In Golden Sun, a lot of Psynergy falls into Utility Magic, but some simply have Mundane Utility. Whirlwind can be used to clear away vines obstructing goals (or set dangling chains/vines/ropes in motion for some swinging); Frost can be used to bridge gaps by turning a puddle of water into a giant ice pillar; Growth can be used to turn random sprouts into climbable vines.
In The Lost Age, a baby girl in a house in Contigo can be seen using Whirlwind to cool off in the hot weather.
Can't get much more into the spirit of this trope than Dark Dawn's take on the Sol Blade, which explodes into fire, calls meteors from the heavens... and opens doors.
In SNK Gals Fighters, the prize for winning the fighting tournament is a talisman that will grant a single wish. Most of the endings result in the winner wishing for something relatively mundane (Athena wishes for her long hair back, Leona wishes away a toothache, etc.). The most egregious example has to be Shermie, who wishes for a larger hamster cage for her pregnant pet rather than summoning Orochi. Yashiro even points this out to her.
There is an NPC named Mrs. Orange, who uses Shun Goku Satsu (A.K.A. Instant Hell Murder A.K.A. Raging Demon A.K.A Akuma's signature move from Street Fighter) to make cakes. And they're delicious.
Ammy herself gains a wide range of elemental-based, borderline Reality Warper abilities. One of the very first things she does with the power to make the sun come closer to the Earth? Helping the aforementioned Mrs. Orange dry her laundry. Most likely, were she not the Goddess of the Sun, the world would've been engulfed in flames.
She also uses the Whirlwind skill to help a sushi chef carve up a fish, and Fireburst to light the fire for another chef's oven. And Cherry Bomb levels 2 and 3 just to cheer up the pyrotechnician.
Marisa Kirisame has a Mini-Hakkero. It can be used for cooking, and for firing gigantic laser beams. And before you start guessing, she is not a Lethal Chef. Marisa was also noted in the story material for Perfect Cherry Blossom to have relocated a hot spring with her magic...for indoor heating in the winter.
Reimu uses her Hakurei Yin-Yang Orbs as an air freshener.
Alice Margatroid micromanages her doll army, which can wield weapons and launch danmaku, to do chores all over the house, even when she isn't in the same room as them. However, this is explicitly noted as more a matter of pride than practicality, as because she needs to control each doll individually it doesn't make the work any easier.
Utsuho gains the power of nuclear fusion and plans to Take Over the World with it. After the heroines beat her, she provides free electricity for Gensokyo, and heating for hot springs.
In Eientei, Kaguya uses her power to manipulate eternity to make the mansion timeless, so the house would not degrade over time, and food would not go bad. Shortly before the events of Silent Sinner in Blue, however, she stops doing it, and begins to appreciate the passage of time in her home once more.
As a manipulator of density, Suika can create black holes, grow to giant size and split into hundreds of copies. What does she use this power for? To gather people together for an endless kegger.
Even lame powers have their uses; on especially hot summer days, other youkai and fairies who dislike the sun will use Rumia's personal bubble of darkness to avoid the heat.
Similarly, in the official manga Strange and Bright Nature Deity, Youmu unsuccessfully tries to convince Marisa and Reimu to stop collecting ghosts in jars and using them as air conditioners.
Eirin is an absurdly old super-genius that invented a potion for immortality, as well as who knows what else. After the events of Imperishable Night she used her abilities to open a clinic, providing medicine for youkai and humans.
Yukari Yakumo, youkai of boundaries, uses her Reality Warper powers for transportation.
Touhou Soccer, where the girls unleash their unbelievably powerful magic/world-crushing energy beams/Reality Warper powers/whatever...to play soccer. Yes. Whatever they're using for a soccer ball, it must be goddamn invincible.
The Igniter bloodline in Bloodline Championsburns enemies in the game. However, their real purpose is to teleport around their people's underground city, keeping the torches lit.
In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Silver, who possesses sufficient psychic powers to lift a large group of cars (during gameplay!) turns his might to...collecting apples.
Crypto, the alien protagonist of Destroy All Humans!, is a powerful psychic that can manipulate human minds to his own diabolical ends. What does he use this mind control for when he has no mission objective on hand? Making civilians do the chicken dance for his own amusement.
Destroy All Humans 2 features a minigame in Bay City, in which Crypto uses his telekinesis to play a game of tennis with a clone of himself. The "balls" used are actually live humans.
Kyle Katarn's Idle Animation in Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight features him using his lightsaber to cut his beard. This requires balls of durasteel, because...well...it's a plasma sword capable of cutting through starship hull.
Obi-wan: Some Jedi are known to shave with their laser swords.
Tion Medon: Yet you have a beard.
Obi-wan: Yes. And a head still attached to my neck.
Inverted in Dead Space, where the only actual weapon you receive, the Pulse Rifle, isn't the most useful against the Necromorphs, especially when wielded by Red Shirts who don't know they need to be dismembered. The weapons that are effective are basically tools for maintenance and repairs: the plasma cutter and line gun are usually used for cutting through starship walls and hulls to repair the machinery inside. The ripper, a buzzsaw held by electromagnetism, is used for cutting live power cables without the holder being electrocuted. The Shock Cannon is used for clearing hallways filled with debris in an emergency. Etc. Etc.
There's also Isaac's armor, another subversion: in its ultimate incarnation, it's only a little less effective than full-on combat armor (which you get for beating the game), and for a good reason: it's designed for engineers going into extremely hazardous and hostile environments (such as extremely high temperatures, toxic atmospheres, no atmosphere, areas where debris and shrapnel are flying at high velocities due to malfunctions in the gravity plating, etc, etc.), so it has to be very sturdy and airtight. And lucky Isaac, he has a suit of this on at the beginning, since he was being sent to do repair work on a ship that had suddenly gone silent, meaning he had to be ready for ANY situation that might pop up, since there's any number of things that can go wrong in deep space (although it's probably safe to say that nobody was expecting mutant space zombies).
Dead Space 3 plays this oh so very straight as you regularly have to use use the kinesis ability to turn simple handles which are clearly within an arm's reach. There is no explanation provided why Isaac couldn't do that by hand. Presumably, EA didn't want to spend effort animating it.
Inversion in the DOS game Pickle Wars: Salad Shooters are mundane. They also just happen to be the most effective weapon against the pickle invaders.
Played straight when the Doomsday Device is said to make good milkshakes.
In Kartia, the cards which are used for devastating magical attacks and creating weapons and armor can be used for pretty much everything else, from transforming into cleaning implements, to transforming one into a tea cup, and the second into the tea itself. Think I'll stay with the leaves myself.
Neverwinter Nights 2: What's the best part of being able to enter and travel through dreams? If you ask Gannayev, it's the extra opportunities for getting laid.
In the original Neverwinter Nights: how do you open a locked chest if you're a mage? Do you hire the annoying little halfling rogue? No. You hurl a fireball at it.
That, or have your Pixie familiar take care of it. You did choose the Pixie, right?
Also, if you have Bastilla and Mission on your team for long enough, Mission will start annoying Bastilla to the point where she uses the Force that binds the galaxy together to make Mission trip over her own feet.
Made even funnier by the fact that the reason Mission is bugging her is to try and get Bastilla to admit to using the Force for mundane reasons occasionally. Like tripping people up people who annoy her.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Consular and Inquisitor classes have a spell that operates as a short-range teleport. The stated reason is to get them out of danger or teleport them around a battle. One of the most common uses? Having a save point when hunting treasure chests or datacrons.
Within Star Wars: The Old Republic's expansion Knights of the Fallen Empire, an oddly cheery montage scene has new allies Koth, Lana and HK-55 retrofitting the Gravestone, a powerful starship. While most take their jobs seriously, all-powerful yet title-fearing Sith Lord Lana Beniko's only contribution is using the mighty power of The Force to stack a random collection of seemingly unimportant crates on one side of a room. And she looks so pleased with herself afterwards.
It's entirely possible in Jak II: Renegade and Jak 3: Wastelander to use a gun to open boxes. If you've activated infinite ammo, you can use the tank-killing lightning-bomb gun to crack open crates.
In a skit in Tales of Symphonia, Sheena asks Genis how he cooks so well. "I always cast Fireball!" While he was joking, Sheena considers the possibility of getting the fire Summon Spirit Efreet to aid in the process.
The planet Democratus, from Anachronox, is equipped with a tractor beam that can affect objects almost as large as the planet itself. After they shrink the planet and team up with the protagonists, the tractor beam is used to...reach things on high shelves. Or pick up a very hot rock. They can also construct a fully functional (if small-scaled) nuclear weapons program, which they use against opponents.
Shiki in Tsukihime tends to use his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception to quietly open locked doors more than kill vampires, poison, brick walls, evil hair or weird things like that. In fact, it's why Satsuki has a crush on him: He used his eyes to cut the lock on the door of a shed she was trapped in. Also vaporized the arm of a national monument statue after accidentally breaking it.
In Second Sight, John Vattic uses his telekinesis to restart a generator with a missing starter motor.
During the Wits Path of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Indy finds a mysterious artifact capable of generating a sizeable burst of electricity: almost immediately afterwards, he uses it as a substitute for a car battery.
In World of Warcraft, the Blood Elves, despite being driven to consuming demons to get magic fix, still waste a lot of that magic on things like self-pushing brooms, floating lamp posts, and parties. Also, the Magical City of Dalaran, now rebuilt and flying over Northend, has mages to turn on the lamps at night.
In the Japan exclusive Spin-off game "Navi Trackers", Tetra uses the awesome, ancient magic of the kingdom of Hyrule to...split Link into four and play a game of tag with them. A really complicated game of tag, but still, a game of tag.
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Rito, the resident Bird People of Hyrule who can fly just about anywhere they want, use the feathers they molt to stuff soft and incredibly comfortable beds and to craft super-insulating armor. Also, the Gerudo Champion Urbosa has a magic electrical attack that she uses at one point to prank Zelda by calling down a lightning bolt in the distance to wake the latter.
Some of the weapons have secondary uses depending on their element or characteristics. For example, the game's Flaming Sword can be used to warm yourself, melt ice, and so on. Likewise, the effective indestructability of the Master Sword means it can be used for mundane tasks such as cutting down trees or splitting open mineral deposits without spending an inventory slot on a dedicated tool or wasting the durability of your other weapons.
Dizzy's attacks in Guilty Gear are named after the various nonviolent uses she came up with for them. "This Was Used For Fishing", "This Was Used To Get Fruit From Trees" and the like. She doesn't want to fight, but her wings have no such compunctions.
In Half-Life 2, Alyx says that the Gravity Gun was originally designed for handling hazardous materials, but they mostly use it for heavy lifting. Gordon later repurposes it as a weapon. It also makes a pretty mean mine sweeper.
Of course the very first thing Gordon uses it for is playing fetch with Dog.
Valve seems to love these. In Portal the Portal Gun was originally supposed to somehow be used for shower curtains. GLaDOS was designed as a sentient Anti-Freeze dispenser. One can only wonder what the Companion Cube was meant for.
In Portal 2 we have the Propulsion Pudding originally marketed as a dietary aid, speeds food through your stomach before it can be digested. Removed from the market when it was discovered that digestion plays an important role in the eating process, namely breaking down food into easily absorbed pieces BEFORE it is violently expelled from the body. Repulsion Pudding was removed from the market for similar reasons. Both of those could probably be used for real advances, if Apeture Science wasn't utterly incompetent at making anything useful.
Portal 2 features a meta-example in one of the game engine's new features, "world portals", which can link any two areas just like standard portals but are meant to be placed in mid-air, seamlessly integrate with the environment, and can have standard portals shot through them. The result: crazy non-Euclidean geometry similar to what late '90s engines were capable of. What did Valve use it for? Building maps in chunks during early development instead of having to make everything line up. Those maps were all eventually rejiggered back into a coherent Euclidean whole except one, which involves a room that's slightly Bigger on the Inside, but just barely.
And now, the Perpetual Testing Initiative demonstrates that Aperture developed interdimensional travel (apparently reliable, at least as much as any of their other products), and decided to use it to get other Apertures in parallel universes to build test chambers for them. This is like having a key that can open any lock and using it to steal office supplies.
They did, however, eventually find not one but two universes made entirely of American money, and use that as their own funding.
One Alternate-Cave managed to use the interdimensional travel portal to play practical jokes on Cave-Prime, because that Alternate-Cave is apparently evil and a dick. Shenanigans include teleporting in a huge cube of frozen urine (which was bigger than Cave-Prime's own portal, so they had to melt it with hair dryers before shoving it back), doing a human pyramid out of the blue, and stealing someone's lunch.
Aperture Science as a whole either subverts this trope or plays it so straight that it never uses its many innovations correctly. For example, the company can use cheap panels to generate portals, but only uses these as a test element and decided to construct an expensive system of pneumatic pipes to move things around.
The fan-made video Outside Aperture shows Chell living in an abandoned apartment after escaping Aperture, haunted by the memories of the place and living in constant fear of GLaDOS. She uses the portal gun for such things like picking up trash (one above a trashcan and one under the trash) and scratching her own back.
Drawbridges are capable of smashing almost anything out of existence. They are frequently used to dispose of truly useless objects and people in order to save framerate.
Having a vampire in your midst means having a tireless immortal who will go around the fortress looking for victims to suck blood from. The most common solution to accommodate them and keep the fortress safe from them at the same time is to lock them up in a "control room" and have them pull levers for all eternity, which ensures important mechanisms of your fortress are always activated without delay.
Another viable use of a sealed vampire is to disaster-proof your fortress. Urist McVampire will always count as a citizen, so your nation and dwarves will always send you caravans and immigrants to resupply and repopulate.
The precious adamantine is an extremely lightweight metal which makes the sharpest blades, strongest armor and, due to its abysmal density, ridiculously weak bludgeons. It only makes sense then that one of the best uses for them is "nerf bats" for punishing criminals without hurting them too severely: the hammerer is happy because they got to deliver the beating and the criminal is happy because they avoided the worst of Police Brutality.
In God of War 3, Kratos rips off the head of Helios, the god of the sun...and uses it as a makeshift flashlight.
Also, Mega Man's Variable Weapons System is actually an inversion. Since he was originally a housekeeper robot, said system is actually used for replicating normal household tools. Only in his conversion into a fighting robot was the system adapted for combat purposes.
Rods of fire, when not being used by the PC to break into the basement, are used for a number of mundane purposes around the Circle Tower: these include lighting fireplaces, burning peepholes in walls, playing pranks on annoying Templars, and general magical research.
Meanwhile, the Tranquil mages occasionally turn their skills in enchanting and alchemy towards the brewing of ale for the more privileged mages.
In the sequel, some team members take it in turns to cheer up Fenris by suggesting non-combat uses for his powers. Isabela thinks he could remove sharp objects from wounds, while Varric leans towards pickpocketing. Then there's Anders' "electricity thing"...
Finally, in Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Inquisitor receives a glowing sigil on their left hand that can be used to unleash magical destruction on their enemies, close holes in the fabric of reality, create shields that make the entire party invulnerable to damage, and act as a light source in the dark.
Solas makes mention of how the best way to explore the Fade is by being more knowledgeable and well traveled. Should the player voice skepticism he brings up the Fade reflects the person who travels in it so the more experience you have the more of the Fade you see. He even uses your class as an example, like saying a Rouge Player Character has sharp reflexes or a Mage finds it very easy to concentrate due to their training.
In Final Fantasy IX, Vivi's fire magic is put to use heating the stove during Eiko's cooking minigame. Earlier in the game, it's used to melt ice blocking the path.
In Final Fantasy XIII, you'll come across many fal'Cie, essentially Physical Gods who are responsible for keeping the societies of Cocoon and Gran Pulse up and running, and who occasionally get Chosen Ones to go on quests and grant them powers to do them with. Then, you get to Edenhall and see that some of these mighty fal'Cie have the grave task of...opening doors. As in, the fal'Cie are the doors. A door (bulkhead) fal'Cie is also seen in Gapra Whitewood. It seems that some of them can be very mundane.
In Final Fantasy XV, Noctis has the Royalty Superpower to store an armory of mundane and legendary weapons in Hammerspace, switching between them as needed in battle. He also uses it as an extradimensional tackle box to keep his fishing gear on hand at all times.
In Kingdom Hearts, one treasure chest can only be reached by using the Graviga spell to pull it down from a height.
The act of opening treasure chests itself is mundane, considering all of the things a Keyblade is capable of doing aside from being able to open any lock; be it physical or otherwise.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the cargo-carrying hovercrafts that Wario and King Dedede use are equipped with articulated arms powered, so the trophy says, by magic. While magic is a more common resource in Nintendo world than in ours, one has to wonder if a simple hydraulic rig wouldn't be more practical.
In one 4-koma◊, Kirby gets the Fire ability... and uses it to cook food. It's also worth noting that in the games themselves, abilities such as Sword and Cutter are very useful for cutting ropes and grass.
According to the Cerberus Daily Newscast, the krogan's natural strength and speed makes them extremely good North American football players. North-American-Union-Rules apparently allows nonhuman players to compete. Or at least have an alien league based on their rules. And nowit's...real?
The eponymous mass effect fields are used for an astounding array of purposes, from FTL to weapons to defenses to propulsion...to, according to Specialist Traynor, dental hygiene. Her toothbrush uses tiny mass effect fields to massage the gums. Amusingly, in the Citadel DLC, the fate of the entire universe actually hinges on Traynor's toothbrush saving the Normandy.
During the Firewalker DLC for the second game, Shepard recovers an Prothean Orb which appears to use Hammerspace to shrink itself from over 20 metres in size, right down the size of a basketball. What does Shepard do with this priceless, fifty-thousand year old relic? Use it as a table centerpiece in their quarters, what else?! Considering it's not returned along with Shepard's other things in 3, one can assume that the Alliance R&D team that retrofitted the Normandy was highly irritated by Shepard's casual use of archaeological artifacts as high-tech paperweights.
Citadel also mentions a sport called biotiball, which from the sounds of it is basketball with biotics. Asari largely have a lock on the sport, but humanity has several well established teams despite their oldest biotics being 32-33 at the start of the series.
In Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden, Heero decides to use his Gundam's Zero System (a brain-interfaced tactical computer and enemy movement prediction system) to predict where Masaki could have wandered off to, since there was no other way to humanly predict that.
Pokémon use their powers primarily for battling, but it's been shown plenty of times that they also use their abilities for everyday living. An example would be in the beginning of the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Versions, where your character is moved into their new house by a team of Machoke.
This goes all the way back to the first Pokemon games where a Machop was being used to help flatten the foundation of a construction site.
The HM Moves are used to perform tasks in the field like cutting down trees, moving boulders, or surfing across streams.
Some people have Pokèmon used only for HM-moves, known as HM-slaves. As it turns out one of the most effective Pokèmon for this is Mew, a legendary once rumored to be the strongest Pokèmon in the world, due to its ability to learn any TM or HM in the game.
Most Olympus Mons are banned from tournaments, thus you usually use them for unofficial in-game battling and competitive Contests.
Black and White's in-universe TV show "Moves for Living" is all about practical uses for the moves introduced in that pair. Some suggestions are little bizarre.
In Pokémon X and Y, one girl asks you if you have a Psychic or Flying Pokémon, so she can get a heavy luggage she can't reach.
A trainer in the Ice-themed gym also suggests using the powerful move Ice Beam, which can take down legendary Dragons, on berry juice to make frappes.
A number of Pokemon Abilities have quite useful out-of-battle effects: Pokemon with Synchronize have a 50% chance of encountering wild Pokemon (including Legendaries) of the same Nature, reducing the amount of Save Scumming needed to get a good Pokemon. Putting a Pokemon with Flame Body in your party makes eggs hatch in half the time. While Sticky Hold is useful in preventing opponents from stealing or swapping out your Pokemon's held item, it's even more useful for increasing the likelihood of bites while fishing.
In the originals, a demolition squad carries a nuke to a zerg infested installation in a large cooling box filled with ice to prevent it from overheating. The box also has beercans. They open up the cans and have a drink allowing the zergs to attack them. They still get the nuke off.
The sequel contains another cutscene where Zeratul examines some old Xel'Naga ruins, by using his large glowing green psychic energy sword as a torch.
In the backstory of Total Distortion, a mysterious artifact's appearance from nowhere led to the discovery of alternate universes and teleportation. The primary use for this? Instant shipping - you teleport an object to another universe on one end and pick it up on the other (sending living things through the process sends them into a six-week coma, so any other uses took a while to make feasible).
In the Undead Nightmare DLC for Red Dead Redemption, the torch is a highly effective zombie-killing melee weapon. Also, it lights up dark rooms.
The Medigun itself is also this trope in action, since the Medic considers healing a side effect to whatever the hell he'd originally invented the Medigun for.
Sasha Nein of Psychonauts, an extremely powerful psychic, uses his tele- and pyrokinesis to aid him in his chain-smoking.
You can see a lot of the campers abusing their powers, Nils the Casanova Wannabe can be seen early on using clairvoyance to practice spying on the girl's cabin using a squirrel and an acorn, Milka, an extreme wallflower, uses invisibility to escape from awkward situations, and Elka uses her foresight to look into the future of her love life. And then of course, there's Cruller's subversion of Comes Great Responsibility:
The art books make a mention of how certain spells, with their power turned down, can be turned toward ordinary tasks. Fire spells were used for making campfires, ice spells for air conditioning during the warmer months, but wind spells take the cake— skirt lifting.
Gameplay wise, you can often use your ridiculously destructive special attacks for alternative purposes like jumping over holes or getting enemies out of the way in situations where lifting and throwing won't work.
All over the place in NetHack. In just one of many examples, a good use of the spell Stone to Flesh would be to transmute a boulder into a huge chunk of meat.
In Dungeon Crawl, a Wand of Disintegration is very useful for killing enemies but can also be used for tunneling. It's not as good at that as a Wand of Digging, though.
Throughout both games, Electro Bolt can be used to jumpstart doors and malfunctioning equipment.
Incinerate might sound like a purely combat-based Plasmid, but it can be used to melt the ice on frozen doors.
In the first game, prior to Rapture's societal failure, Dr Steinmann used ADAM for plastic surgery, sculpting his patients- and himself- to the highest standards of beauty. Then, of course, Steinmann went nuts and decided to see how well the human face would handle being rebuilt to follow the cubist style of art.
The teaser-trailer for the second game shows a Big Sister using telekinesis to make sandcastles.
At the beginning of the second game, you can find an audio diary of a woman who complains that her husband keeps wasting his money on Gene Tonics to make himself look buff, and considers buying some tonics to sharpen his mind.
In BioShock 2, when you finally get around to buying Incinerate, a prerecorded announcement suggests that you use it to light a fireplace for a couple of animatronic dummies; unfortunately, someone's spilled oil all over the floor, resulting in a merry blaze that consumes both dummies. Another announcement in the next part of the room suggests that you use the power again, this time to light a cigarette from a distance; however, it looks like somebody's already tried and failed, because the dummies have been charred beyond recognition.
In a rare example of Mundane Utility that doesn't rely on plasmids, the Big Daddies — normally bodyguards for the little sisters — occasionally can be seen performing repairs using the tools they normally use as weaponry.
Bioshock Infinite, on the other hand, presents us with Vigors, which give various superpowers much like Plasmids in the first BioShock. But unlike Plasmids, the Vigors have no known negative side-effects. much like Plasmids, however, the vigors were made with Mundane Utility specifically in mind, such as using Shock-Jockey (the game's equivalent of the first BioShock's Electro-bolt to power a carousel ride.
Burial At Sea, a DLC story taking place in pre-fall Rapture shows exactly what life was like in a plasmid-dominated society when people could still think straight. At the start, Booker uses Incinerate to light Elizabeth's cigar, and you also come upon a waiter using the Houdini teleport plasmid to service customers in an extremely efficient manner. There's also a new weapon, a ray gun that makes splicers explode with enough force to clear a room, its intended purpose was a portable microwave.
Secret of Mana adds conversations between the protagonists when staying at inns in the remake. Among the conversations is a discussion about how hot and dry the desert is, leading Popoi to summon Undine and have her give them water to drink.
Assassin's Creed III, at a young age, Ratonhnhaké:ton (Connor) used his Eagle Vision to win in hide-and-seek. It's even a Justified Tutorial for teaching you it. Also, by the end of the game, Connor will likely have used his hidden blade to kill and skin game far more often than he will have used it to assassinate people. The same likely applies for his grandfather Edward (minus the hide-and-seek).
From Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag onward, the evil Mega Corp. Abstergo has started using its Animus technology to make in universe videogames. Granted, they act as propaganda for the Templars and basing them on Animus visions might cut down on development costs but still...
In the series' backstory, Wulfharth Ash-King was the legendary ancient King of the Nords and noted Shezarrine who has died and come back to life at least three times. He was known to have a powerful Thu'um, which he used to accomplish his many great feats. On the more mundane level (or at least as mundane as something like the Thu'um can be), he once used it to "swallow a thundercloud" to protect his army from "catching cold".
Done by many players in Oblivion - due to the finicky nature of the physics engine, trying to do some interior decorating can prove difficult with the basic controls. The solution? Buy a telekinesis spell. You can now pick up nearly anything and move it at will. So now you can finally stack these books on this shelf.
The immense power of the Thu'um shouts allows the player to smash enemies with a variety of useful and devastating effects. At the same time...Unrelenting Force lets you fling enemies way from you. It also lets you clear annoying companions and heavy objects out of your path, set off traps, swat bugs to collect their body parts and is probably the best method for fishing. Ice Form, normally used to freeze enemies in their tracks, lets you freeze animals in place to make hunting easier. Aura Whisper, while allowing you to locate and avoid guards or discern if the next room has an ambush awaiting you, can help you find people in large buildings or locate your companions. Whirlwind Sprint can, theoretically, be used to rush close to an opponent, run away from an opponent, or bypass traps. More practically, it gets a lot of mileage by getting lazy, overencumbered players to shops faster. Elemental Fury allows you to swing weapons much faster than you normally could, allowing you to take down tough enemies and also mine ore in seconds. Slow Time helps you strike with tremendous speed, dodge incoming blows, grab enemy arrows out of the air and extend the duration of crafting potions to make more overpowered gear. Become Ethereal prevents you from taking any damage; when you need to get the bottom of a tall cliff, accept no substitutes. Fire Breath, Frost Breath, and Unrelenting Force are the best friends of the lazy fisherman. Clear Skies makes Skyrim's weather itself yield, allowing you to stop impassable blizzards blocking your path, or just to get rid of annoying rain. Or, if it's night, to cause an aurora.
The Skeleton Key is a Daedric Artifact of Nocturnal, and she's pretty pissed about it being stolen. Mercer even uses it to unlock his own potentials. However when you get it, all it does is act as a unbreakable lockpick.
The Dragonborn DLC gives you an active power to summon a Dremora butler to serve as your pack-mule.
In the Dwemer ruin Raldbthar, shortly after going inside, you can find the bandits that took over the ruin using a Dwemer fire trap to cook meat.
The player character can gain the ability to turn into a werewolf, in the process becoming a monster capable of feats such as tackling giants, killing all the guards in a hold, and being able to walk at full speed despite being over the encumbrance limit.
Similarly, in the Dawnguard DLC, the powerful Vampire Lord form lends itself to multiple mundane utilities. Not only does it ignore the encumbrance limit, but it also has no time limit and allows faster sprinting than normal, which makes long-distance travel while over-encumbered much easier. The form can levitate over bodies of water, making crossing rivers easier. One of the unlockable abilities, Mist Form, turns the Vampire Lord into invulnerable mist, which can be used not only for combat but also for jumping off cliffs without harming oneself, much like Become Ethereal above. A slightly less mundane usefulness is the fact that while all NPCs will be hostile to a Dragonborn in Vampire Lord form, they will also not be able to recognize him/her unless they saw the transformation before their very eyes. This means that, as long as you make sure you remain well out of sight during the actual metamorphosis, you can use the Vampire Lord form to conceal your identity, murdering anyone you want without racking up enormous bounties on your head.
The detect dead spell allows the user to see vile undead creatures in pitch darkness or even through walls. It also allows them to see corpses that fell somewhere out of the way during battle that the player may have missed while looting.
The Bend Will shout, once you get it. While you can dominate even dragons, all they'll really do is let you ride on them from point A to point B and take in the scenery, and while they will fight for you, unless you rushed straight into Dragonborn you'll likely have learned one or both of the Shouts that summon much stronger dragons.
Steve? and Alex?, the Player Characters, can dig to a depth of around 80 meters using only their hands, can place physics-defying chunks of land for use as decoration, and can swim up waterfalls to get to the top of their houses.
Want to have an awesome looking fireplace that will never burn out like wood does? Get some Netherrack from the Nether, it turns out that the landscape features of hell itself make fantastic pseudo-firewood.
Other common examples include using molten lava as a garbage disposal, using redstone torches (basically never-depleting batteries) for mood lighting, using the teleportation powers granted by Enderpearls to climb out of holes, and using the peculiar dimensions of the aforementioned Nether for rapid transportation.
Trapped chests can be used as the Schmuck Bait trigger for an elaborate Death Trap, or in complicated redstone mechanisms to sort your inventory. Also, since mixed trapped and regular chests don't merge together into large chests, the game lets you set them directly next to each other.
Woo-whee, the stuff you can get in Wild ARMs! Throwing knives, flaming playing cards,watches that reverse time, BOMBZ! These would be awesome to use in battle. But...they're used for solving puzzles (or, in the case of the watch, resetting them).
At several points in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed games, Starkiller uses the Force to do things like move around and operate machinery. He is usually in life-threatening situations where he has to work fast. In the second game, he uses Force Lightning to charge up a cannon so it can blow up an attacking star destroyer.
The descriptions of several items in Spiral Knights suggest they can be used for non-combat purposes, such as a helmet and suit that provide protection against fire being usable as a makeshift coffee pot and stove, respectively. Why they would use them for such purposes becomes clear once you realize the conditions the Knights go through typically mean they have to resort to doing whatever they need to survive.
Much of the gameplay of Mega Man ZX revolves around Biometals, Transformation Trinkets that anchor the souls of legendary heroes and allow those attuned to them to transform into those heroes and unleash their power. They can also be used as CD players.
The forward aerial attack in The Fancy Pants Adventure: World 3 is normally used to dispatch enemies, but since it extends your horizontal momentum, it can be used as an improvised Double Jump to reach areas with ease that would normally take longer or more difficult maneuvering.
In Shadow of the Colossus the path to the eleventh colossus features a trek through the desert to a ravine, followed by a walk a couple of minutes to the east, a climb down a staircase in the cliff wall, a swim across a lake and a long climb up a steep hill...or jumping down the ravine, surviving due to Wander becoming more durable with each defeated colossus, sitting still for maybe 30 seconds while his Healing Factor does its thing, and then facing the colossus, all in the name of laziness/impatience.
According to the lore entries, Inbeda of the House-In-Exile set up shop in a bathhouse so he could use the waters in order to scry into the Hell Dimensions - not for the sake of espionage or anything like that, but because Inbeda occasionally feels homesick.
Issue #11 reveals that the Orochi Group daughter corporation Anansi Technologies has managed to develop note or possibly reverse-engineer a powerful virtual-reality machine identical to the one hidden in the Sunken Library. However, where the Council of Venice uses it to train their agents for front-line combat, Anansi employees mainly use it to play Pac-Man; also, several of them have ended up in trouble with management for using the VR machine for "adult programs" - and making so much mess the janitors had to shut down the entire floor just to clean up all the... residue.
The teleporter in Startopia can be used to move any non-organic objects, or store them indefinitely in the pattern buffer. 90% of the time, it'll be used for picking up trash.
Mega Man Star Force: Geo Stelar can merge with an alien to access the Wave World and transform into an intangible Energy Being made mostly from computer data. When not using his powers to save the world, he uses them to fix malfunctioning computers and TVs by putting the responsible viruses to the sword. He has also used them to gain entrance to his own (locked) hotel room, and dedicates a ridiculous amount of time to hacking into the private and theoretically secure data of random people on the street, figuring out how best to help them, and then running out and doing that in the hope of getting money, cool battle cards or more HP.
This is invoked in the third game - Ace asked Geo to stay behind for a briefing with him while his friends took a flight to Alohaha, the intent being that he can use the Astro Wave to catch up with them. Also, Geo and Sonia use it so the latter can elude a storm of fans.
Reapers in Grim Fandango carry around huge foldable scythes that are meant primarily for freeing souls from their dead bodies. Which Manny does about once or twice in the entire game. Every other time he whips out his scythe, it's used as everything from a hook to a circuit component to a door bar. The possibility of using scythes as weapons gets brought up at one point, but Manny is obviously not very good at this. Subverted in a scene near the end where Manny's scythe is utilized for literal reaping, cutting flowers to uncover Salvador's body - in dramatic slow-motion, no less.
Factories needing small amounts of very expensive items, in particular, will benefit a lot more from cargo runs by a fast fighter with its weapons removed than by a slow transport that'll only ever fill up its cargo bay by a twentieth of its space. Because NPC factories in the game only ever use cargoes, fast transport fighters also allow yours to nab the precious - and almost always close to sold-out - resources before everyone else's noses.
In X3: Terran Conflict, the PirateBlastclawPrototype is used in about equal measure as either its intended role (a top-of-the-line Space Fighter) or as an external cargo bay for the Hyperion Vanguard corvette (the BC Proto has just under double the cargo space of the fighter with the next-biggest hold).
In a somewhat meta example, the Wii U's Gamepad can be used as a television remote control out of the box.
Cookie Clicker gives you access to interplanetary shipping vessels, portals to other universes, time machines that let you go to past and future, antimatter condensers that let you turn antimatter to matter, and deals and pledges with elder gods. All of this for what? Cookies, that's what.
In Fate/stay night, Shirou's first act of magic is used to fix a broken air conditioner. He uses Structural Analysis to create an image of what the air conditioner should be, and compare it to how it is in reality, finding the damaged part that way. We learn later on that SF is a facet of UnlimitedBladeWorks, and that he's been using Reality Warping to for home repairs.
In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Archer and Lancer have a fishing competition. Archer uses Projection to recreate a cutting edge, expensive fishing rod, which he uses to beat Lancer. Shirou, having observed this, hopes Archer's doesn't change his name to Angler. In the background, Gilgamesh can be seen with several solid gold fishing rods, presumably pulled from the Gate of Babylon.
Gilgamesh uses the Gate of Babylon as a top-notch wine cellar as well as an armory. In Grand Order, his child counterpart is using it as a toy box.
In Fate/Grand Order, if you ask Florence Nightingale what she wants from the Holy Grail, she jokes that she'll use it to wash her hands.
In the Okeanos arc of Grand Order, Dame Francis Drake is using the Holy Grail for endless rum and provisions.
In Billy vs. SNAKEMAN, the power of doujutsu - seeing the flow of magic and chakra in people and things - is solely used to help you cope with fast food customers in a productive manner (i.e. not killing them out of sheer frustration).
In Don't Starve the Old Bell summons the Biiigfoot, a giant foot that destroys everything in its path and causes massive damage. It's also the best way to chop down trees and mine rocks.
Kerbal Space Program plays around with this, mentioning that certain low powered engines can be used as a BBQ or that a rocket fuel tank is not a swimming pool frame found on the back lot. It makes sense considering a lot of the parts are either stated or implied to have been cobbled together from scrap, and thus, feels very appropriate when said rockets fail catastrophically. Never mind the way players abuse the parts to fit different purposes:
service bay - meant for storing hardware - makes the smallest cockpit once you install a command seat inside
Bind two basic reentry capsules together, use their reaction wheels - you have a rover/roller to travel over land
The tiny "Spider" rocket engines are often used as hinges due to their attachment flexibility
Jet engines are used as ballast in rovers, capable of bringing the vehicle's center of mass below ground level, improving turn stability
The big solid rocket boosters are used as structural elements - long, thin inflexible tubes, quite light after solid fuel is removed.
Radial air intakes for jet engines are used as water skis for hydroplanes thanks to their impact durability and extreme hydrophobic properties.
The "shock cone" air intake is used in rockets that don't require it, simply because it has less air drag than any standard nose cones.
Before introduction of dedicated radiators, airplane wing segments were used as radiators for nuclear engines
Airbrakes can be used to mechanize a cargo ramp.
Mining drills can double as retractable lander legs
Undertale: Toriel, a powerful fire mage, uses magic to cook her dinner and keep her fireplace lit. A diner in Snowdin is staffed by fire elementals, presumably for the same reason.
Senran Kagura Bon Appetit! has a Secret Ninja Art Scroll that can grant any wish as a prize for a cooking tournament (ignore the Fridge Logic, the guy who set it up admits he did it for a laugh). If it doesn;t get used for something ludicrous, it's this trope. Such as Murasaki wishing for a refridgerator so she doesn't have to leave her room as often.
The opening movie of Peach Beach Splash has Yumi conjuring up and shattering a pillar of ice to cool a paddling pool on a hot day. This sets the tone for the main game: using ninja reflexes and ability in a water gun fight.
In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mephisto attempts to tempt Dante with the idea of a family reunion in the latter's ending. Dante's response is to threaten the demon by blowing off his head if he doesn't give him a way to have free electricity for a year.
In The Witcher video game series, Geralt is able to use the Igni sign to damage his foes, set them aflame to make them flail in a panic, sunder their armor to make them defenseless and ... light torches (even when lighting fires with the "interact" key, it's clear that Geralt is using Igni to do it). This is in keeping with the book series, where Geralt used Igni as both an offensive and a utilitarian technique.
Inverted in Civilization: Beyond Earth. The Planet Carver Kill Sat started as an attempt to make a better mining laser, but proved a bit too powerful. The military uses quickly became apparent.
The Sierra Madre Vending Machines from the Dead Money DLC of Fallout: New Vegas. According to background information, they are actually molecular assemblers, the holy grail of nanotechnology. Yet according to Dean Domino, it never caught on before the Great War, and they're only used as food dispensers for the Sierra Madre Casino.
Fallout 4 has a settlement-building mechanic, which leads to the player scrapping surplus weapons and use their components to build all kinds of things, such as scrapping that Fat Man capable of lobbing miniature nukes because you wanted a new power generator.
In the Beach Brawl DLC, Hinoka's vacation picture shows her using her naginata to cut apart coconuts.
Leo uses his legendary tome Brynhildr to grow tomatoes and dig up ore in Nohrian mine tiles.
In the Museum Melee DLC, Xander mentions that he does not want see his legendary sword Siegfried used as a "glorified whisker shaver." Which is hilariously hypocritical, as he has no problem using it to follow Leo's example and dig up ore from Nohrian mines.
Female Kana uses her ability to turn into a dragon to quickly dig a hole during a game of hide and seek, letting her beat Asugi.
If Saizo ends up marrying a female Avatar, he mentions in his C Support with his son Kana that he gave his wife a magic whistle that emits a sound only he can hear. It was originally created for the Hoshido Royal Family as a tool to summon bodyguards, but he says that she'll use it to get his help carrying heavy objects or when she wants sugar for her tea.
At the end of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2the Dragon Balls are used to summon a massive feast to handle the bottomless stomachs such as Goku, Beerus and Whis.
RuneScape's Divination skill revolves around channeling the divine energy of the gods to create do-it-yourself miracles. One of the most common uses is "Sign of the Porter", which instantly transfers items to your bank account.
Why does the elite skill Invention require 80 Divination to start? Because you use divine energy to power your gadgets. You are making batteries out of godstuff.
After "While Guthix Sleeps", Linza wonders if the Dragonkin Forge could be used to create new items out of dragon-metal, instead of just reusing found artifacts. Her first suggestion is a dragon cheese grater, though she immediately realizes that's a stupid idea.
Marimbo's tale of ascending to godhood implies the previous god of merriment possessed the Elder Horn and was using it for drinking contests with mortals.
In Halo Wars 2, the Spirit of Fire's crew intend to use a Halo, one of the most advanced weapons in existence, as a radio relay.
Magic Missile is useful for many, many things. For starters, the missile tracks your cursor and lasts as long as you hold the mouse button down, making it easy to hit agile mooks. The missile is decently powerful, can slip through small spaces that you might not be able to attack through, generates quite a lot of light, and doesn't expire when cutting through plants. Jungle thorns blocking your way at an inconvenient angle? Trim them with a magic missile! Flamelash is the same but brighter and more powerful, and update 1.1 introduces the Rainbow Rod, which is even stronger and all rainbow-y.
Any item that emits light particles will be used as a light source. Some people keep items like Gungnir not only as a fast, hard-hitting, long-reaching sacred spear but also as a means to see through walls. Starfury makes glowing stars drop from the sky towards wherever you click; if you're underground, it's a great way to detect nearby caverns. Even gunslingers can get in on the fun once they get an Endless Musket Pouch for infinite bullets, letting them illuminate caves by simply holding down the trigger on a Megashark.
With the 1.2 update, the Death Sickle passes through blocks while emitting a faint glow. Equipping accessories that grant burning effects causes the spectral sickle to glow even brighter. Very useful when trying to spot holes and goodies or even when digging up ores.
Phaseblades and Phasesabers as well as any weapon on fire such as the Fiery Greatsword or Molten Hamaxe can be used to light up dark caves while exploring. Combined with the Mithril armor which shines for several seconds AFTER a light source is cast on it lets you ditch the otherwise necessary illumination tools while mining.
The sparks of light thrown from several weapons when swung or thrown, like the Magic Boomerang and the Hellstone weapons, are very useful for spotting things through cavern walls as you can throw them through the otherwise-solid blocks and see what's on the other side. Similarly, setting enemies on fire will cause sparks to drop from them, which illuminate further down than you can normally do. Light an enemy on fire and look under them as the sparks reveal the area.
Flares are not only mundanely useful for lighting up distant areas, but they can light enemies on fire. Not only does this have the effects listed above, but you can see enemies that retreat into the dark. The damage caused by fire is pretty low so it doesn't really work as a damage source by the time you would end up finding it.
The Solar Eruption. It's a flail with a good range, lights up a large area and passes through walls allowing it to light up a considerable area. As an added bonus, it's one of the most damaging melee weapons in the game, only falling shy of the Moon Lord's drops.
In Stellaris, you can research Powered Armor to boost your armies' combat ability. The same powered exoskeletons are also used by your empire's miners to produce additional minerals.
Metroid Prime 3 has a creative use of the powerful plasma beam. In previous games it was your Infinity -1 Sword, capable of tearing through hostile creatures quickly, second only to weapons found during the final boss encounter. It turns out if Samus turns the power down, she can use the Plasma Beam as a simple welding torch to fix broken security panels.