When crazy areas show up in games, you almost always get to explore those areas at some point. Developers add awesome areas to interest and entertain players. Accessible stages receive a lot of attention while inaccessible areas usually look generic. In some cases, however, developers include crazy places without letting you explore them.
This is a bold strategy. By giving players a present they can’t open, developers risk mass disappointment. However, smart developers turn an inaccessible location into its own reward. These areas build a complicated, believable world—one which no player can fully explore, just as nobody can explore every piece of the real world. If done right, inaccessible areas contribute to their games with beautiful visuals, thrilling mysteries, and interesting lore.
Usually Nintendo draws attention to crazy areas so you appreciate them. Many of the areas on this list appear within cutscenes. Sometimes your character even enters the area during the cutscene, but you never interact with the area.
Whether the areas show up in cutscenes or during gameplay, they always dangle just out of our reach. Nintendo normally justifies areas’ inaccessibility, but some games use poor logic or invisible walls. Regardless, we wish we could explore these 15 crazy areas in Nintendo’s popular franchises.
15 The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker - Hyrule
The majority of Wind Waker takes place above the ocean, but an entire kingdom lies beneath the waves. You enter the sunken land of Hyrule halfway through the game—but you can’t actually explore that land. Nintendo confines you to Hyrule Castle and Ganon’s Tower, with a tiny path connecting the two. You can’t access the beautiful rivers and snow-covered mountains of Hyrule. Ganondorf’s only desire is to restore Hyrule to its former glory, and we wish he’d succeeded. Too bad he forgot to touch the Triforce.
Admittedly, Nintendo made a good decision. If we had access to both Hyrule and the ocean overworld, Wind Waker probably would have been too widespread (like Skyward Sword with its empty sky overworld).
14 Star Fox - The Great Fox
When Star Fox: Assault introduced fast-paced ground missions, we expected the Great Fox to finally become accessible. We’ve watched the spaceship shoot down enemies and host Team Star Fox, but we’ve never stepped foot within it. The Great Fox would work perfectly as a competitive stage: with multiple hallways, a roomy cockpit, and a docking bay filled with Arwings, you could battle both within and outside the ship. Despite this, Assault only lets you battle outside the ship in the “Great Fox” multiplayer map.
We’ve glimpsed the Great Fox’s interior in cutscenes and menu backgrounds, but we have yet to enter the epic ship. Hopefully Nintendo will someday turn the Great Fox into a combative map or hub world.
13 Mario Kart 8 - Baby Park
In its original form on the GameCube, Baby Park isn’t visually entertaining. You race around a red and blue loop bordered by simple, undeveloped rides.
That completely changes in Mario Kart 8. The entire game boasts beautiful graphics with rich detail, but Baby Park is one of the most detailed courses. Nintendo developed Baby Park into a massive amusement park filled with Koopa and Yoshi tourists. With twisting roller coasters, a statue of Baby Peach, and a colorful castle, Baby Park now looks like Nintendo’s version of Disneyland.
Sadly, players are still restricted to the red and blue loop. We’d love to drive around the gorgeous amusement park and its creative rides. Hopefully Nintendo includes Baby Park as an interactive area in future games—the park would fit perfectly in a Mario Party game.
12 Pikmin 2 - Planet Hocotate
We learn all about Olimar’s homeworld, Planet Hocotate, in the first Pikmin. With Olimar returning home at the end of Pikmin, we hoped to finally see Planet Hocotate in Pikmin 2—and we did. The beautiful planet has a thin atmosphere, allowing you to see stars and galaxies even during the day. Two rings and two moons border the planet, giving Hocotate an amazing aesthetic we’d love to see more of.
Unfortunately, we only glimpse Hocotate in two short cutscenes. Olimar briefly visits his company, Hocotate Freight, before returning to Earth (known in the games as “PNF-404”). Even though we love playing on Earth, we would have loved exploring the unique Planet Hocotate with Pikmin at our side.
11 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Alfitaria Castle
From the moment you enter Alfitaria in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, you notice the city’s scope. The camera zooms out at first and pans up as you progress, revealing a massive city and castle. Even with the better camera angle, you only see the bottom of Alfitaria Castle. You barely see the short outer towers, as well as the impressive drawbridge and moat.
Sadly, you never enter Alfitaria Castle. In fact, you can’t access much of the city. Beyond the Crystal and marketplace (the only places you can access) lies the residential district, which only citizens may enter. Square Enix fortunately lets you explore Alfitaria more in Crystal Bearers, but the sequel takes place a thousand years after the first game. You never get to explore the original, medieval, epic Alfitaria Castle.
10 Star Fox Adventures - Beyond Cape Claw
The most beautiful part of Star Fox Adventures is its water. Water gorgeously ripples whenever you touch it, making the GameCube game beautiful even by today’s standards. Thanks to the wonderful water mechanics and aesthetics, Cape Claw is one of the greatest areas in the game. Beyond the cape lies islands with beautiful palm trees in a massive ocean—but we can’t access that ocean. An invisible wall blocks off the sea, allowing us to swim toward the ocean without ever reaching it.
For some reason, we can explore all of Dinosaur Planet except its ocean. Rare should have included the ocean and a water-dungeon, so we could enjoy more of Dinosaur Planet and its beautiful water.
9 The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time - Hyrule Castle
Ocarina of Time centers on Hyrule Castle, yet you never enter the castle in its original form. Whenever you turn on the game, you see Link riding through Hyrule Field with the castle in the background. After the first dungeon, you head to the castle to meet Zelda—but you only move through the outdoor courtyards rather than the actual castle. Link peeks through a window into the beautiful fortress, but he never steps inside. When you finally enter the castle at the end of the game, it’s changed to Ganon’s Castle—a dark, puzzle-filled dungeon that barely resembles a medieval castle.
We loved exploring Hyrule, so we wanted more than anything to explore Hyrule Castle. Fortunately, Nintendo allows us to enter Hyrule Castle in later games like Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Breath of the Wild.
8 Xenoblade Chronicles - Makna Falls
Thanks to the entertaining, unrealistic physics of video games, you can usually jump into water from any height. Xenoblade Chronicles wonderfully implements this mechanic so you can dive off cliffs and swim down waterfalls.
Even though the developers gave us multiple diving spots, we can’t access Makna Falls. Climbing up the gorgeous waterfalls and jumping down them would be incredible, yet Xenoblade Chronicles offers no way up the falls.
This wouldn’t normally be a big problem, but Xenoblade Chronicles gets your hopes up. You can swim all the way out to the base of Makna Falls, so you’d think a secret area or item would rest within the falls. However, no reward awaits you. After several minutes of swimming, you reach the edge of the falls but can’t even touch them.
7 Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue - Behind Bill’s House
If you enjoy exploring, you’ll surely find Bill’s house (known officially as the Sea Cottage) in Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue. Bill’s house actually exists in multiple Pokémon games, but only the first generation of games include an inaccessible area behind the house. The path behind the Sea Cottage catches all players’ eyes and imagination. Since Bill lives at the northeastern corner of the map on a little peninsula, that pathway leads to the end of the peninsula. Completionists want nothing more than to explore that pathway, but there’s no way to get behind Bill’s house.
Later games add a rock wall behind Bill’s house. You’d think that would settle the matter, but now we especially want to solve the mystery from the first games.
6 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers - The Junkyard
In order to speak to the princess of Crystal Bearers, Layle must sneak into the castle. Cid recommends the Junkyard—a dark, lifeless dump beneath the city. Rather than walk, Layle skydives out of a flying tram into the Junkyard.
After so much buildup, we expected an epic dungeon filled with dark corners and creepy monsters. Instead, Layle walks through the Junkyard in a short, boring cutscene. He discovers the crystallized King aboard the Alexis and barely evades Jegran, the central antagonist.
We would have loved a dungeon that allowed us to explore the Junkyard, see the Alexis from a distance, and discover the King ourselves. Square Enix mistakenly turns the Junkyard into a cutscene. No video game should rely so heavily on cutscenes—particularly when those cutscenes introduce amazing new areas that we can’t actually access.
5 Mario Kart 8 - Princess Peach’s Castle
In the original Royal Raceway track on Mario Kart 64, Princess Peach’s Castle is a thrilling secret. The competitive course drives right by the castle, but some players noticed a path leading to the castle. If you follow the secret path, you can enjoy driving around Peach’s abode. You can never drive into the castle—if you want to do that, you’ll have to play Super Mario 64.
Royal Raceway returns in Mario Kart 8, but Princess Peach’s Castle—as well as the entire stage—has gone through big changes. A red-carpeted stairway leads to the front door, and new fortified towers border the castle.
We’d love to explore the updated castle grounds, but Nintendo oddly barred off the area. You can’t drive or even fly around Princess Peach’s Castle. The new course is somewhat fun, but Nintendo removed the best part of Royal Raceway.
4 Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance - Phoenicis And Kilvas
Path of Radiance and its sequel, Radiant Dawn, explore political and racial tensions in a thrilling fantasy setting. Humans and laguz battle each other and themselves. The most similar cultures particularly tend to despise each other. The hawk laguz and raven laguz live in Phoenicis and Kilvas respectively, two neighboring island nations. Despite their similarities, the hawks and ravens oppose one another.
We would have loved to battle alongside the hawks or ravens in their homeland, but the protagonists never visit the islands. Ike sails by the islands in Path of Radiance, where ravens loot his ship and tease us with their flying powers. Island battles would have worked immensely well in Path of Radiance, but Nintendo sadly avoids the islands. We only see the islands and their epic castles in short cutscenes.
3 Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - The City Beneath Sanctuary Fortress
Until you reach Sanctuary Fortress, you don’t see much technology on the planet Aether. Sanctuary Fortress, on the other hand, relies on technology. Robots protected the fortress until the Ing corrupted them, turning them into your deadly enemies. You discover all kinds of technology within the floating fortress—yet Sanctuary Fortress pales in comparison to the city below. Most of Aether feels desolate and lifeless, but the landscape beneath Sanctuary Fortress burns with life. The city glows with various lights, including a few beacons that shoot into the sky.
Nintendo shrouds the city in mystery. You never enter the city, nothing leaves the city, and no records mention it. The city wonderfully builds Metroid Prime 2’s world and toys with players’ imagination.
2 Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Bowser’s Castle
After suffering defeat in the first Super Mario Galaxy, Bowser decides to increase his size and power. He consumes the Grand Stars and becomes as large as Peach’s Castle.
To accommodate his new size, Bowser builds a massive castle—and it looks amazing. Red carpets line dark hallways, making Bowser and his castle genuinely terrifying.
Sadly, Nintendo only uses Bowser’s Castle as a visual background. You maneuver across floating “planets” to a Warp Field, which teleports you to Bowser’s lair. Set within a vortex of purple clouds, Bowser’s lair is far less interesting than his castle.
Bowser awaits you in a giant throne. Instead of placing the throne in an empty, insignificant vortex, Nintendo should have led you to a throne within Bowser’s Castle.
1 Super Smash Bros. Brawl - The Subspace Gunship
When the good guys finally corner Ganondorf and Bowser in Subspace Emissary (the campaign of Brawl), the villains unleash all their weapons. Their weapons of mass destruction create a huge Subspace sphere, from which the Subspace Gunship emerges. This “ship” can’t actually fly: it’s attached to the Subspace sphere as a massive cannon. However, the Gunship contains so many buildings and cannons that it could be its own ship. At the back of the island-sized ship, Bowser and Ganondorf stand atop a platform and watch their fortress.
Because of the Gunship’s size and structure, Nintendo could have easily turned the Gunship into a playable world. The heroes would run from one end to the other, where Ganondorf and Bowser would await as bosses. Instead, Nintendo only includes the Gunship in one cutscene before it explodes.