VVVVVV is a 2D puzzle platform video game created by Terry Cavanagh.
Unlike most platforming games, in VVVVVV the player is not able to jump, but instead can reverse the direction of gravity when standing on a surface, causing Captain Viridian to fall either upwards or downwards. The player uses this mechanic to traverse the game's environment and avoid various hazards, including stationary spikes and moving enemies.
Later areas introduce new mechanics such as moving floors or rooms which, upon touching one edge of the screen, cause the player character to appear on the other side. VVVVVV contains eight main levels, including two intermissions, and one final level, only seen in a separate "polar dimension", situated inside a larger open world for the player to explore. Due to its high level of difficulty, the game world contains many checkpoints, to which the player's character is reset upon death.
The sad elephant, sometimes also called the elephant in the room, is a large elephant with a tear dropping from its eye. It spans four rooms near the Space Station area of Dimension VVVVVV, flickering constantly from color to color. If the player stands near the elephant for a short period of time, it will cause Captain Viridian to become sad. The elephant serves no function to the game, but has served to provoke much discussion about its meaning or symbolism amongst fans of the game.
The player controls Captain Viridian, who at the outset of VVVVVV must evacuate the spaceship along with the captain's crew, when the ship becomes affected by "dimensional interference". The crew escapes through a teleporter on the ship; however, Captain Viridian becomes separated from the rest of the crew on the other end of the teleporter. Upon returning to the ship, the Captain learns that the ship is trapped in an alternative dimension (referred to as Dimension VVVVVV), and that the ship's crew has been scattered throughout this dimension. The player's goal, as Captain Viridian, is to rescue the missing crew members and find the cause of the dimensional interference.