The opposite of DarthWiki/IdiotProgramming. Your disk space, processor speed, and RAM are scarcely limiting factors to somebody who knows what they're doing. You'll find smart developers can take your hardware way UpToEleven to give it capabilities not seen in typical software on more powerful machines for 5 or 10 years.

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!!'''Examples:'''

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Demoscene]]

* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kkrieger .kkrieger]] by Farbrausch is a game with ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3''-tier graphics… that could fit on a standard floppy disk ''fourteen times''. By the same crew, ''[[http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=1221 fr-08: .the .product]]'', a demo with impressive graphics (for the time) in ''sixty-four kilobytes''. These guys have a lot more stuff, available [[http://www.farb-rausch.de/ here]].
* Due to their experience with procedural generation, many demoscene programmers were hired to work on ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}''.
* [[http://hci.stanford.edu/~winograd/shrdlu/ SHRDLU]] is an AI/text parser written by Terry Winograd (MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) from 1960-1971 that can manipulate blocks and pyramids according to commands entered by the user, and also answer questions about them. ''In plain English''. [[note]]If you're a computer science student, [[http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7095 Winograd's paper on the topic]] is a fascinating read.[[/note]] This is an excerpt from the demo:
-->'''Person:''' FIND A BLOCK WHICH IS TALLER THAN THE ONE YOU ARE HOLDING AND PUT IT INTO THE BOX.\\
'''Computer:''' BY "IT", I ASSUME YOU MEAN THE BLOCK WHICH IS TALLER THAN THE ONE I AM HOLDING.\\
'''Computer:''' OK. (does it)\\
'''Person:''' WHAT DOES THE BOX CONTAIN?\\
'''Computer:''' THE BLUE PYRAMID AND THE BLUE BLOCK.\\
'''Person:''' WHAT IS THE PYRAMID SUPPORTED BY?\\
'''Computer:''' THE BOX.\\
'''Person:''' HOW MANY BLOCKS ARE NOT IN THE BOX?\\
'''Computer:''' FOUR OF THEM.\\
'''Person:''' IS AT LEAST ONE OF THEM NARROWER THAN THE ONE WHICH I TOLD YOU TO PICK UP?\\
'''Computer:''' YES, THE RED CUBE.\\
'''Person:''' IS IT SUPPORTED?\\
'''Computer:''' YES, BY THE TABLE.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5kuYfTCGLg State Of The Art]] by Spaceballs. The Website/YouTube video really doesn't do justice to how impressive it is to watch this thing running on a 16 bit machine with 1 megabyte of RAM, a 7 [=MHz=] processor and an 880K floppy drive for storage. The fluidity is all the more impressive when you remember that the demo is constantly loading new data in from the floppy drive while displaying all that animation.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ywbtsUoU3c Tint]] (possibly NSFW due to a second or two of boobies) by [[http://www.tbl.org/ The Black Lotus]]. Needs rather meatier hardware to run than the aforementioned State Of The Art, but the real-time lensing and fluid effects near the end will blow your mind. Also, CrowningMusicOfAwesome helps a lot.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1p1im_2uf4 The 8088 Corruption]], a demo that runs "video" at 60 frames per second and impressive digital audio, on an old IBM PC, using the Intel 8088 flavor of processor. For those that don't know their computer history, the 8088 is a 16-bit processor, but it's crippled to an 8-bit data bus.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAnhcUNHRW0 Chaos Theory]], by Conspiracy. Its graphics are about on par with modern games, yet it takes up 64k. Sixty four ''kilobytes''. Think about that for a second. It's equal to about 3.5 ''seconds'' of MP3-encoded music.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''{{Recca}}'' is a fast-paced BulletHell shooter with awesome graphics, creative bosses, homing weapons and techno music. Even with more than 20+ enemies and bullets on the screen, there is usually little to no slowdown. One must wonder how [=KiD=] managed to code something like this '''for the {{NES}}'''.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'' may not be ridiculously small in size, but this game pushed the capability of the {{SNES}} [[UpToEleven to its limit]]. For example, SceneryPorn, which is deemed ALMOST impossible (at the time). Then the programmers tried to MESS with the sound as well by... [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3SA9LuqQgA inserting a whole theme song with voice into the opening]]! Now that's genius. Every Tales game since has a theme song, but it's less impressive when better sound hardware is involved (though many of these had the lyrics removed in the English translation until ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia''). Almost every concept from this game was then ([[SpiritualSuccessor by the same people]] after they quit at Wolf Team to form tri-Ace after their old publisher, {{Namco}}, [[ExecutiveMeddling interfered]] with their previous work) imported to ''StarOcean''.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall'' has a world the size of 62,394 square miles which takes ''two weeks'' in ''[[RealLife real time]]'' to walk across, over 500,000 {{NPC}}s in 15,000 locations. It's about 148 MB and made in 1996.
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' uses a complex algorithm to [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels generate a realistic world]] every time (complete with a detailed history of every person and place that ever existed there), keeps track of injuries to specific body parts down to individual fingers and toes and ''even further'' down to tissue layers, provides an extremely detailed fortress simulator, and even has a script which simulates hydrostatic water pressure… Yet the whole thing is about five megabytes. On top of that, all the programming is done by one guy. Who describes himself as "not very good with computers". Holy crap.
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Elite}}'':
** The game features a WideOpenSandbox of eight galaxies of 256 stars each, each one with its own unique description and characteristics as well as numerous ship designs. It's the game which launched the entire genre of Space Trading Sims. It was quite literally years ahead of its time. And the whole thing fits on ''~20 kilobytes'' of disk space.
** That's because all content (planet names, their coordinates, commodity prices, etc) in the game was procedurally generated and, basically, boils down to the single 8-bit seed number and a couple of rules checking that you won't get planets named "Fuck" or "Arse."
** The game's NES port is no less impressive. It features ''3D vector graphics'' on an 8-bit system, long before the Super FX and other console 3D accelerators. The unreleased GameBoy version is just as impressive.
** The sequel, ''Frontier'', isn't too shabby either. The PC version has over 20 textured 3D models and enough star systems to fill the entire Milky Way, yet fits on a single 1.44MB floppy.
** Bonus points for being one of the first commercially released truly 3D games.
* ''RollerCoasterTycoon'' kept stats on every visitor, in addition to controlling all their [=AIs=] simultaneously, all while animating all of it and allowing the user to interact with it. And all this could run on a PC made in the early '90s, without lag. The secret is that the system was ''programmed in raw Assembler'', only relying on more high level code for graphical stuff.
** The same secret allowed ZSNES to run games at full speed well before its competition, but it's showing its age now as one of the few actively maintained programs that can't be compiled as 64-bit, due to the incompatibility of 32-bit and 64-bit assembler and the changed calling conventions for C code (64-bit mode added extra registers, which made it possible to use some to pass arguments). The devs currently have no plans to address this.
** The performance of ''[=RCT=] 1'' & ''2'' is even more impressive compared to the third iteration, which had widespread graphics card compatibility problems and brought many contemporaneous systems to their knees. Hell, many 2009 [=PCs=] struggle when everything is maxed.
* ''VideoGame/EscapeFromTheMindmaster'': FauxFirstPerson3D with smooth movement from square to square on the {{Atari 2600}}.
* ''Exile'' (no relation to [[VideoGame/{{Exile}} the Mac RPG series]]) was a {{Metroidvania}}-ish title that managed to feature [[WreakingHavok surprisingly realistic 2D physics]] for objects and even windy areas, as well as a living ecosystem for what was originally a BBCMicro title released in 1988. With a RAM expansion, the game could even play voice samples on that same hardware!
** You think that's impressive? How about Box 2D-like physics... on the NES? ''VideoGame/MrGimmick'', by Sunsoft made it on hardware from 1983!
* ''VideoGame/IrisuSyndrome''. In at least one of the [[MultipleEndings endings]], [[spoiler: despite the fact that the game runs in a window, Irisu comes in from the side of the screen itself, then into the game window to murder one of the other characters. It's creepy, like the rest of the game, but it's a very cool and unique effect.]] It's nothing miraculous, but it's a pretty cool InterfaceScrew by PC game standards, especially for a freeware indie game. The game also puts text files into the game folder as you play the game, either of character profiles or accounts of what are likely backstory events, and swaps out a picture in the game folder with other versions of it as you go along. [[strike:Too bad there isn't a FanTranslation available.]] And now that there's a FanTranslation available, you get to read them for important [[AllThereInTheManual backstory.]]
* ''BelowTheRoot'' for the Commodore 64 was one of the earliest games where you could pick the gender, race, and age of your avatar - with stats altered accordingly, and with ''hidden'' stats that fit the race in question. Erdlings got knocked for a loop by Wissenberries, wheras Kindar had a tolerance, Kindar took a hit to their spirit stats by eating meat. It also had NPC characters respond differently based on which avatar you chose. It was also, very possibly, the first game to be considered an [[{{Canon}} authorized, canonical sequel]] to material written for another medium. Yes, the distant ancestor of ''TheForceUnleashed'' is a 1984 side-scroller where killing anyone makes the game {{Unwinnable}}.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}}'' managed to squeeze a ''lot'' of stuff onto a tiny GBC cartridge. It's very difficult to emulate at full speed, although it can be done.
* ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'' is not merely an RTS, it is a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hny-oS-mo_Q General]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dMVFuIb8zk Purpose]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB12Gy9zuFs Game]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah3XmjlhgJw Engine]]. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKedeLKK8h4 Blizzard]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bn7hxX9fwc approves]]
* The programming team behind ''VideoGame/SpyroYearOfTheDragon'' had a unique insight into preventing piracy: [[RulesOfTheInternet You can't.]] However, it doesn't matter, because 30-50% of the sales of a game are made in the first two months. So, with the goal of slowing down pirates as much as possible, the developers started by designing "crack protection," distinct from the normal copy protection (which detects whether the game is run on a CD-R). The crack protection they came up with relies on a checksumming system that's ingenious and more than slightly twisted; by interleaving, overlapping, and combining multiple checksums over a block of data, it's virtually impossible to make them all add up if even one bit is changed, but because not every checksum goes over all of the data (and because CRC has a few exploitable weaknesses), the checksums being compared to ''can be a part of the data being checksummed''. This, combined with tons of other traps designed to make life hell for pirates, meant that it took over ''two months'' for a working crack to finally be released (at a time when "Wow, that hasn't been cracked yet?" meant something like four days), and only ''then'' because the developers held back to avoid LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading. [[note]]More specifically: The copy protection takes 10 seconds of uninterrupted access to the disc drive, so it's only done on startup (the wait time is disguised by the studio logos being shown). The final crack worked by hacking the game's boot executable to bypass the copy protection, then reloading the correct binary file, which makes the crack protection happy. If the copy protection had been run during every load time, this method wouldn't have worked, as the copy protection would have been triggered at that point. However, the developers wisely decided that adding 10 seconds to every load time would have made the game unplayable regardless of whether it was a crack or a legal copy.[[/note]]
** Also by Insomniac, ''VideoGame/{{Resistance}} 2'' allowed 60 people online in one game with no frame rate issues. '''60!'''
** Also by the same company- the whole renderer in the Spyro games. It managed to do things on the Playstation that should have been literally impossible, including implementing an entire LOD system on the CPU and having it run in real time.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_inverse_square_root Fast inverse square root]], also known as [=InvSqrt=](), 0x5f3759df, and "What the fuck?" after its implementation in the ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'' source code (and infamous comment). The algorithm, which uses a novel first approximation of Newton's Method to get an almost perfect second approximation, runs roughly ''four times'' faster than traditional implementations, and still faster than other "optimized" algorithms of the time.
* You would be surprised to realize that ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' is actually 32 MB and uses MIDI sound files. It's also one of the first few Zelda games to include voice. The only game that could top this is ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', which does everything ''and analyzes the locations of every character at every point in the game''. On that note about size, Super Mario 64 is only 8MB. Yes, all those worlds and things to do fit on a size smaller than two average [[MP3 MP3s]].
* Take a look at [[https://taakvq.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pLD5e5Clizv5PyVvUs6a8aKI3k0W5MHPxIUptgM01UvPVzhN8hIjLyT0_x6CqHDw8vl8CvxhvE8ihmBtMsxvIrRb_uKnUg_tg/zelda-ww-15.jpg this]] image. It is a still frame from a cutscene in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', gloriously rendered in HD with the Dolphin Emulator. What's special about this image is that ''The Wind Waker'' is predominantly cel-shaded. However, the tower in the image is ''realistically'' shaded. See the red dot near the bottom of the image? That's a cel-shaded object. The game is ''running two lighting systems at the same time''. And this is in a [[NintendoGameCube system]] which does not have programmable shaders! This even occurs in regular gameplay; large landforms like the tower are realistically shaded to simulate the highly-detailed background of top-notch animated films.
* ''SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' also runs cel-shading and realistic shading at the same time. All the trophies related to ''The Wind Waker'', with the exception of the Toon Link trophy (which is technically part of ''Brawl'', not ''The Wind Waker'', Toon Link himself is also not cel-shaded), are cel-shaded in the same style as in ''The Wind Waker''. However, the trophy bases are realistically shaded. Like the GameCube, the Wii does not have programmable shaders (because it is based on the GameCube hardware).
* ''SpaceInvaders'' for the {{Atari 2600}} seems simple enough, but the Atari 2600 is only capable of displaying two player sprites, two rectangular shot sprites (one per player), and a rectangular ball sprite simultaneously. [[SerialEscalation Atari 2600 Space Invaders can have up to 39 player objects and four shots on the screen at once]], with no extra RAM or other special chips on the cartridge. It was doing things that the console literally shouldn't have been able to do. Given that the {{Atari 2600}} is optimized for simple, symmetrical games like ''VideoGame/{{Pong}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Combat}}'', MOST of the games on the Atari 2600 represent GeniusProgramming.
* Before ''VideoGame/StarControl'' there was ''VideoGame/{{Starflight}}'' and its sequel, ''Starflight II''. Hundreds of planets, all unique, dozens of alien races, an epic backstory, and a quest to Save The Galaxy. And it all fit on a ''single'' 720K floppy disk, or two 360K floppies.
* ''VideoGame/EarthwormJim 2'' manages to pull off voices in the theme song and rock music that's not midi, ''even in the {{SNES}} and SegaGenesis versions.''
* You think that's cool? Try the SegaGenesis version of ''VideoGame/ToyStory'' ([[NoProblemWithLicensedGames in itself a pretty good game]]), which manages to program MOD format music onto the Genesis sound chip! To clarify, the Yamaha [=YM2612=] can only play two sound samples at a time, but MOD format music is [[IncrediblyLamePun composed]] ''entirely of sound samples!'' How Traveler's Tales managed to do that was impressive.
* ROM Hacks in general, especially when they go beyond what you'd think the game engine or even the ''system'' was capable of, for example:
** ''BrutalMario/Super Kitiku World'' and its massive use custom assembly to do things Mario World wouldn't do otherwise.
** ''VideoGame/Rockman4MinusInfinity'' has done some rather crazy things, which includes not only a lot of weapon changes, but a few on screen effects that are on par, if not better than the effects in ''VideoGame/BattleToads''.
** Give or take, any of the really well done Mega Man 2 hacks.
** ''Rockman 5 Air Sliding'' featured its unique [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin titular gameplay mechanic]], alongside some interesting level and weapon changes (including an improved Gravity Hold and making Stone Man's level [[AscendedGlitch orient itself to the left]]).
** Super Mario Oddysey and other Mario hacks using the MSU-1 patch. Why is this? Because with a custom patch, they've managed to get MP3 quality music working on the SNES, as heard/seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROgMDo9xk9w here]]
** Two Wii-based mods: ''VideoGame/NewerSuperMarioBrosWii'' and ''VideoGame/ProjectM''. The former is a highly extensive mod of ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosWii'' that even manages to surpass the [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosU official sequel]] in some ways. The latter is a highly extensive mod of ''VideoGame/ProjectM'', intended to both replicate and surpass ''Melee'', and the kicker: it adds 2 additional slots to the character select screen. Most modders only managed to overlay one character over another up until that point.
* From the dawn of computing, the legendary [[http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/story-of-mel.html Mel Kaye's]] Blackjack program for Royal [=McBee=] LGP-30 and RPC-4000 machines. Not only was he able to squeeze the whole program into just the 8.2 kilobytes of drum memory, but he was one of the first [[http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/R/Real-Programmer.html Real Programmers]] who basically pioneered most of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_magic_(programming) Heavy Wizardry]][[note]]The programmers' jargon for a trick so deeply tied to a fine side of machine's function that it's totally non-intuitive and seems just a magic for the non-knowledgeable[[/note]] techniques discussed above, including using code as constants, optimizing the code by hand to eliminate even smallest wait states and delay loops, and using self-modifying code to do so. Ed Nather, the author of the story above, when asked to rewrite it spent a whole month just trying to understand Mel's code, and upon finding an endless cycle without a check, which just happened to use an overflow error to modify the last command of it into a different jump and exit the loop, he gave up out of respect.
* When AlLowe made ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals'', he found a way to eliminate the loading time between room changes (which must have been pretty long on machines of the time) in the bamboo maze. He did this by using the same background for every room of the maze. The background had exits in every possible direction. The exits that weren’t supposed to be open in a particular room were covered up with overlays. To hide the fact that it was always the same background, he mirrored it, along with the overlays, every time you left the room. This also saved a lot of memory and disk space.
* {{Scribblenauts}}: game that boasts a dictionary of few dozens of thousands words, with each word having its own graphical representation, animations and interaction patterns (like elephants being afraid of mice and so on) was crammed into a ''32 megabyte'' NintendoDS cartridge. Even more impressive in SuperScribblenauts with added adjectives (everything ''still fits'' into a 32 MB ROM chip).
* Ladies and gentlemen, meet Creator/SatoruIwata, global president of Creator/{{Nintendo}}, former acting president of HAL Labs. When he was younger, he [[http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/creators/4/0 disassembled the programs for his home computer by writing down the memory dumps by hand.]] Mind you, this was before printers. Among his achievements as a game programmer, he...
** ... ported the battle code of ''VideoGame/PokemonStadium'' to the {{Nintendo 64}} [[http://www.nintendo.co.uk/NOE/en_GB/news/iwata/iwata_asks_-_pokmon_heartgold_version__soulsilver_version_16288_16289.html despite not having any access to crucial documents. And he did it all in a week.]]
** ... programmed ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' (from scratch) in its entirety, also with remarkable speed. At the time, the project was very close to being jettisoned due to the unmanageability of the original coding. The coding itself is a huge scripting language, so complex that, theoretically, [[http://earthboundcentral.com/2011/04/a-look-at-the-mother-2-side/ the text system alone could be used to write an emulator, if altered somewhat.]]
** ... personally compressed ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'', which filled the cartridge despite still being half-finished. That's the reason the setting for ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'' was included (with only two locations removed) in the games--there was that much space left after he was done.
* Naughty Dog loves to show off their technical prowess. The Playstation 3 is almost infamous for requiring data installs, as searching for and loading information off a high-capacity Blu-Ray disc would result in extremely long load times... or so people thought. ''{{Uncharted}} 2'' required absolutely no installation, and the only loading time you would see is when the game starts up (about 10 seconds), and when you start or continue a game (again, about 10 seconds). The rest of the game loads seamlessly, not stopping for ''anything'', including area transitions, from start to finish.\\
\\
The iconic scene in the same game, the train sequence, is also a marvel of technical engineering. In addition to adjusting the physics to account for the fact that [[IncrediblyLamePun Drake's on a train]], the entire sequence, from the start in the jungles to the end in the snowy mountains, has no repeated environments. Every single view and vista is unique, and waiting long enough for, say, the point where it's curving around a lake or mountain, will eventually give you alternate views of the location as your position shifts. And to top it all off, you can see the train curving ahead of you in the distance: you ''can'' reach all of those cars, and eventually will.
* ''MickeyMania'' pulled off some impressive perspective tricks in a number of its levels, with stages such as a ''Nebulus''-style rotating tower and a head-on moose chase. Not so much of a big deal on the {{SNES}}, with its GPU support for background perspective in Mode 7. It ''is'', however, a big deal on the SegaGenesis, where all of these effects had to be emulated '''in software'''...
* ''JettRocket'' set the standard for what could be done with the WiiWare's 44 megabyte limit. To most developers, this is a cripplingly small amount, and they deem it unreasonable and unworkable. Shin'en Multimedia created a full-length 3-D platformer on it that looks and plays like a retail game.
* [[Creator/BenCroshaw Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw]] created the side-scrolling action/stealth platform games ''1213'' and ''VideoGame/TheArtOfTheft'' using Adventure Game Studio, a game engine designed for point-and-click adventure games and nothing else.
* ''VideoGame/CannonFodder'' on the GameBoyColor seems like just another GBC title, until the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT_Gk87JdK8 intro sequence]] explodes into a ''full-color pre-rendered FMV''. Adding to that, all music, voice clips, and sound effects are fully recorded, with not a single 8-bit bleep in the game. The method used to display full-color video on the Game Boy Color is quite ingenious. Because it can only display a few colors at a time, each frame of video alternates between different color palettes. The frames alternate faster than the human eye can pick up, creating the illusion of a much larger set of colors.
* The unusual arcade game ''VideoGame/PuLiRuLa'' is very colorful and packs in a lot of detail in both sprites and backgrounds. Animations are very fluid, and the game even includes some voice clips. And it runs on hardware weaker than that of the SNES! The level of animation and detail is more akin to a ''modern Flash game'' than an arcade game from 1990.
* ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite'' had the Creature AI that could make your "pet" learn new skills and develop its own preferences. Famously, Creator/PeterMolyneux was demonstrating the game to potential buyers when the Creature did something like throwing a rock over its shoulder. Molyneux was surprised - he never programmed ''that'' subroutine in the game.
* A (sadly discontinued) NPC mod for ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'' included a character called Nessa who could manage her own equipment, actively avoid hitting or being hit by the player during combat (a [[StopHelpingMe common complaint]] among other NPC companions), and had a complex AI script that determined whether or not she would comply with the player's orders (the highlight of the mod was that she wouldn't always do so for various non-random reasons). You could, for instance, tell her to "rest" outside an Oblivion gate, only for her to get worried about you and follow you inside. Who would have thought that an NPC could actually ''worry'' about the player and then act on that impulse?
* One of ''[[VideoGame/RogueSquadron Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II]]'''s claims to fame is its use of the GameCube's TEV (Texture [=EnVironment=]) pipeline to create the shader used for spacecraft targeting computers. The only catch (as mentioned with Wind Waker above) is that the GameCube does not ''have'' programmable shaders! Programming a shader in hardware that does not support programmable shaders is quite impressive. The game was also developed in little over a year in order to be released as a GameCube launch title. Despite the lack of development time, the quality of the finished game was still incredible, and to this day it is widely considered the best of the series.
* Most of the side-scroller ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' games could qualify for this. Not only did the Genesis/Mega Drive not support transparent textures (It was given the illusion of transparent textures by rapidly alternating between one frame of one sprite and another frame of another sprite), it also didn't support sprite rotations. It also didn't have any Mode7-esque effects to speak of. In order to create panning backgrounds that moved at different speeds to give the illusion of depth, the devs layered textures on top of each other and had then move at different speeds and directions. This is to be expected from the [[CreatorWorship expert programmer]] Yuji Naka. [[http://sonic.wikia.com/wiki/Yuji_Naka This is the man who created a NES emulator for the Genesis]]... [[CrazyAwesome in his spare time, for fun.]]
* ''Videogame/RescueOnFractalus'': So, you want to make a 3D space sim-style game, with mountainous terrain... ''in 1984''. On Apple II-s and other computers of that era. And yes, it works, and at a reasonable framerate.
* Meet {{VideoGame/Nano Assault}} Neo. It's a Wii U eShop launch title, has graphics and sound that rivals a lot of big budget games, runs at 60FPS, and is only 60 MB!! As it was developed by Shin'en, the same developer as ''VideoGame/JettRocket'', it's to be expected.
* [[http://www.twitch.tv/eightysixed/b/463593588?&t=3h4m20s According to the developer]], Mike Z, ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}'' managing to have six characters in a match on seventh gen consoles is absolutely insane. As [=.PNG's=], the animation frames for six different characters adds up to around 10.5 GB. With the compression tech made by Mike ([[http://www.twitch.tv/eightysixed/b/463593588?&t=3h8m25s based on a paper made by Farbrausch]]), the characters only take up around ''900 MB'', with 491 MB of that being used in any given match, which then has to fit into the 130 MB of RAM left over for the characters on the PS3. In spite of all this, the game is still able to not only have more frames of animation than any game before it[[note]]Between 1200-1500 per character, with the runner up being ''Blazblue'' with ~1000 per character[[/note]], but also real time lighting and shading effects on the characters, a first for the genre. The only problem is when the art doesn't load fast enough after switching characters, resulting in them being pixellated.
* ''MuramasaTheDemonBlade'' is a game lauded for its [[AwesomeArt absolutely gorgeous 2D graphics]] (to give you an idea, [[http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/0/5469/1100244-943228_20090806_790screen007.jpg this is a screenshot of actual gameplay footage]]). The entire game also takes up less than a gigabyte (0.62 GB, to be exact, about twice the size of ''WiiSports''), and 0.49 GB of that is just the soundtrack.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashFlash 2'', a completely fan-made project, has somehow managed to rebuild and port the engine of ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros''[[note]]Remember that ''Super Smash Bros. Brawl'' was one of the most memory-intensive games on the {{Wii}}, even being the first to require a dual-layered disk.[[/note]] into AdobeFlash, and ''accurately''. The game was intended in the first place to push the limits of the program, and that it does -- it's progressed so much that it's essentially a console-quality game. Unfortunately, it's still a victim of the program that it runs in, as Flash itself falls [[IdiotProgramming on the other end of the spectrum]]... That said, though, ''[=SSF2=]'''s remarkably efficient for what it does, and slowdown on lower-end computers is fairly minor.
* ''VideoGame/BlackMesa'', a FanRemake of ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'', constantly pushes the Source Engine to the limit, doing many things that even Creator/ValveSoftware, the engine's creators, didn't or couldn't do with it. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for the game to crash due to the sheer taxing of the system. Fortunately, a few of it's developers [[PromotedFanboy were hired by Valve]].
* Death Race for the NES is a good contender for being the best unlicensed and one of the best NES games ever made. First of all, the game has a costumizeable vehicle option menu with guns, engines, cars, wheels, missiles, the gun speed..., RPG elements and the sprites are multicoloured. For an unlicensed developer to do this is a hell of an accomplishment.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other Software]]
* [[http://www.reactos.org/ [=ReactOS=]]]: the project aims to create an open-source Windows-compatible operating system from scratch. After 12 years of development, it has some basic compatibility with Windows. You may not be able to run the latest games on it, but you can check your email and browse Wiki/TVTropes.
** On that note, ''Wine''. It's a project that attempts to ''recreate'' the full Windows [=API=] on Unix-based systems. It's not an emulator, either (it's actually part of the recursive acronym, ''Wine Is Not an Emulator''), but is actually a piecemeal reverse-engineering of Windows one library at a time, which makes Windows-only applications run just fine on Unix and other [=OSs=]. This includes very modern games like ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', which are fully playable this way.
** Wine and [=ReactOS=] are a sister projects and have a shared codebase. Or, more correctly, Wine is a Windows-compatible userland to run application software atop compatible kernels, while [=ReactOS=] developers concentrate on a Windows-compatible backend side, that is, kernel and driver support.
* Pretty-much any [[{{Emulation}} Emulator]] qualifies. Especially ones which emulate hardware for which there is little or no official information available, requiring the use of reverse engineering.
** SNES Advance and Snezziboy are particularly impressive - fully playable {{SNES}} emulators squeezed into a GameBoyAdvance.
** Similarly, the various [console] Sound Formats, such as the Playstation Sound Format. They emulate the original sound hardware/software, [[NostalgiaFilter so you can listen to how the track originally sounded]]. As an added bonus, these files are often a fraction of the size of a normal line-out rip without any significant loss of quality.
** Higan may be relatively slow, but its SNES core (originally its own emulator, called BSNES) is notable for being ''100%'' accurate to the original machine, with no game-specific hacks.
* A lot of programs in an [[http://esolangs.org/wiki/ esoteric language]] count, just because of how weird the languages are. Take, for example, [[http://99-bottles-of-beer.net/language-malbolge-995.html?PHPSESSID=2985a88f7e629576ba1e73e3c874e2ee this]].
* [[DescriptionPorn High Efficiency Advanced Audio coding w/ Parametric Stereo]]. A pretty general rule of thumb is that it gives the same as MP3 quality at one-fourth of the size (24kbit [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Efficiency_Advanced_Audio_Coding HE-AAC]] sounds as good as 96kbit MP3). Discovering it has been known to lead to at least one joygasm. Preceded by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mp3pro mp3PRO]], which uses the same [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectral_band_replication Spectral Bandwidth Replication]] algorithm to shrink the file size to half.
* jQuery is a [=JavaScript=] library that is used in a surprisingly high proportion of the most visited web sites. That is because it allows you to do a number of things that are (currently) too high-level for plain old HTML, [=JavaScript=] and CSS to handle out of box, such as AJAX (increased online interaction without refreshing the page you're on), manipulation of HTML elements (that is, inserting or tearing out parts of the web page at will), and basic animations (such as fade-ins and fade-outs). In other words, it provides just about all the functionality that really sets apart modern web pages from the static web pages of yesteryear (where yesteryear is approximately any year prior to 2005). It is also designed to be as unobtrusive to other code as possible, only uses [[EldritchAbomination confusing trick code]] where unavoidable, and still only clocks in at under 100 kilobytes.
** It gets even better. jQuery uses ''[[http://importantshock.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/jquery-is-a-monad/ monadic]]'' programming structure for most of its functions, which is basically a fancy way of saying you can call functions one after another on the same object on the same line without needing external variables to keep track of it all. The thing is, monads are typically associated with ''Haskell'', not Javascript, and they're one of the hardest parts of the language for most people to wrap their heads around. If you're good with jQuery, then you've also got a conceptual grasp on how monads work, despite working in ''completely different programming languages''!
* Microsoft Excel. While mostly known for being a boring spreadsheet program, it is actually very versatile. If you know what you're doing you can turn it into a rendering program or even a game engine with no real modification of the software.
* [[http://twitter.com/winocm winocm]], the guy who's currently into iOS jailbreaking. Not only did he [[https://github.com/darwin-on-arm/xnu make an iOS clone by porting the kernel used by Mac OS X to the ARM architecture mainly by himself]] (others got involved later), but before he got into iOS stuff he made his own NT clone (aiming for binary compatibility with a very early build of NT that is incompatible with all released versions), called [[http://www.betaarchive.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18458&start=0 OpenNT]]. Look at the post dates. He went from something unbootable to a CLI interface that passed 10,000 wine tests in ''3 days''. He never completed the project, but released [[http://goput.it/7qx.zip a build to the public]] that same day, if you want to take a look in a VM yourself.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other uses]]
* The CGI in ''Film/{{Tron}}''. Procedural texturing was ''invented'' for this movie. Even the one-off supercomputer used at the time didn't have enough memory to be able to use raster textures, so the only way to get any detail was by evaluating functions on a per-pixel basis.
* {{Pinball}}.
** Here's an interview with pinball programmer [[http://mypinballblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/in-begining.html Dwight Sullivan]], in which he describes how small the pinball software was at the time. Notable programmer [[Creator/LarryDeMar Larry DeMar]] (the co-creator of ''VideoGame/{{Defender}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Robotron 2084}}'') invented automatic replay adjustment (with Creator/SteveRitchie), which automatically adjusts the [[EveryTenThousandPoints replay score]] based on the players' performances on location) and software compensation for broken playfield switches/features, both of which were introduced in 1986's ''Pinball/HighSpeed''.
** Noteworthy mention goes to 1992's ''Pinball/TheAddamsFamily'', which had an auto-flipper (called "Thing Flips") that actually did hit the Swamp scoop target, most of the time. When it doesn't hit the Swamp scoop, then the software auto-calibrates the flipper until it hits the Swamp. This also happens if the pinball machine is moved to another location. Not surprisingly, [[Creator/LarryDeMar Larry DeMar]] was the co-programmer for ''The Addams Family''.
** [=DeMar=] also did the programming for 1990's ''Pinball/FunHouse'', which featured "Pin-Mation", in which Rudy's (the talking doll head) eyes and mouth move in real-time, depending on where the ball hits the target.
* [=TicketMaster=] managed to conquer their market by using such tightly written code it could run on 1/10th the space of its original competitors and still process the same amount of requests at the same speed.
* Apollo Guidance Computer software implemented a (cooperative) multitasking operating system plus all the software to run on it in 36,864 16 bit words of ROM and 2048 16 bit words of RAM (or in modern units, 73,728 bytes and 4096 bytes, respectively). And this was software that had to be extremely reliable and fault-tolerant because human lives depended on it. Apollo 11 demonstrated the benefits of the fault tolerant design when the guidance computer was given slightly more work than it was capable of coping with during the landing. Instead of curling up and dying, it issued an alarm, discarded jobs that were considered low priority and continued running the high priority tasks. This bit of design saved the mission. When you consider that a lunar landing abort would have been the most complicated manuver ever attempted by NASA (possibly to current day) this feature likely saved lives.
* Linksys's [=WRT54G=] (and its spiritual successor, the [=WRT54GL=][[note]]The "L" presumably stands for Linux[[/note]], [[labelnote:Addtional note]]which was released after Version 5 and later releases of the [=WRT54G=] switched to the [=VxWorks=] OS and reduced the RAM and flash RAM by half[[/labelnote]]) wireless router is one of the most hackable routers, because its firmware was based on Linux. After Linksys released the firmware source code under the GPL, software developers began developing customized versions of the [=WRT54G=] firmware, the most well-known being [=DD-WRT=] and Tomato. Not only are they considered to be more reliable and better performing than Linksys's stock firmware, they would add advanced features that are only available in commercial-grade routers.
* While he was a professor at MIT, Dr. Edward Thorp (better known as the man who invented counting cards at blackjack) once made a tiny wearable computer which he programmed to secretly calculate where the ball would stop on a roulette wheel, allowing a player to bet on that number and win big. And this was in ''1961'' - before there were any laws against it, because evidently nobody else had imagined such a thing would even be possible.
* In the fancy lingo of computer science, a "quine" is a program that, when run, produces itself as output. A "multiquine with a cycle length of two" is a program that, when run, produces a program that, when run, produces the first program as output. Got that? Good. Now, [[http://d.hatena.ne.jp/ku-ma-me/20090916/p1 contemplate this multiquine with a cycle length of eleven, each stage of which is in a different programming language]] or its [[http://d.hatena.ne.jp/ku-ma-me/20130715/p1 follow-up]] which is written in 50 cycles/languages.
* Steve Wozniak made it so that a 3 1/2" floppy disk that would be 720 kB on other systems to have 800 kB on both {{Apple II}}s and {{Apple Macintosh}}es. Unfortunately, this ended up causing compatibility issues with most other systems, so Apple went with the 1.44 MB used for the rest of the industry.
* The QP Framework, developed by Miro Samek, is essentially a lightweight event driven framework based on software state machines. While that might not sound like much, consider that the framework includes a real-time OS kernel in the package for embedded processors. Okay, there are other real-time [=OSes=]! But when you consider that QP in its smallest takes up less than 100 bytes of memory and 1KB of ROM and yet still has most of its functions to allow for real-time event driven systems is nothing short of amazing. Even its full featured implementation takes up about 1KB of memory and less than 10K of ROM.
* All of the awesome animation they do in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''? All of it is managed on an older version of AdobeFlash. Despite this, they manage to do things like MotionParallax and non-CG 3D effects that would make Disney's animated films blush, and they all do this on old software instead of in traditional cels. It is this show that truly shows what animators with Flash could put out if they really put in both the artistic effort and had the programming chops to manage it.
* There is almost enough publicly available information to write a perfectly accurate emulator for the Cray-1 that can run on a modern workstation. The largest stumbling block is the floating point maths used by the Cray-1. The Cray-1 was a single processor supercomputer that was faster than any other computer in the world when it was built. It came with vector floating point functional units (i.e. subprocessors) which could be used in parallel, had exact calculation times, predate modern standards, and are poorly documented compared to the rest of the Cray-1. The Cray-1 used a 64-bit floating point format and algorithms that differ from and are much faster than what even modern computers use. When the Cray-1 hardware manual says that you can do floating point and integer division, multiplication, addition, and subtraction all at the same time, it isn't bragging. The hardware manual actually tells you how to do it.
[[/folder]]

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