Moore's Law actually facilitates handheld Video Game Systems being more powerful than home systems of the same class (should the game company choose to do so), as long as they come out a few years later.
The Game Boy Advance is not only more powerful than the SNES, it's more powerful than the Neo Geo, in everything but screen resolution and color depth. The Castlevania games show this quite well.
The DS tops the Nintendo 64, even though its processors are slower. This was because the processor speeds were mostly for show. The RAM is also more efficient, making it more practical than even the RAM with the Expansion Pak. Plus, it has plenty of texture memory, which can be seen in comparing the graphics of the original and DS versions of Super Mario 64. However, when it comes to graphics resolutions, NDS is 32-bit and N64 is 64-bit.
The PSP has the same processor speed (especially with the CPU cap removed) and memory as the PS2, and it has texture compression which the PS2 lacked (only a few games have truly shown this off though). Unlike the PS2, it also has a proper GPU (one that can process vertices on its own, rather than needing a separate Vector Unit).
Early reports from E3 claimed that the Nintendo 3DS had graphics that surpass the Nintendo Gamecube, and, though obviously no one outside of Nintendo has had a chance to look under its hood, the mere fact that it has 3D effects obtained without glasses makes it almost certain to surpass the Gamecube on a technical level as well.
In a nod to This Is Spinal Tap, the volume controls go up to eleven in the first two Guitar Hero games. In a direct example of this trope, when Neversoft took over the games for the third game (but not the controllers, which have always been made by Red Octane), the volume controls went up to 12. (Also see Rank Inflation for other examples.)
An interesting example of this occurs in Rock Band: Unplugged. The standard multipliers (without Overdrive) go up to 5x. Activating Overdrive doubles the multiplier: 1x becomes 2x, 2x becomes 4x... except when used while the multiplier is at 5x... then, the multiplier becomes 11x. Why? Because, as Harmonix's Alex Navarro said in an interview, "Eleven is better than ten."
During target practise in Psychonauts, Razputin is tasked with killing a THOUSAND dummy mooks that pop out of a dispenser. The only way to actually finish the level is to set the dispenser intensity up to eleven (aptly marked with a skull and crossbones) which makes the whole shooting range run amok and force you to fight in near-combat conditions.Which actually was the whole point of the practice from the very beginning.
Some Digimon Digivolve beyond Mega, taking them Up to Eleven. Imperialdramon Paladin Mode, Omnimon, and Susanoomon are prime examples. Diaboromon falls into this category as well. And probably Kimeramon, if he Digivolved from anything at all.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is Star Wars: Up to Eleven, in that, not only did it have a Mary Sue as the main character, but it also went back and "unleashed" all the symbolic battles that took place in the movies and the sort. The game is just that over-the-top that it destroyed the visual impact of the movies, because suddenly, grabbing a lightsaber from a few feet away using your mind, or pushing a fragile droid over isn't quite as cool as pulling a Star Destroyer out of the sky, or pushing a stormtrooper so hard off his feet that he flies through a titanium sealed door, landing in a bunch of conveniently placed explosives which effectively destroy the enemy base of operations.
The enemies in the game also have flesh and bone that is lightsaber and impact resistant. They are just that strong. Not so smart on the field, though.
In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, Starkiller appears to have taken knowledge from the almighty Yoda, as well as Vader, and goes up against a Rancor probably three times the size of the huge Bull Rancor from the first game. It seems that he has also destroyed the canonical ending of the first game, and eventually got two lightsabers.
In Borderlands, in the third DLC, they upped the level cap from 50 to 61, explicitly because most games up the cap by 10 at a time.
Borderlands 2 has an achievement for reaching level 50 called "Capped Out... For Now" which means they're likely to do the same. Which they did. They literally turned the level cap up by eleven. Twice.
The sequel's tagline was actually 87 bazillion guns just got BAZILIONDIER''. Gearbox likes this trope.
Borderlands 2 has also more literal example. You can have skill levels up to 5. There are "class modules" equipment that give bonuses to several skills, usually up to 5 bonus. One particular type of class mods give +6 bonus to one skill, rising it up to 11.
Boderlands 2 had an even more literal version of this. What happens when the player plays the hard mode? More badasses. What about bosses? Well when you beat it, all bosses become level 50. Anything else? Yeah, when you beat the game all psycho's become level 51 and get armor. Hey, what about Crawmerax bosses? We'll make way more of them, and while they won't become any harder we don't need to worry, they already take more ammo than MOST CHARACTERS COULD EVER POSSIBLY CARRY.
In Prototype, although the game has no predecessor, it is constantly breaking its own boundaries as the game progresses. Such improvements reveal the ability to change course of flight without any leverage whatsoever, running up buildings faster than The Flash can wank, parkouring your way through Manhattan in less than 5 minutes, and the ability to expand and compress your body mass so much that you can both set off a biological bomb inside yourself, and run through practically anything that gets in the way.
Despite all this, players feel somewhat underpowered because you can't fly like Superman, run on water like a genetic antichrist, or pick up tanks with your unearthly strength. For some reason, people also want to be able to drive cars. You can run 5 times faster than cars, and turn into a walking tank. You do not need to drive cars in this game.
Prototype 2 is a perfect example of "Everything always gets worse". Everytime you do a Story Mission, they always seems to pull something new. From refighting the Hydra, to fighting the equivalent of a walking bulldozer, to taking on a monster the size of a building that launches itself into the air like an acrobat. Then there's the military soldiers, various weapons they use, the evolved, and your ever expanding arsenal of decimation. If anything, the final boss fight is a bit underwhelming after everything else you go through to get there.
In God of War, you took on leviathans, warlocks, and medusas, dueling a God at the end. In the sequel, you take on the authorities of Greek Mythology as a whole, so the goal-meter has been heightened quite a bit. And as for the third game...
Lets put it this way. If anything was left alive after God of War III, it's because Kratos hasn't killed it yet.
Every time the Final Fantasy series uses the Job Class system, S-E invokes this trope. In the original Final Fantasy, you chose classes in the beginning and were stuck with them. In Final Fantasy III, the game gives you several classes that you can switch between anytime you wanted to, with a wide variety of abilities. Final Fantasy V uses a similar system to III, but this time around you can also set a secondary skillset from another class. Final Fantasy Tactics introduces even more classes and not only lets you equip a second skillset, but also gives you a myriad of counterattacks, supportive, and movement abilities to create the most customizable FF game to date.
The Fusion Pins in The World Ends with You. The first is simply the Neku and his partner jumping between the planes attacking with beams. The second adds more character; Shiki's attacks with Mr. Mew, Joshua's summons meteors and Beat's involves riding on chains. Then, the third takes it up to eleven. Shiki's third Fusion is transforming Mr. Mew into Godzilla-like-proportions, Beat's summons a giant wave which squashes the Noise and Joshua's summons the freakin' moon.
In Star Trek: Bridge Commander, you can boost the power going to your ship systems up to 125%. There is no downside apart from the increased power drain. What happened to "The engines cannae take it, Captain!"?
In Beautiful Katamari, of the Katamari Damacy series, your performance on each level is graded out of 100 points. If you do really, really well, you'll get 120 points instead. The King of All Cosmos comments that even he doesn't understand how that works.
Starcraft II: "Class 12 psionic waveform pattern detected, the Queen of Blades is inbound". The scale usually caps out at 10.
It should be noted that Kerrigan was a 10 before being infested. And that she caused the scale to be rewritten because she went beyond the old scale.
Fallout: New Vegas: during the Boomer quest Ant Misbehavin', the player is asked by Loyal about what frequency a sonic emitter would need to have to kill mutated ants. There is a Science check dialogue option. With insufficient skill the player can tell him to "turn it up to elven".
Mohawk and Headphone Jack has an option where you can turn the volume up to 11. Of course, the Mode 7 is also turned up to 11, and unlike the sound, by default! Unfortunately for those with weak stomachs, there is no way to turn that setting down.
Egon: These readings are off the charts!... Now I'll have to make new charts.
Meta Knight in Super Smash Brothers Brawl. So overpowered he has an ENTIRE TIER to himself. There's a reason he was later banned from tournaments. (He was only unbanned when the group that officially banned him in the first place disbanded). And even then, he can still be banned depending on the tournament's rules. Meta Knight does well against almost every character in Brawl. The only ones able to win against skilled Meta Knight players are other skilled Meta Knight players or people who main the characters in the tier below him that have mastered the needed techniques to even counter any Meta Knight.
The Saints Row franchise has become a regular exercise in one-upping the previous installment's Holy Shit Quotient. From being a random nobody who joins a gang, to crime boss who turns that gang into a criminal empire, to pop culture icon who turns a criminal empire into a multi-media powerhouse, to the fucking president of the United States who fights aliens in the matrix with superpowers. Talk about Sequel Escalation.
The Chua of Wild Star keep topping their own destructive weapons, gadgets, and experiments. Mondo Zax, their leader, has a dial that literally turns to 11.
In Civilization V, each leader has a certain disposition towards certain tactics, i.e. Catherine of Russia likes to focus on science. Each disposition is rated on a scale of one to ten, and can vary slightly per session. Gandhi has a rating locked at twelve for "Use of nukes", in a Continuity Nod to Civilization I's Gandhi turning into a bloodthirsty psychopath as soon as he researched Democracy (about the same time he discovers nukes) due to his "Aggressiveness" dropping into negative numbers (from unlocking Democracy), causing it to rise from "2" to "255" on a scale of ten
Inazuma Eleven goes further and further with anything regarding its premise of "Super Dimensional Soccer". At first, the heroes are just a group of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits struggling to prevent a rundown sport club from being disbanded. Then the cast evolves from losers to champions who can summon monsters, elemental powers, magic armors, and reality warping abilities just to play soccer. And as far as the plots of the sequel series concern, Soccer is a goddamned serious business, and everybody plays it - even aliens outside the solar system.