In most jump and run games, holes in the ground are common obstacles: You need to jump over them, or you'll fall down and lose a life.

Super Mario screenshot, with a pit on Mario's left

It would be helpful to know for documentation, variable naming and discussion: What are those holes called?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ I doubt that there's an "accepted term". Just from a word-definition perspective, I'd recommend abyss: A hole is any sort of hollow space through an otherwise solid body, while abyss implies it is downward, as well as in the ground and really, really deep and a bad idea to fall into. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anko
    Mar 1, 2014 at 13:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As a kid, when I played these games a lot, the word we used in German (Abgrund) translates to abyss. \$\endgroup\$
    – simbabque
    Mar 1, 2014 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Usually I'd Google to figure out if it's a commonly used term, but here I keep getting the 1984 game, the PSV Uncharted, the Tales RPG, et cetera, with any relevant search query I can think of. Agh! \$\endgroup\$
    – Anko
    Mar 1, 2014 at 13:26
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ In most manuals it's called a pit. I don't see how this is relevant to game development? You could use bottomless pit to be more specific. For instance in the game Pitfall there are lots of pits. They aren't bottomless though. An abyss would be way to dramatic for a pit in a platformer. \$\endgroup\$
    – AturSams
    Mar 1, 2014 at 13:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @arthur it is relevant, as it could be about naming methods or classes in the code, or explaining stuff that happens in code documentation. It's important to know the name of the stuff you are talking about, or maintainers will have a very hard time understanding what's going on. I did consider asking this at Arqade, but it seemed a lot more appropriate here out of the above reasons. \$\endgroup\$
    – simbabque
    Mar 1, 2014 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


In various Super Mario games, it's called a pit, abyss or bottomless pit.

Bottomless Pit is also a TV trope.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Typically it's the quick stop at the end of a fall that kills you. With bottomless pits, it's the crushing air pressure. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Mar 1, 2014 at 15:52
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ or dehydration. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick T
    Mar 1, 2014 at 16:33
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ or the fact that it's a video game and it doesn't have to be perfectly realistic! :P \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Mar 1, 2014 at 20:07
  • 22
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, it's the instant death trigger tile slightly below the pit that kills you. Come on, guys, we're on gamedev! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 2, 2014 at 2:07
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ Real game developers just write the player's sprite off the end of the screen buffer and then catch the segmentation fault. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 2, 2014 at 13:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .