A pit, also called an abyss or bottomless pit, is a common obstacle in platforming video games where no solid ground is programmed. If a character falls or jumps into a pit, they will be affected negatively, usually by immediately losing a life. Aesthetically, many of these pits appear to have no bottom; after falling a varying distance down (usually simply below the camera or screen), the player will die, even if an invincibility-granting item is in effect. In various 2D platformers, certain pits may be only one block wide; in such cases, the player can often run straight across the pits without falling down as long as they have enough speed. Walking across these narrow pits without running will generally not work.
While most pits will cause instant death, some will instead warp the player backward or to a particular location (sometimes in addition to losing a life). Other pits, such as those found in Donkey Kong, are clearly not bottomless (although the player will still lose a life upon hitting the bottom). The pits in Wario World lead to Unithorn's Lair, a subterranean cavern, and because players can resume progress once a specific goal has been reached, these cannot be considered bottomless pits.
Aesthetically, pits can take many forms. Although Mario can swim in some levels of Super Mario Bros., if he falls into water in a non-swimming level, he will lose a life just as if it were a pit. In Super Mario Bros. 2, allowing the player's character to sink through quicksand is the same as falling into a pit. In 2D platformers, lava is essentially a pit. In Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, pits often take the form of black holes, appearing in island-like galaxies such as Beach Bowl Galaxy and Matter Splatter Galaxy.
In 3D Mario platformers, many levels consist of landmasses or platforms floating in a large void. Examples of this are Whomp's Fortress, Pianta Village, the Metro Kingdom, and many levels of the Super Mario Galaxy games and Super Mario 3D Land. These voids are essentially considered to be massive pits.
In Super Mario 64, in the mansion of Big Boo's Haunt, if Mario falls into a pit, he will end up in the mansion's basement rather than losing a life. Also, in the DS remake, if Mario falls into a pit in Big Boo Battle, he will be teleported back to the starting area.
Pits also appear in the Mario Kart series, appearing in certain courses such as Mushroom Gorge from Mario Kart Wii. When a character drives off the course into a pit, they will yell out as the camera pans down into darkness, and a few seconds later, Lakitu will lift the character back up and drop them back onto the course, essentially making the pits act as a large time penalty, though they also cost the player a few coins in the games featuring them.
Pits appear in some of the minigames in the Mario Party series. Falling into a pit usually causes the player to be eliminated, although in a few minigames, such as Tile and Error, falling into one causes the player to be carried back to the playfield. In a few other minigames, such as Skyjinks, players can fall into a pit a certain number of times before being eliminated.
It is unknown if the pits in Super Paper Mario are bottomless because if Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, or Luigi falls into a pit, they will flip back onto solid ground and lose one HP. A few pits in Super Paper Mario (on the outskirts of Flipside and Flopside) do not hurt the player, instead sending them to a secret room with a spring and (a) valuable item(s). Also in Super Paper Mario, some Shaydes are tasked with cleaning pits as punishment in The Underwhere.
In Super Mario Maker, the game may play an Easter egg sound effect upon the player falling into a bottomless pit, with a landing noise suggesting that the pit apparently has a bottom. In these sound effects, Mario is heard to be doing something offscreen. On some occasions, the sound effect will be accompanied by other objects such as a car and several other Marios.
In Super Mario Odyssey, once Mario hits the pit's event horizon, several coins will spill out in each direction and he will lose them before respawning; this is due to the game lacking a life system. If the player falls into a pit in Assist Mode, a bubble brings them back out and they lose one health point.
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