and blurry cardboard trees. My favorite is when I’ll come across a door standing alone in an open field, and going through it will take me inside a building that the game failed to load the exterior of. It’s strangely exciting.

    …in other news, I reeeally need to reinstall and work out my mod conflicts.

  48. Daniel Klein says:


  49. Adekan says:

    Goldeneye for the N64 was my first case of floor-falling and other wall-tripping experiences. I always love seeing how badly I can break a game using the tools provided.

    Later on, in World of Warcraft (before they removed wall jumping and added flying everywhere) my friend and I would spend days trying to reach certain areas that were inaccessible using normal means. All those places you saw from the flightpath up in the hills? Yeah, we went there. We probably had the most fun in that game doing nothing but out of bounds exploration.

  50. Quine says:

    I once did a short course on programming the Net Yaroze (programmable PS1), and me and a very good C coder knocked up a basic version of Zarch/Virus with a simple random ASCII heightmap generating a shaded polygon world of seas and mountains. We added a ship and gave it the ability to bomb the landscape and leave craters by changing the height values underlying the map.

    Imagine our surprise when we forgot to do any form of bounds checking or wraparound and our ship went literally off the map and into a crazy landscape generated by parts of the memory stack not related to our world map as the engine tried to wrap the triangles properly and apply elevation-based colouring and shading.

    Then we found a bit where the landscape spikily changed height (and therefore also colour) entirely based on what buttons we pressed on the controller, for it was that part of the RAM where the control registers were kept.

    Obviously then we had to try bombing these private parts of the memory which generally rapidly crashed the machine, but it was crazy awesome to behold. Man, I loved fiddling with C back then…