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File:Lain hacker cave2.jpg

Nothing better than a little high-pressure liquid carbon dioxide cooling for a spot of websurfing...


Trestkon: You're still the resident hacker, eh?

Evil Invasion: I'm a programmer, I just hack when I need to.

Trestkon: I think this is the first office of a programmer I've ever visited without expensive hardware lying around on the floor among pizza boxes and empty cans of pop.

Evil Invasion: Sorry, but I just moved in. Give me a few days then this place will live up to all your prejudices

The Big Bad is a Computer destroying Techwhiz. The Good Guy's on the other side. Now, how do you show the audience that they are awesome, other than having them grab a keyboard, punch a few buttons, and blow up a satellite in 15 minutes?

Throw in the 21st-century equivalent of the Mad Scientist Laboratory, and have them live in a room packed to the brim full of technological things, that's what. A Hacker Cave, known in chanspeak as a 'battlestation'

Note that said definition of "awesome" must include one of the following words in its description (amongst others): Geeky, Technology, Things that go BEEP, Metallic, futuristic, pipes, blinkenlights, Billions of Buttons. Anime figurines and other otaku paraphernalia does apply. Must include more than one obvious computer tower (because the hacker knows computers don't equal monitors), and the primary computer comes with at least 3 monitors (never mind some of those monitors display only a looping picture that does nothing). May also include a retro coin-op arcade game (Pac-Man and Space Invaders are obvious favorites) in a corner, just because.

When done well, the result will be unabashed Technology Porn.

"Real" hackers spend most of their hacking time peering at a text editor and thinking very hard, so one might think this unrealistic, but it still manages to be Truth in Television for many. A common cause is the need to keep any number of test machines on hand to verify programs' behavior on dissimilar platforms, or in complex networked setups. Demoparties and other hackish social occasions often resemble this trope too- as do the bedrooms (or basements) of hackers who deliberately seek this trope as an ideal!

Examples of Hacker Cave include:

Anime & Manga

  • Noah & Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! both have one in the anime.
    • Using dynamite to blow up a firewall?
  • Lain's set-up in Serial Experiments Lain. Now, how did Lain, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, got all those $2000+ Cisco Catalyst switches running the latest IOS?
    • They grew there out of nothing. Her computer has grown so much in later episodes that it's started to sprout from the outside walls like a plant.
    • Given that Lain's parents are fake parents meant to "incubate" her, they can probably afford to spend money on that kind of stuff because it's their purpose
  • Satsuki in X 1999 has only one giant computer, but it's still in a cooled room under the Tokyo City Hall.
  • The control room of L's high-rise in Death Note, though the large monitors are generally used for observing the security cameras of the building. There are only three actual computers with one monitor each, which makes perfect sense when you consider there are usually several people working at once.
  • Amy the Playful Hacker from Bakuretsu Tenshi somehow stuffed a Hacker Cave inside a Base on Wheels.
  • Chisame of Mahou Sensei Negima's Magitek pactio item can create a perfect hacking space for her inside a Tron-like area complete with surrounding screens, numerous floating keybords and seven electronic helpers. Her own room surrounded by monitors probably also counts.
  • Kururu's room in Keroro Gunsou.
  • The Major gets one of these in Solid State Society, although hers is rather stylishly located in a light, airy penthouse apartment.
    • In the series she visits a hacker, who lives in the more typical dark, cramped room. This particular Hacker Cave is filled with (deliberately) anachronistic computer equipment, a good proportion of which is obsolete. There were also at least two robotic sex-dolls lying around.
  • The Digimon Kaiser's headquarters in Digimon Adventure 02 is a rather strange instance of this trope - it's basically this, but the screens are kind of just floating there in featureless blackness and all the controls are on the arms of the Kaiser's chair. The room is apparently pretty small but otherwise has no distinguishing features. Its strangeness may be justified by it being in the Digital World instead of the real world.


  • Practically Every incarnation of the Batcave.
  • Oracle, from DC Comics, builds one of these for herself pretty much wherever she goes. The most famous of which was the Clocktower in Gotham City, original headquarters of the Birds of Prey.
  • The Beetlecave! Jaime's hacker buddies, Hector and Nadia, basically turned their entire house into this. The actual 'Beetlecave', however, is the Cyberspace face of it. All because Jaime's parents probably wouldn't like their son constructing a real cave in the crawlspace...


  • Freddie "Warlock" Kaludis's (Kevin Smith) basement lair in 2007's Live Free or Die Hard.
    • "It's not a basement, it's a command centre!"
    • Die Hard 4.0 had a couple of these, all the hackers that blow up at the start (at least the ones we see) imply they have a mass of pimped-out computers, then there is the truck the bad guys go around in. And again in the Woodlawn building, it has a massive super server to hold all the financial transactions of the USA (yet is able to be downloaded to a single laptop).
    • Warlock's basement even includes a copy of Gears of War set up in the background just because.
  • The Score
  • The Matrix in a more steampunk cyberpunk style.
  • A rather nifty one in The Arrival.
  • On that note, Griffin's setup in the movie adaptation of Jumper.
    • Griffin even refers to it as "the lair".
  • A proto-example: David Lightman (Matthew Broderick)'s bedroom in War Games.
  • Unsurprisingly, hacker caves show up in the movie Hackers, including the huge multi-towered glowy Gibson supercomputer.
  • Mr. Universe's home in the Big Damn Movie of Firefly.
  • Number theorist Max Cohen in the 1998 movie Pi has a homemade supercomputer (named Euclid) that takes up his whole apartment.
  • The ending of Zero Effect.


Live Action TV

  • The IT department in The IT Crowd is full of obsolete (but notorious) computer equipment, cabling, geeky posters and the various bits of debris that a computer room accumulates.
  • Criminal Minds
    • Garcia's office.
    • An evil and substantially more complicated version turns up in "The Big Game"/"Revelations".
  • The X Files: The lair of The Lone Gunmen.
  • Sleazy, unscrupulous, eleven-year-old blogger Nevel from ICarly has one in the closet off his living room. Upon discovering it, Sam referred to it as his "nerd cave."

Video Games

  • Baofu's "lair" in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment becomes the Player Headquarters for a while before it sinks into the ocean like everything else in the Narumi Ward after a certain event.
  • Lanette, Hoenn's resident computer geek in Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald has a house that definitely fits this trope. She admits the place is a bit of a mess.
  • Otacon operates out of a cargo plane converted into a hacker cave in Metal Gear Solid 4, courtesy of Apple.
  • The Villain of Mega Man Battle Network 2 had this but instead the cave was a condo of 30 floors. May also play with Room Of Servers as the most of the rooms were filled to the brim with them.
  • Lucca's house from Chrono Trigger is littered with cables and books.
  • The very last stage in Condemned 2: Bloodshot evokes this trope to prove that Big Brother Is Watching.
  • DiZ of Kingdom Hearts owns one in the Basement of the Twilight Town Mansion. In frustration, Roxas happened to smash one of them.
  • Time Splitters 1 and 2 have cyberpunk levels with underground hacker hideouts.
  • Mocked in The Nameless Mod, giving the page quote.
  • The Shadow Broker has a pretty impressive one in Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker. Liara manages to keep her hands on most of the hardware, setting it up in Miranda's old office by the time of Mass Effect 3.

Western Animation

  • Wade's room in Kim Possible, which is usually only seen from the POV of his webcam.
  • Mr. Crocker of The Fairly Odd Parents has "the Crocker Cave", which started out as just a phonebooth inside the janitor's closet, but eventually was retconned into a Hacker Cave / Mad Scientist Laboratory combination.
  • Code Lyoko: One of the few Hacker Caves that is actually underground, apparently.
    • And hollowed out from an abandoned auto assembly plant.
  • Lampshaded slightly in Invader Zim in the episode "Zim eats waffles". Dib is shown in his own hacker cave trying to record Zim's evil plans. Only to have his various hard drives miss the crucial moments of video.
  • Gimpy's dorm room from Undergrads.

Real Life

  • A rather extreme real-life example is which eleven computers are used to play 36 World of Warcraft accounts at the same time, by a single person (source).
  • This Facepunch thread.
    • Although unlike fictional Hacker Caves most of that seems to be clutter rather than serving any functional role.
  • There was once a TroperTales page filled to the brim with tales of various tropers' hacker cave. The Troper Tales function has been purged due to impracticality (and that each troper has their own profile page anyway). However, the fact stands that there are many tropers right here on TV Tropes who owns a real life hacker cave.