Bigger Is Better

"Leela, evolution has programmed our fabulous male brains to take anything anyone else thinks is important, and make it bigger!"
Professor Farnsworth, Futurama

Everything is better when it's BIG. You know you wish you had tropes this BIG. Unless, of course, you're Tiny Tropes.

Subtropes include:

Bigger Body Parts

Bigger Buildings

Bigger Clothing

Bigger Creatures

Bigger Media

Bigger Food

Bigger People

Bigger Weapons

Bigger Other Stuff


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The eponymous GunBuster. In a world where 3 to 4 meter tall mecha just aren't enough, scale up 50 times. That's 125,000 times the material.
    • Followed up by its sequel, DieBuster, where the titular mecha is as big as a planet.
  • Great Mazinger was notably larger than Mazinger Z.
    • For that matter, all the robots in Super Robot shows are bigger than Mazinger Z. Many classic Super Robot shows had the heroes at least 40 meters tall, compared to Mazinger Z being just 18 meters. (Which incidentally, is the same height as the original Mobile Suit Gundam.)
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, Lowe makes a Katana big enough to be wielded by a Mobile Suit. When he finds a huge cache of Phlebotinum, what's the only thing he can think of to make with it? An even bigger Katana, so big he has to strap it to the side of his ship, and has to build a Humongous Mecha for his normal Humongous Mecha to pilot in order to actually use it.
  • Parodied in Gundam Build Fighters, when during a match, a WaDOM cannot utilize the small normal-sized pistol given to him, earning its pilot a quick loss.
  • The core logic (if you can call it that) of the Getter Rays from Getter Robo, being the energy of evolution itself. Their sole purpose is to grow larger and more powerful, and this often results in Humongous Mecha on an enormous (and in some cases galactic) scale.
  • Jack Rakan from Mahou Sensei Negima! seems to follow this with his large collection of giant swords. Up to and including one the size of a building.
    • Ku Fei's artifact; a staff that can instantly expand to many times it's original size, meaning anyone standing at the end of it when it expands is effectively hit by a train.
  • Subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist, when Envy transforms into his monster form against the Flame Alchemist, Roy Mustang.
    Mustang: I can't believe you made yourself a bigger target. You really thought bigger would be better?
  • In Night Wizard, Emotionless Girl Akari usually wields a BFG, but during one of the final episodes, she briefly upgrades to a RIDICULOUSLY oversized ANTI-FLEET weapon. It's so big, she needs another wizard to handle the reloading. Rather than firing from the hip as is her general style, she finds it necessary to carry it on her shoulder... and it's the size of an interstate bus.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann takes this trope to its natural conclusion. The final episode features the eponymous mecha, which (according to the art book), is ten million light years in height.
    • The movie version goes even farther, featuring a Combining Mecha formed from several of those. Then plays with it by making this mecha the reincarnation of their founder as if he came back from the grave (again).
    Simon: We're gonna need a bigger drill?
  • Queen's Blade's Cattleya is this trope in festish form. She's tall, mature, muscular, stacked on front, the back, and the sides and she wields a sword that's as big as her.

    Card Games 

  • FoxTrot: Roger buys a four-foot tall cell phone from "Mobytel" ("I assume the 'Moby' is short for mobile"). It turns out to not work out so well as both the ends are too far away to actually have a conversation and it needs to be plugged into the wall. ("The salesman made a good point—wall outlets are practically everywhere!")
  • Parodied in Over the Hedge with an SUV:
    "How many humans fit into one of those?"
    "Usually... one."
    • It's of note that he could've been referring to each one having their own, being in the really decadent and rich neighborhood that they were.

    Fan Works 
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover and its sequel, ships just keep getting bigger.
    • Trans-Galactic Republic Curator-class Star Destroyers are 2.5km in length and are considered the "mainline" ship (bigger than the 1.6km Imperial Star Destroyers).
    • Said Star Destroyers also outsize any Citadel vessel by a good margin except Destiny Ascension—which defies the trope because despite being 4km in length it is weaker than a Curator.
    • Revenant stretches 35km from bow to stern and single-handedly takes on hundreds of Reapers.
    • In Origins, Samantha Shepard moves from commanding the 181m frigate Normandy SR-2 to Revenant Phoenix, a 798m heavy cruiser.
    • Normandy SR-2 becomes Normandy SR-2.5, having gained 60 meters in a refit that made her a "pocket heavy cruiser" with much stouter armor and more powerful weapons.
    • Specialized ships run by geth processes start out small, but become more powerful as they consume materials from asteroids or fallen foes, gaining size in the process.
    • The Mooks in this universe also are aware this trope is in effect as their ships and soldiers become bulkier over time—more powerful clone soldiers, more powerful cruisers, and most ominously, Flood ships bigger than a Revenant Star Dreadnaught.

  • The Master of Disguise had a major romantic subplot about Pistachio's love for Jennifer Baker despite her "tiny, butter bottom". Given the size of his mother, it looks like the Disguisey family's men think bigger is ''always'' Better, when it comes to women, especially their buttocks.
  • Dinosaurs (also Truth in Television):
    • Jurassic Park III's Spinosaurus was bigger than T. rex, because... well... T. rex just wasn't cool enough any more. Which was more dangerous in real life is debatable (and since they never lived at the same time, no actual confrontations ever happened), but in the movie...Spinosaurus is bigger, so naturally it wins the fight.
      • Interestingly, the Velociraptors in the first movie were much bigger than in reality (they were actually Deinonychus, but "Velociraptor" sounded cooler) while the dilophosaur was much smaller. But it could spit poison, which the real ones most likely could not, so...
  • Death Stars in Star Wars. According to The Other Wiki, Death Star I had a diameter between 120 and 160 km. Death Star II was anywhere (depending on the source) from 160 to 900km! Death Star I was already basically impervious to direct attack (it just had that pesky thermal exhaust port, a design flaw that was removed for Death Star II), so it's not like they needed to make the armor thicker. Ordinary weapons might break through a few non-essential decks, but to hit anything important you'd have to get dozens of kilometers down. Good luck chipping away at if for that long before you eat a superlaser. Granted, Death Star II had a better laser, but was there really any other reason for it to be so much larger?
    • It probably says something that all of the Original Trilogy movies, along with Revenge of the Sith, opened with a Star Destroyer, which is more than a kilometer and a half long. Other big contenders are the Executor (so big, it used ENGINES bigger than Star Destroyers), Ackbar's five-kilometer-long flagship, the three-kilometer Trade Federation Lucrehulk battleship, and the seven-hundred-meter Acclamator troop transport. And that's just the movies; the EU has things like the Maw Installation, seen in comparison to a prototype Death Star, Centerpoint Station, which was 300 kilometers long, and the Galaxy Gun.
    • Parodied by Spaceball One in Spaceballs.
  • Godzilla is king of the monsters. Are you king of the monsters? No. You're too small.
  • In Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey Bill and Ted were nervous about the Station twins knowing what they were doing. The twins did a Fusion Dance, turning into Big Station. Suddenly there were no more worries. Apparently Big Station was more obviously a great scientist than the Station twins?
  • The Götterdämmerung in Iron Sky, the flagship of the Nazi space fleet (It Makes Sense in Context). The guns on that monstrocity can take out a tenth of the Moon with each shot. However, the ship is too overpowered. Since the Nazi computer technology is so far behind, their ENIAC-sized machine can't hope to run all of the Götterdämmerung's systems. Then they get ahold of a smartphone.
  • The 1986 Cult Classic Big Fun In The Big Town, about Hip Hop Music in New York City, mentions it even twice in the title!

  • Subverted in Sergey Lukyanenko's novel Genome with the Taii - an ancient galactic superpower whose strength waned after a devastating war with another equally-powerful race. Their colossal ships are still allowed to patrol space that now belongs to younger races, but they are little more than relics of ages past. It is mentioned that a tiny by comparison human destroyer is able to completely incinerate one of these Taii battleships with a single volley.
  • Played completely straight by Bolos, which are remarkably large, AI-guided tanks. Later marks mass more than most battleships.
  • John Keefauver's story "The Great Three-Month Super Supersonic Stack-Up of 1999" satirically depicted a near-future with planes so huge that they could be stacked up for weeks. ("Six feet longer than ten football fields! Six feet wider than three football fields!")

    Live-Action TV 
  • The nurses in Cop Rock's musical number say the phrase Bigger Is Better and wear stripperiffic dresses. Cop Rock - Perfection
  • Played with in Stargate SG-1: Our heroes have discovered that the Tollan have somehow manufactured their own Stargate. In order to stroke his shrinking ego, all O'Neill can manage to say is, "Ours is bigger."
  • In the Victorious episode "Survival of the Hottest", the main characters (minus Cat) get stuck in an RV on a particularly hot day. Tori suddenly remembers that she brought a battery-powered fan, searches her bag for it and presents a tiny, two-bladed fan.
    Tori: Here it is!
    André: Oh, stop.
    Trina: That's it!?
    Robbie: That's your fan?
    Tori: (insulted) Yeah...
    Beck: It's not big.
    Jade: It's an embarressment!
    André: You teased us...
    Tori: Okay... Okay, fine, then I guess I just won't turn it on.
    (Everyone protests desperately)
    Tori: Yeah, yeah, now you like my tiny fan, don'cha!?
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hells Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), Samuel Colt built a 100 square mile Devil's trap in the desert using frontier churches and iron railroad tracks in order to contain a gate to hell. All previous Devil's traps in the series could fit inside a room.

  • Satirized in Peter Gabriel's "Big Time":
    "My parties all have the big names
    And I greet them with the widest smile
    Tell them how my life is one big adventure
    And always they're amazed
    When I show them round the house, to my bed
    I had it made like a mountain range
    With a snow white pillow for my big fat head
    And my heaven will be a big heaven
    And I will walk through the front door!"
  • Nelly Furtado's "Big Hoops (The Bigger the Better)", which starts with a repetition of "the bigger the better" - though not as innuendo, the title and lyrics show it's about her earrings (which on the videoandafterwards she made sure to wear a lot).

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is the basic principle behind the design of most, if not all, weapons, vehicles, and equipment in Warhammer 40,000.
    • Also most, if not all, Orks.
      • Ork philosophy (for lack of a better term) pretty much is this.
  • In the Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG, there's a simple way to estimate the challenge level of any given starship. Is it a fighter? It's probably low-challenge. If it has a CL of 16 or higher, there's a 99% chance the vehicle in question can cause a nasty localised eclipse, followed by reducing the eclipsed area to ash with its Frickin' Laser Beams.
    • A fan-made, impossibly humongous ship apparently dubbed the Imperium "Ultra" Class Star Destroyer with all the fixin's inspired someone to write a status report concerning the maiden flight of the SDSD Freudian Nightmare and all the problems that would come with maintaining said impossibly huge ship. It's hilarious.
  • Exalted is generally an aversion to this trope. The Exalts are typically no bigger than an average human (and in most cases, are human) and are expected to win fights against mountain-sized god-monsters, which they did. However, Exalts who are champions of the aforementioned god-monsters has access to Shintai charms, with which they can turn as HUGE as their patrons. In their cases, bigger really are better.
  • The Lyran Commonwealth military revolves around this trope in BattleTech. It has led to the (mostly spoof) meme that a typical Lyran scout lance consists mainly of their lighter assault 'Mechs (like the 80-ton Zeus).

    Video Games 
  • Microsoft's apparent thought process behind the original Xbox, especially its controller.
  • Throughout Sword of the Stars. Large guns are better than small guns. Large hulls have better colonisers, sensors, command & control, and tankers than small hulls. Large planets are easier to defend and more productive. Better engine systems are larger, too.
    • One exception, though. Only small guns can target and destroy incoming missiles and Attack Drones.
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • The Valzacard in Super Robot Wars W, which is a Combining Mecha made of two mecha... and two battleships. Lined up with the rest of the Banpreso Originals, the second largest doesn't even come up to it's knees.
    • Before the Valcazard was the Geant Chevalier from Super Robot Wars Destiny. In that case, it was more an instance of longer is better, clocking in at over one hundred meters long. And it's a Real Robot. One longer than Ideon is tall.
  • The fundamental military strategy of the Global Defense Initiative from the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series is to build big tanks. Then upgrade and build to bigger tanks. Then put bigger guns on those bigger tanks. Then build a really, really, really big tank to eat up resources at once and then build even more giant tanks. GDI takes the concept of More Dakka and applies it to armor like no other.
    • The fundamental military strategy of the Soviet Union in the Red Alert series is to build big everything.
  • Ork Shoota Boyz specifically say this when having been upgraded with "Big Shootas" in Dawn of War 2. Well, with more of a Funetik Aksent.
    Bigga is Best
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III featured "grail structures" that could be built at only one town on any map. Most of them tended to be very tall (the Colossus, the Warlords' Monument) or very wide (Aurora Borealis). They were easily better than any other non-troop-producing building you could produce, because a) they were free to build if you met the requirements; b) you could build a grail structure as well as a normal structure on the same turn in the same town, c) most of them were very tall; PAY ATTENTION.
  • This list is okay, but the King of All Cosmos wants a bigger, nicer list.
  • Master/Hell Mel from Lunar: The Silver Star has, as part of his personal weapons collection, an axe larger than him...and he can wield it one-handed.
  • In most of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games (and thus, by extension, in Warriors Orochi), each warrior can obtain 4 different tiers of weapons. Each higher tier has higher attack, awesomer appearance, and a noticeably bigger size — hence, in those games, bigger really IS better. However, as a result, a lot of the warriors winds up with HILARIOUSLY oversized weapons on the fourth tier. For example, "The Devil" Shimazu ends up with a warhammer whose head is bigger than his (impossible muscled and heavily-armored) torso, Sun Ce ends up with a pair of Tonfas that are longer than his legs, Kunoichi's Dual Knives turns into Dual Longswords, and so on....
  • The Nintendo DSi XL, which has 94% bigger screens and is marketed towards old people, but tends to sell better outside such demographic for the sake of bigger being better.
  • Star Ruler both uses and averts this. While it is true that bigger subsystems take more damage, bigger weapons deal more damage at greater ranges, bigger bays can store more stuff etc., there are also downsides to upsizing such as weapons taking longer to reload.
  • Asura's Wrath subverts this. The first of the Seven Deities, Wyzen, starts out as a big Fat Bastard, and at each stage that Asura beats him, he draws upon more Mantra power to become bigger. He goes from being the size of a tank to about a hundred meters tall, and when Asura punts that form into space, he calls upon a huge amount of Mantra to transform into a planet-sized form. He then proceeds to crush Asura with an index finger the size of a small country. Asura, being Asura, just gets pissed and punches Wyzen so hard that the force travelling up his arm makes him explode. Immediately afterward, the rest of the Seven Deities are shown as annoyed and scornful of Wyzen for wasting so much power because he was convinced that being bigger meant he was more powerful.
    • Played straight in later instances, like when Deus fuses with the Karma fortress to become Sakra Devanam Indra Deus, who dwarfs even the above mentioned Wyzen, as well as Augus's sword being able to extend his sword to up to 380,000 KILOMETERS in length.. Then the True Finale of part IV Nirvana D Lc, Asura uses the same Mantra Reactor Wyzen and Deus used, now implanted into his body, to dwarf even them, and parry a "small" laser that would still have engulfed the planet, from Chakravartin's Giant Vessel form, which is so big it makes Galaxies seem like Small dots by comparison.
  • Subverted in X3: Terran Conflict with the ATF Valhalla. This is a battleship far larger (and far slower) than any other ship in the game, mounting 24 Point Singularity Projectors and 32 Starburst Shockwave Cannons with 14 GJ of shielding. It can also carry 60 ships of up to corvette size. However, its size gives it a couple of problems. First, it has some serious blind spots in its gun batteries' firing arcs. Second, it's so big that when it travels through a jump gate, it bangs into the rim and loses its shields! (This latter behavior is fixed in the Expansion Pack Albion Prelude.)
    • Played straight with Teladi ships; design-wise, they do make big ships (well, their capital ships, to be a little more precise), but not to the point that they become unnecessarily big like the aforementioned Valhalla (even their biggest ship, the Phoenix, is not overly designed in width in order to prevent embarrassingly colliding with the rim of a jump gate when it enters and exits the gate). Stats-wise, they fit the role of Mighty Glaciers due to them eschewing speed and agility in favor of massive amounts of shields and even bigger cargo bays. The latter stat is justified by the Teladi in that they are a race that thrives on trade and profit. Besides being really good at trading, these attributes also make them the perfect candidates for spamming missiles in large numbers, especially with their larger capital ships.

  • Played with in Schlock Mercenary. Schlock loses his BFG, and is offered a new model which is much more powerful and doesn't need to warm up. On the downside, it is smaller, and doesn't make an ominous hum when warming up. Schlock manages to find another of the old model. To be fair, Schlock uses both the size and the ominous hum as much for intimidation as he uses the gun for blasting things. Although he does like blasting things.
  • Aylee during one of her transformations in Sluggy Freelance.
  • As Gertrude said when she got her Buntline special with 16 inch barrel, "The bigger it is the more it hurts!"

    Western Animation 
In "Franklin and the Woodland Fuzzies" on Franklin and Friends, when everyone stops playing with their Woodland Fuzzies, Franklin thinks that they don't like them anymore and so he creates a mega-sized one, figuring exactly this. As it turned out, his friends liked the Woodland Fuzzies because they were cute and small, they just didn't want to play with them all the time.

    Real Life 
  • Popularly, anything from or associated with Texas.
  • Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV)
    • The Hummer and its offspring
    • The Montana
    • If the gasoline crisis hadn't hit, I was looking forward to the rollout of one called "Jupiter".
  • Sex, and a man's worth as a human being.
  • Engines. The bigger, the better, especially if you want the huge block just to cruise around the town. It is possible to squeeze 750 hp out of a little 2.4 liter engine — Formula 1 does it — but doing so needs royal trainloads of Phlebotinum and at least US$3,000,000.
    • Sports cars usually have V-8 engines, twice as much as your average family car.
    • The Bugatti Veyron, the second-fastest production car in the world, has a ~1000 hp W16 engine!
    • The SSC Ultimate Aero TT can make nearly 1300+ hp Take That, Bugatti!
      • The Ultimate Aero TT is also geared to top out at 270 MPH.
    • The Dodge Challenger SRT-8 has a 6.1-liter V8 that comfortably hits 425 hp, while costing less than 5% of what an F1 engine costs.
    • There's also the Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06, which makes 505 hp from a 7-liter V8.
    • Any muscle car fits this trope. There's no replacement for displacement, after all.
    • Formula One in the 1980s subverts this somewhat. Per the rules, forced-induction engine sizes were capped at a minuscule 1.5 liters. Despite this, it was quite common for such engine to be able to produce up to (and beyond) 1,500 hp. The designers simply increased the size of the turbochargers to ridiculous extremes.
    • The Cadillac Eldorado with its 8.3 liter (500 cu in) all to brake emissions legislation.
  • Buildings
    • Chrysler Building!
    • Empire State Building!
    • World Trade Center!
    • Sears Tower!
    • Petronas Towers!
    • Space Needle!
    • CN Tower!
    • Burj Dubai!
    • And they still keep trying to top it... see this list for several up-and-comming examples, topping out at the 1.25 miles high Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid near Tokyo.
    • Stalin wanted to turn Moscow into a monster city, as evidenced by his plan to build the enormous Palace of the Soviets, which for that time would be the largest free-standing man-made building in the world. Oh, and did I mention that roughly 1/6th of the building was to be a giant statue of Lenin?
      • It would've been built too, if he hadn't chosen a site that turned out to be over an underground river. You really don't want to build a building that large on top of a river. They did dig a massive hole in the ground for the foundation before the project was scrapped.
  • Inverted Trope in general for handheld infantry gunpowder weapons. They started off as handheld cannons, went to smaller arquebuses, then muskets and lastly rifles (and even rifles went from larger rifles to smaller ones firing smaller rounds). Accuracy and More Dakka over an larger round turned out to be generally more useful to the basic infantryman.
  • Monuments
    • Great Wall of China
    • Pyramids of Egypt, Karnak, Abu Simbel, Luxor Temple, The Sphinx...
    • The Colossus of Rhodes.
    • The mythical Tower of Babel.
    • The Colosseum.
    • The pyramids of Teotihuacán and Chichén Itzá.
    • Stonehenge which is, after all is said and done, nothing more than a big sundial.
  • Balls of String. There are multiple places claiming to have the World's Largest Ball of String, and probably a very thriving rivalry among them all.
  • Foil balls.
  • Food
    • Would you like a plain hot dog? Or a foot-long hot dog?
    • How about a hamburger? Or upgrade to a triple?
    • Gaijin Smash: Supersize me!
    • Also why movie theaters don't sell 'small' drinks anymore? The smallest you can get is a medium.
      • They may call the small a medium just so you don't feel so bad paying $4 for a small drink.
  • eBay. Because people will be a lot more interested in buying your item if the name alone takes the whole screen.
    • Also, Time Cube. Insane rambling is much more convincing when presented in huge script and randomly made bold and/or italic.
  • Everything.
    • Everything except for things that are bad to start with and things that get just too big...
    • A Cold War American joke said that the USSR boasted on producing the worlds largest microchips, forgetting exactly what the "micro" in the name was supposed to mean.
  • Guinness World Records contains many examples.
    • Guinness World Records is BUILT on these.
  • The Universe. It's the size of a whole Universe.
  • Inverted with most high-tech devices. People are more impressed with the MacBook Air than the room-sized behemoth computers of yesteryear (except in a "whoah, they used to be that big?" sense).
  • In an unusual, and clever, application of this trope, the USSR did this with a substantial amount of their military weaponry during the Cold War, making it larger than equivalent NATO weaponry. The difference wasn't large in most cases, and was often limited to ammunition casings, although larger weapons such as main battle tank guns had larger bores. This had the effect of allowing them to use captured NATO ammunition in their weapons with the addition of a simple adapter sleeve or sabot (the latter used for tank and artillery rounds), but prevented NATO from capturing and using any Warsaw Pact ammunition.
  • Hitler would have loved to have invoked this trope further than the Nazis already did, particularly with the Maus heavy panzer and the ridiculously large Ratte, which really can't be described as anything other than a battleship on wheels. The armaments minister Albert Speer realized how impractical they were and strangled the ideas in the cradle.
    • The Landkreuzer P. 1500 Monster! A tank so big, it was designed to be submersible, not for naval warfare, but because it was too heavy to take bridges, so had to go straight through any rivers it came across.
  • Cuckoos. They lay their eggs in other birds' nests, and their chicks are so large, they monopolize the parents' attention and food supply.
    • It helps that as soon as the cuckoo chick hatches, it kicks the other eggs out of the nest so that it's the only one remaining.
  • Cracked's list of The 6 Most Gigantic Everything in the History of War
  • Computer components are going this way. Take graphics cards for example: at first, all graphics cards took up a single expansion slot, and barely extended beyond the socket. Today, dual-slot coolers are the norm (due to the increase in heat put out,) and the highest-end cards can be over ten inches longs (27cm seems to be the norm for these long cards), while an ATX motherboard is about 9.5 inches wide. And triple-slot coolers are becoming popular.
    • CPU coolers, as well. They can be so large as to not fit in particularly narrow cases.
      • If you've been tinkering with computers for a while, you can see how heatsinks have grown over the years from being completely absent on a 486DX, through a little one 4cm wide on on the 200MHz Pentium MMX, to great big hulking huge 10cm ones, to hulking huge ones with heat pipes...
    • Motherboards, too. The crowing example would be EVGA's Classified SR-2, a dual socket monster that uses its own form factor, and can only fit in a handful of cases on the market without major modifications.
  • Australia seems rather fond of big things as tourism landmarks, such as the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. On Pitch segment on The Gruen Transfer had the winning ad use such big landmarks as cooling towers on nuclear reactors to try and sell nuclear power to Aussies.
  • Justified in the case of many animals that seek out the biggest available mates, as a large potential partner is probably older than a small one. If a big mate lived long enough to get big, while eating well enough to grow a massive body, then it's probably got better genes to contribute than some dinky youngster. Inverted in that some species of deer are assumed to have gone extinct because they couldn't move through forests with their big antlers.
    • Also played straight with trees. If one tree in a forest is bigger, it casts a shadow over the ones surrounding it. They, in turn, grow bigger, therefore casting their own shadows, and so on. Bigger is therefore the only way to get full access to light.
  • Telescopes, professional and amateur. The bigger the main lens or mirror, the more light the telescope lets in, the fainter it can see; this trope absolutely applies. In 1789, Herschel constructed a telescope with a main mirror 4 feet wide, in a tube 40 feet long, supported on a huge scaffold frame. It was the world's largest for half a century, until Irishman William Parsons built one with a 6-foot main mirror (weighing three TONS), held up by stone walls looking straight of a medieval castle. In 1917, American Hale trumped that with a telescope main mirror of over 8 feet. Currently the world's largest telescope has a primary mirror over THIRTY-FOUR FEET across, large enough to park a bus on.
    • For amateur telescopes, in the mid 20th century 8 inches was considered fairly large. Now 16-inch telescopes are not uncommon, and there are some as large as 50 inches available to the wealthy amateur astronomer, so big you need to stand on a ladder to look through the eyepiece.
    • And then there's the RB-16, a pair of binoculars where EACH SIDE is 16 inches across. (And you look through them backwards, facing the opposite way to the view you see.)
  • Battleships back when they were still the naval state of the art. Justified in that bigger guns could (and still technically can) wreak more havoc over longer ranges than smaller ones given the advances in fire control at the time that made taking full advantage of said ranges actually feasible, but to carry said bigger guns you first of all needed a bigger ship.
  • Trains. From about 1900 onwards, the world's largest and heaviest steam locomotive was always an articulated American locomotive. The Union Pacific Railroad was famous for its "Big Engine" policy, and had the biggest steam locomotive (Big Boy), the biggest diesel locomotive (Centennial), and the biggest gas-turbine locomotive. Even its slightly smaller "Big Engines" were bigger than the engines on most other lines.
  • Many sports favor big people, such as swimming (as it provides both a physical advantage and bigger arms for thrust), volleyball (blocking on the net) and basketball (though overly big players are usually clunky due to higher centers of gravity, not to mention more injury prone as the legs and feet are taking a huge load!). Then you need a stadium or arena to play, and many times they're huge as well!
  • Definitely not true for fighter aircraft. Yes, bigger ones can carry more fuel and ammunition... but they are also more expensive, harder to maintain (and since number of aircraft fielded is number of aircraft acquired * number of aircraft available * sortie rate, things snowball rather quickly) and harder to accomodate and keep supplied. They are also easier to detect, less maneuverable and easier to hit. On the other hand, bombers need to be able to carry heavy payloads, which means that multirole fighters are either not good at air superiority, not good at bombing, average at both, or bad at both.
  • Averted with cattle. As oxen-drawn carts are no longer in fashion, one reason to want big cows is removed, and many people find big cows intimidating. There's also some cow breeds that are very small and give very protein-rich milk.
  • Also averted when it comes to cigars. Novices find cartoonishly wide 70 and 80 ring-gauge stogies very visually appealing, but knowledgeable cigar smokers shun them because their huge size means less flavor compared to ring gauges 60 and under. Filler tobaccos are somewhat bland by themselves and the outer wrapper of a cigar contributes most of a stogie's unique tasting notes, so a thicker cigar means a more lopsided wrapper/filler ratio. Plus, trying to puff a cigar that's nearly 2 inches in width looks ridiculous.
  • The concept of Economies Of Scale are a big reason for Bigger Is Better applying in Real Life. For example, if you have four aircraft that can carry 100 passengers each, you have to pay four crews to fly it, pay four maintainence crews to keep them in airworthy condition, pay four sets of airport fees for every 400 people you move, etc. If you have 1 aircraft that can carry 400 people, you only need to pay 1 crew, 1 maintainence crew, one set of airport fees, and so on. Furthermore, 1 aircraft with 400 people on it will require less fuel to get them to the destination than 4 aircraft with 400 people divided between them because the one big aircraft will have less weight and drag than the 4 aircraft will have collectively between them. Hence, the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. (it should be noted that all of this only holds if you manage to fill your 400 seat aircraft, and that there are diseconomies of scale too. If your aircraft breaks down then you lose the ability to move 400 people until it's fixed, whereas if one of your 4 smaller aircraft breaks down, you still can move 300 people, etc)

Alternative Title(s): Bigger Damn Index