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    Action Game 
  • In Batman: Arkham City you can easily get a never hit bonus and a full combo bonus using only basic attack and counters so long as you're paying attention, no flashy gadgets or special moves. It's also the easiest way to get a lot of points, especially if you can go the entire Challenge without getting hit.
    • Another odd in-universe example. The Riddler attempts repeatedly to figure out Batman's secret identity by way of elaborate plots and schemes that will break his mind or just outright kill him. Professor Hugo Strange decided on a more subtle route of constructing a psychological profile of Batman through what data was publicly available and comparing it to the most logical candidate; Bruce Wayne. He even taunts the Riddler over it.
  • In Batman: Arkham Origins Bane also works out Batman's identity through fairly mundane means. He sets up an admittedly rather sophisticated radar system and tracks where the Batwing flies to. You're required to fly back to Wayne Manor at least twice, so seeing it go there made it easy to work out.
  • The "Killer Bee" flying kick from Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is, considering damage per hit and windup time, the most efficient way of bringing down enemies, as opposed to making full use of Dante's varied moveset. Also, some bosses are all but made for just shooting to death from afar rather than trying to fight them close up while dancing around their attacks. Unfortunately... this is not a game that encourages such methods, what with the "Style Meter" and all.
    • Dante starts every game with a pair of Boring But Practical handguns. Though you may also find shotguns, grenade launchers, magically charged sniper rifles and pure nightmare, it's rare occasions when you don't want the simple ability to suspend yourself in the air with rapid recoils. Not to mention, the handguns are the most consistent weapon in Dante's arsenal, not suffering from range problems, enemies dodging shots, requiring charging to be effective, among other things.
    • Devil May Cry 5 has two. The first is Gerbera Devil Breaker for Nero which you can use come mission 2. It's not that great at killing enemies, but what it does give you is essentially an air dodge, which greatly helps in evading damage. The second is Dante's Dr. Faust or more specifically, its "Set Hat" and "Hat Trick" moves, since those cause enemies to drop additional Red Orbs - perfect for Money Grinding.
  • Bayonetta 2 gives you all sorts of flashy weapons, but the ones that remain the most consistently useful throughout are your basic Love is Blue pistols. They attack quickly, do reliable damage, and are the one weapon that seems to be effective against a particular recurring boss.
    • In both Bayonetta games, your basic punch-kick-punch combo is the quickest, most effective way to get a Wicked Weave out.
  • In Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox, the full Izuna Drop combo will kill any normal enemy that Ryu can launch, even on Master Ninja. It's not the fastest, yes, but unless you're one of those super-gamers who can chain Ultimate Techniques easily, it's the most effective. On that note, Ultimate Techniques. Invincibility during usage and lots of damage, also enough to kill most normal enemies. Off-the-wall attacks provide invincibility when used as well. The Ninpo magic attacks also provide invincibility and good damage.
  • The so-called "ore weapons" in Monster Hunter. The single most basic line of weaponry, crafted and upgraded using various ores mined from the environment. Not nearly as visually exciting as weapons assembled from the parts of your slain marks, and if they have any secondary abilities at all, they tend to be common Standard Status Effects. But having no element means they're not resisted by anything either, they're easy to upgrade, and have base attack competitive with other weapons of their rarity level. Almost every hunter will have an ore weapon as their "old faithful" for when they don't know what to specialize in.
    • Brachydios weapons have become this in the fourth generation's late game. Blastblight is excellent for breaking off parts, but doesn't significantly hamper your effectiveness if resisted, and the weapons themselves have good sharpness and attack, making them a solid pick if a more specialized damage type isn't practical.
    • The Sword & Shield is a simple and straightforward weapon, lacking both the flashy high-damage moves and complex mechanics of weapons like the Long Sword and Charge Blade. On the other hand it has good attack speed, can do both cutting and impact damage, its light weight doesn't hamper your mobility, and you can drink potions without having to sheathe your sword, something no other MH weapon can claim. As a result, an SNS can be built to do just about anything, and it remains a favored choice of veteran players as well as newbies.
  • The Ramdozer in Blast Corps. It's not one of the mechs, and it doesn't have anything like the Ballista's rockets, but it's one of the easiest vehicles to use and makes destroying the smaller structures simple. Just drive into a building full-speed to destroy it.
  • Brown minion equipment upgrades in Overlord I. They upgrade your armour with bonus defence and your weapon with bonus damage. They don't give you regeneration, fire damage, bonus health or mana or improved knockback. They just let you hit harder and take less damage. Max-tier equipment outfitted with pure brown minion upgrades allows you to hit like a truck while tanking everything that is thrown at you.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • For most of the games, the map and compass. Sure, a map and a compass pale in comparison to getting new items in dungeons, but maps will make it easier to keep track of your location in the dungeon and compasses can help you find every treasure chest in the dungeon so you don't miss any.
    • Most games also have the humble Empty Bottle. They're reusable storage devices that allow you to keep healing items handy, act as extra lives with fairies in them, store items needed for puzzles and sidequests, and imprison the wandering souls of the damned. Sufficed to say, it's more than worth it to find multiple bottles when possible.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: The humble Magic Powder can't defeat most enemies or directly defend against their attacks, and for puzzle-solving purposes it only unlocks one useful but non-essential item. However, it can also convert the common anti-fairy enemy into fairies that can refill Link's health or be captured in a bottle for later use. Once you have a decent working knowledge of where anti-fairies can be found, the Magic Powder becomes one of the most useful safety items in the game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
      • Hearty and Enduring meals are made by cooking foods with "Hearty" ingredients. Hearty foods fully restore health, in addition to adding a few temporary hearts of health, making them very useful in a tough fight. Enduring foods do the same with stamina, making them useful when exploring, particularly when you've fully upgraded your stamina meter.
      • Elixirs and food that increases Link's running speed is probably quite boring compared to getting extra hearts, more defense, or more attack power, but having the ability to simply run faster can help you get to where you need to be a lot quicker and it also applies to his climbing speed.
      • Out of all the runes you can use in the game, Cryosis is the most basic: its power is essentially making blocks of ice on water. Simple though it is, it's very useful for creating cover in a pinch, or crossing rivers and lakes. If you need to scale a waterfall and don't have Zora armor, Cryosis will help with that as well.
      • Cube Bombs, which have the same blast power as a normal bomb. Unlike the standard Bomb, a cube shaped bomb is completely flat on all sides and won't roll away the moment you place it down (unless the ground has a deep slope), which makes it very ideal when you need to place a bomb in specific spots.
      • Revali's Gale. Compared to the other powers you can get which involve creating barriers, shocking enemies with an electrical attack, or having Auto-Revive, using Revali's Gale to create updrafts underneath you just seems boring by comparison. Said updraft, however, can launch you high in the air and it becomes very handy for when you need to scale a huge wall without wasting a lot of stamina and it also helps you get extra distance if you need to glide across a gap.
      • The gear set that boosts Link's climbing speed isn't as awesome compared to gear that can boost your attack power for example, but having the ability to climb a scalable cliffside at a faster rate can make the difference between making it to the top and falling down from your stamina running out. Wearing the entire set and having them enhanced twice each also grants Link a reduction in his stamina depletion when he climbs. Combine this with having high stamina and bonus stamina wheels and you can scale any mountain without fear of falling off.
    • Hyrule Warriors:
      • The common reaction to depleting a WPG on giant bosses is to do a Weak Point Smash, it's actually more practical to stand outside of the circle and spam ranged attacks at them. Giant Bosses will not move for over 40 seconds after their weak point is initially exposed and they take much more damage when they're stunned, so you are free to whittle down its health for a while before going for the WPS. This can especially make The Imprisoned MUCH easier to deal with.
      • Also in regards to Weak Point Smashes on giant bosses, in Legends, they are all presented as the same simplistic elemental bursts for every character/weapon when compared to the Wii U and Definitive Edition's flashier and more individualized presentations. However, the execution for the Weak Point Smash is a few seconds shorter, which can mean the difference for getting an A Rank on some Adventure Mode missions where you are pressed for time.
  • Versus Umbra: The Quick-Sphere, your starting weapon in First Strike. It doesn't deal much damage and isn't as flashy as the other weapons, but it's fast, has infinite ammo, and even gets knockback and better criticals with version ups.
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    Adventure Game 
  • Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures has the whip as a starting weapon. Though the characters tend to stress that it's merely a temporary weapon and that you should find something more potent instead, it turns out that the whip is really useful thanks to having a range of two tiles—even if there is an obstacle one tile in front of you. Which means that you can whip enemies to death through walls or impassable rivers, which makes combat a great deal safer.
  • Yoda Stories, the Star Wars version of Desktop Adventures, has the lightsaber. Its damage is reliable, allowing you to cut down most mooks in one or two hits, and it doesn't run out of ammo like blasters or bombs. Even so, unlike the rest of the franchise this game can make the lightsaber downright dull.

    Beat Em Up 
  • Among the moves you can use as God Reels in God Hand are throwing a giant baseball, cutting the enemy's head off with a blade of energy, and a good old-fashioned Groin Attack. But the most useful? Chain Yanker, which just pulls the enemy in and stuns them — stunned enemies being perfect for building one's God Hand meter on.
    • Of the various guard breaker moves available, the most basic and earliest available, a simple overhand chop, is also the most reliable. Sure, neither it nor its stronger version do much damage, but when all you want is to leave the enemy open, it answers the call.
    • You have a roundhouse move from the start. It has decent power, reach and speed, but best of all it can knock down small enemies and keep hitting them on the ground, keeping them there. By using evade-cancelling to pump it out faster, you can do good damage with this alone. It won't break a guard, but apart from that hiccup it's as reliable as they get.
  • In The Bouncer you could pick up a ton of special moves, but most of them paled to the simple combos, most notably Volt's headbutt, which could chain combo robots. (Yes, that's right: When Volt's skull meets solid steel, Volt's skull wins).
  • The backwards elbow in the original Double Dragon is a simple but effective technique, especially against the bosses.
  • The "Hold Against Leg" move in Shenmue's free battle mode is a not particularly flashy thrusting kick, but it does decent damage and is the best possible move for putting some distance between Ryo and his opponents to keep them from ganging up. If you're interested in winning the bigger free battles, you'll be using it a lot.
  • Viewtiful Joe has a ton of flashy attacks and powers, but VFX Slow combined with some basic attacks (and maybe a Red Hot Kick somewhere in there) is what will get used the most use due to the sheer ease of racking up massive combos in Bullet Time. Even during boss fights, the technique only gets slightly flashier by adding in VFX Zoom on top of it, turning your punch attack into a series of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs that eats most bosses alive.
  • In the Streets of Rage series, your basic attacks often leave the enemy stunlocked for a significant amount of time if you don't finish the combo, meaning you can simply throw a single punch, hesitate for a moment, throw another single punch, and repeat until they go down. Not particularly fun to watch, but it's a very effective way to deal with some of the cheaper foes you'll face.
  • In Tonight We Riot, the plain brick is often the best choice as your main thrown weapon. It might not be as exiciting as the other primary thrown weapon, the Molotov Cocktail, but it still does a solid ammount of damage to both enemy mooks and vehicles and it doesn't come with a risk of nasty friendly fire incidents.
  • Video Game/Spider-Man PS 4 gives you a lot of suit powers to pick from, letting you do things like summon a "spider-pal" to stun enemies, throw around goons without having to stun them or web up every target in a radius. One of the first you get is Adrenaline Rush, though, and it remains one of the best you get, letting you quickly fill your focus gauge to get a bunch of easy takedowns and/or refill a huge chunk of your health.

    Driving Game 
  • Forza Motorsport 4 has weight removal and tire compound/grip upgrades, which are likely going to be the most commonly used upgrades.
  • Interstate '76. Throughout the game you'll salvage all kinds of crazy weapons from other cars, like Dr. Radar tracking missiles, flamethrowers, lava mines, mortars, cluster bombs, and the dreaded Hades Cannon. But ultimately, nothing is more effective at totaling other cars than the 30cal machine gun you start with. Except maybe two machine guns, or higher caliber machine guns.
  • In racing games that employ Rubber-Band A.I. and upgradeable vehicles, you might find that dropping your car to the lowest settings (and perhaps, even drive around in a lower tier car) is the only way of finishing the race. Need for Speed: Underground was notorious for this.
  • The mobile game Drift Spirits has the Honda CR-Z, a sport hybrid car. It has pitiful stats in every field except acceleration (most noticeably is its abysmal handling), but being a hybrid car, it possesses the lowest gas cost in the entire game, making it extremely useful for Boss Battle Events and one of the most popular cars in the game.
  • The Banana Peel in the Mario Kart series. Green Shells can bounce off walls, Red Shells can home in on the nearest player, Stars make you invincible and go faster, Thunderbolts shrinks everyone, and Spiny Shells can attack the leader. By comparison, the Banana Peel is boring, but a simple peel can be placed anywhere and if placed at just the right spot, it can cause the victim to spin off the road or even into a Bottomless Pit. It can also be held on by the player as a shield for oncoming projectiles.
  • Jak X: Combat Racing has the Vulcan Fury (and its upgrade, the Coil Gun). They have decent range and accuracy, reasonably high damage (especially the Coil Gun), can't be thrown off target like missiles can, and a higher ammunition count than any other weapon. That last point is arguably the main advantage, as they can be used to kill a large number of weak enemies, whereas the more powerful weapons can generally only take out a few.

    Fighting Game 
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series of games, each character has several special moves (three in the first game, four in later games) that use their unique abilities, and the third game provides each character with an impressive Final Smash, but the most overwhelmingly useful moves in any mode are the weak but varied standard attacks.
    • Lucario is a great example. Every time he takes damage, all of his attacks get stronger, including the weaker ones
    • Fox is considered the best character in Melee, and is just very effective all around. His normal attacks come out fast and are often safe, and are great both in neutral and in combos. His Up-Smash is the best in the game, coming out lightning quick and sending people off the top at ludicrously low percents for the effort involved, to the point where just fishing for that one move when your opponent is at the brink of death is a perfectly fine strategy. His neutral-special is a rapid-firing laser blaster which does damage, and nothing else (not even hitstun or knockback), but it's an effective way of racking up damage from afar and forcing your opponent to come closer. His down-special is a first-frame attack which does everything from reflect projectiles to knock opponents away in a way that sets up combos. His only weakness (as a character, notwithstanding the speed and precision required on the player's part to use him well) is that he's extremely susceptible to combos and edgeguards, but in order for this to come into play, he still has to get hit first.
    • Ness's PSI Magnet (and similar moves - e.g., Lucas's own PSI Magnet and the Mii Gunner's Absorbing Vortex). Can't do much of anything to your opponent(s), but are impervious to energy projectiles and have an item-free way of healing.
    • Meta Knight in Brawl has Mach Tornado, which is basically a tornado that you can control. However, it's very hard to get out of if you get stuck in it, even harder and somewhat risky to knock Meta Knight out of the attack without a ranged move, and if it's shielded, then you can just move to a safe distance before the move ends. In tournament play, some people just spam Mach Tornado if they don't know how their opponent plays due to being so hard to counter. Even with stalling, the only downside is that it gets the other player(s) and anyone watching annoyed at you.
    • Each of the games have a good deal of items available, with any number of effects that can change the tide of battle drastically. In the case of bludgeoning and ranged weapons, such as the Home Run Bat or the Super Scope, it's often more practical to just pick the item up and chuck it at your foe, since it's safe and does a good chunk of damage and knockback with no commitment to speak of, and is a great way to ensure someone sent off stage stays that way.
    • Pac-Man in the Fourth game has a down special that places a fire hydrant that shoots water. Sure, in comparison to his other custom moves, it sounds boring, but it's a strong projectile, can let Pac-Man charge a Smash Attack while moving like a wavedash, and has the more obvious application of pushing away opponents trying to get on the stage.
    • Mario, true to his trope creating nature became this in Smash 4 and Ultimate. He has average mobility, he doesn't have flashy technical moves, his projectiles are pretty basic and the only really outstanding moves he has to his name are his non-damaging F.L.U.D.D. pushback move, his relatively powerful Super Jump Punch and his devastating forward-air punch but what he does have is still pretty dang solid and synergizes well enough to allow him a whole slew of options and "Staircase Combos" that allow him to literally beat an opponent into just the right position for whatever kill move he wants to go for and keep them from coming back.
    • Ridley is not an easy character to use, but he has several of these. His up-tilt is easily a contender for best anti-air in the game, his Neutral Air is one of the most versatile moves in the game, his Back Air is consistent heavy damage with incredible frame data, his forward air can combo into itself to literally drag the opponent to the blast zone with a wall of pain, and even his forward smash just releases a powerful blast quickly that sends enemies flying, killing light weights below 70%. While the rest of his kit is Difficult, but Awesome, these moves are staples that easily allow him to keep pressure on his opponent.
    • In casual, non-competitive play, many players rush towards the Smash Ball so that they can perform the flashy Final Smash, but in the long run, the comparatively mundane (and easier to activate) Assist Trophies and Pokeballs are more useful, to the point that one can win a match by doing nothing but throwing them and letting the assist characters and Pokémon overwhelm the opponents.
  • Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium has 48 characters, all with a variety of special moves. Their best attacks? For the most part, a crouching fierce (hard) punch. Out of the top 3 characters (Cammy, Sagat, Blanka), two have ball-busting low fierces and there is almost no time where it is a bad move (Cammy's standing fierce punches and roundhouse (again, hard) kicks generally serve the same purpose).
    • Let's not forget Iori's crouching fierce. It has massive range.
    • David Sirlin, designer for Street Fighter II HD Turbo Remix, won a tournament by choosing one character and just spamming crouching strong for a minute straight. He writes about all sorts of boring yet effective techniques to beat people who waste time using slow but awesome looking attacks.
      • Street Fighter and The King of Fighters games are all but shallow — the main difference between just "good" and genuinely great players is their ability to effectively use and mix up the basic light and medium attacks into a chain of heavy attacks and showy specials. In some ways, this is an excellent parallel of real world Boxing and MMA.
    • Similarly, in the Samurai Shodown games, few things are better for punishing an opponent's mistake than a simple fierce slash; given the high damage levels used in the series, this often becomes an extreme case of the use of this trope. Oh, and while it's true that landing a disarming desperation attack tends to make the fight easier, there are still several cases when merely causing a good amount of raw damage is much better.
    • In Street Fighter III, you must choose a super special move out of a selection of three. The "best" (to the extent that one could be considered the best) one out of these three tends to be (though is not always) the one that lets you use the meter the most often, either through having a lot of capacity through EX moves (which tend to be like supers but less flashy) or through having a very short meter bar to charge (allowing you to use supers almost willy-nilly, though some of these supers are also not very flashy). An example of the former case is Ryu's Shinkuu Hadou Ken (a super that isn't all that great, but gives you a ton of meter to work with to hound your opponent with plenty of EX moves). Examples of the latter case include Ken’s Shippū Jinrai Kyaku (which is fast, has invincibility frames, has good range, and you get three of them) and Yun’s Gen'ei Jin (which allows for some nice extended combos served up very, very often).
    • The "Man with Two Moves", Guile, has a moveset considered to be this in every Street Fighter game. He's been using the same two specials, Sonic Boom and Flash Kick (along with super versions of each) since his debut. And it's still a pain to get past them.
    • Canonically speaking, Ryu is a living example, as his fighting style eschews the fancy legwork of Ken's form and instead focuses inward, giving him solid fundamental martial arts and a strong connection with his ki. Appropriately, this leads to Gameplay and Story Integration as Ryu has an answer for everything, even though it could be as simple as throwing a ball of ki or jumping into the air with a rising uppercut (instead of torpedoing himself across the arena or doing a fancy sommersault kick). World champion Street Fighter player Daigo Umehara is often seen playing as Ryu and he's made Ryu's simple three-move arsenal work wonders, even though he doesn't have the more exciting-albeit-bombastic moves of an El Fuerte or Rufus.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3 one character absolutely dominates the game as the absolute best. Who is this character? Dante, with a billion and one moves? Amaterasu, the Physical God who can switch fighting styles on the fly and is said to have no weaknesses? Or Phoenix, who can die and be resurrected as the God-Mode Sue Superpowered Evil Side Dark Phoenix? None of the above. For now, the single best character in the game is... Wolverine, who possesses enough raw speed AND power to turn one confirmed attack into an instant death combo against 90% of the entire cast! He has no fireballs, no grapples, and no devastating assists. He simply beats your ass until you can't get up.
    • An ironic subversion happened with Wesker. Wesker has a gunshot, teleport, good set of normals, and a hyper that, after usage, gave him an attack and speed boost. His combos are simple, usually consist of ground series, some gunshots for extended combo, and air series ended with a Super and maybe a DHC or THC, doing good, but not great damage. His most used assist is a simple gunshot that hits low, and OTG, useful for combo extension. Ironically, many then realized that his exact problem is because he has all of those, and only those things. He did not have advanced and flashier combos, his damage is hopelessly average, he did not build as much meter as characters like Magneto, his mix ups are average, every character is good with X Factor (and there are many that are outright better anyway), and his assists, while useful, are not good at neutral game. In the end, he is a good, easy to use character that is good for many teams, but not a massive threat he was thought to be.
  • Many such moves in Dissidia Final Fantasy, and its sequel, Duodecim, from Jecht and Cloud Of Darkness's few brave attacks to Zidane's starting HP move, Free Energy — but the one that takes the cake is Sephiroth's Shadow Flare. It is practical — weak, but ranged, little end lag, good assist charge, quick, virtually unpunishable; people who play competitively consider it the very best move he has — but man alive is it dull: Sephiroth raises his sword in the air, four little darkness-thingies appear by the opponent and move in on them. Making matters worse, a whole lot of matches with Sephiroth consist of persistent, constant, and ceaseless use of this move. Considering how much style the character has in his other appearances, it's very ironic.
    • Squall is this. He has no real gimmick to speak of, unlike many other characters. What makes him stand out is simply the fact that he's fast. He has both sword strikes and basic spells. He also has absolutely no way of comboing into an HP attack, which may turn away many newcomers due to how difficult it is to land an HP attack, and the necessity of doing so (HP attacks being the only moves that actually *deal* damage.) And yet despite all this he's considered S-Tier. His speed helps him land attacks really well due to their low start-up, and the fact that most of them are multi-hit means they are plenty safe as well, since you have to land the first hit for the rest of the attack to come out. If you miss he only does one quick strike with little commitment. He may not have a combo into HP attack, but he is king at landing Brave Attacks, quickly, and repeatedly, eventually building up his damage levels to really high and also building up a lot of Assist Gauge. He may be a most basic fighter, but his solid neutral game gives him a rightful place at the top.
  • Most fighting games have a "damage scaling" system, which lessens the amount of damage each successive hit of a combo does in order to prevent combos from killing characters outright. In particularly egregious cases, this can mean that adding more hits to a combo can make it end up doing less damage! So you're sometimes better off doing that 2-hit combo into a Limit Break instead of that super-stylish 50-hit combo that has 2 Limit Breaks in it.
    • The Gundam Vs Series has a specific twist on this. One of the series' unique mechanics is Down Value, a hidden number attached to every attack; if you build up 5 points of DV, you're Downed and granted Mercy Invincibility until you get back on your feet. It's often to the player's benefit to stop a combo before you Down the opponent, allowing both the damage correction and DV to reset a bit, and then attack again to maximize damage.
  • In Dragon Ball FighterZ, Adult Gohan lacks fancy tricks and technically only has one super attack (the Ultimate Kamehameha). However, he can also spend bars of super meter to unlock more and more of his potential, improving all his basic moves. Burning 7 bars of meter results in a character that not only has one of the highest base damage in the game, but also can cancel any normal attack into any other normal attack - meaning that he can quickly mix up high and low attacks in the same combo.
  • In many early fighting games, the best way to deal with the notoriously cheap, input-reading AI was to simply find a boring loophole in the AI and exploit it for an easy win. One particularly famous example is Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, where all opponents up to the boss rounds can be beaten by picking a teleporting character, jumping backwards, teleporting as they throw a fireball, then punishing with a combo.
  • In Street Fighter II Champion Edition, Balrog has a very long reach with his heavy punch, but without the slow movement and vulnerability of Dhalsim. He is also strong and has a very effective/protective uppercut. This makes him very useful against many AI opponents, especially those that like aerial attacks or don't have long range attacks. However, it makes fighting very boring as you spend most of a fight positioning yourself and then just either heavy punch or uppercut.
  • M.U.G.E.N: The "template"/default character that comes with the game, Kung Fu Man. He lacks any projectile moves or special particle effects, simply using punches and kicks as a Badass Normal. However, his basic moveset with specials, supers, a throw, a Double Jump, and a Defend Command is adequate enough to take on the more flashier opponents if the player uses him well.
  • The Unlock Potential/Potential Unleashed transformation in Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 provides the user with a flat increase to damage done and decrease to damage taken with no drawbacks and a very subtle visual effect, contrasting flashier transformations like Kaio-ken (boosts damage while draining stamina) or the Super Saiyan line (boosts damage and in the first game granted unlimited use of skills, but either drains the user's ki or hampers its natural regeneration).

    Hack And Slash 
  • God of War does this, but only in concept. While you can mix your light and heavy attacks to make some really cool looking moves, on higher difficulties, the only reasonable way to make progress is with the grapple moves. It instant deaths minor Mooks, sometimes killing others in the area, and you're invincible while you do it most of the time. Granted the grapple moves are pretty cool to watch, but mashing circle seems like a really boring way to fight.
    • Not to mention the best attack to use when you're getting swarmed by enemies that you can't grab is to repeatedly spam your square square triangle attack. Its short enough that enemies have a hard time hitting you out of it or blocking it mid combo, and it knocks enemies into the air, stunning them. Too bad its basically the shortest combo.
  • Koei's Dynasty Warriors series generally plays on this trope in term of maximization and effective gameplay. A lot of these effective moves are the one that is available from the beginning. There's few example that stands out :
    • Kunoichi in the crossover relies on invincibility frame special and gaining back the musou bar. How you do it is the catch, you do it by spamming the C2 elemental launcher over and over again effectively juggling your opponent and purposefully ignoring your other flashier moves including the supposed to be follow up of said move.
    • Lu Bu. One of the nastier character in the game. It also has one of the most boring gameplay. Spam his 360 degree C3 over and over again and use musou once in a while. The usefulness of this move is so much that his other moves are basically filler.
    • Orochi himself falls to this trope. He has spinning scythe move, electric spreader, and jumping slash + shockwave. The most effective way to play him ? Spam triangle button doing a simple dark explosion without continuing the move for peons and add a jumping light attack followed by said move. Yes, you can ignore every other flashy moves the Big Bad offers and use its most basic move and make everything a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • General consensus for the most effective technique on Dynasty Warriors 6 are basic attack 2 time, and Lag Cancel with blocking or dodge rolling and do it again, and use musou thanks to the fact that said moves generally offers better crowd control and the cancelling provides a really safe and effective sequence of moves.
    • The humble sword, when combined with a strong wind based weapon and a double element/element attack up combination are likely your choice of weapons when doing nightmare mode in Dynasty Warriors 7 and extreme legends. Thanks to your health regenerating when you hit with speed weapons due to the title abilities in DW 7 XL, your health goes back up far quickly than it goes down.
    • Koei's Dynasty Warriors: Gundam games feature some of the most powerful suits ever devised in the franchise, including killbeasts like the Turn A Gundam, the Nu Gundam, or the Strike Freedom Gundam. In spite of the presence of such powerhouses, it's entirely possible, and sometimes far more efficient, to pilot a GM. Why bother? For all the power of the Ace Custom suits, the GM does three things very competently—its Limit Break fires instantly and thoroughly belabors the buttocks of Mooks and aces alike, it moves at a reasonable speed, and its Laser Blade is just fast enough and just powerful enough to make an enemy flinch when hit. This makes a very basic design into a capable fighter in the course of play because a player can dash up to an enemy and almost always put them into a Cycle of Hurting. The moment the enemy looks ready to fight back, the GM can scoot away and wait for another opening. The only defense is being Immune to Flinching, and not every unit has such an option. In battles without a tight time limit, a carefully controlled GM can take down powerful enemies that more impressive Mobile Suits would have trouble fighting. It's possible to use pilot skills to improve the efficiency of its basic strengths. This playstyle is very boring to watch, but it works.
    • In Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires, The threaten fixed strategy. When used, you send someone over to a faction and attempt to give up their kingdom and its riches over to your kingdom. When it works, you get all their money, resources, troops, and officers. And threaten is more likely to work the more officers and riches your kingdom has. So once you bully a weaker kingdom into submission, it's more and more likely to work each time you use it. it also happens to work best if you send a character who has threaten as their fixed strategy, so it comes with its own bonus. In practice get somebody who has threaten right as the game begins, start your own kingdom, and you can win the game a grand total of one battle the whole time, that being the battle to start your kingdom.
  • Infinity Blade games have elemental defenses. It negates entirely damage of a specific type done to you and is certainly less flashy than any other offensive option you could use, but later rebirths have opponents who do so much elemental damage that your life bar can evaporate from a single hit from them. Even blocking their attacks can bleed you dry in seconds unless you can negate this damage.
  • The Tower Defense Orcs Must Die! Unchained features all kinds of traps with various degrees of flashiness; however most of them are prohibitively expensive so most players will place down a bunch of cheap spikes, tar, barricades, push, and flip traps and maybe splurge on one of the fancier traps later on. Many of the fancy and damaging traps such as the grinder or swinging mace are twice the cost of a spike trap, and physics traps (Flip and push traps) can send smaller and medium sized enemies flying off the map to their doom if placed right.
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    Mecha Game 
  • In Zone of the Enders you get all sorts of subweapons for Jehuty, such as the paralyzing Geyser, the Halberd large laser and the Vector Cannon, Awesome, but Impractical royalty. The majority of the damage you deal will be with your trusty Homing Lasers and sword.
  • MechWarrior, every and any game of it: PPCs, a cheap, relatively fast and powerful energy weapon. It's the best general weapon in the game, to the point where 90% of mechwarrior players just load their mech of choice with as many PPCs as it can hold.
    • Perhaps the Large Laser would be a better example. The PPC needs more skill to use because of its lower accuracy (due to projectile travel time) and the insane amount of heat it generates, and the long recycle time encourages making every shot count. Meanwhile, the Large Laser recycles faster, its heat production is more manageable, it's a hitscan weapon, and it's smaller as well (though it also does less damage, but quid pro quo).
      • In at least Mechwarrior 3, a large quantity of bog-standard machine-guns on your mech could wipe out most enemies in a few seconds of sustained fire, while generating virtually no heat. Why? Because in the grand scheme of things, machine-guns have the best damage-per-round ratio, best rate of fire and lowest heat-per-round numbers in the game. It's just that they do so little damage individually that you either equip a whole bunch of them for the death of a thousand cuts, or just one for cleaning up stray infantry. Not nearly as cool as a dozen pulse lasers or LRMs going off at once, but worth it for sheer reliability.
    • In the source material tabletop game BattleTech, the crown goes to the humble Medium Laser. It occupies a sweet spot in the various attribute balances of all the weapons; It weighs only one ton, occupies only one critical slot, uses no ammo, has a tolerable heat output, has a passable range ("Short range" compared to some, but still a useful range), does a respectable amount of damage. Some mechs' loadouts consist almost entirely of an arsenal of medium lasers, and they can be devastating in a "bleed to death from a thousand cuts" way. When in doubt when designing a mech loadout... cram in some medium lasers. You can't go wrong with more medium lasers.
  • Machine guns in the Armored Core series can be relied on by any player to do whatever gruntwork they need. Not as flashy as the laser rifles, not as powerful as the bazookas, the machine guns nonetheless has copius amounts of ammo, can track even the fastest of enemies and can provide a steady stream of damage that, under certain conditions, can eat away at even the hardiest of tank AC/NEXTs.
  • In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter, C-Rank units (grunts such as the Zaku, GM, and the like) fit this. They're the only units with four Custom slots (all others, except for special ones obtained through Web Gashapon, go up to 3), they're the fastest to level up (2600-3000 EXP needed to reach Custom 1, compared to 4400-5200 for B-Ranks, 7600-9000 for A-Ranks and 13600-16400 for S-Ranks), they grant/lose the lowest amount of points in Normal and Grid PvP matches (2), allow the highest amount of lives in Death and Tag modes (4 for Death, 5 for Tag) and five of their units are healers (compared to 3 B-Ranks and none for A or S).
    • As well, units with vulcan cannons and machine guns tend to hold out a bit better than those with more flashier beam weapons - they hurt less, but they hit faster and multiple times and they reload a lot faster than a normal beam rifle and only when you run out of ammo (beam rifles and the like tend to be on a constant charge, thus you'd be only able to get at least one hit before you need to wait for a charge if you're on the move)
  • The Heavy Gear or Heavy Gear 2 games for PC have all sorts of nifty, impressive weapons like the snub cannon, an obscenely powerful tank-killing kinetic impactor weapon, or the particle accelerator, which overloads electrical systems and occasionally electrocutes enemy pilots. What are the most useful weapons in the game, though? Autocannons and rocket packs. There isn't a situation which can't be solved by one or the other, but they're also the very first weapon types you start with, and you will usually carry more than enough ammo to finish the job, unlike fancier weapons. Even the most basic starting Gears have shoulder-mounted rocket launchers and autocannons in their hands, and this will generally carry you through the game with only small changes in weapon size to handle tougher armor.
  • Dynamix created Earthsiege and Starsiege, and provided us with impressive weapons like the Electron Flux Whip, a Lightning Gun that carves enemies to pieces, or the Plasma Cannon, a Homing Projectile-firing energy gun. At the end of the day, though, a combination of a simple EMP to bring down shields followed by basic autocannons are some of the most useful weapons in the first game, handily chewing even larger Cybrids to pieces without taxing your energy reserves, and often with plenty of ammunition so that even a few misses aren't so detrimental, unlike missiles. Starsiege diversified its weapons further, but it accidentally gave us another simple starting weapon that can still carry players through much of the game—the Blaster, a small, basic energy gun that has a frightening ability to wreck anything it hits by damaging both shields and armor equally well with respectable power at long range.

    MOBAs 
  • Dota 2 has a diverse roster of heroes, items and abilities, but the most commonly used and valuable to players - professional and amateur alike - fall into this bucket:
    • The Black King Bar - also called the Boring King Bar - doesn't give you cleave, bash or critical strike; it has terrible stats for its cost; it doesn't let you burn enemies around you, or turn them into a sheep, or turn invisible; but it still remains the most purchased item for core players. All it does is make you temporarily immune to magic, but without it, good luck trying to fight.
    • Professional games have been won and lost due to improper usage of the Town Portal Scroll (which simply allows you to travel to one of your buildings) and Observer Wards (which simply give you vision in a dark part of the map). Unexciting, but crucial.
    • Heroes like Dragon Knight, Viper and Sniper are completely dull to play, having no capacity for flashy plays or high-impact spells. Still, they are fully capable of dominating lanes against more "high-skill" heroes.

    Platform Game 
  • Kirby can absorb a great many abilities, but his basic spitting attack (that can only be used without an ability), is often one of the strongest attacks he can perform.
    • This is probably due to its boringness- and the fact that bosses have a lot of health to cut through. If you lose your awesome sword-swipey attack halfway through, it would be hellish to have to whittle away a boss' hit points with a wimpy attack, especially because you have to wait for an enemy to attack before you inhale the projectile and shoot it back.
      • This is taken up to another level in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards — Miracle Matter is vulnerable only to the ability it is currently using, meaning you either have to change out abilities repeatedly, or suck up and spit out its debris. Guess which one lets you kill it the fastest.
    • The rock ability is also useful as you can turn into an invincible rock to endure the bosses attacks, turn back to Kirby, fly over the boss, and turn into a rock to injure the boss by falling on them.
    • There are some bosses in Kirby Super Star where you can do nothing but curl up in the Mirror's shield and wait for the boss to bounce off you enough to kill itself. Marx included.
  • Jak II: Renegade game gives us an extremely large lightning-rocket launcher and a rapid-firing machine gun. The most dangerous weapons? The rifle and shotgun equivalents. No long charge times. No blowing up your own car. No risk of locking onto an enemy and tearing them to shreds with More Dakka while its friends jump you. the Final Boss battle only gives you Blaster ammo, too.
    • The sequel features an upgraded version, Beam Reflexor, which is basically the same deal except it reflects of enemies. It will be your most used weapon, because it's acquired early, has a large ammo clip, the reflected bullets reflect in a manner to hit next enemy and when you're on vehicle, they follow you. Even late in the game, when you have later access to a Grenade Launcher, Lightning Gun, Homing Laser and Nuke.
  • Mega Man:
    • No matter which game in the metaseries you're playing, the plain and simple Buster attack is this trope. It has unlimited energy, and there's very little that can't be at least damaged or temporarily frozen by it. You'll probably make more use of it then all the fancy (but energy-consuming) weapons you get. Except in Mega Man 2, where it's a weapon of last resort for if you run out of Metal Blade.
    • Enker, a near-endgame boss from Dr. Wily's Revenge and one of the DLC bosses in 10, is immune to all of your special weapons, so the trusty Mega Buster is the only weapon that will help you out against him. Of course, as always you get his weapon upon defeating him in Mega Man 10, which is the weakness of one of the other DLC bosses who is also immune to everything but the buster and Enker's weapon.
    • Two words: Toad Man. You can either defeat him up close and very slowly by interrupting the Rain Flush, or you can hurry it up and hope you have enough E Tanks. Subverted if you have Drill Man's power.
    • The Charge Shot (introduced in Mega Man 4) isn't a very cool attack, but aside from having no energy limit, it's large, strong, and against bosses, it's usually only one point weaker than their actual weakness. It's especially practical in Mega Man 5, as though getting hit now dissipates the charge, it's much wider than the Charge Shot in 4 and many of the Robot Master weapons range from situational to nigh-on useless.
    • A looser version occurs in games that provide power ups for the buster; not the armor parts seen in the X series, but the ones that boost stats. Even if the weapons are really good, the buster is the weapon that has the most support, with parts that can power, speed, size of your barrage, reduce charge time, etc.
    • In Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force the buster is useless, even when fully upgraded (50 damage to one foe in an easy to miss attack, or a P.A. that breaks 1000 damage with no set up to everything on the field and is easy to draw), but it has its uses when 1.In an elec style in 2 or 3, where a charged shot stuns enemies and sets them up for otherwise easily dodged attacks 2.Many bosses have summons that your chips/cards are a waste on, making your best option buster spam.
      • Aqua-style charge shots. It charges almost instantly, and fires at the speed of a normal buster shot. It even has the Bubbler effect where it hits the panel directly behind where the shot connects as well!
    • Mega Man Legends has the weak-looking but rapid-firing Machine Buster and the very slow but long-ranged Powered Buster. They are both obtained early on and are quite inexpensive to upgrade compared to the stronger special weapons. The Machine Buster can do near-unmatched DPS at close to medium range, while the Powered Buster hits hard, knocks enemies down, and can even hit enemies outside the draw distance! Sure the Active Buster and Shining Laser are a lot stronger once you upgrade them, but doing so is insanely expensive. Of course, this game also has its own version of the standard Mega Buster, which comes with a variety of equippable augments and doesn't use ammo.
    • Mega Man ZX Advent allows you to transform into the bosses themselves. You can become a giant, lightning-blasting flower, or a speedy hedgehog, or a humonguous bipedal crocodile. The best forms? Buckfire, Queenbee, Argoyle and Ugoyle, and the Mega Men. All of them besides Queenbee have movement comparable to the base Model A form, which the game is absolutely designed around. Queenbee herself gets by with flight; all the others essentially act as specialized upgrades for the Jack-of-All-Trades Model A form. So, yes, you could be a metal-head vulture who fights with the power of rock, but you'll get a lot more done as the woman with stronger ranged attacks who can punch things and dash.
  • Super Castlevania IV is the only game in the series that lets you whip in any direction you want. It also acts as a shield against projectiles if you hold the attack button down, and you can swing across pits if you like. Creator/Egoraptor pointed out this almost completely negated the use of the sub-weapons, which balanced out the limited whip and jumping in the original game. Why bother with an axe or holy water when your main weapon is the strongest thing you have?
  • In the Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow games, the Medusa Head's soul simply allows Soma to hover in place, for a pittance of mana. It's the single easiest method to kill Balore, a boss with a raised weak point and only ground-targeting attacks in his second stage.
    • Medusa Head gets another application in Dawn Of Sorrow, where Soma's jump kick does more damage the longer he is in the air before striking with it... including the aforementioned hovering. Using one Boring, but Practical move to power up another Boring, but Practical move?
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night can be beaten with any weapon and set up, but for speedrunners the best weapons to use early on fall squarely into this. It's your unarmed attack or the various dagger/knuckle weapons you can get. They don't do very much damage compared to your other weapons (especially not your unarmed attack) but the rate of fire is so fast that this is seen less as being underpowered and more as being balanced, as they *still* outdamage other setups through sheer damage per second. Bosses get absolutely shredded in record time. This does take some skill to do effectively however.
    • Shield Rod combos are frequently seen as awesome and practical, being very powerful moves with flashy effects and prominent, stylish animations. But the best Shield Rod combo and one of the best set ups in the game is Shield Rod + Alucard Shield: which simply makes your shield damaging with a drain effect. Sure, the absolutely insane damage both on a single hit and per second is amazing, but you're still just holding your shield up until something dies.
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance seems to avert this at first with the subweapons. Early in the game you get a spellbook, which imbues your subweapons with an element. This actually turns them into entirely new, fantastic attacks, as opposed to simply throwing the weapon. For example, the simple knife, which usually just has one knife thrown, instead becomes 1000 blades when used with the Wind spellbook. It's also seen as practical due to the fact that spell imbued subweapons use MP, which regenerates, as opposed to hearts, which must be collected. But despite how fantastic and amazing some of the attack effects can get with these spell/subweapon combos, the ones most people might find themselves using to get through the game would be Wind + Cross or Ice + Cross, the former of which simply creates a damaging barrier and the latter automatically shoots enemies for a little while. You can simply cast one of the spells, and then not really worry about many enemies you pass by, and then eventually the spell runs out and when it does you'll have already regenerated the magic cost.
  • Despite the large arsenal of crazy and creative weapons you amass over the course of a standard Ratchet & Clank:
    • The simple Rocket Launcher equivalent is always one of the most effective guns. Of course, upgraded versions of this weapon type gain abilities such as firing three rockets at once, firing rockets that bounce off walls, or firing rockets that release a swarm of heat seeking missiles upon detonation. Maybe "boring" isn't entirely accurate.
    • Even truer for basic pistol weapon. It is normally obtained very early, sometimes Ratchet starts with it, but usually it has large ammo capacity and long range, which allow it to be quite useful during first half of the game. Even more true for first game's Blaster, which remains useful through entirety of the game (even more so if you know you can obtain upgrade for it during first playthrough) and is one of few weapons that is effective against Final Boss. Though like with rocket launchers, pistols with shots that reflect from walls and spread electric arcs over all nearby enemies aren't exactly 'boring'.
    • Shotguns as well. Usually among the first weapon you can get and usually for a change, especially when compared to later weapons. But they can hit multiple enemies at considerable distance for sizable damage and most of time they stun enemies and knock them back, giving you some breathing room. Like the other weapons mentioned here, they get functionalities that make them stand out when they upgrade, such as Charged Attack or homing shots.
  • Vectorman has multiplier items which multiply the points you receive, a useless holdover from arcade games...except the multiplication applies to health pick-ups and extra lives too: getting an extra life with a x10 multiplier in effect means you get ten extra lives on the spot.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt describes Gunvolt's strategy perfectly as this. While he does have several Limit Breaks that scream "overkill", his basic ability involves shooting a thing, then pumping enough electricity into it to defeat it. It's very basic, but it's also easy and fairly powerful. His various guns and clips only change the direction of his shots, how powerful they are, and/or how many things he can tag at once. It becomes much more obvious in the sequel, where his rival Copen uses a style more in line with that of a Mega Man character with Power Copying galore, yet in some cases GV's style is actually superior.
  • In most of the Super Mario Bros. games, you have power ups that can let you destroy enemies with fireballs, give Mario the ability to fly, or become invincible for a short time. The Super Mushroom lets Mario take an extra hit before the next one kills him and that's it. The humble mushroom is boring in comparison to the other items, but sometimes it can make a difference between clearing the level or losing a life and having to start over.
    • In games like Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World, which let you choose your hero, Jack-of-All-Stats Mario has this going for him. Luigi has a higher jump than the others, Toad is the fastest, and Princess Toadstool can float through the air briefly ( and in 3D World, the unlockable character Rosalina has Luigi's jumping height, Toad's speed, and a unique spin attack that lets her defeaat any enemy). Mario doesn't have any special skills by comparison—but he also doesn't have the weaknesses the others do. His jump height and speed are also the easiest to control, which prevents potential errors (and in games where a single mistimed button press can ruin a run, that's extremely helpful).

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Best Fiends, the Earthworms' special ability. They don't get a flashy bomb to stick on the board or a big animation to remove tons of pieces. All they do is shoot out a firework directly at a Slug. It doesn't change the board in any way, but it delivers a quick burst of attack power, which can be ridiculously useful in a pinch.
  • In Gruntz, the Gauntletz qualify: it's a tool to break things and fight other Gruntz. It's in nearly every level, and is very useful.
  • For the most part, in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, players will abandon their first three or four spells for the more powerful version learned later or for learned spells... with two exceptions: The Knight's Stun spell (L1 spell, low mana cost, quick recharge time, and sets up beefier spells nicely — and you can't learn it from captured Knights) and the Druid's Gemberry (L1 healing spell that grows stronger with Blue Mana levels).
    • Not necessarily. The Druid can eventually abandon all normal spells in favor of board manipulation and Entangle (Or Web) and create an infinite loop that ensures that no enemy player will ever take a turn after you take your first, turning those powers into ones a lot better then plain old Gemberry. Boring but Practical is eventually replaced with a pretty extreme gamebreaking build which pays off in the long run
  • The T-Block from Tetris. Sure, the I-Block grabs all the headlines with its ability to form Tetrises, and it may be the L-Block that won the 6th GameFAQs Annual Character Battle, but what piece saves you when the Ss and Zs start piling up? What piece can be spun into awkward gaps? What piece neatly fits into more holes than any other piece? T-Blocks are the Hypercompetent Sidekick of the Tetris world.
    • The key to a high score in Tetris Friends and other games compliant with the current Tetris Guideline? For progressive goals, do the single-single combo/ren in Japanese until the goal is sufficient to do a Tetris, then T-Spin Double in order. For fixed goals, TSD's are the most powerful move, and combine it with a Tetris, you can net at least 650,000 for 200-line goal. In multiplayer battle modes, T-Spin Doubles are equivalent to a Tetris, which makes T's and I's as powerful.
    • The Arika Rotation System in Tetris: The Grand Master games and fan games, particularly when the Super Rotation System is also an option. It doesn't have all the crazy kicks of SRS — there's only 2 directions a non-I piece can kick, and the I-piece will either kick upwards once or not at all depending on what variation of ARS you're using. However, this is where ARS becomes practical: you can predict where a piece will go when you rotate it. In comparison, SRS is extremely complex (to the point where extensive studies have been done on it), and you have a much higher chance of a piece doing something unexpected, such as popping out when you didn't intend to make it do that.
  • While there is an incredible variety of things one can summon in Scribblenauts, glue, rope, and baskets (and all their variants) are astoundingly indispensable items.

    Rail Shooter 
  • Time Crisis 3 and 4 offer a variety of alternate weapons. But when in doubt, the handgun is often the best option. It does not require ammo pickups (just release the pedal to reload), hits precisely where you want, and fires as fast as your fingers will allow. This is emphasized in 3 with the game's accuracy bonuses; the machinegun can accidentally over-fire, the shotgun requires that each of its pellets hit a target or else the accuracy bonus will be dropped, and grenades will just outright kill your accuracy bonus even if it kills enemies.
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    Real Time Strategy 
On a meta level, Zerg Rush tactics. In nearly every RTS game, you have an option to send starting units, weakest but numerous, to try and assault your enemy within the first few minutes (while they might have only research buildings for defenses and workers for troops). This is often used by skilled players unwilling but forced to play against newbies in order to save time at the cost of making the game boring to watch. In general, every RTS game can be split into three basic Boring But Practical tactics:
  • Defense, i.e building as many protective turrets, bunkers, walls and other defensive structures as you can
  • Rush, i.e. assaulting the enemy early with lots of lesser units at the cost of your own development
  • Expansion, i.e. focusing on advanced units, secondary bases and wonder weapons in the mid/endgame.
Result? Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors as is, since defense defeats rush, rush defeats expansion and expansion defeats defense.

  • Age of Empires series has all sorts of cool units — war elephants, ballistas, suicide bombing petards, bombard cannons, guys who throw axes etc., but the best units are the cheap and efficient archers, cavalry archers, and catapults.
    • A line of thirty or more Longbowmen supporting a siege weapon is always a winning tactic. Good ol' Britons.
      • That pales in comparison to the later Sappers upgrade. Leading an army through their town? Cool. Leading a peasant uprising against their reinforced iron-bound walls and crumbling their castle with knives and giving their king the Julienne Ceasar treatment? Priceless.
      • In The Conquerors Expansion, upgrading the Spanish unique technology (Supremacy) will make your villagers exceptional at combat, combine with sappers technology, stone to build castles and towers and siege weaponry that can be repaired by your soldiers.
      • Similar to the Longbowmen/siege weapons combo, when playing as the Mongols you can always try to get a handful of Trebuchets escorted by two groups of about 20-25 of the elite Mongolian horse archers. A bit challanged for range, but they could get out of the way of any attack because of their speed. One group of horse archers escorts the Trebuchets, the other scouts and eliminates small threats, and they can combine for larger assaults. Of course, their production is also queued up to replace any lost horse archers, so by the time each of the two original squads is reduced to 10 units, a new squad is there to replace them; combine the decimated units into one and wait for reinforcements. They didn't work so well against large amounts of Knights, and wouldn't be able to take advantage of their speed in segmented terrain, but on the steppes (and similar map types) they had no equal.
    • Age of Mythology features various mythological units from a simple valkyrie all the way up to the Titans themselves. But due to their favor costs and vulnerabilities to heroes, their numbers will be limited in comparison to the basic human units. Speaking of heroes, those aren't without limitations either.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert features units that literally erase enemies from existence (making them helpless while they're doing so), evil geniuses who can mind-control enemy units, giant battle bases that can literally run over enemy tanks, giant tanks armed with AA missiles, commandos who mow down infantry and destroy buildings singlehandedly, and of course the Ion Cannon and other superweapons — yet the best, most cost-efficient force for destroying ground units/buildings is dozens upon dozens of standard tanks with the occasional long-range artillery support just to get past those pesky Psychic Towers. Remember that mission in Black Forest which is mirrored in the add-on? You can finish the add-on version in 3 minutes by taking your starting bunch of standard tanks and rolling directly to Einstein's doorstep.
    • Another example is the British special unit, in RA2 the SAS Sniper, which insta-kills all enemy infantry, can hide in buildings and parachute assault. A few of these guys, a couple of Grizzlies and an anti-air unit, and you're laughing.
    • Subverted in RA2 (the one with the battle bases, troopers who eliminate enemies from existence, and mind control) where if you combine the Battle Base with either the erase-from-existence troopers OR the Genius mind controllers you get a pretty badass unit that can either instantly erase anything it hits or mind control an entire legion of enemies, while being extremely hard to kill without a similar Awesome but Impractical Unit, making them very practical actually.
      • Except against aircraft. But a battle base tank filled with four anti-air infantry (Guardian GIs) and a Commando (unit that instakills infantry in massive quantities) is even more practical. The Guardian GIs can destroy tanks and aircraft with surprising speed, and the commando is all you need against any amount of infantry. You can substitute the commando for the sniper if you're afraid if mind-controlling infantry. The only thing this combination needs support for is a mind-controlling tank.
    • For most Allied single-player missions, 9+ Prism Tanks. Their combined might + splash damage can wipe out an unlimited amount of AI-controlled infantry and non-super-heavy vehicles, and one-shot all buildings while outranging nearly everything. And if you have a Chronosphere, you can also teleport them anywhere you want, effectively delivering this one-shot death squad directly to within firing distance of a target.
    • For most missions where you wish to destroy a key enemy facility, building massive amounts of Harriers (Allies) or Kirovs (Soviets). No amount of enemy AA fire can stop them all in time to save that target building, and most of the defensive lines will be unable to fire at them at all. Taken to absurd levels in the mission to destroy Kremlin: you don't even need to bother with building the base, just take your 2 starting Kirovs and fly them across the left map border to the north to bomb Yuri's shelter to bits. Well, more like "set a route for them and go wait 20 minutes for them to get there", but still.
    • Tanks and something that can shoot bullets is all you need for any C&C mission. Infantry in the game dies way too easily because the enemy is smart enough to run your guys over. And anything else would just fry them in groups.
    • In some installments, walls; in others they're a waste of money. Tiberian Sun tried using cncere in this role, but some players thought it too cumbersome (it would only protect buildings placed on top of it and underground units could get out even if a corner of a building were unpaved).
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars is full of this. GDI stoped using walkers so common in Tiberian Sun except the Juggernaut. People hate EA for "ruinining" series by this and say that replacement of four-legged Mammoth Mk. II by Mk. III which is "standard"(Two barreled with rocket pods) treaded tank. However, lets face it, from military point of view, the Mk.III variant makes MUCH more sense, although looks less cool.
    • In comparison with NOD (Aliens aside), the whole GDI faction is boring but practical. GDI field conventionl designs based off today's militaries ones, and railguns are also less cool than freaking lasers. NOD is using experimental and exotic weaponry which is cool, but (in universe) unreliable, unstable and hard to manufacture. In-game, NOD has expensive units, which are highly specialized, less armored and have to be used properly in ambushes and guerilla warfare. GDI units are good all-rounders with massive firepower and many possible strategies.
      • Also, both factions play this straight in case of basic frontline infantry. While have acces to high-tech weaponry (Railguns for GDI, Lasers for NOD), both factions use standard firearms. They are cheaper, easier to maintain and good for deploying en-masse because they dont need complex technical facilites and soldiers dont need to have specialized training. Main Battle Tanks and several other vehicles also use traditional guns, but can be upgraded with Lasers/Railguns.
    • In Kane's Wrath, Nod standard front-line infantry are given old Tib-War 2 era guns and armor, because while it may not be as fancy as GDI's various types of combat armor, it's still better than the hoodies and AK's normal militia are armed with.
  • Starcraft is the RTS king of this trope.
    • The humble Zergling is a feared Zerg unit throughout the game against a wide variety of tactics; its upgrades ultimately make it three to four times as effective as the initial version, and they still only cost 50 minerals for two. Ten Zerglings can eat the enemy Nexus in less than six seconds, and unless the enemy has some area damage, will be rather difficult to stop. To top this off, the titular Zerg Rush can be performed so early (six Zergling rush) that the enemy will have only workers at their base by that time.
    • While the Terran Marine isn't quite as valued, it is an indispensable tool against the Zerg when paired with Medics and is the only basic unit that can take on air. When protected by narrow corridors (which can be conveniently built with Supply Depots) twelve upgraded Marines can kill an unlimited amount of Zerglings or Zealots that blindly rush them.
    • But the true winner for this trope is the humble Terran SCV. A worker unit with enough Hit Points to actually be used in combat offensively in rush strategies. There's nothing more humiliating than getting killed by an RTS worker unit. I give you The Emperor Slayers_Boxer's infamous SCV Rush.
    • And of course there's the Zerg Overlord, notorious for raining Zerglings into the core of your base if you've left any gaps in your defensive network.
  • Meanwhile over in its sequel Starcraft II because medics can now heal at range, in the campaign the most cost effective solution to every problem is now a X medics, X marauders and 2X to 3X marines. Vehicles are too prone to wear and tear, but so long as a soldier still clings to an inch of life he'll be good as new again in no time.
    • Siege Tanks in defense for single player. While the living player will quickly find a way around them, AI will attempt to rush them again and again, which is not unlike walking into an endless minefield that tears apart both hordes of lesser units and big ones.
    • Starcraft II rides this trope just as hard in the competitive scene, as well, with most of the duration of the open beta being marked by excessive use of the above formula, just replacing medics with medivacs. Much of the metagame seems to be a war of cost-effectiveness, as early iterations of the Zerg Roach demonstrated so successfully.
    • In the second module (Heart of the Swarm), the zergling once again proves its worth, but there is literally no situation in the entire game that doesn't involve air units that cannot be solved by sufficient quantities of Banelings. The best part is with the right choice of upgrades, you can get three banelings from a single larva in the space of about thirty seconds, each of which is either capable of jumping, or of splitting into two smaller banelings upon attacking. Marines incoming? Banelings. Enemy buildings? Banelings. The Odin, which shows up in the last mission on the Dominion's side? Banelings.
    • In the campaigns, the upgrades which let you harvest vespene gas automatically without needing to assign workers. They may not be as cool as the alternatives, but saving three population and 150 minerals per gas geyser adds up and helps you get your economy moving faster.
    • Also from the campaigns, upgrades that allow for instant building/mutation of your supply units/buildings and instant warping of Protoss units. Not much to look at but you can train more troops faster. Particularly noteworthy are the Zerg which grant more supply (thus saving resources), and the Terran who can use their supply depots to wall off their base or create choke points.
    • Since the Terran campaign is largely defensive, upgrades to bunkers and missile turrets are incredibly useful, especially one upgrade that causes all buildings to repair themselves to half health.
    • In the Terran campaign, the ability to repair vehicles is what made the Science Vessel the preferred choice over the Raven that was designed to replace it.
    • The implemented Co-op missions have this as a general rule depending on difficulty. On the easier difficulties, weaker enemies with smaller upgrade amounts spawn, however on the higher difficulties (especially brutal), enemy numbers are incredible and upgrades for the enemy's may max at the full 3 attack 3 armor upgrades. Commanders often have some sort of beefy super-unit (Raynor has Battlecruisers, Kerrigan has Ultralisk, Karax has Carriers, etc), but some commanders require so many buildings and upgrades to make these late-game units useful, and the enemy attacks arrive so frequently, that it's far safer to simply make weaker units en masse to cover your base while preparing just a few scarce powerful units to avoid risking losing all of them in a single rush by the enemy.
      • Some of the weakest units, like Zerg, are given access to exceptionally powerful upgrades that allow them to do things such as drop an enemy's armor down to 0, allowing other units to pretty much outright devour the targets. Thus it's useful to build up a small, boring army of early-game zergling for the reward of them becoming better as the match progresses.
      • In general it is not safe on Hard or Brutal to set up an economic focus unless you're certain your ally can cover the initial attack wave that arrives early in the mission. If you don't have anything to deal with the incoming initial attack, it's possible to outright lose in mere minutes of starting.
  • Total Annihilation has a tiny scout unit called a flea, with the weakest weapon and fewest hitpoints of any. Because it's small and fast, though, and the game allows for huge numbers of units, the Flea Bowl AI was created, which builds only fleas (and supporting resources), yet is surprisingly hard to beat.
    • This is in large part due to the AI system being rather limited, so tuning it to the exact specifications needed for a specific unit made it very effective, and a computer can handle the huge number of units.
    • It should be mentioned that, aside from exceptions like this, the game spectacularly averts the trope. With a no-early-rush gentleman's agreement (because Thou Shalt Not Play TA Like Starcraft), after the first few minutes of gameplay tactics usually switch from basic tanks to badass robots with rayguns and nuclear weapons. At that point, Boring, but Practical basic tanks very quickly become Boring And Dead.
      • Even then, once you get to tech level 3 your basic level 3 units are better then nukes and the more expensive units.
      • This is somewhat averted by its spiritual sequel, Supreme Commander. Tier 3 units are awesome, no questions asked, but they have trouble dealing with high tier defensive structures. These structures however cannot keep up with a huge swarm of cheap, fast, tier 1 units who are way too numerous for the guns' slow rate of fire to keep up with them. Similarly, of the game's mega units called experimentals, the cheaper ones tend to be the most useful (if only because you have a reasonable chance to be able to build one at all) as you can use them as beefed up tier 3 unit to reinforce groups of tier 3 units.
    • Defending your base? Rocket turrets. Effective against air and land, and almost never miss due to the rockets being homing. Pretty cheap too.
    • Construction aircraft. Give them a patrol route that goes close to all your buildings and they will keep everything repaired without getting in the way.
  • Homeworld allowed you to produce some truly amazing and all-powerful cruisers and heavy destroyers, but due to the types of enemies and AI found in the single player mode, using nothing more impressive than ion cannon frigates, a few multicannon and salvage corvettes, and basic interceptors is not only a very effective strategy, but generally the best use of resources available. The most impressive looking ships can be taken down by a few salvage corvettes you had to build for level 1, albeit slowly and quite boringly. The non-canon canonical spinoff averts this, though, as the various mothership superweapons and upgrade paths make non-upgraded acolytes little more than cannon fodder.
    • The second to last and last missions, destroying an asteroid with an engine strapped on it and its escort before it hits your mothership, and defeating various waves of incoming Imperial ships without the help messages that make the missions manageable respectively, are near-impossible to beat unless you stole a lot of ships in previous missions, and the disabled help make managing so many ships difficult in the final mission. The solution for all problems? The Minelayer Corvette. It's small, it's cheap, and the ten that you can build will lay near-impassable minefields, meaning the second to last mission is reduced to 'destroy the enemy ships while your minelayers make a firework display with the asteroid' and the last mission can be easily beaten by creating multiple minefields and finishing whatever survives until you get reinforcements.
    • In Homeworld 2, this trope is used straight, especially with the Vaygr race. An example amongst many is that while the Hiigarans use the corvette class ships for nothing but defense (and minor offense), a specific type of Vaygr corvette is known to be a nasty carrier and destroyer killer.
    • A further point is that while the giant carriers and capital class ships are immensely powerful in Homeworld 2, the humble bomber with a single, instantly available upgrade can cripple them completely in groups of five. Nothing funnier than pinning the enemies' best capital ship in place with five small one-man fighters.
  • In Hearts of Iron II, you have your tanks, motorised infantry, paratroopers, mountaineers and the like, but the most cost-effective strategy remains to crank out masses of foot infantry and militia.
  • Stellaris:
    • Played for laughs with one planet your science ship can potential discover, where after some time the scientists discover that its most discernible feature is... its lack of any discernible features. The planet has no tile blockers on the surface making it very easy to colonise.
    • The Biological Ascension path is the only one accessible to any non-machine empire, but it allows you to modify your species on the fly and create specialised subspecies which can be more effective than Synths and live on any planet for a very long time.
    • The Pacifist ethos restricts your ability to conduct wars to purely wars of liberation, and at Fanatic Pacifist, you can't declare any wars at all. What it gives you in return is a +2 bonus to the number of core planets you can control and a bonus to resource production, giving Pacifist nations a leg-up in the Early Game Hell. What's more, if you take the Agrarian Idyll trait unique to Fanatic Pacifists, you get a Unity point to each farm you build, allowing you to stream through the Tradition tree and become a large empire very quickly.
    • Playing a non-specialised machine empire: you might not get any unusual interactions or unique dialogue, but you are free to choose a different second civic at your leisure, you can still colonise absolutely any habitable planet without problem, and you still have access to the special machine mechanics and ascension perks, such as "Machine Worlds". Plus, unlike Determined Exterminators and Driven Assimilators, other empires won't hate your guts by default and try to exterminate you if they think they can do just that.
    • Habitats. For a reasonable minerals and influence cost, you can build a habitable megastructure capable of housing 12 pops (later 15 with an upgrade). You only need one Ascension Perk to unlock them, you can build them nearly anywhere and inhabit as many as you want because they don't count towards your planet total, and they give a bonus to your fleet cap just by being inhabited. Habitats are a boon for practically anyone playing a tall strategynote  and especially for Rogue Servitors, as you can move your organic pops to the habitats (ideally these will be built safely out of harm's way) and then devote your planets to be converted into Machine Worlds (which can only be populated by synths but have very high industrial output).
    • The Colossus, the star addition of the Apocalypse DLC, is capable of inflicting an Earth-Shattering Kaboom (or an equivalently devastating blow) on any enemy planet of your choice, but comes with a number of drawbacks: You can only build one per empire, it can only be used against planets and cannot defend itself if attacked, it paints a large target on your back by allowing ambitious or threatened neighbors to declare a Total War to destroy it or the host's empire, and it costs a rather hefty sum in minerals to build. For the same price you can usually build a rather large fleet of Battleships, which are much more versatile and whose only drawback is a regular maintenance cost. Certain AI empires can even lampshade this if you build one.
  • Probably deliberately averted in World in Conflict with the Support role. With slow-moving, fragile AA and repair vehicles, Support players see very little flashy action, like the Armor and Air players (and the role doesn't get any considerable attention in the single-player campaign). However, without good support, the team will lose pathetically. No exceptions. And it just so happens that since later patches, Support role nets the highest scores in 90% of online games. Quite fitting, seeing how the game is ALL about teamwork. Interestingly, Support also has the most Awesome, but Impractical units in the game - the artillery.
  • In the original Commandos, it was often possible to get rid of most of the enemies on a map by studying their paths and placing a spring trap on them, repeat ad nauseam. It took forever and was boring as shit, but its efficience was rather impressive.
    • Not so practical, considering that the game scores you based on Health Lost and TIME SPENT.
    • In Commandos 2 you can often wipe out scores of enemies by getting all your commandos into a room with one or two doors, having your men aim at them, shooting once and then just letting them shoot every soldier as they ran in one by one. Then just take their machine guns and repeat until everyone is dead. Depending on the objective this won't always work though (and you'll get a terrible score if you care about that sort of thing).
    • But Commandos 2 also made a point: If you have a pack of cigarettes and a functioning fist you can rid nazi germany from all soldiers. In the whole game there are maybe 10 soldiers out of 200 - 300 that do not fall for the cig-and-pummel trick. But then you still got wine.
  • The Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars sub-genre of WarCraft maps: While the main goal of the game is for your heroes to go through mooks like hot knives through butter and fight each other with big flashy spells, even the most heavily armored of foes will fall under the weight of numbers. Particularly apparent in the ones that allow you to build siege units like catapults: high splash damage, long range and slow speed ensure that while melee units move in front to heroically sacrifice their lives, the enemy finds himself with a dozen catapults firing at his towers while safe from retribution.
  • And speaking of Warcraft III, one of the main standout features are its heroes: Three per army with devastating spells and up to six items each. These items can range from mere individual stat boosts to access to spells your units can't learn (and completely broken campaign-only ittems if on a custom map), and yet victory has often been lost by virtue of not having a common item like a potion of mana or a scroll of town portal, either of which are available in each faction's shop.
    • The Skeleton Warrior is weaker than any faction's basic melee unit, its only saving grace being that it spawns in pairs from a corpse. However, one of the first items the Undead can buy lets them summon up to eight of these, which is a very different matter in the early game.
    • The Night Elf Archer. The only basic unit with a ranged attack, has HP comparable to a Worker Unit, and needs an ability that reduces ranged damage just to survive. However, stick around until tier 2 and your archers can fly, laughing as they rain arrows at the melee units that used to be their bane. Even better, the unit they meld with is a very strong air attacker, so by dismounting the Hippogriff Riders you suddenly double your anti-air ability.
    • Aerial units attacks. Every race has the air-to-ground unit that, if mass-produced, will drown your enemy bases in endless waves of harassment, disrupting their economy and production with little to no retaliation. And in late game, these units will also be complemented with aerial artillery that will make short work of entire bases. Of course, the opponent can attempt to build their own anti-aircraft division, but that will leave them vulnerable on the ground.
    • Mercenaries are not as strong as your native units and will not be upgradeable, but have many rare abilities and are trained instantly. Bribing Your Way to Victory at its finest.
  • League of Legends: farming. It's more fun to harass and engage enemy champions in the laning phase but taking the time to last-hit minions generates a fair portion (if not most) of the gold accumulated during a game.
    • Wards count as well: they cost money and don't contribute to combat but a team with map awareness will always triumph over one stumbling in the dark, all other factors being equal. Warding brushes also shuts down ambushes and ganks and cripple champions that rely on sneak attacks to get fed.
    • The ADC character class is basically this. Unlike tanks, junglers or mid laners that rely a lot on their ability kit, ADCs rely mostly on their basic attack. Fast reflexes and key pressing skills aren't really necessary; the core skills are instead positioning (always being on the safest place possible), and kiting (alternating between moving and hitting).
    • Some champions have an ability kit that bring excellent results despite being nowhere nearly as flashy or complex as other kits. Examples include pre-season 5 Tristana (increasing range, simple attack speed buff, jump away, a damage over time shot and a big shot with knockback) and pre-season 5 Ryze (poke, poke with stun, bouncing poke, move speed buff); both of these kits are extremely basic, but professional players love them on account of being actually quite effective.
  • In Sudden Strike, the humble Anti-Tank Rifleman can reduce the largest tank to a burning pile when coming in large groups and attacking from sides or rear (for realism, the number of hitpoints taken by a shot is different in regards to the side where the tank has more armor). Panzerfaust-Men have stronger attack, but there are never a lot of them in a player's troops, while Anti-Tank Riflemen are plentiful.
  • In Company of Heroes, it's worthwhile for the U.S. forces to train the basic infantry squad moreso than the specialized units. Not only do their upgrades give them more firepower against infantry and a chance against armor, they can pick up or use weapons left on the battlefield and then call in reinforcements, whereas none of the other units can do this.
    • Medium anti-tank guns are ungainly, fragile and can be carted off by the enemy if the crew is killed. However, they are by far the most economical and effective means for dealing with enemy vehicles in the mid-game, and they will save your bacon.
    • Similarly, mortar teams tend to get scoffed at by novices, while other players know they're invaluable for stopping a large infantry push dead.
    • The Kangaroo carrier available for the Brits with Battleships is not very well-armed, very fast, or even very pretty. However, it's a tank chassis with the turret removed and the interior filled with seating. It is, therefore, tough. Really tough. It has the highest carrying capacity of any troop transport - 15 men in four squads - and it allows four men to fire their weapons out of the top without being targeted themselves. It's generally considered to be far more powerful than the Cromwell medium tank it replaces and it covers many of the weakness of the British force, namely their general lack of mobility and inability to counter snipers and flamethrowers.
  • MechCommander:
    • Both games feature some rather impressive options in terms of available 'Mechs and equipment, including some really BFGs, like the Gauss Rifle or Ultra Autocannon 20. However, your most practical battlefield solutions will be massed long range missile racks and stock PPCs. The missile racks are capable of projecting damage out to long range and are generally inexpensive, so they can be purchased and equipped in bulk. Few 'Mechs are able to soak up more than one or two of these massed missile salvos without showing some damage. The standard PPC is a starting weapon that is overall not as exceptional as its Clan or extended-range counterparts, but it has three considerable benefits—its damage is still respectable, its heat is easier to control, and it's notably easier to acquire than the more advanced stuff. Some 'Mechs can pack half a dozen PPCs and vaporize the enemy with a potent Alpha Strike.
    • The Grid Inventory of the second game also meant that space was a consideration for customization. It also meant that armor was now a boring but very useful addition to a 'Mech's design profile. Since armor is applied as a single square on the grid, players could also arrange weapons as needed to fit on the chassis and fill any remaining spaces with more armor.
    • Some of the designs in the game are very basic—the Catapult is a simple walking missile turret, but it does the job of long range fire support so well that it can safely bombard enemies from maximum range. It isn't as flashy or impressive as the Clan Vulture or Mad Cat, but it's both cheaper to field and cheaper to repair; more players are willing to risk the Catapult to make an attack of opportunity than a much more valuable heavy Omnimech.
    • Another surprisingly useful 'Mech in the sequel was the Davion-built Jagermech. Its default configuration is very boring and very weak—four light autocannons. However, the chassis itself has a surprising advantage—its armor is rated to be as tough as some Assault 'Mechs, and it's jump capable. Combined with its low price, this means that buying or capturing a few Jagermechs and switching their four small guns for two bigger ones suddenly means you have a group of inexpensive yet punchy defenders for your delicate fire support 'Mechs or more expensive units.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon:
    • Laser Cannons are not the most powerful weapons in the game, nor are they the flashiest, but they are the most cost effective, and the cheapest for their respective weight class (heavier versions being more expensive), with the Light Laser Cannon being the cheapest weapon in the game. Although they are not as powerful as the Plasma Cannons or Carronades, a broadside from a Ship of the Line armed with Laser Cannons (especially if they are the heavy variant) is still devastating, easily capable of destroying most ligher ships in a single volly and dealing serious damage to even the strongest of ships, all while being cheaper than the Plasma Cannons, Carronades and Lancers, as well as being more accurate and having greater range than the Carronades and dealing far greater damage per shot than the Lancers. The lower cost of the Laser Cannons also saves Victory Points to spend on other things such as crew, or additional ships in open skirmish maps, as the cost of more expensive weapons quickly adds up when buying them for several weapon banks, especially weapon banks with larger gun batteries.
    • Tenders are not heavily armed (except for the Procyon Tender), nor are they particularly heavily armoured or fast, but they are the only ship that allows allied ships to dock next to them for repairs, making them extremely useful for recovering after a battle, especially if there are no nearby docks.
  • RWBY: Amity Arena gives you "Vomit Boy Jaune" right out of the gate, and given his less-than-stellar performance in the early seasons of the show, he's easy to overlook. Moreso because in the game he only has a short-ranged, single-target melee attack and no special abilities, which causes many players to pass him up in favor of more flashy characters. However, he only costs 3 Aura to summon, does very respectable damage and is one of the most durable units in the game, ensuring that he can take out almost any other character in a straight fight or make a solid roadblock for non-flying units. As Jaune himself says when summoned, "Don't underestimate me!"

    Rhythm Game 
  • pop'n music has a number of normas, with the harder (and higher-point) ones doing interesting Interface Screws, disabling certain note judgments, etc. But the best way to get Challenge Points is to use the simpler point-, combo-, and miss-based normas; if you can do songs in the level 33-36 range, using normas such as "Over 90,000 points", "Max Combo over 150", and "Less than 30 Bads" should be enough to get you extra stages.
  • DanceDanceRevolution:
    • "Bracketing"—that is, keeping your feet on or near the inner corner brackets of the four arrows. While dull-looking to non-players, bracketing keeps the player's feet on top of two arrows at once, and with two feet, this means the player can easily hit any of the four arrows with minimal effort exerted. Bracketing also allows one with sufficiently large feet to hit two arrows with one foot, but that's a different trope altogether.
    • Holding onto the safety bar during play. To non-playing spectators, it looks like it takes the "Dance" out of Dance Dance Revolution. However, the bar helps with the player's balance and stability, and if you're going for top scores, looking goofy is irrelevant as long as you can stay in command of your feet and your center of gravity. Pretty much everyone at score-attack tournaments, from local-level tournaments to the Konami Arcade Championship, uses the bar; the only time you'll likely see a lot of no-bar attempts at "boss" songs will be at dedicated no-bar tournaments.
  • In crossbeats REV., turning the movie brightness all the way down means you'll miss out on those fancy schmancy music videos, but said videos are often distractions from playing well in a game where notes can appear anywhere on the screen, so most serious players will dim the video so that they can focus on the notes. Given that there's no penalty for changing movie brightness, the only disadvantages are cosmetic.
  • beatmania's EX Score system is this on a meta level: 2 points for getting a Perfect Great, 1 point for a Great, and 0 points for anything below; that's literally the entirety of EX Score rules. It doesn't look as flashy as games where scores end in the millions (typically, EX scores end in the hundreds or low thousands), and there is no reward for maintaining a huge combo, but it gives a very good picture of the player's skill with a given chart and it's not going to severely punish the player just for missing one note in the middle of the song. Converting this to a percentage is simple enough: just divide the EX Score by double the number of notes. The EX Score system has been the standard for competitive IIDX play for over 20 years, and rhythm game developers that care about having a competitive scene use some variation of it.

    Roguelike 
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red/Blue, Sticks/Iron Thorns/Silver Spikes/etc. were a bit overpowered. They're ranged. They're common. You can carry 99 of them in one toolbox slot. At level 100, one of them can deal hundreds of hit points in damage, and with the 'Pierce Throw' effect, can hit multiple enemies and prevent them from catching them, making them an extremely reliable form of attack when ranged moves cannot be utilized in that situation. If you didn't care about the experience bonus you got for using actual moves, throwing weapons were the way to go. The sequels gave them a much-needed nerfing.
    • Heck, your basic attack was highly useful if you didn't need EXP, it had no maximum uses, and did decent consistent damage; And IQ skills would make it even better, such as Never Miss (Good for Pokémon who spam Double Team, etc.) and Double Attack, where you would hit twice (Allowing it to deal more damage than most basic moves).
      • Until Gates of Infinity and Super Mystery Dungeon, where the basic attack was nerfed to a flat 5 damage, forever making it useless. Yet throwing weapons still maintained their solid attacking power even despite the nerf. And in Super, they are extremely useful in the earlygame where missing with attack moves is painfully common due to the low Speed stat your party members have when starting out. The throwing items remain very useful even towards the end of the postgame, and especially with the Water Looplet which grants the mentioned 'Pierce Throw' effect.
    • Meanwhile, if you did need EXP, it's usually best to use weaker moves like Water Gun, Confusion, or even Tackle, since they usually do sufficient damage to knock out enemies in one hit and had plenty of PP to use, meaning you wouldn't have to go to your Max Elixirs too quickly.
    • If you enter a dungeon that forces you to be at level 1, you need to level fairly quickly in order to keep up with the enemies, since they scale rather quickly. Your PP is limited (especially is you also can't bring items in) and you don't start out with your optimal moves, but you can get some good mileage out of a stat-reduction move like Growl, which does no damage but still triggers the extra experience, so you can finish out with normal attacks. Growl itself is perhaps more useful than many other alternatives because it hits an entire room in one use, meaning if you play your cards right you can get bonus experience from several Pokémon without spending too much PP.
  • NetHack is made of this trope. Being a Roguelike, where death is unrecoverable, defense is a much higher priority than offense. One of the most coveted items for early-game Wizards, who start with no food and who get hungrier every time they cast a spell, is a ring that stops you from getting hungry. A wand of fire is more useful for burning "Elbereth" into the ground than zapping at monsters. Out of the six attack spells available to the player, "magic missile" is the only one that scales to your level, and it's the second-cheapest to cast — an important consideration considering how slowly Mana regenerates for most characters.
    • Elbereth deserves special mention here. E tiles will prevent most (an important distinction) enemies from crossing any floorspace with an item on it, and will actually cause enemies to flee rather than attack physically if they suspect the player is standing on a square with "Elbereth" carved into it. Experienced players get their fingers dustier than a thousand libraries of congress just writing "Elbereth Elbereth" into the dirt. Wizard characters pursue a certain easily acquired artifact dagger simply because it can rapidly scritch the E-word in a semi-permanent manner (it also absorbs 95% of curses thrown at the wielder, but that's just a bonus). No amount of fancy resistances, unicorn horns, and dragon scale armor can provide as much protection as a hurridly scrawled eight letter word.
    • Everything can be made useful in a Nethack game. Yes, even worthless pieces of glass ( near unlimited ranged ammo) and a wand of nothing ( melee with disenchanters).
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • Mushrooms and drugs. While other items give you crazy modifications and cool-looking effects, mushrooms and drugs (for the most part) just give you increases to your core stats. The trick is that while shooting bigger tears and running faster may not be as cool as growing demon wings, buffs to core stats are universally useful, whereas the more exotic power-ups tend to be more circumstantial. Hitting harder, running faster, and shooting quicker are just always helpful.
    • Likewise, getting one of the health-increasing items as a boss reward may not be as cool as some of the other possibilities, but given it's a roguelike, that extra heart is pretty dang helpful. The exception to this is Eve, who is somewhat inconvienced by having a high life total (she's essentially at her best when her Desperation Attack is in play). Still, extra hearts means more to sell to the Satan for high-end powers.
    • Isaac himself after unlocking the D6, and the D6 in general. He cannot boost his damage every few rooms like Judas or on low health like Eve, or fly with blood lasers like Azazel. However, his item allows him to reroll other items. In other words, a Scrappy Weapon early on in the game can simply be rerolled to something else, while other characters would be forced to just take it, reset, or go a floor without a treasure room item. When used with enough strategy and especially with items that help add charges to its use, Isaac's ability is effectively making it more likely for players to get great items.
  • Iron, bronze, and steel are the best metals for blades and armor in Dwarf Fortress aside from adamantine, and much less risky to acquire.
    • Traps in Dwarf Fortress will affect anything that isn't vermin, a kobold, a human who's been alerted to traps, a Forgotten Beast or Titan, or Hidden Fun Stuff. Literally everything else, from rabbits to goblins to dragons, can be caught by a cage trap or struck by a weapon trap.
  • Teleport Away in Angband. Insanely dangerous monster in front of you blocking the exit or loot? Punt them to the other side of the map. Knowing when and when not to fight is important in a game that features Permanent Death.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light:
    • In a game with all kinds of cool lasers, bombs, and teleporters, one of the earliest and best investments you can make is... an upgraded door system. Upgraded doors block fires and force boarding parties to waste time breaching the doors. Being able to buy time in those situations is extremely useful, giving you precious seconds to asphyxiate them or rally your crew to handle the issue. In addition, upgrading the systems gives the system an extra hit point, and while that doesn't sound important, it can mean the difference between life and death when a fight starts going south.
    • The Small Bomb. It has a quick recharge time, doesn't get shot down like missiles, and only takes one bar of power. It's also incapable of causing hull damage, meaning it's very useful for killing crew members and taking a ship in one piece.
    • The Burst Laser Mk2 is the primary weapon of the basic version of the basic ship. It is a boring standard laser which fires a burst of 3 rounds, and it is certainly the first weapon you will use when beginning at the game. However, it is one of the most well-balanced and cost-effective weapons in the whole game, and you will usually jump on it if you see it in a shop when playing other ships or ship variants (which come with more powerful and exotic weapons). Multiple Burst 2s firing together will reduce almost any enemy ship to a shambling mess.
    • The Scrap Recovery Arm provides a 10% boost to collected scrap. Over time, the bonuses will pile up and you'll be raking in large amounts of scrap. Oh, and multiple SRAs will stack. You can even sell them off just before facing the end boss to get even more scrap for expensive late-game upgrades.
    • Ion cannons. They do zero damage, but temporarily hinder or outright disable systems. Also, hitting the enemy ship's shield with it does the same thing as hitting the shield generator. A sufficiently skilled gunner using a MkII ion cannon can fire fast enough to stunlock the enemy's shield and weapon systems, letting you use your other weapons with impunity.
    • The Type B Federation Cruiser, the "Red-Tail" has this in its starting layout. For weapons it has 4 basic lasers, with each firing only one shot. While individually one might well be the most worthless weapon in the game, with 4 of them on a starting ship not only are you tearing through early sectors with absolute ease and speed, you're actually not very far off from having the weapons you need to fight the final boss. Upgrading just one to a burst laser is actually the bare minimum to be able to take him down, provided you're smart about upgrading every other part of your ship. Having four weapons firing at once every ten or so seconds also means that whoever's manning weapons will reach maximum weapon mastery very quickly allowing them to fire those lasers even faster.
    • A common strategy used by more seasoned players is to find an enemy ship that can't damage your ship... and then not kill it. Why? Well, most of the time your crew can only gain experience points for certain skills if they're fighting other enemies. So, if you fight an enemy that can't hurt you, you can max out your crew's skills without worrying about permadeath. It's about as fun as watching paint dry, and it can take up to twenty or thirty minutes to fully upgrade your crew, but the small skill bonuses your crew have can make or break a run in many cases.
    • Engine upgrades, especially at the beginning of the game. They can't injure enemies, and they can't kill enemies. However, a fully powered Level 6 engine with a fully upgraded pilot and engineer carries a whopping 45% dodge chance against any projectile. note 
  • Many skills in Dungeons of Dredmor:
    • The weapon and armor skill trees don't allow you to suck blood, cast magic from blood, build giant power drills to smash enemies with... but they'll ensure that you survive a little longer.
    • Burglary may not have much in the way of slaying monsters, but the lockpicks and free items you get from it are very useful. Even only upgrading it to level 2, where you automatically lockpick doors even if you don't have any, grants a small amount of extra EXP and prevents you from getting damage via door kicking (or being out of lockpicks for treasure chests, where smashing them can destroy the item within). That doesn't seem like much, but given that all the monsters of the dungeons rely on Death by a Thousand Cuts, that HP you save might be a lifesafer.
    • The first spell of the Magical Law skill tree, Confiscate Evidence. Hooray! you can take items without having to walk to them! Sounds useless, but many rooms have artifacts in hard-to-reach places such as being surrounded by water or electricity, and this spell allows you to grab them easily.
  • In Spelunky, you'll have a variety of tools at your disposal depending on your luck, from magical Capes which slow your descent, Freeze Rays which let you encase foes in a block of ice and turn them into ice cubes, Teleporters which let you literally bypass entire parts of the level (if you use it correctly, anyway), and more. The more useful tools in your arsenal are the Ropes and Bombs you start the game with, which let you ascend/descend safely to avoid fall damage and traps, or just blow the hell out of any obstacle in your way, respectively. Even more useful than those, often enough, are humble Rocks you find just laying around. These can be thrown at foes, can break potentially-booby-trapped containers from a safe distance, can trigger traps long before they can threaten you, they'll never break, and they can be found about anywhere.
  • Though that varies between weapons, nothing quite exemplifies the trope in Enter the Gungeon like Regular Shotgun. Yes, that's how it's called; and if that doesn't reassure you, it gets lampshaded once more, this time in its description. You can reliably kill most enemies in two-three shots up until Floor 5/ Bullet Hell as long as you keep yourself close enough, but at the same time it has more range than other shotguns, so that makes it easier to not be too close.
    • Another example is the good ol' AK-47 which offers a perfect balance of damage-to-ammo ratio, being perfectly servicable for cleaning rooms and fighting bosses both despite being a bog-standard assault rifle. It also has a meta justification for being Boring, but Practical: the devs use it to test the game precisely due to its balance of ammo and damage.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Shin Megami Tensei and Persona
    • The series use Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors quite a bit. Every element, including basic physical attacks, has at least a few targets that are weak to it, resist it, nullify it, absorb it as health, or reflect it back at the attacker, and recklessly hitting an elemental immunity can sometimes result in a turn penalty. The exception to this is the Almighty element; nothing across the entire series resists Almighty damage (barring a few superbosses), and it can't be reflected by Attack Reflector spells. However, nothing is weak to Almighty damage, the skills cost a lot of resources to cast, and you can't get critical hits with any Almighty attack. Whether Almighty falls on this trope or crosses into Awesome, but Impractical depends on the game and the abundance of elemental resistances.
    • One of the most common pieces of advice given to newcomers to the franchise is "use buffs and debuffs". While most other role playing games have those kinds of skills as Useless Useful Spells, buffs and debuffs in SMT become almost vital in deciding the outcome of battle. Even a single use of the attack-reducing Tarunda can spell the difference between getting one-shotted and barely surviving an attack. While bosses may react by using a move to cancel buffs and/or debuffs, a turn spent doing so is also a turn not spent attacking you.
    • Physical skills tend to be this in games that employ Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap. In most games, these skills deduct HP instead of SP to use, and it's easier to recover HP with items or healing spells than it is to recover SP since items that restore SP are scarce. This means that, against foes that don't resist physical, it becomes more efficient to use these skills plus healing items and save SP for buffs/debuffs (see above) and healing.
    • Snap from Persona 5. Its damage isn't all that impressive, but it's a single-target Gun skill that doesn't cost much health. As such, it's a convenient way of hitting Gun weaknesses without using up ammo.
      • Lucky and Miracle Punch from the same game do miniscule and medium damage, respectively, but have an increased chance for a critical hit, thereby enabling you to proceed to Hold-Up against single foes or use a Baton Pass if there are other enemies up.
    • Anything that helps the party retreat, ranging from spells or items that guarantee escape or passive skills that increase the chance to do so. Sure, it's a wasted skill slot on your demon/ally to have Trafuri or Quick Escape during a boss battle, but during normal battle simply escaping from a disadvantageous situation can be a lifesaver.
  • Odin Sphere:
    • The Phozon Release skill does not offer anything in combat (either offensively or defensively) other than releasing a new batch Phozons. If the player has a full Psypher gauge, they can simply spam this skill and re-absorb the released Phozons for some Psypher Level Grinding. However, this cannot be perfectly abused as the skill requires a full Psypher gauge per cast and that re-absorbing would only restore up to 60% of the gauge, which means that the gauge will eventually deplete and players cannot indefinitely spam this in one area. Phozon Release can also be used as a substitute for the Rosemile plant and offers a way to grow the planted seeds should the area be drained from Phozons.
    • The Muggle fruit and its seed. While the fruit provides an acceptable amount of EXP and HP restoration, fully consuming one Muggle gives you back its seed to your inventory (compared to the other fruit and meat which only provide throwable items once consumed). This can put you into a loop of HP level grinding from planting the seed, using Phozon Release to grow it, harvesting the fruit, eating it, and planting the seed again, etc...
  • Brian from Quest 64 can learn a wide variety of magic spells from the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. However, each element has to be leveled up separately, and spells are learned and powered up based only on their individual element. Since the power of your staff attack is based on all four elements combined, it is frequently more powerful and useful than any of the attack spells you learn.
    • That doesn't include the fact that said smack also regenerates one MP, which is obviously required for those fancy, toss-around spells which cost a range of one to three MP with a hard cap of 500 (And that's if you're patient).
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series has an almost infinite variety of possible character builds along with powerful abilities and awesome spells to wreak havoc upon your foes. However, due to the prevalence of magic resistance and/or spell reflection among the most powerful enemies in each game, simply hitting them hard with a melee weapon is one of the most reliable ways to defeat them.
    • In terms of the races, the Imperials are this. Lacking the cool abilities, strengths, and powers of many of the other races, they are outclassed in just about every skill category by at least 2-3 other races each. However, they also lack the deficiencies of those races as well. In-universe, they've forged three empires which have conquered most or all of Tamriel at different points in history. In terms of gameplay, they are a very diverse and accessible race to play as.
    • In-universe, historically, this shows up in the Imperial Legion. While they do employ all sorts of specialists recruited from the other races in the provinces, the bulk of the Legion is made up of Imperials with simple swords, shields, armor, and lots of discipline. While they lack the flashiness or raw strength of many other races, there is a good reason why they've been able to forge several Empires.
    • Daggerfall uses a spell creation system that applies additional points of damage or chance of success per character level. Due to the leveling system the game uses, that "1-2 + 1-2 per 2 level(s)" spell you created at the beginning can remain useful over the course of the game.
    • Morrowind:
      • The Hand to Hand Skill which deals damage to an enemy's Fatigue, when trained up to high levels you can knock down almost every humanoid enemy in a single punch, you'll need a weapon to finish them off because the Health damage when they're on the floor is terrible, but with low Fatigue everything has a lower chance to hit and anything with below 0 Fatigue just collapses incapable of doing anything until enough time passes.
      • The Dwemer Jinkblade sold by Wayn in Balmora. He will have it for sale the moment you arrive in Balmora, regardless of your level, and it only costs a few hundred gold. While there are harder hitting weapons with flashier enchantments around, the Jinkblade's practicality comes from its Paralyze enchantment. Simply strike an enemy with it once to paralyze them and then switch to your stronger weapon to kill them while they're unable to fight back. To a character specializing in the Short Blade skill, it even borders on Disc-One Nuke.
      • The game, as with the series, does have elements of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards to it, but the frequency of Reflect spells among higher leveled enemies (especially in the expansions) means that the ability to defeat enemies by simply striking them with your weapons remains practical throughout.
      • Absorb Health weapons (especially ones with a small area effect, so you regenerate health faster when facing more enemies.) Swing your weapon repeatedly. Ignore everything the enemy tries to do to you, because you'll just regenerate it back. (However, be careful if the spell's effects are combined with any other spell which is susceptible to an enemy using Reflect. A reflected Absorb Health spell has been known to cause an instant-death glitch.)
      • Mysticism lacks a lot of the other schools' big damage effects and flashy attacks, and even most utility spells are Alteration-based. However, the ability to cast ALMSIVI intervention, Divine Intervention, Mark and Recall (i.e. the fast travel spells) makes up for everything.
    • Oblivion:
      • Azura's Star is one of the most useful items in the game. What does it do? It's a reusable Soul Gem that does not get consumed when enchanting something. Sounds rather boring in comparison to other Daedric artifacts, but those things can get expensive, especially the higher-tier gems, and Azura's Star just so happens to be a Grand Soul Gem, the highest tier in the game, meaning it can capture the soul of anything except people (and animal people). And you can get it as early as Level 2!
      • That healing spell you start with has the best MP-to-HP conversion ratio in the entire game. Carry some potions for emergencies, and it's literally the only healing spell you will EVER need.
    • Skyrim:
      • Azura's Star returns in this game, and if you're willing to take the morally ambiguous route to obtaining it, you can even get an improved version that can capture people's souls, which are always as strong as Grand Souls even if you get one off a lowly bandit from the beginning of the game.
      • In terms of the Dragon Shouts, there's the Fus Ro Dah, which is almost certainly the first Shout the Dragonborn completely masters. It is not nearly as impressive as some of the other fully-upgraded Shouts, but thanks to its utility in battle and relatively fast recharge rate, many melee players use it by default.
      • Once you advance far enough into the main quest to get it, the Dragonrend Shout will be your ace in the hole against any dragon you fight. What does it do? Forces a dragon to land. Normally you have to get them to half-health by pelting them with lucky shots from your bow or spells or the much fancier but less reliable Shouts, but with Dragonrend you can cut straight to the bashing-their-brains-in-with-a-warhammer step.
      • The "Throw Voice" shout is basically glorified ventriloquism. Useful for luring enemies to certain locations to throw them off your trail or to set them up for an ambush. Especially useful against the Falmer, who are blind and rely entirely on sound to find their prey.
      • Whirlwind Sprint. It's a simple Flash Step, and certainly not the most showy of the Shouts. It's also useful for closing the gap with a mage or archer in combat, getting away from bad situations, moving short distances when overencumbered, and generally getting from point A to point B more quickly.
      • Bashing. Smacking an enemy in the face with a shield or the hilt of your weapon may not be very exciting, but it's a lifesaver in melee combat. It can even interrupt a Dragon's breath attack. Investing a few perks in the Block skill tree gives you a chance to disarm enemies with bashing too.
      • Daggers. They aren't as big or as flashy as the giant warhammers or the greatsword, but if you invest points in the Sneak skill set you can do x15 damage with a sneak attack with a dagger. Get the Ancient Assassin Armor and equip its gloves? That adds another x15. A whopping x30 sneak attack damage. So, if you had a glass dagger, you could do 690 points of damage in a single strike.
      • The Smithing and Enchanting skills. They're not particularly exciting and require a lot of grinding, but maxing both will allow you to craft items superior to anything except select Daedric Artifacts. And you can use Smithing to improve those Daedric Artifacts. Legendary-level heavy armor and a single amulet of a player with the Extra Effect Perk can grant maximum damage resistance to every form of damage in the game.
      • Skyforge Steel weapons. Basically, they look like bog-standard Steel weapons. They also have the same damage as Elven weapons but are much lighter. Because they're Steel, any player with the first easily-obtainable Smithing perk can upgrade them to be even better. Oh, and one can be obtained for free upon joining the Companions. Players tend to hang on to their Skyforge Steel weapons for quite some time.
      • If you are the type for magic, you have the Transmute spell. Convert cheap and plentiful iron ore into silver or gold, smelt into ingots and either sell or (better still) craft into jewelry at the forges. Not too flashy, but you'll never want for cash ever again.
      • Bethesda almost certainly intended for the werewolf abilities to be used as a standard power and you feed on enemies as you kill them to become stronger. While that's certainly a viable tactic, in the early stages of being a werewolf (especially with Dawnguard installed, which gives greater practicality to actually being a werewolf in the first place) it's a lot easier ransack a bandit hideout in your normal form, gather their corpses in one place, loot them so you can make some money on the whole venture, and then go into Beast Form and feed on them without any further threat to yourself. As an added bonus, Beast Form also removes the limit on your carrying capacity and lets you run extremely quickly, so you won't have to worry about how to get all that loot to the nearest town.
      • Racial traits are awesome! Nords can give a war cry which sends enemies running in terror, Dark Elves can cloak themselves in fire, Bretons can gain dragonskin, and Altmer... gain 50 extra magicka. Not exactly flashy, but this does mean if one wants to use magic in any way, Altmer are the best candidate. The Breton racial trait, a 25% magic resistance which is always on, is also very useful not only against enemy mages but it also gives resistance to vampiric abilities and Dragon Shouts - it is possible for a Breton character with the right skills to reach the 85% magic resistance cap without any magical items.
      • Being a stealthy archer is a Game-Breaker to the point that it became a meme that no matter what kind of character you intend to make when you first start up a new playthrough, you will inevitably end up as a stealthy archer instead, because it's just so much better than everything else. It's also extremely boring to just sit in one spot and shoot everything to death with impunity as they utterly fail to detect your presence at all.
  • Fable:
    • Fable I:
      • Buy mass quantities of goods cheap then sell them right back for a profit. While it can take some time, you can have the 2nd best armor and 2nd best non-legendary one handed weapon before even starting the first quest.
      • Likewise two of the most used spells in the game do no damage at all. Assassin's Rush teleports you behind your target (thus getting around enemies that block almost everything) and Physical Shield makes you take no damage so long as you have mana to power it.
      • The most efficient way to kill a single enemy is almost always to simply hit it with your melee weapon.
      • Speaking of weapons, one-handed weapons are generally considered superior to two-handed ones. While they don't do as much damage, they attack much much faster, allowing players to rack up damage quicker. Furthermore, it's generally better to use master weapons with augmentations than legendary ones. Legendary weapons do more damage but they can't be augmented. A master katana with three sharpening augmentations is second only to the Sword of Aeons among one-handed weapons. Keeping two backup weapons with silver and fire augmentations for specialized foes like Balverines or Hobbes can make difficult fights a cakewalk.
      • The Frying Pan. It deals pathetic damage but has four augmentation slots, more than any other weapon in the game. A mage with a Frying Pan and Master Bow/Crossbow filled with Mana Augmentations will pretty much never need mana potions again, barring the final boss.
    • Renting out property in Fable II or Fable III can automatically add money (in-game) to your pocket every 5 minutes, which can prompt players to spent more time building up money to continuously save up to rent out more property than on the actual quests, obviously a very boring chore, but very profitable in the long run. This is especially the case in III, where this can be used to get around the consequences of your plot choices. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, compound interest is indeed the most powerful force in the universe.
    • This was actually a common complaint when III came out, since the basic fireball spell you learn at the beginning of the game is powerful enough to defeat virtually any challenger that comes your way by spamming the B button.
  • Skies of Arcadia:
    • Increm, the second level red spell, is probably the only non-healing spell you'll ever need — it boosts attack and defense by 25%, which makes boss fights oh-so-much more bearable. Only one character can make good use of attack magic, but Increm works just as well when cast by anyone.
    • Aika's Delta Shield. It's only her second special ability and by far her least-flashy, but it's the one you'll be using every single turn for the rest of her life, since Delta Shield blocks all magic spells cast at your party. While this also blocks healing spells, this restriction can be gotten around with items, which duplicate the spells but aren't blocked.
    • Aika's third special ability, Lambda Burst, will destroy most Random Encounters as your first action, once your party starts gaining 8 sp per round.
    • Enrique's second spell, Justice Shield, halves all damage dealt to you for one round. Most medium to late and Bonus Bosses are basically fought by having Aika and Enrique cast Delta Shield and Justice Shield every round while you use the other two characters to accrue SP, until you can unleash an Incremed Pirate's Wrath or a Prophecy at your enemy. Lather, rinse, repeat. It should be noted that trying to fight most of the Bonus Bosses from the Updated Re-release without this strategy increases the difficulty many-fold.
    • Fina has Lunar Cleansing (cures status effects for all party members, whereas the Curia Silver spell only cures one) and Lunar Winds, a weak attack that removes enemy buffs. A good example of Lunar Winds getting good mileage would be getting rid of the regeneration spell of the Final Boss, which has him regenerate 600 HP per turn.
    • When you get the Magic Cannon, you can cast Standard Status Effect spells Sylenis, Driln, and Drilnos in ship battles. What the game fails to mention is that, when used this way, they have perfect accuracy and can't be resisted. Driln/Drilnos is roughly the same effect as Increm/ Incremus but with a drastically lower SP cost, while Sylenis can shut down any enemy who relies on magic, including the final boss's second form. These Useless Useful Spells suddenly became a lot less useless!
  • Dragon Age:
    • In-Universe example: The Grey Wardens are an old order of warriors who possess supernatural powers to fight the Darkspawn and are the only ones who know the secret to permanently destroy an Archdemon. They never tell exactly what those powers are and what kind of training it includes, and even tell the new recruits only that there will be a ritual in which they will gain their new abilities. The ritual however, is purely symbolic and there is no training involved at all. All it takes to gain the powers of a Grey Warden is to drink a full cup of darkspawn blood, mixed with some lyrium and Archdemon blood. You either drop dead immediately, or you become immune to the taint and gain the ability to sense all darkspawn creatures nearby. That's the whole thing—everything else needed to be a Grey Warden is already present in the individual being offered recruitment.
    • In a gameplay example for Mages, however: While mages are able to unleash all of the powers of the universe straight at their enemies, the spells that will see the most use will be Stone Fist(a powerful attack that knocks most enemies off their feet), Stone Armor(which can give a mage decent armor depending on their spellpower), Lightning(which has incredibly high damage considering it's an early-game spell), and Fireball(an area-of-effect spell that few enemies are immune to that can basically knock ANYTHING down).
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Varric and The Iron Bull have a discussion about how the latter does spywork. Varric states that he expects more espionage and manipulation, which Bull dismisses as a good way of outing yourself. Instead, he simply works as a high-profile mercenary who ingrains himself to nobles so that he can keep an ear out for any worthwhile gossip or news that he can send to his superiors, which Varric finds disappointing.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age:
    • If you are at a considerably high level with good equipment (which isn't that hard to get) and proper classes, normal attacks are simply stronger than the flashy Psynergy. Especially with high-end weapons like the Sol Blade or Excalibur, which have the potential to "unleash" even stronger attacks. This tends to result in caster-type characters getting permanently benched in favor of less spectacular but more reliable warrior-type characters (and one dedicated healer).
    • Defensive Djinn like Flash, Granite, and Shade create an aura that for one turn drastically reduces all damage your party receives in any form. Therefore, by carefully timing and alternating to use one such Djinni per turn and summon with it the next, while remaining or recovering party members chip at the enemy's HP, you can go through the most difficult boss fights while taking very little damage.
    • Mechanically, undershirt-slot items can provide some decent stat increases. Flavor-wise... it's underwear.
  • Fallout series:
    • Fallout and Fallout 2:
      • Open up a guide of what skills to start with. There's a 90% chance they'll recommend Small Guns (or Unarmed) and Speech. It might not seem like much when there are miniguns out there, but Small Guns and Unarmed will carry you through most of the game, with an old-fashioned pistol shot to the eyes or knee to the crotch killing most enemies handily and ammo being easy to pick up. (Endgame enemies tend to warrant more firepower, though.) As for Speech, the number of encounters that can be ended simply by talking your way out is pretty astounding.
      • Though there are a lot of traits in the game, some specialized and nutty, the most common choice is Gifted, which lowers your skill points in exchange for an all-around stat boost. You may begrudge not being able to max everything out, but in a game where stat boosts aren't easy to pick up, Gifted is a lifesaver.
    • Fallout 3:
      • Big Guns gives you miniguns, a flamethrower that averts Video-Game Flamethrowers Suck, missile launchers, gatling lasers, and handheld nukes. Energy Weapons gives you balls of death-dealing plasma. Explosives has flashy grenades and landmines. Melee has Flaming Swords and Chain Swords. But none of them are as reliable and effective as plain old boring bullet-throwing Small Guns.
      • Assault Rifles hit a nice sweet spot between range, rate of fire, and stopping power, are easy to repair, and use some of the most common ammo in the game.
      • While a shotgun might not be considered the sneakiest weapon in a game, combat shotguns become somewhat ridiculous when taking into account how Fallout 3 handles critical hits (per projectile rather than per shot,) and shotguns fire nine projectiles. With relevant perks and the proper-name version, shotguns can do more damage from a sneak attack than the Fat Man.
      • While the Sniper Rifle would seem to be the obvious choice for long-range combat, the humble Hunting Rifle does nearly as much damage at nearly the same range and is far, far easier to keep repaired and loaded with ammo.
      • Despite all the flashy Power Armors and gimmicky clothes littered around the wastes, the Combat Armor is what you'll end up wearing for the vast majority of the game. You can buy it from Craterside Supply, the first shop in the game, after a short, randomly generated time period. So short you might not even use the Leather Armor at all, of which the Combat Armor's damage resistance is higher than, not to mention near equal with the much heavier Metal Armor and Power Armors which take up inventory space and slow your movement.
      • The unique Reilly's Rangers combat armor has the best DR in the game excluding power armor, it doesn't slow you down or impede your agility and can be repaired with normal combat armor found on Talon mercs all over DC. It also gives some nice stat boosts.
      • In terms of skills, Repair is one of the most practical. It allows you to combine items of the same type, adding their durability together so that your weapons and armor keep functioning. Necessary, but not particularly impressive as far as combat goes. Or is it? In fact, it is a serious force-multiplier. As an items durability value increases, so too does its related function (well repaired weapons do more damage, good condition armor offers more protection, etc.) This means that a player with good repair skill can outmatch their opponents even when the opponents use ostensibly the same equipment, since the player has them in such better quality. Furthermore, more intact pieces of equipment sell for more money, meaning that the player can transform several low-value items (which would be too heavy to carry all of) into a few high-value items which are easier to carry back to a merchant.
      • The Barter skill just gets you better prices at merchants, which doesn't sound like much, but can make the difference between scrounging in the trash for loot to sell and obsessing over maxing out your price to weight ratio just to keep your weapons repaired and enough Stimpacks to not die, or rolling in enough caps to pimp out a penthouse apartment.
      • The Strong Back perk lets you carry an extra 50 lbs in your inventory. Stop yawning! That's enough to slap on a suit of Power Armor and strap a missile launcher or two to the back while still having room for the rest of your loot.
      • The Comprehension perk gives you one measly extra skill point (skills max out at 100) when reading a skill book, which doesn't sound like much. Then you realize that there are 324 skill books to be found in the wasteland, and suddenly spending that same perk slot on any of the "+5 each to two different skills" perks sounds like a ripoff. You don't have to go too far out of your way before it pays for itself. Educated, similarly but to a lesser extent, gives +3 skill points per level, an extra 78 by the time you hit the level cap if you take it as early as possible.
      • Intense Training is the metric most other Perks as measured against; it provides a single point in one of the player's 7 primary stats. This means +2 to 1-3 skills (or +1/2 a point, rounded up, to all of them, in the case of Luck), as well as any derived stats that are governed (More hit points for Endurance, more carrying capacity/melee damage for Strength, etc.). However, despite all the passive bonuses, it doesn't actually do anything noticeable.
      • For female player characters, the Black Widow perk gives a handful of dialogue options that generally aren't nearly as fun as you'd think. It also gives 10% bonus damage against male enemies, which encompasses the majority of Raiders and those pesky Talon Company mercs that are always giving you a hard time.
      • In a game which features assault rifles, plasma launchers, flamethrowers and thirty flavors of high explosives, it's easy to overlook the humble dart gun. It doesn't sound like a particularly powerful weapon (and in terms of damage, it isn't), but it has the invaluable ability to instantly cripple an enemy's legs when it hits, taking some of the game's most dangerous monsters like Deathclaws and Feral Ghoul Reavers and making them far less of a threat.
    • Fallout: New Vegas grandfathers in most of the above, but has a substantial number of Boring, but Practical Perks that the player will get a lot of mileage out of. Since the player gets half as many Perks as in Fallout 3, it's a tougher choice.
      • Jury Rigging becomes available at level 14, competing with Perks that do things such as doubling the blast radius of explosives, causing shotguns to knock enemies off their feet, reinforcing the strength of all your limbs, or giving you a pistol-packing Guardian Angel. Jury Rigging allows you to repair any item with any remotely-similar item.
      • In terms of weapons, New Vegas' Cowboy Repeater can serve for almost the entire game.
      • When you have access to more caps, the Trail Carbine and Brush Rifle also fall under this. They are both harder to get hold of and more expensive to keep topped up, but in the late game the ammo for them or the caps to buy it are plentiful. All they do is fire progressively bigger bullets, but they're cheap and easy to use.
      • A fully-upgraded Varmint Rifle has night-vision targeting capability, and a suppressor, making it a fantastic entry-level long-range stealth weapon. The parts are also much easier to find than the suppressor for the Sniper Rifle. A critical stealth hit to the head can bring down or seriously damage almost any low-level enemy, and even higher level enemies will feel its sting until you can get a hunting rifle or sniper rifle fully upgraded. The unique version, the Ratslayer, takes all the advantages of the fully-upgraded base model and adds higher damage, almost no spread and one of the highest critical multipliers in the game and can be found very early.
      • The Cowboy perk turns the plain Lever-Action Shotgun, a mid game gun, into the most powerful shotgun in game despite having no mods or unique versions and having less varied ammo types than the Hunting and Riot Shotguns.
      • Shotguns in general have a lot of perks compared to other specific types of guns, even more with DLC. This includes making every shot ignore 10 DT, and giving each pellet a chance to knock the enemy down. Take every shotgun perk plus Cowboy and use the Lever-Action Shotgun. You're essentially playing Gears of War at that point. note  Hit F to switch to third-person camera and dope yourself up with Turbo if you want to take the comparison even further.
      • Weapon mods can do pretty plain and boring things to your guns like increase the clip size of handguns by 5, silence a pistol, reduce recoil slightly, add a short range scope or increase the range of your grenade launcher. More often than not though a gun with full mods can outpace a unique version of the same gun.
      • The barter perks are designed to be boring but practical: want to carry more stuff? Not an issue. Frustrated by not being able to fast travel when over encumbered? It's sorted. Want to get better deals for your money and goods? That's why the skill exists at all.
      • Throwing spears. Decent damage (enough to One-Hit Kill most of the low-to-mid-level humans with a critical hit/sneak attack), completely silent if you want to play stealthily, melee-oriented characters can use them for ranged attacks, and restocking them is as simple as killing a patrol of Legion mooks, who can generally be relied upon to carry them.
      • Light armor. It's not as impressive as Power Armor, true, but it doesn't slow you down, weights little, can be equipped together with dozens of other items (including the headgear and glasses that provide extra Luck), unique armors give you lots of extra bonuses, and several perks provide a massive boost to combat performance as long as you are wearing light armor. The Courier does not look very terrifying wearing just the coat or duster with sunglasses and beret, but in that gear they easily outshoot a fully armored trooper.
    • Fallout 4:
      • A lot of players in the early game pass up on using the "real" guns in favour of the jury-rigged pipe guns, simply because .38 ammo is extremely common.
      • In previous games, with the sole exception of New Vegas on Hardcore mode, food items were largely useless compared to stimpacks. Now though, food is much more useful because it heals a set amount of HP unlike stimpacks which only heal a percentage of your maximum HP and require a bit of perk investment to get a decent amount out of them.
    • The Deliverer pistol you get from the Railroad. High damage, plentiful 10mm ammo, silent, and very low action point cost in VATS. It's a top-tier weapon and stealth gunslinger builds swear by it.
    • The Laser Musket is the Minutemen's standard weapon and can be acquired within minutes of the start of the game, and with the right skills and six-shot charge upgrade, it can one-shot a Legendary Mythic Deathclaw. Not bad for a gun you wind up with a crank handle to charge between shots.
    • Because radiation now decreases your maximum HP most uncooked food irradiates you, the Lead Belly perk has become more valuable than ever. The same is true for the Aqua Boy perk due to the prevalence of lakes and rivers throughout the Commonwealth as well as flooded interiors.
    • Sniper perks give you a straightforward, routine way of dealing with... pretty much anything. The moment you learn how to hit from distance and get the Penetrator perk (that allows hitting a target behind cover, including hitting its back while shooting from the front), any shootout becomes a stealth-and-hit-and-run routine with next to zero risks. And those fancy Power Armor enemies and big robots? Just shoot their (normally concealed) batteries and combat inhibitors.
    • The Local Leader doesn't do too much for combat or character interaction, but it's vital for settlement management because it allows you to assign Provisioners to transport supplies between settlements without doing it personally.
    • Black Widow is a solid damage-boosting choice for any female character simply because of how prevalent male enemies are in the game.
    • Story example: with the Institute's hyper-advanced robotics and energy weapons technology and the Brotherhood's access to Powered Armor and Vertibirds, the Railroad and Minutemen (who are mostly poor Wastelanders with low-tech kit-bashed equipment) look horribly outmatched. The Railroad are able to defeat both by using a few well-placed saboteurs in disguises, and the Minutemen are able to thrash the Brotherhood by shelling their fancy elite troops from miles away with some procured WW2-era howitzers.
  • Parasite Eve, despite the loads of weapons and customizations, when an attribute or class sounds cool, you probably don't want it. The best weapon class? Pistols, because they have the shortest time from when Aya lifts her gun to when she actually shoots the first round (she's completely vulnerable and interruptable during this time). Rate of fire is also the first mod you want to get rid of, because this only affects how many shots she'll fire, and each shot's damage is cut by the rate of fire. Some of the other add-ons don't work on certain enemies too.
  • In Parasite Eve 2, it's often better for the most part to stick with single shots if the gun has that option. And even highly recommended to use a pistol for a good portion of the game for regular mooks. Why? Critical hits increase when firing rate decreases. In fact the highest critical hit rate weapon (at what appears to be 50+%) is actually the peashooter looking P8. It's also noteworthy to know that you get infinite basic pistol ammo throughout the game.
    • While some of the more exotic attachments for the M4A1 might seem to be useful, a lot of them (the M203 and the Pyke for instance) are difficult to use or use expensive ammo. The two most useful attachments in the game are the magazine clip, which adds another 30 rounds to the magazine and the Hammer, which can paralyze enemies and knock them out of their attack animations. The ammo is free to boot. In the Nightmare Mode, the later is practically a requirement to your continued survival.
  • Paper Mario:
    • The normal jump, the most basic attack you have, doesn't require any FP, and any attack-increasing badge will raise its power by two if you time the attack right; the hammer only gets + 1 if timed correctly. In other words, in a game where most enemies don't have more than 10 HP, you can kill them in a single hit just by using two attack plus badges. With the Soft Stomp (2 FP) and the Spike Jump, you can virtually defeat any regular Mook around just by pressing button A with a proper timing.
    • In Super Mario RPG Mario's Jump attack gets a permanent + 1 damage bonus when you use it twice, up to a max of 250. It costs 3 FP to use, you can wear an accessory to jump on The Spiny, and you'll have it from level 3 onward. This renders all his other attacks but Super Jump useless (if you're good at Super Jump.)
    • Super Jump will let you keep jumping on the enemy as long as you can time the button press correctly. There are challenges to perform 30 and 100 consecutive Super Jumps for some crazy strong equipment. There are maybe a handful of enemies who can actually survive a 100 Super Jump, usually due to Event Flags.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, normal attack cards are typically the best way to defeat enemies, especially when combined with Card Soldier or Maleficent enemy cards.
    • In Re:Coded there's finish commands that let you summon pillars of light and also transform your keyblade into a BFG, but the most efficient one seems to be Mega Flare which simply makes your screen goes blank and everything is burning with all the enemies dead.
    • Chain of Memories Remake and Birth by Sleep gives Sonic Blade. Zoom across the screen, hit almost every enemy, causing those who aren't killed in one hit to stagger, and taking out large chunks of a boss's health.
    • The Mine commands in Birth By Sleep. They deal high damage with each hit, can hit multiple times, and launch enemies into the air, preventing retaliation, but standing and around waiting for your enemies to blow themselves up isn't terribly entertaining (Though you can also try to summon them under your targets if you're impatient).
      • The same strategy can be used in Kingdom Hearts 3D, except with Balloonga. Most people have trouble with the secret boss because they rely on awesome moves like Dark Splicer and Ars Arcanum, but the different Balloon spells stun him and take away a ton of health.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: The Fire spell is less powerful than Fira and Firaga, but it has long range and homes in on targets.
  • Final Fantasy games, especially the early ones, fit the "normal attacks in RPGs" to a 'T', as do a great many other older console RPGs. During extended dungeons or open world travel, and even just level grinding, using magic often is typically unsustainable. Often the only way to restore MP is to use rare/expensive items, if it even CAN be restored. The result is that frequently you're better off with a party of brawlers who rely on the considerably cheaper HP restoring items than you are with a party slot wasted on a mage who dies quickly, is targeted by enemies frustratingly often, spends most of his MP keeping himself alive, and contributes very little offense in the majority of fights, for the sole benefit of being a nuker/healer when you get to the boss (assuming he has MP left to nuke/heal with). Completely subverted in FFVI, where MP is infinitely sustainable with the Osmose spell and mages reign supreme.
    • In Final Fantasy I, one of the easiest parties to beat the game with, is also the most boring: Two fighters who will turn into Knights to act as tanks, one Black Belt who will become a Master who is your primary Damage Dealer, and a White Mage. The White Mage is only there for Harm Spells earlier in the game, and Life in case someone dies during the last dungeon to an untimely Death attack. The occasional Cur 4 also helps. Otherwise, the Heal Staff, and the 2 Heal Helms do 80% of the healing during the last dungeon.
    • An all-Fighter run is also considered one of the easier runs, often killing off one or more party members to ensure the Fighters gain XP faster. Fighters don't quite beat out Black Belts in damage, but they have so much health backed up by the damage reduction from armor that an all-Fighter party basically doesn't have any weak spots. Unfortunately, strategy with one until class change basically consists of "keep tapping FIGHT and occasionally use a healing item." After class change, it becomes "the above, but with healing spells." Neither of the above are helped by the fact that the original Final Fantasy was an impressively buggy game, which hit casters particularly hard: the White and Black Mages are supposed to have stronger spells, but they don't, and several spells just don't do anything.
    • Final Fantasy II Whereas Holy, Flare, and Ultima would typically be Last Disc Magic in other games, the elemental spells you've had all game will typically see more use, as hitting elemental weaknesses does much more damage than a Flare spell of the same level.
      • It's not until late in the game that swords begin to compare and eventually exceed other weapons. Axes and spears get upgrades at a fair rate as you progress through the game, making them consistently useful from start to finish.
    • Final Fantasy IV has Stop. Just run into a Malboro? Fearing its Bad Breath? Just cast Stop and laugh as your party wails on the poor bastard while he can do nothing about it. Stop works in many situations against enemies who would otherwise mean massive pains in the ass. By the end of the game Rydia will have enough MP to cast Stop almost non-stop. Bio (Virus in the SNES version) is the damage-dealing equivalent. It deals only moderate damage, but it's very MP-efficient and casts instantly, so it' overall damage potential is almost as high (and much more reliable) than flashier spells.
    • Bio also has one effect in that game that it doesn't have in any other game: it causes the Sap debuff, which can't be gotten rid of by anything short of dying, and constantly drains health for a period of time.
    • Final Fantasy V has Goblin Punch, a 0 MP non-elemental Blue Spell that strikes a single target for about the damage of your basic attack that's learned from the game's weakest enemy. It seems useless at first until you start encountering element resistant (or absorbing) enemies or ones with prohibitively high evasion rates. You equipped an Air Knife and now your attack is healing that enemy? Goblin Punch will take him out. That enemy ninja just dodged the attacks of your entire party? Goblin Punch will guaranteed hit him. It also hits for full damage from the back and, as its damage is calculate from your current stats, will bypass the Excalipur's "always do one damage" trait and instead use its high attack stat for damage calculation, making it one of the most useful Blue Spells in the game.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • The enemy skill Trine is considered one of the best attacking spells in the entire game. Its animation is just a spinning pyramid over your enemies that lasts a few seconds, unlike your Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke summons with overly long fighting animations...but its damage drastically outpaces your summons at the time you get it, and even later on when you have stronger summons, Trine's absurdly low MP cost means it's nearly always your go-to attack. For perspective on how low Trine's MP cost is, the summon Ramuh is about par for the point in the game where you get it, doing a respectable amount of damage to justify its 40 MP cost. Trine does double the damage of Ramuh and costs 20 MP. You can summon a dragon from space to effectively nuke your enemies, or you can have your party spam a boring spell that collectively deals more damage over a shorter period of time - small wonder most experienced players go with the latter.
      • At one point, you have to defend Fort Condor in order to get the Phoenix materia. This leads to a mini game where one can put together a very elaborate defense strategy to defend your base. You can get a variety of units, everything from birds to fire catapults to tri-stoners. But the second easiest method to win? Get 20 fighters together and march them down the hill. They'll kill everything and halt the attack before the boss shows up. The easiest method? Intentionally lose the mini game and have your team win one very easy battle.
    • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, everyone gets a flashy damage-dealing limit break except for Aerith; hers is just a mundane full-party heal. That said, enemies get very spongy and aggressive later in the game, eating through your MP very quickly and making it difficult to even fill ATB bars in extreme cases, so a well-timed Healing Wind on Aerith's part can easily mean the difference between surviving a fight and getting stomped.
      • Aerith truly shines in Remake in more ways than one. She gets much more mileage out of ATB bars with Arcane Ward (double-casting), can conserve valuable items by absorbing MP with Soul Drain, and her secondary Limit Break temporarily makes the whole party immune to physical damage! She may not have too many flashy unique attacks, but she's an invaluable support character who will save your bacon too many times to count.
    • Final Fantasy VIII:
      • Zell's Limit Break consists of a series of Action Commands to trigger various martial arts moves, with the more complex the button sequence, the flashier and more damaging the attack. However, the most effective overall combination is to alternate the two most basic moves, Punch Rush and Booya. Because they're also the quickest moves and have the simplest button sequences, it's possible to get in many more hits this way than is possible with the fancier moves, adding up to greater damage overall - especially near the end of the game, when with a decent strength junction he's likely to be hitting the damage cap with every punch. The combination has acquired the Fan Nickname "Armageddon Fist."
      • Ditto with Irvine's limit break. Sure, you can shoot bullets that can cause many status effects (assuming they work), bullets that ignore defense (when there's an easily-obtained spell which nukes enemy defense entirely anyway), or a a huge freakin' laser beam ammo guaranteed to do 9999 damage (but good luck getting the materials to refine it from, which you'll also need to in order to upgrade weapons and refine Ultima spells). Or you can just use the cheap and plentiful fast ammo which, given a good strength junction and a reasonably quick trigger-finger, can deal easily comparable amounts of damage.
    • Averted by Final Fantasy X, eventually. Assume your average physical attack can do 99,999 to one enemy, the maximum damage. You can't get better than that, surely? Try doing 2 X 99,999 to the entire enemy team. The only way to do that with your average character is to Doublecast Ultima. Admittedly, it's MP-expensive, but by the time you have access to Ultima, your black mage should have access to '1 MP cost', which is what it says on the tin.
      • Played straight once player starts to confront some of high-end Super Bosses game offers, especially if Celestial Weapons, which ignore enemy's defense, were unlocked. By that time Quick Hit, which is basically an Attack with reduced recovery time, should be also available for most of party if not everyone. In endgame battles this move will be used as primary method of dealing damage, because very short recovery time means more turns, which is essential notably against International/PAL/HD-only Penance. Not even going into the fact the Quick Hit from Celestial weapon will hit second Damage Cap, but most of local Super Bosses have obscene magic defense, and thus Ultima won't.
    • Final Fantasy XII makes this more apparent. Melee attacks are executed quickly while magic takes time to cast and there's an additional delay due to the magic's animation. Because of this, most players by the halfway point of the game will rely on melee attacks to damage most enemies and bosses (unless the enemy makes themselves immune to physical damage). Very flashy spells like Holy and Flare are so graphics/animation-intensive that they actually delay other moves that require a flashy animation while melee attacks can still be executed. Strategic players can use this to their advantage by having one character cast a big spell to force the enemy's spell to wait while the other two characters slice up the target.
      • XII also has a number of enormous bosses that are difficult to fight head-on. However, several of these (such as Fafnir and Yiazmat) occur in arenas with areas that they are too big to fit into. You can simply park your party in one of these, forcing the boss to only use ranged attacks. This makes things much easier since magic is slower than melee attacks (as noted above) and most of it does elemental damage (which can be resisted with the right equipment). In Fafnir's case, there's another level to this - Fafnir can't pierce Reflect with its magic like some bosses can, so you can simply equip your party with Reflect-giving equipment and not only become invincible, but also cause Fafnir to kill itself with its reflected Shocks.
      • Also in XII, the bonus bosses Yiazmat and Hell Wyrm are unique in that you can leave their arenas and they won't regenerate HP (unless they have the Regen status when you leave). It is thus a perfectly viable strategy to fight while staying as close as possible to the exit and, once you're in a dangerous position, retreat to heal up and reapply buffs. The only downside is that the game counts the number of times you leave, but this is purely cosmetic and doesn't affect the rewards from the battle.
      • This is also the strategy of Omega Mark XII. It knows only one attack, which is essentially a big laser, and spams it constantly. As many players can attest, it is incredibly efficient strategy, making it hard to beat without Reverse.
    • Final Fantasy XIII averts it with the paradigm system. Ravagers, Commandos and Medics are the Boring, but Practical classes, but the other 3 classes are all vital to success in the game (although the Sentinel will probably see less use). For once, the debuffing abilities of saboteurs actually work on many bosses (even Death!), and the removal of magic points coupled with the automation of team-mates makes the Synergist class a lot more viable than manually casting a bunch of buffs every battle. Played straight when the game opens up, and every weak enemy is a 10-second chore for your Commandos and Ravagers.
  • Keyring in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. A key takes up one square of inventory space, and you're going to collect a lot of them over the course of the game. A key ring takes up two squares and costs a few coins at any junk merchant's, but holds infinite keys.
    • Healing Salve: Requires one skill point investment to learn, needs two items that can be found on the ground pretty much anywhere, heals 20 hp to a neutral character and becomes more efficient the further towards tech you lean.
    • Balanced Sword and Featherweight Axe: Early Smithing items. No flash effects, no boosts, no bonuses. Cheap to make, easy-to-find components, quick attacks and consistently high damage.
  • Dragon Quest VII, through the Class System gives access to some abilities:
    • Thin Air, via several advanced vocations. Thin Air hits every enemy on the field, usually deals about a hundred damage unless enemies have high magical defence (Enemies in groups, the ones you would most want to use it on, also have maybe 200 health near the end of the game), and it costs nothing to use. Breath Attacks also do the same (available to some different classes and the Hero vocation), but Thin Air is far easier to get. What's more, only a few enemies are resistant or immune to Thin Air.
    • Knuckle Sandwich. An ability learned via a simple vocation, is a carbon copy of VI's version. That is, it deals 200% damage but has a chance to miss. It's very easy to get, and is affected by Oomph, Sap, and psyche up. It can hit for almost a thousand damage - when bosses have only about 3000-5000 health tops at endgame, that's a definite ouch.
  • Dragon Quest VIII gives every character at least one ability that falls into this category.
    • The Hero and Angelo both can obtain Falcon Slash on their Sword skill paths, which is a two-hit attack that hits for 75% normal damage for each hit. That should tell you that it's 1.5 times as strong as a normal attack, and it costs nothing to use. If you get the Falcon Slash ability, there's no reason to use a basic attack anymore.
    • The first ability Yangus gets in his Axe skill path not only deals as much damage as a normal attack, it lowers the defense of whatever enemy it hits. And it also costs nothing to use.
    • The last ability in Jessica's Sex Appeal skill path is Hustle Dance, which restores a small amount of HP to the whole party, for free. While it may not heal as much as the hero or Angelo's spells, a little tension fixes that, turning Jessica into an excellent support character. In addition, one of the earliest attacks she could get in the Whip skill path is the Twin Dragon Lash, a cheap, two-hit attack that was so effective at dealing damage against bosses in the original game that Square-Enix had to Nerf it in the remake.
    • For Red (in the 3DS version), Fans give the ability "Fan Dango", which functions just like the Hero's multi-thrust and Angelo's "Multishot" abilities (80% damage, 4 hits). However, unlike Multithrust and Multishot, Fan Dango costs nothing to use, and will occasionally hit for only three. While the other abilities are balanced out by the fact that they hit random targets, this is not the case against single targets, who will eat every shot. Even if Fan Dango only hits three times, that's 2.4 times as strong as just having Red attack, as many as 3.6 times - and it's affected by Tension.
  • In Dragon Quest IX, some of the rewards for the level 40 class / maxed out skill quests are Awesome, but Impractical. One exception is the reward for completing the maxed Shield skill quest. It's a scroll that allows the party member who holds it to automatically block any critical hit with a shield. It's no flashier than any other times you block with a shield, but combine it with a Paladin's Forbearance and your party will never have to worry about any enemy criticals ever again.
  • The Soldier class in Mass Effect and 2. None of the "flash" of other classes (outside of bonus powers, but you only get one of those) but its versatile selection of weapons and ammo types means a properly-leveled soldier can handle any conceivable situation in the game, bar none. Also, the pistol. Doesn't have the range of the sniper rifle, the fire rate of the assault rifle, or the stopping power of the shotgun, but doesn't have any of the major drawbacks of those weapons either. There's a reason every playable class has one.
    • The game has a massive range of ammo types to use on your enemies from radioactive or explosive to incendiary and cryo rounds. The most useful rounds though are shredder rounds, which make mincemeat of organics, and tungsten which deal extra damage to synthetics (the most common enemies). While the effects are simple there are not negative effects on your fire rate or accuracy and the ammo types are amazingly easy to find
    • The Bastion specialization class. It improves your Barrier, for one thing. More important, when maxed out, the Bastion skill allows you to hurt enemies you've locked in Stasis. Master Stasis allows you to lock an enemy down for 21 seconds. That's 21 seconds where you can attack them without them fighting back. This makes even Thresher Maws a piece of cake.
    • Also happens in-story with one of the DLC weapons for ME2. The Illusive Man sends you a few of the old, reliable Mattock rifles on the recommendation of the ship's AI. He mentions that the AI warned him against ignoring "older, proven technologies" in his obsession for the latest cutting-edge advancements.
    • Mass Effect 3's Crusader shotgun. It fires a single slug round, but it's almost perfectly accurate and packs a hell of a punch. Though there is some debate as to whether it is Boring But Practical or Difficult, but Awesome. With any pellet-spread shotgun, even a winging hit will do some damage, but with the slug-firing Crusader it is all-or-nothing. Add in its high recoil per shot which forces the player to readjust after every trigger pull, and it functions more like a no-scope Sniper Rifle than a traditional shotgun, rewarding players who take time to carefully line up headshots for One Hit Kills rather than run-and-gun
      • Similarly, you have the Disciple, the asari shotgun. It's not as flashy as the Graal Spike Thrower or the Geth Plasma Shotgun, but it's the lightest and most accurate shotgun (not counting slug shotguns), and can fire fast enough to make up for its rather low damage. It works really well on a power-dependent class due to its aforementioned low weight, giving it a great damage-to-weight ratio. Further, thanks to concussive micro-explosives that detonate on impact, it has a knockback feature which works even on shielded enemies, staggering them and keeping them from attacking or setting them up for a follow up shot or power use.
      • In terms of multiplayer characters, the Krogan Vanguard. There are many characters offering a wide variety of playstyles and strengths, but the Krogan Vanguard just takes a race that is good for melee combat and gives it a power that teleports them to melee range while refilling their shields. It is widely considered the best multiplayer character.
    • Touched upon in one mission in 2 when you infiltrate a Heretic Geth station. Yes, detecting heat signatures and transmitting clearance is cool, but had the Geth seen the Normandy coming through a window, they would've simply blasted it out of existence... but they didn't see it because Geth consider windows to be structural weaknesses and so their space stations don't have them.
  • Diablo I (and the whole series) is full of these. Due to abundance of items and skills and lots of grinding, it's simply more practical to rely on universal skills to steadily push deeper into levels than utilize flashy, costly, powerful spells with huge cost and long recharge.
    • Diablo I had Rogue as this. While boring as hell, spamming arrows from distance (where did she even keep this many of them?) allowed for a very decent kill ratio in the first few hours, until Moreina could acquire some spells, good armor, more sophisticated weaponry and protective jewelry. She could even kill the normally unkillable Butcher (That One Boss that made the whole Early Game Hell in Level 2) by simply hiding behind bars and shooting his ass several hundred times from safety.
    • Diablo II has the Barbarian's Whirlwind skill, which turns him into a dervish of death that mows through everything in front of him for a good distance while keeping him relatively safe from harm. It's easily one of the most powerful skills in the game. The boring part? Everybody and their mother plays a whirly-barb too.
    • Diablo III allows each class to obtain at least one build that revolves around a single skill, all others serving merely as its semi-passive buffs. When you need hundreds of hundreds of runs into the Rifts, holding/spamming your LMB/RMB with occasional use of other skills is simply more mundane and comfortable than playing piano on skill buttons every few seconds. Whirlwind Barbarian is a good example here too, as well as Hungering Arrow Demon Hunter, Archon Wizard, Fists of Thunder Monk, Simulacrum Necromancer, Thorns Crusader and Harvest Witch Doctor.
      • Also, farming Menagerist goblins. Running Normal difficulty is not a challenge and has nothing heroic about it, but for the purpose of hunting a rare monster with a guaranteed cosmetic reward, few things are better than repeated running of five known locations, basically restarting the game every six minutes.
  • Non-gameplay example: In The World Ends with You, one quest has Ken Doi's ramen shop getting shut out by a new ramen shop, and Neku and Joshua have to (indirectly) help him whip up a bowl of ramen that will attract customers again. Neku can make him whip up things like curry ramen and dessert ramen, but the dish that ends up making him popular again? An ordinary ramen bowl.
  • Might and Magic:
    • The humble bow (Longbow in VI, Crude Bow in VII), especially in VI-VII, allows you to engage enemies from a safe distance and never runs out of ammunition. In terms of affecting play balance it's of far bigger impact than all the artifacts in the game: by the time you're strong enough to loot artifacts off dead dragons, you're tough enough not to need them, but a party equipped with bows can breeze through many an early-game challenge that would be a killer otherwise.
    • For Sorcerer class, Sparks are often this, even if you get the spells that are essentially a Fantastic Nuke. Unlike most starting spells, this one won't fall by the wayside because it gains much more power, since not only each sparks deals damage proportional to the skill in Air Magic, but the mastery raises the total number of sparks - at Grandmaster level, 9 sparks, each dealing about 12 damage are created, all for 4 mana. The main use, however, is that you can mine the path between you and melee monsters with them as they chase you, or throw them in a pit on your enemies, something that happens surprisingly often with Behemoths in the Pit of VII.
  • Happens fairly often in Dark Souls, where simple, plain-looking weapons and gear, when upgraded high enough, may prove better than fancy and intimidating ones, because of their lower weight and stat requirements, flexible movesets, and higher stat scaling. Starter Equipment for most classes tends to be this: The Warrior's Longsword, for example, is very well rounded, his Heater Shield (which looks like it lasted through a war or two) has the weight and parry speed of a small shield while having the defense and stability of a medium one, and the Deprived's humble wooden Club has exellent strength scaling. The realistic-looking Claymore and Zweihander are the Longsword's big brothers. One of the most powerful weapons in the entire game is literally a giant tree branch with one end pared down small enough to use as a handle. Killing gods by smashing them with a log is a functionally impressive example of Mundane Made Awesome.
    • The combination of a bow (preferably the Black Bow of Pharis, which has the highest range), a ton of arrows (particularly poison arrows), the Hawk Ring (which increases bow range), and the Ring of Fog (reduces your visibility) will allow you to slowly but surely kill any non-boss enemy in Dark Souls (the bosses don't give you enough breathing room to snipe them) without any fear of retaliation. It's also incredibly boring.
    • A regular spear and shield is incredibly effective due to its ability to block and attack at the same time. Even though there are swords and other weapons that are enchanted with lightning and fire, the regular +15 spear is more effective late game than the +5 lightning spear due to the way damage is calculated.
    • Havel's Ring: Adds a flat 50% to your maximum equip load. It doesn't sound impressive, but it's basically necessary if you want to wear heavier armor and want to be able to dodge.
    • The typical advanced strategy for beating bosses further down the line such as Four Kings and Gravelord Nito is as follows: equip Havel's armor; pound on them; laugh as they limply swing what might as well be noodles at you; heal when you take too much damage. The raw defense and poise offered by Havel's set allows you to take any of the more powerful physical attacks by any enemy to the chin without being staggered. Havel's set is particularly useful against the Four Kings since it boasts high Magic defense (the Four Kings fight entirely with magic attacks).
    • Among the various weapon ascensions available in the first game, the simple Normal Ascension which does nothing but improve basic stats and scaling is usually the best option unless you're using a build that doesn't rely on stat scaling for damage.
    • In Dark Souls III, the basic, boring Longsword is one of the best weapons for almost any build. Unless you're a high-Strength character who would get more damage out of a huge weapon of some kind, you're going to want a Longsword, infused with whatever gem your build dictates. There's a reason the game is sometime derisively referred to as "Straight Sword Souls".
  • Grinding. It gets boring fast to kill the same enemies over and over, but the added experience, cash and items obtained this way will make the next boss fight so much easier to win.
  • Pick any game in the Tales Series. Ask any player what their arte set ups are for each character. No matter how wild, fantastic and crazy the seletion of attacks can get, you'll always see Demon Fang/Fist/Dog, also known as Majinken take up a slot, or Azure Edge if they don't have the former. It's the first arte you get in the game, meaning it'll be the most used and therefore will have grown the most in strength. It's also just a simple projectile. But being a simple projectile is VERY important for otherwise melee fighters to be able to quickly deal damage from afar. The TP cost is also so low to the point of actually being completely negligible in the endgame, the damage is respectable for the cost, it comes out fast and lends itself to combos really well even at close range. Oftentimes it'll have other special properties that end up making it even more useful on top of that, such as being able to hit Off The Ground, which means you'll even see this basic move show up a lot even in the most hardcore combo videos. However most of the time, this is the only real arte that falls under this. The way you're encouraged to use artes means you actually would do better to have increasingly spectacular artes in all the other slots. You just probably won't replace your projectile.
    • Tales of Symphonia is known for having a very deep combat system with many spectacular combos and impressive offensive capabilities, as with any other title in the series. And yet, who is considered the absolute top of the tier list? Is it Genis with his incredibly powerful magic spells that can target any elemental weakness? Lloyd with his speed, ability to do the longest combos on his own and very good physical stats? Maybe it's Kratos/Zelos for being very good all around swordfighting spellcaster types? Nope, it's Raine, the Staff Chick. She's so good she's considered a must for every party. This is despite having no combo game to speak of outside of using an unintended trick in the Gamecube version. She simply is the only dedicated healer in the game, keeping everyone alive and even resurrecting them, she has more reliable light element spells than Colette and her most absolute basic offensive spell, Photon, ends up being the most useful offensive spell in the game, due to never missing, coming out extremely fast, immediately having the enemy locked in hitstun for the entirety of the attack animation and even being one of the only two universal Off The Ground attacks in the game, the other being Lloyd's Demon Fang, which has already been mentioned above, making her surprisingly useful when pulling off team combos.
    • Tales of the Abyss has the Capacity Cores, which buff specific stats as characters level up. What's the best Capacity Core for Guy? Anything that boosts his speed. Give him the Alca Forte on a second playthrough from the moment he joins your party, and he'll be fast enough to simply run away from any attack in the entire game before you reach Akzeriuth. He'll do fairly respectable damage thanks to Alca Forte's secondary damage buff, and since nothing can hit him, he will simply never die. Sure, run-in-stab-and-run-away isn't as much fun as Indignation, but it will kill basically anyone and anything given enough time.
      • Working off that, Natalia Luzu Kimlasca Lanvaldear is this in a nutshell. Her spell selection is made up of simple, not-at-all-flashy buffs and high single-target healing spells, contrasting with the vast destruction Jade and Tear unleash, and her weapon and artes are perhaps the most simplistic and practical in the game - she fights with a bow, and nearly all her artes focus around being a better shot with her bow or setting up a combo that knocks away foes, something integral to surviving as a ranged warrior. She might not be blowing up enemies with her seventh fonist powers like Luke is, she might not have a magical, teleporting spear like Jade, but she doesn't need it when she's got expert training as a sharpshooter.
  • Darklands has the Shortsword, which is the plainest-looking sword, but don't let that fool you. It may not do much damage, but it strikes very quickly, and is surprisingly good at penetrating armour. It's very weak against plate armour, though.
    • Unless your opponent is wearing chain, brigandine or plate armour, the Shortbow is better than any other bow. Why? It shoots quicker than any of them, and does the same amount of damage. In addition, it's *much* cheaper.
    • Javelins. Even if they do not do any significant damage, they are very cheap and can be used against weaker enemies to raise your throwing skill, which becomes very useful later in the game.
  • Granblue Fantasy's Player Character has access to several Subskills to diversify the skill repertoire of the Character Class System. Of these, Miserable Mist is the most visually unimpresive and simple, as it just debuffs each enemy's Attack and Defense. It's also one of the best Subskills, as the debuff stacks with most other Attack and Defense Down debuffs and can increase your damage and survivability more reliably than more interesting debuffs like Blind (makes an enemy miss an attack on a set chance) or Charm (makes an enemy skip their turn on a set chance).
    • Clarity, Veil and Dispel get these a lot as well. You can choose from a lot of subskills, but being able to remove or protect yourself from nasty debuffs or removing an enemy's potentially gamebreaking buff is often enough to get you through.
    • SR Katalina. Yes, the very first character you get in the game only has a heal, a veil and a damage cut ability, but they're so reliable, you can use her for practically any content you're having trouble with until you get better characters. There's a reason she's called the queen of story mode.
  • Jade Empire: White Demon Style, and to a lesser extent Iron Palm Style. Kicks and backhand slaps. That's it. No flurries of blows, no combos, no flips, no spins, no transformation sequence. However, they deal high and reliable damage and can harm any enemy in the game, meaning that whatever you point those styles at will die.
  • The Legend of Dragoon has the Addition system. Despite how amazing the Dragoon transformations are, many late game bosses can counter them until they're weaker than your normal state. Once you master your party's final Additions, you'll generally do more damage in your base form than transformed. Also, Dragoons can't use items so if your healer's down, you have to hope you last until your Dragoon form wears off and you can use an item to revive them.
    • Blocking halves all damage you take until your next turn, prevents all status effects, and heals for ten percent of your life. Given the remarkably limited inventory in the game (you can only carry 32 total items, barring weapons and armor), expect to be blocking a lot to heal up.
    • The best spell in the entire game is Lavitz/Albert's Rose Storm which does no damage but halves all damage the party takes for three turns. Eventually, Albert can cast it enough times to last the entire battle.
    • The easiest party members to beat the game with are Lavitz/Albert and Shana/Miranda as not only do they have the best support spells in the game, but there are more bosses of their opposing elements than any other in the game, barring non-elemental.
  • Nights of Azure has Alraune. It's the first Servan that the game gives you, but it's also the only Servan that's able to heal every member of your party. Due to this, most players rarely remove her from their party.
  • Rainbow Skies: Ashly's fireball attack.
    • Practical: low MP cost, decent damage, good range, is easy to place on the combat grid.
    • Boring: using it all the time.
  • The character classes in Darkest Dungeon include a warlock, two different kinds of thief, a Barbarian Hero, a selection of religious figures including a priestess, a questing knight, and a dangerously unhinged Flagellant, a demon-possessed werewolf and an outcast, leprosy-riddled king, but one of the best overall heroes? The Man-at-Arms, a veteran soldier with no supernatural abilities at all. He can buff the team, provide protection to a wounded ally, deal a fair amount of damage, stun enemies and generally just make life a lot easier.
  • Odin, Rudo and both Wrens from the Phantasy Star franchise. All they can do well is shoot guns and tank hits, but it's reliable damage output and prevents your other squishier characters from taking a beating, so who's complaining?
  • X's Charge Shot from Mega Man X: Command Mission is certainly not the flashiest nor most fun Action Trigger in the game. But it does solid damage to all enemies on the field and gets a guaranteed critical hit at 100% charge, making it your go-to option for taking down minor foes and damaging bosses alike.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I and II, there's Rean's Arc Slash, a move that hits all enemies in a straight line and most bosses aren't immune to this status effect. What it does is that it delays enemies if the status effect happens and it just so happens that Rean is a naturally fast character with Arc Slash having a short delay time. Because of how cheap and spammable the move is plus it doesn't move Rean's position, he can just stay in one place and just sling out the move over and over again, delaying the enemy till they die.
  • Enemies of Undertale have all sorts of bullet patterns and bullets in the form of objects, such as giant axes, swarms of spiders that race across webs, spears that jab from out of the "floor," and rains of bombs. Flowey's preferred method of attack? He surrounds his target with a circle of pellets that closes in on them. Not as flashy as several attacks pulled off by the bosses and regular enemies, but it is completely inescapable on paper. In practice, there's always an in-story event that keeps him from finishing you off this way.
  • In Underrailnote , there are countless ways to build a character to survive the deadly world. One of the simplest and strongest builds however is the "Tin Can Assault" build - just enough strength to take assault rifles, skill points in guns, high constitution and heavy armour. You skimp out on psionics, stealth and gadgetry, but if you want something dead, it will die. It will get you through the early game no problem, and later on you can branch into other things if you wish.
    • Traps are incredibly useful with only a small skill point investment, and can even the odds for a player against a lot of enemies or one really powerful one. Set them up in chokepoints or around corners to soften up (or maybe even outright kill) an enemy before you even engage. Even traps laid out in the open and spotted by enemies have their uses, as they will have to stop and disarm them or find a way around.
  • Fate/Grand Order has some extremely powerful characters: rare five-stars like Ozymandias, Gilgamesh, Merlin, Zhuge Liang, and Musashi can blow whole nodes away when fully upgraded. However, a lot of players stick to the bronze and silver Servants you get for free from the Friend Point gacha or for completing parts of the story. These characters require much less materials to upgrade their skills, can access their full skillset much earlier, and given how common they are, their Noble Phantasm is very easy to get to its maximum level. On top of that, a good number (Arash, Cu Chulainn, Hans, Georgios, Bunyan) are strong enough to be useful to even very strong teams.
  • Helen's Mysterious Castle: The Metronome, a weapon with 0 attack and 0 defense whose only use is to skip one turn. Considering that almost the entire gameplay revolves around timing your attacks and your opponent's based on turns, the Metronome is basically a Game-Breaker and a must have for more strategic moves. In particular, it gives the player a really good advantage on the beginning of battle since it makes the enemy make the first move and allowing you to choose a weapon to counter it, instead of the usual of letting your opponent counter your first move.
  • The Tiamat Sacrament: Xandra's offensive spells are overshadowed by triple rune skills in terms of overall DPS, but her spells require no preliminary setup and can be buffed by Chant. This means her spells are more useful in situations where the player needs to quickly eliminate an enemy from the field.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles is a flip from most role playing games in that the protagonist with the legendary weapon is primarily a support character. Indeed, Shulk has average stats all-around and the Monado affords him very few big, flashy attacks, but he gets a number of invaluable supportive powers. It can buff all allies' weapons to allow them to harm Mechons (otherwise nearly indestructible), nullify troublesome enemy Auras, negate any enemy specials weaker than a certain level, or just give the party an 80 percent chance of avoiding ALL physical attacks for a few seconds. This, plus the weapon's ability to peer into the future, ensure Shulk and friends not only survive countless events that would normally kill them, but that they can avert dangers before they even arise and save several people from certain death situations.
  • In Romancing SaGa Re;Universe, the Mastery Level system. If a "style" (character) levels up, they can sometimes give a point to a master level. However, each time a Master Level levels up, you get... one-half of one percent bonus damage to your skills or combos for the character's particular weapon. That's it. And it can go from two points to around ten just to get ONE Master Level, and each character can give only five Master Level points at max level. So it doesn't look like you get much out of it if you do the math, unless you have a LOT of characters. But what makes this practical is that the Master Level affects EVERYONE with that weapon, both past and future, so having many characters with a specific weapon leveled up will accumulate and can easily get into the several percentage points bonus damage, for all skills they use.
    • SS rank Sophia is one of the first characters you get, and while she doesn't have any flashy skills or good stats, she is one of the first healers and also has (and can inherit) skills that can debuff an opponent's STR or INT, and also can inherit a few simple area-of-effect spells (Light Ball) and physical attacks (Seismic Strike) that, while not as damaging as some attacking specialists, are still there at her disposal. She also has an emergency heal that heals everyone that's up if she gets KO'ed, which is very useful in a pinch — and can use it again if she gets revived by another healer. All this makes her quite useful in any situation when you need her.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • In Star Fox 64 experienced players will eschew bombs and homing attacks to just spam lasers, even without any of the laser upgrades. It's generally the easiest way to deal with bosses that aren't immune, and it's also the fastest way to take down Star Wolf team members.
  • Raptor: Call of the Shadows. You fly a fighter jet that you can accessorize with a number of different guns, missile launchers, laser cannons, etc. These are all very useful, but a necessary secondary gun is the basic machine gun. Infinite ammo and a rapid firing rate, so even if the actual damage inflicted is minimal, you can erode away anything in the game perpetually.
  • A melee class in a Shoot 'em Up game? Yep, there is nothing cool about headbutting your enemies while other players can just shoot them from afar. But granted the ability to deflect bullets, they are extremely necessary in Valkyrie Sky (a Shoot 'em Up MMORPG, and no, it's not the first one) because, let's face it, starting from level 10+ , you definitely, desperately need someone to deflect those damn bullets while you shoot the boss.
  • The Twin and Back Shots in the Thunder Force series, as they are the only weapons you don't lose when you die. In later games where only the weapon you're holding vanishes if you die, a common strategy is to switch to Twin or Back if you fear that you're about to get killed.
  • In Battle Garegga, if you don't have a full bomb in stock, you'll use a smaller weaker bomb if you have little bombs in your inventory. Seems like a waste, right? Well, bombs are the only way to destroy ground scenery, which often hides powerups and medals, so a common strategy is to forego using bombs as a uber-powerful weapon and instead blow up scenery that isn't attacking you.
  • Raiden has the Spread Shot. Though it's a bitch to fire continously prior to Raiden III, and it doesn't look as cool as the laser weapons, at higher levels the spread shot attacks at nearly a 180-degree arc in front of you; you can concentrate on dodging bullets and still damage nearly anything that's in front of you.
  • The Spread Shot from Fire Shark deals pretty good damage when fired at point-blank, can shred popcorn mooks in a huge degree arc, and unlike the rarely-found but stronger flamethrower, it's the most common weapon powerup.
  • Some modern shmups like Gradius V allow support for analog movement via the analog stick. However, the basic 8-way D-pad still has its charm. Yes, you move at a constant speed with digital input. Yes, you only move in 8 directions. But it's these properties that make using a D-pad or arcade stick easier for some players—no having to gauge how hard to press or the precise angle to push at.
  • In the Touhou games, alongside the standard forward-concentration, spread, and homing shots, you'll usually have a few experimental and flashy shot types. Which will generally deal poor damage and/or be hard to use effectively. Most of the time, your best best for a quick clear is the straightforward kill-everything-in-front-of-me shot (on the other hand, the equally boring spreadshots tend to suck).
    • The Extra bosses follow suit. With the exception of Mokou, they're an endurance match boss fight filled with bizarre acid-trippy attacks that ends with a smaller endurance match against a single very geometrically simple and straightforward attack that ramps up over time into overwhelming density and/or speed. The likes of Flandre's "QED" or Suwako's "Mishaguji-sama" look downright bland compared to the rest of the battle, but damned if they aren't brutal notes to end on.
    • Subterranean Animism, a game known for tricky puzzle spellcards, went this route with the final boss battle. Utsuho's attack patterns are fairly simple... but she's got some of the biggest bullets in the series, and can block off entire sections of the battlefield with generated suns, giving you precious little room to dodge her simple attack patterns.
    • And then there's Junko, the final boss from Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom. This is justified in that her ability to purify things is reflected in her Danmaku style, which doesn't bother to look flashy and pretty and instead goes for pure, simple and pristine patterns, merely designed to kill the player. Even then, some of her spellcard names even reflect this, like for example, one of her spells is called "Simple Danmaku for Cornering a Trapped Rat". It can't get simpler than that.

    Simulation Game 
  • In the X-Wing combat sim games, the starfighter of choice on The Alliance side is... the X-wing. Durable, well-armed, nimble, and fast, it's an excellent multirole craft, more dangerous all around than the more heavily-armed B-wing, the faster A-wing, or the tougher Y-wing. This holds true in Rogue Leader as well; it's the ship of choice for getting gold medals.
    • The X-wing and Y-wing can be seen as interchangable versions of this trope. The Y-wing has the less impressive design, is slower, harder to control and only has 2 torpedos more than than the big all-round X-wing. It's often mentioned as being a deathtrap when having to take on enemy fighters. While it never got the iconic status of the X-wing it's a respected machine among gamers. If you get the hang on it and know how to use it you can even take out TIE Avengers with it.
    • In TIE Fighter, the Imperial solution to Zaarin's faction getting their hands on the TIE Defender is to make the Missile Gunboat, whose secret special power is ... loads and loads of missiles. It also has the relatively impractical turbo thrust (it drains stored laser power when operating, and the Missile Boat only has one laser, so it doesn't last long), and the extremely practical option of a tractor beam that renders the target caught in it unable to maneuver, making it easy meat for the missiles (which can otherwise be difficult to use, since they need time to lock on, and can be shot down while in flight quite easily if you can turn into them).
  • SimCity 4 has several power plants to choose from including nuclear and fusion power which have extra requirements to unlock. The most cost effective power plant by far, however, is coal, which is available from the start. It is true that the advanced ones produce no pollution, but the effects of coal pollution are tolerable if well-placed in the city limits and will save a lot of money.
    • One problem with coal when building a gigantic (as in whole-region), dense metropolis: space. Not wishing to have an entire small-tile city devoted chiefly to coal power plants for its power-guzzling metropolis neighbors, I once elected to run the whole town (i.e. one large-tile district of the megalopolis, pop. ~2.1 million) on a few nuclear plants in the far corner of the main city. It worked (and got a good chunk of extra Industrial zone—from where I had put the old coal plants back when the town was much smaller) as a bonus. Hydrogen, on the other hand, is just silly.
    • Also, transportation options play along this as well. Although many argue that rail takes up real estate on the surface and requires well placed stations as opposed to subways, however, they're cheaper, very efficient at passenger travel, and ideal for industries as usage for freight travel, since trains don't often have to put up with as much traffic as freight trucks, plus, they do not contribute to pollution.
    • Also, roads and avenues as opposed to highways. Indeed, highways can handle more traffic volume and have higher speed, but, they're enormous and difficult to make maneuver around obstacles (say a building or ocean), however, avenues, being a bit smaller and more maneuverable (can be built in 90 degree corners), and roads being declared "standard" amongst dense zones for movement, allow for a better flow of transportation. Likewise, either early in the game or for smaller cities and suburbs, streets actually prove to be ideal for lighter zones. The game even points this out to you quite often with having "not enough streets".
      • And you can combine both the advantages of avenues and roads (in the expansion) by building the roads one-way...which is incidentally what most major real-life cities do anyway.
  • Most Ace Combat games give you special weapons that range from bombs of varying sizes to long-range air-to-air missiles to laser bullets, but 90+ % of your kills will come from standard missiles and maybe guns. This is mostly because you get 50-80 regular missiles and (nearly) unlimited bullets and usually less than 20 shots of special weapons.
  • Warship Gunner 2 gives the player access to Wave Motion Guns, Macross Missile Massacres, Slow Lasers (with Beam Spam option), and UFOs, but standard big guns are still the go-to weapon because of their combination of power, range, rate of fire, magazine size, and the ability to fire in almost any direction.
  • In the SNES game Captain Tsubasa 5, there are all sorts of incredible "shoot at the goal" moves, like Tiger Shot, Drive Shot, Flame Shot, etc etc. The most effective way to score? The special pass moves. The "shoot" specials automatically give the goalee a chance to save the ball, whereas the "pass" specials will go to cutscene for a second, then the ball will more or less teleport to the destination you set. If this destination is the extreme left or right of the goal, the poor goalkeeper will basically have no chance to react as the ball bounces off the ground and rolls into the goal.
  • In Inazuma Eleven basically all the playable characters have incredibly outlandish and flashy powers, whether to shoot the ball, to block it, to steal it or to keep hold of it, all of which consume a specific amount of "magic points", with the most surefire ones being obviously incredibly costly. Your trustiest strategy to an easy win? PASSING. Passes don't receive any special treatment in terms of style, but unlike other moves they let your players move forward without losing much stamina as well as avoiding contact with opponents (which by default results in a waste of time and magic points). Upped to eleven when you realize that you can easily trick AI goalkeepers into following one of your forwards, only to pass the ball at another teammate and either passing or simple-shooting the football in the now empty goal area.
    • Later releases patch this by having keeper react much faster and giving out flashy "team moves" that consume a separate kind of magic points. At the same time, you're given the ability to actually aim at the goal area from anywhere on the field, which becomes extremely useful when the enemy keeper is out of his area for some reason. It ends up being the most used action even though it's one of the least visually stylish.
  • Buster force from Alien Soldier. It doesn't have the insane power capabilities or flame force or lancer force, and lacks any special attributes. However, it's perhaps the most useful gun in many situations; it uses low energy, has fairly decent power, and a good firing rate.
  • In Rimworld:
    • Muffalo. Raising a herd of these gentle giants can provide your colony with ample supplies of meat, milk, hide and wool, and they can also serve as pack animals for when you can start looking into forming trade caravans in the later game. They can be found in nearly every biome.
    • For firearms, you can't go wrong with the humble bolt action rifle; inferior to the assault rifle in fire rate and the sniper rifle in range but still capable of inflicting heavy damage at a good range and cheap enough to equip your colonists en masse with them. It's one of the first guns you unlock (being in the same "machined firearms" class as revolvers and pump shotguns) and you even start with one in the default Crashlanded scenario.
    • The recurve bow is another useful weapon for colonists. It is highly inexpensive and does not require any advanced machining to build, and deceptively effective for such a primitive weapon - in fact the damage is comparable to a revolver and only the precision rifles and rocket launchers can out-range it. In the Lost Tribes scenario, you start with the ability to research them off the bat and they will give your tribal colonists a roughly-equal footing against raiders. But wait, there's more! The greatbow (the next easily-acquired upgrade up) is stronger than any other neolithic weapon, it actually outclasses the autopistol and can even compete with the bolt action rifle!
    • If you have a colonist who prefers to get up close, the gladius is a jack-of-all deal; stronger than a knife, faster than a longsword and cheap enough to be a good choice in many situations.
  • Blackout Rugby has handling training. It improves your players' handling. It doesn't seem significant, but it can win a game by making less mistakes than your opponent.
  • Roadblocks in Pharaoh. In many of the City-Building Series games, services are supplied by "random walkers", who leave a building in a random direction and, when they encounter an intersection, choose a random direction to travel in. Other walkers, usually delivering resources, simply go straight from one building to another. Unlike, say, SimCity games where buildings automatically supply services within a certain range, if these walkers fail to pass through an area after a certain amount of time, services will disappear and housing degrades, buildings burn down, etc. The function of roadblocks is simple: Place them in a road, and they stop random walkers while allowing destination walkers through, but these structures make managing cities vastly easier.
  • Compared to the other roller coaster designs in RollerCoaster Tycoon, the Shuttle Loop is pretty run of the mill. But it is inexpensive for a roller coaster, pretty compact in size, and exciting enough that guests will want to ride it. Sometimes it's just more practical to build several Shuttle Loops instead of a big, flashy coaster.
  • In Banished, the good old Gatherer Hut is meant to provide your village with subsistence food in the early game, but i has many advantages compared to farms and orchards. Huts require only a few villagers to operate effectively, whereas crop fields employ a dozen people to work them. Huts work all year round, even in the winter, while crops need to be planted in spring and harvested in autumn, and tough luck if you don't meet those deadlines for whatever reason. Huts provide a few different kinds of food and this food diversity translates to healthier villagers. Gatherer Huts work absolutely beautifully when paired with Forester Lodges and Hunting Cabins, to create a continually replenishing forest habitat which reliably rolls in supplies of berries, mushrooms, herbs, meat and leather. Really, the only advantage farms have over Gatherer Huts is the ability to produce a decent food surplus once you have a steady and large population, and orchards are highly specialised and really just for providing fruit to refine into ale.
  • World of Tanks doesn't sound like a game where things can be boring... it's the epitome of Tank Goodness and Epic Tank-on-Tank Action after all, but with experience most players quickly realize that when it comes down to it, the really weird, esoteric stuff and specialized tactics tend to be rarer, and a lot of fights are decided by a simple combination of mass and firepower. This is why something like the KV-1 almost always contributes something to a battle where more specialized, 'thrilling' tanks like the AMX ELC might not. The KV-1 does two things really well—slowly advancing while taking fire and hurting people. It's not very original to just sling 122-millimeter explosive shells at everyone, but its effectiveness is almost comical.
    • Artillery is very much this. You'll spend 95% of the game looking at a top-down view of the map while trying to place shots on enemies from very far away and cursing the inaccuracy of your gun or the lack of spotters on your team, but artillery is ideal for breaking up camping and focusing down powerful enemies that lesser tanks might otherwise be unable to do anything about.
  • World of Warships is full of these, on every level:
    • Completing quest objectives requires you to go out of your way to get the specified number of whatever devs cooked up this time. For nearly every objective, a certain type/nation of ships and alternate behavior are going to provide you with faster completion, even if it will be no fun at all. 10 kills or raw damage? Grab your torpedo destroyer and go play against AI, rushing them, destroying 1-2 enemy ships and dying outright... Only to exit back to port and repeat it, without even waiting for the fight's outcome. Need ignites or citadel hits? Grab a light or heavy cruiser respectively and do the above again. Want to farm potential damage? Take your trusty German battleships that are immune to critical hits, one after the other, and suicide-rush the enemy getting a million per fight. Need ribbons for spotting and recon? Take an aircraft carrier and fly into enemy positions in the first 60 seconds of the match.
    • Playing battleships from the map edge (blue line) is hardly heroic and will get you justly yelled at by your team, but it is THE most fool-proof, safe and sound tactic if you have large caliber, good range and decent aiming/dispersion. The only thing that can effectively counter a blue lining battleship is another sniper battleship (or a carrier that does not mind abandoning the real action just to punish you).
    • Soviet battleships in Ranked Battles, when led by Soviet Admiral Kutnetsov, are basically a glorified cheat. They are rather limited in tactics choice, essentially an unkillable swimming brick that can only rush head-on and steamroll the enemy... But they are so good in soaking damage and dealing straight, unsophisticated direct hits that they dominate nearly every season, only rarely being outclassed by something equally reliable.
    • American Carriers have no gimmicks compared to other nations' aerial attackers: no Japanese invisible, powerful torpedoes; no German speed and armor-piercing bombs and rockets capable of tearing off half of a cruiser; no British durability or carpet bombing. However, their armaments (especially HE Dive Bombs and Tiny Tim rockets) are so easy to learn and aim, so universal and so suitable for use against every class, that for a novice or average player, they are the absolute best choice in nearly every conceivable situation.
    • Italian cruisers and destroyers have a special kind of smoke launcher that does not really provide a smoke screen per se, instead concealing the ship on the move for a short time, keeping it invisible so long as it does not open fire. Cunning players quickly figured out the most dull, boring and sneaky but also almost guaranteed-to-be-successul way to play it: rush the enemy head-on, invisible due to smoke, and launch torpedoes or just ram the target when close enough.
    • Daily missions. Since they are only advanced by experience for victories, the most surefire (and, for a low-skilled player, actually the faster) way to do them is to play about 15-18 Cooperative battles against bots. Or, if you feel risky, play Ranked Battles, which reward more experience for the same result and (due to lack of griefers) have about 50-55% winning rate, as opposed to 30-40% in Random Battles.
  • In Zoo Tycoon common animals such as gazelles and flamingos may not be as exciting to look at as some of the rare or endangered beasts, but they are significantly cheaper, more tolerant of crowds, and are easier to keep happy.
  • In Satisfactory, most players are satisfied with coal Power. They generate only a little over two and the half times the power of your starting biomass/biofuel generator. But even when fully overclocked, they're still really frugal when it comes to coal consumption. You can have a set of 4 fully overclocked burners and still have enough coal left over to share with some forges. You can theoretically run 9 fully overclocked coal burners on a stock mark 3 miner over a pure coal vein. Comparatively, fuel generators burns through fuel really quickly when fully overclocked, and geothermal generators, while capable of producing four times the power of the starting biomass power supply, cannot be overclocked and there's only so many hot water geysers on the world map. Nuclear generators may sound like a good idea at first, but then you end up having radioactive waste which cannot be disposed of in-game.

    Sports Game 
  • In Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D, curveballs and two-seams are not very flashy, but they do a decent job at making batters line, ground and strike out. You'll be using them most of the time.
  • The Tecmo Bowl series of games, particularly the NES version of Tecmo Super Bowl, had a few flaws that allowed for both offensive and defensive Boring but Practical strategies:
    • On offense, a simple Hail Mary play was often the best strategy for picking up yards, even if you were playing as a run-heavy team. This was because at the beginning of each play, the computer would calculate whether or not a corner back would successfully match his intended receiver off the snap and, inevitably, at least one would fail, allowing the receiver to run way out ahead of him. Since the hail mary play sends four receivers out, you're virtually guaranteed to have at least one receiver wide open every time you run the play, often 15-20 yards up the field.
    • Defense against computer-controlled opponents becomes painfully boring if you're willing to exploit a flaw in the dive-tackle mechanics. When a player dives, the only thing that will physically stop them is hitting the ball carrier, and players can dive several yards. This means that any defensive players between the diving player and the ball carrier will be flattened by the dive. If the quarterback is not in the shotgun position (meaning he's right behind the defensive line), selecting the nose tackle while on defense and rapidly spamming the dive button (B) causes the player to immediately dive the second the ball is snapped, plowing right through the center and immediately sacking the quarterback. This tactic is unavoidable even by players as the first few steps made by the QB are automatic upon snapping the ball. Amongst humans that play against each other, they either mutually agree not to exploit this flaw, or fill their playbooks with shotgun-only plays.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • The Hitman series runs on this trope. While 47 has dozens upon dozens of creative ways to eliminate his target, in every game the most efficient, time-saving and foolproof approach will be one of the three: either stalk upon the victim with the Fiber Wire and/or push them off the edge, ambushing them where no one's looking; getting out your trusty sniper rifle WA-2000 and sniping your mark from afar; or dressing up as a serviceman and staging an accident by sabotaging something in plain sight. In 90% of levels, these three methods will even reward you the Silent Assassin rating, and many players revisit the assignments just to find any method of fulfilling the contract that is just more interesting than these three.
  • The Assassin's Creed series offers a wide variety of ways to violently murder your opponents, many of them difficult and flashy. Then there are the super stealthy kills such as the Poison Dart and the Crossbow. Nothing fancy, just instant long-range death that nobody sees coming. In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, you gain access to Assassin Recruits, whom you can summon at almost any time to deliver a quick death to your opponents without any risk of detection at all. In most of the early games, the simplest method for surreptitiously eliminating a guard or target isn't storming in with a sword drawn, but using the Hidden Blade. One-hit-kill, no draw time, and you don't have to put it away to run.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2, you can acquire assault rifles, missile launchers, sniper rifles, grenades, and many other weapons. However, the weapon you will most often use is the M9 pistol modified to shoot tranquilizer darts (especially when you are going for a 'no-kill' playthrough). The silenced weapon doesn't trigger alerts from enemies hearing the shot, and it incapacitates enemy troops in a single hit. This is lampshaded by Awkward Zombie here
    • All games in the series post MGS2 have an equivalent. But the one from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is probably the most practical, since stamina kills are even more important than in most games in the series.
    • Speaking of MGS games, despite the fun that comes with blazing through enemies guns first, you'll probably find that stealthily taking down enemies one by one can save you quite a few deaths.
    • The series staple, the cardboard box. It lets you hide right in front of enemies, gives you camouflage at a distance, and has a surprisingly wide array of uses outside of stealth. One of the easiest ways to get into a secure area is to simply find a truck parked up nearby and get in the back and then hide in the box until a guard drives you in himself.
    • Empty magazines. Throw one and it will make a metallic clatter sound where it lands. Fantastic for getting a pesky guard to move out of the way (he will go to investigate the racket).
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has Buddies, unlockable companions with unique support abilities. You have D-Dog, D-Walker, Quiet, and... D-Horse. Just a horse, nothing extra, and helpless to support you once combat starts, but if you need to get from Point A to Point B without being spotted then there is no substitute. He is stealthier, quicker and better across terrain than any vehicle and he can be handy as a distraction if used creatively.

    Survival Horror 
  • The Trapper in Dead by Daylight. The Wraith has his Invisibility, the Hillbilly has his Chainsaw Good, the Nurse has her Offscreen Teleportation, and the Trapper has (you may have guessed it) his bear traps. Not exactly flashy or supernatural, but his traps are still pretty effective against novice survivor players, his stats are decent all-round and he lacks the technical gimmicks that make the other killers difficult for a new killer player. That said, against more experience players who know all the usual placement spots and how to spot them, the bear traps aren't so useful, so he risks being left without a reliable special ability and little else to fall back on.
  • Fatal Frame:
    • In the first game, there's Type-14 film. It's the weakest film in the game, but it also comes with the most plentiful amount and gets the job done. The fact that it can be recharged at a Save Point (provided that no hostile spirits are around at the time) should the amount drop below a certain number also helps.
    • Starting from the second game, there's Type-07 film. Its power is even weaker than Type-14 film, but it still works for your Magical Camera, and it has unlimited amount.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil: The One Where the Knife Was Actually Useful. The knife can score multiple hits on enemies and some can be stunlocked by the knife, making it easier to save your ammo for the bigger nasties later on.
    • Resident Evil 3 features gunpowder that can be mixed to produce ammo. However, while you can make tons of enhanced pistol/shotgun rounds or super-powerful Magnum rounds, it's easier and more convenient to mix all the gunpowder you can find into Grenade Launcher Rounds, that not only work against all foes in game (one-shotting lesser enemies and dealing massive damage to bosses), but are also made in large numbers, carried in a single slot (liberating more space for Plot Token items), you can keep over 100 of them with you at all times, and Jill looks badass using it. Probably the reason why it was so heavily reworked in the remake.
    • In Resident Evil 4, the knife should be used whenever possible, to conserve ammo: from breaking barrels to finishing off helpless foes. Enemies stagger when you shoot them in the knee, giving players ample time to slash 'em before they stand up again. There's even a boss (Krauser) that HAS to be hit by the knife rather than using guns, otherwise you'd never get enough ammo to beat him.
    • Resident Evil 4 has several pistols to choose from (and you keep using them the entire game, instead of swapping out for literally anything else the moment you get it): The Handgun with 'critical hit' on a head-shot, the Punisher that penetrates shields or multiple enemies, the Blacktail that is respectable all-around, and the unlockable Matilda firing in three-round bursts. However, most players swear by the Red9 (Mauser C96 Expy); while it lacks any flashy special effects (its Exclusive upgrade just gives it more damage), its sheer power and aim-steadying stock make it a consistently useful weapon against most mobs and even decent at sniping foes from medium range. Its only real downside is that it takes up a whopping 8 inventory slots (11 with the stock attached).
    • It's easy to overlook the TMP. Un-upgraded it's far from impressive, doing anemic damage, eating lots and lots of ammunition and being almost useless at range owing to its heavy recoil. With a stock attached and upgrades purchased, though, it becomes a great crowd control tool, letting you rip through shields, stun enemies with a leg-shot and follow up with a melee, or spray-fire to stunlock small groups of mobs into oblivion. Unlike most weapons, you also don't have to feel bad about firing it willy-nilly - you get 30 or more bullets per pickup and they're quite common. It may not get those satisfying head-pops very often, but it keeps you alive when used properly.
    • Carrying over from Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 makes enemy encounters easier by shooting them in the legs and then doing a melee attack like a suplex rather than focusing on headshots (which can make some encounters go worse if you aim for the head).
    • In the remake of Resident Evil 2 (2019), shooting zombies in the knee till they can no longer walk is a lot better than to score a Boom, Headshot! as head shots even from a shotgun are no longer guaranteed kills.
  • Silent Hill: Downpour gives you access to a wide variety of weapons ranging from actual firearms to things like baseball bats, crowbars, and hatchets. The most useful and versatile? The fire hook. It has long range and isn't likely to actually kill foes, making it very easy to go for the Pacifist Run Good Ending unscathed, doesn't break or run out of ammo, and can be used for its intented purpose of lowering fire escapes to reach item caches or avoid enemies. Best of all, you can find them all over the place.
  • Alien: Isolation gives you a wide variety of craftable tools to aid in your survival...but the basic noisemaker you can throw to draw enemies away from you will never stop being useful.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico subverts this trope with gameplay style: though your starting pistol is the weakest weapon, impossible army-beating action stunts are only possible with the pistols, which by the end of the game have unlimited ammo. This is facilitated, only in part, by a high volume of Explodium in the environment.
  • For the most part, the only weapon worth a damn in Freedom Fighters is the basic AK-47. Nearly everything else suffers from horrible accuracy, problems refilling on ammo, or both. Also slightly averted in that the strongest and most accurate weapon, available after you have enough squad members at your disposal to conserve ammo reasonably, also has a large enough ammo capacity that you can safely keep using it provided you can aim.
  • John Woo Presents Stranglehold can be entirely completed using only the pistols up to medium difficulty.
  • Dead Space also has several fairly original and interesting weapons, but it's perfectly possible (and not all that hard) to end the game with the Plasma Cutter - the weapon you start out with. Even if you're not going for the related achievement, you'll still find yourself using the it very often, as ammo is plentiful and damage is high.
    • Every weapon in the game has a secondary fire, that can do things like electrify its last fired spear, launch a concentrated ball of fire, or other such flashy tricks. The Plasma Cutter... can turn sideways. This means the Cutter can cut limbs off from just about any angle easily, which makes it far more useful in a pinch than anything else in the game.
    • In fact, it's probably easier to beat the game with just the Plasma Cutter, simply because carrying another weapon means its ammo can now be found. If you didn't have the weapon, you would only find Cutter ammo and therefore have a lot more.
    • The Pulse Rifle. It's one of the few non-improvised weapons you can find and you pick it up early on. It is functionally an assault rifle with a secondary grenade launcher. Not terribly impressive in comparison to even the Plasma Cutter and tricky to use effectively besides, the Pulse Rifle's main strength is ubiquity; since other more conventional shooters also have assault rifles, you the player won't have too much difficulty actually using the damn thing once you shake the impulse to aim for headshots and center-mass.
  • Most Gears of War fans rave about the chainsaw bayonette melee kill, but the simple fact is that the long-winded kill animation leaves you wide open. On the insane setting, this is certain death for the player. The less flashy Hammerburst has a faster melee knockback that won't paralyze you like the Lancer would while also offering decent damage and higher firing accuracy.
    • The Hammerburst being the Locust primary weapon choice will also let you find ammo everywhere.
    • In multiplayer (of any game in the series), using anything but the Gnasher Shotgun will result in a lot of anger from other players directed your way. It's hard to tell whether these players are "Stop Having Fun" Guys or Scrubs, because even though the Gnasher is easily the best weapon in the game, the general opinion of the community is that everything else is too overpowered.
    • Gears of War 3 adds the Sawed-Off Shotgun, which a player can opt to spawn with instead of the original Gnasher Shotgun. It's a power weapon in PvP, but in the cooperative "Horde" multiplayer mode it's much less attractive; it has to compete against rocket launchers, bows with explosive-tipped arrows, sniper rifles, and even a weapon that tunnels under cover before (literally) exploding out of the ground (all of which are present in PvP, but much rarer). That said, the Sawed-Off is very simple to operate and can One-Hit Kill most non-boss enemies until wave 41 (of 50). Since it's classed as a "spawned" weapon, you'll also have your ammo topped up to 4 rounds at the start of each wave, meaning you'll always have enough on hand to make an impact.
  • S4 League has the Detector skill. It doesn't grant special moves or grant you some sort of defense like many of the other skills do. However, it's still mighty useful: in addition to showing invisible opponents, it also indicates the locations of enemies behind walls (by showing their nametags above their on-screen locations), allowing you to launch some surprise attacks or avoid running into some sort of trap set up by enemies. Additionally, it's a passive skill (you never have to activate it) and costs no SP to use.
    • The HP +30note  skill also works wonders, especially in Chaser mode where survival is a VERY high priority.
  • Just Cause and Just Cause 2 give players access to all sorts of nifty toys, most notably the grappling hook, which are all good and fun. However, at the end of the day, you're going to be using the pistol and SMG more than a good bit to wipe out your enemies. In the sequel, the fairly common assault rifle and grenades are pretty solid bets for both utility and effectiveness. Not as interesting in the face of rocket launchers, sniper rifles, or hooking some poor Mook to the back of a fighter jet that's taking off, but extremely efficient.
  • Despite the vast array of weapons available for use in Resident Evil 4, a combination of a handgun, knife and Action Commands is enough to deal with many enemy encounters. Only for large groups, shielded enemies or bosses will you ever need to break out something more powerful, meaning that the majority of the weapons you have will end up not being used nearly as often.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront gives you a bewildering array of improbably spectacular weaponry to choose from, including a laser-based Sniper Rifle, a Chaingun, a literal Sniper Pistol, an "arc caster", a flamethrower, a Grenade Launcher, a rocket launcher, a wrist-mounted semiautomatic rocket launcher, and a semi-auto pistol that shoots homing rockets from a 30-round magazine. But when it really comes down to it, all you're gonna need is a basic shotgun or assault rifle. note 
    • It's also a rarity among Star Wars games in that you can destroy AT-AT's with sustained rocket/turret fire instead of trying to tie them up with the Snowspeeder like in the movies.
  • Vanquish: While you can use weapons like a multi-targeting laser or a rocket launcher, the best weapons you could use are the assault and sniper rifle. The assault rifle fires quickly but the trade being firepower... although it's very easy to find (the game spews it out it ALL THE TIME) and one can fully upgrade, before the first act is even over, making it your go-to gun for the entire game since it does Cherry Tapping at a very quick rate. The sniper has range and good damage, and this before you start upgrading it.
  • In Splatoon, that Splattershot Jr. you start the game with may seem like a toy. Just don't be surprised to see it or close variants in the hands of max level players; it has nothing fancy going for it, just a very deep ink tank, a rate of fire that can paint everything your team's color fast enough to turn the tides of a close game in the last few seconds, and overall at least decent stats in everything that matters. Oh, and its special gives you (and any teammates you touch) temporary invincibility (changed to armor in the second game). Accuracy and range are its only issues, but Splatoon generally favors close-quarters aggression anyways.
    • Its sequel gives it several new toys to play with, including an ink tank with 110% capacity instead of 100% and a kit that contains one of the game's rarer specials (the Torpedo).
  • In the multiplayer mode of The Last of Us, you can perform flashy and brutal executions on downed players, and each weapon has multiple different execution animations. But, like the Gears of War example above, they're practically a death sentence if you haven't cleared the area before initiating it. To counter this, there is a special perk that changes all of your executions to a decidedly more mundane neck snap; but, you automatically stay crouched when performing it, it's silent, and it's much faster than any of the default ones.
    • In the single player mode of TLOU, specifically on the Grounded difficulty (the hardest in the game), you might find it more practical to try and stealth kill or avoid any enemy in the game that's vulnerable to those methods rather than use any of your cool weapons simply because there's very, very, very limited ammo around. You can no longer afford to go around sniping human Mooks with their backs turned when any alert enemy in the game can quickly one shot you in a head on fight.
  • Warframe: In a game where there are massive laser cannons, flamethrowers, shotguns that shoots razor discs, and living guns that spit acid, one of the best weapons is the Soma, a simple machine gun. Many of the basic guns are still viable at high levels, and while some of the fancier guns are better at taking down bosses, they are usually only best against one specific boss.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Ace Attorney series, many of the protagonists have superhuman powers that help aid them in investigations and in the courtroom, such as magatama-aided lie detection and a strong sensitivity to witness tics. In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Edgeworth's "superpower" is simply using good old logic to establish conclusions based on what he knows about the case so far.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • [PROTOTYPE] has the Musclemass power. No fancy deviation from unarmed combat... except maybe boosting those attacks' damage outputs to endgame-useful levels once maxed out. Even the Cannonball move benefits from this, yet overuse will make it fit this trope eventually, since it's one of the more surefire(read: attacking while dodging attacks) ways to quickly down anything amidst the chaos except the game's Dragon.
  • Grand Theft Auto 2: The trusty S-Machinegun is available in unlimited quantities at nearly every phone. It lacks the instant-death firepower of the flamethrower or the auto aiming of the Electrogun, but it has good range, rate of fire, and damage, so it's very likely that you will be using it throughout the game. Even better is the silenced version, but this one is very hard to find.
  • Minecraft
    • Cobblestone. Not very fancy, but it's durable, incredibly common (without a special enchantment, all your stone automatically turns into it upon mining), and very important when it comes to crafting. It's so important that the "Cobblehaters" Self-Imposed Challenge is far and wide one of the most difficult ones, at least early on in the game.
    • Farming crops. Farming isn't the most exciting thing to do in Minecraft (as opposed to going around slaughtering pigs and cows), but with a reasonably-sized, well-lit, and hydrated farm, you can easily produce enough wheat to constantly feed yourself with bread, at a fast enough rate that you'll never starve to death again (unless you by chance allow Creepers or Endermen to wreck your farm).
    • "Getting wood" is a meme for a reason, everyone. Wood is by far one of the handiest materials in Minecraft, serving as construction material, tool-crafting material, and fuel. And it's renewable, since the foliage of the trees you punch for wood contains saplings you can replant for more trees.
  • In a game loaded with air strikes, tanks and helicopters, the weapon that will see the most use in the Mercenaries series will be some variant of the basic Assault Rifle and RPG combo. When you crash the helicopter, blow up the tank or miss the airstrike, whatever you need dead (including a building) will eventually fall with this comparatively humble combo applied in the correct manner. The best part is that you will trip over ammunition for them, so you don't need to worry about cash or fuel costs.
  • The sledgehammer and mining charges are easily the most versatile weapons in Red Faction: Guerrilla. The sledgehammer can tear through almost any structure in a couple swings, and mining charges provide great building destruction, crowd control, traps, and vehicle control. They're also the first two weapons you have access too, and the sledge is a permanent fixture in your equipment.
  • The 3D Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row series have plenty of high-powered machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, and gatling guns. More often than not, the standard pistols can carry you through most of the game thanks to their plentiful ammo and excellent accuracy.
    • And the most important aspect: their headshot capabilities dealing good to massive damage to everything.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V it's likely that you'll use the carbine rifle much more than any weapon because it's powerful, accurate even at long range, it has a high rate of fire, and with modification it can hold 60 rounds per clip. Also, it becomes available fairly early in the game.
      • Also, you have many kinds of Awesome, but Impractical and Simple, yet Awesome vehicles to choose from. Or you can just take a Taxi to get where you need to go — it's very cheap, it's much safer than risking getting Busted or Wasted by trying to steal a vehicle in the middle of traffic, the AI drives for you decently enough, and you can call one in from almost anywhere.
    • The emergency services side missions are long, repetitive, and frustrating (especially if you get all the way to the end and then fail because you accidentally run over a passenger). But they yield significant benefits: a permanent health/armour boost or an immunity to fire, and a large pile of cash.
  • In Saints Row: The Third the Morningstar Specialists are armed with a plain Sniper Rifle, unlike the Grenade Spamming Luchadores or the Flash Stepping, Hammer Dropping Deckers. Getting hit by it staggers you nevertheless and it hurts pretty bad.
  • While there are several nice firearms and some cool, creative, or just plain silly melee weapons (like katanas, guitars and pet rocks), one of the best choices for weapons in the zombie survival sandbox The Dead Linger is the fire axe. It has reasonably fast attack speed, kills zombies in two hits, doesn't take up too much inventory space and, on top of everything else, can also be used to gather wood for barricades or campfires!
  • The Game Mod for Minecraft, BuildCraft, has several cheap, but useful items:
    • Wood Pipes are required to extract any items, fluids, or power.
    • Sandstone Pipes don't connect to anything but other pipes.
    • Redstone engines don't need any fuel, so it's most useful for transporting items and liquids.
    • Structure pipes are cheap, requiring only gravel and a cobblestone pipe, but they let you run color wires, the mod's logic system, though multiple kinds of pipes.
  • Terraria:
    • The Ranger class. While it has the lowest variety of weapon types (Guns and bows, with only a handful of unique weapons). However, they are arguably the most powerful class in the game. Their high range and usually high damage output will cause some heavy pain to your foes.
    • The Mining Helmet, while not as bright as a torch and somewhat expensive in the first dozen hours of play, will make your life in Terraria so much easier when you get it. However the tradeoff is that you have to wear it in your head armor slot rather than social slot, which breaks armor set bonuses and can drastically lower your potential Defense score.
    • Picks also qualify. Did you just find a new, awesome ore to craft with? You really ought to craft a pick with it so you can dig faster.
    • The Cross Necklace doubles your Mercy Invincibility. That's all it does, but it's extremely useful against enemies that can hit you in very quick succession like the Destroyer, the Hardmode worm boss. This is especially important if it allows you to steal more health using certain equipment than lose it due to constant damage from enemies. It can be combined with the Star Cloak as mentioned above.
    • Cursed Torches. They're plenty bright, don't go out in water, and one Cursed Flame makes thirty-three torches. On Crimson worlds, there's Ichor torches, which are made just like cursed torches, only slightly brighter.
    • Campfires. They only cost wood and torches, take about as much space as a crafting table, and passively accelerate your regeneration. Their effect also stacks with the more powerful Heart Lamp. Handy for various situations.
    • The Magic Dagger: Available early on in Hardmode as a common drop from Mimic monsters, you can whip out throwing daggers at a very rapid rate with average knockback. Plus, it only costs 6 mana per dagger before any bonuses, making it a decent backup ranged weapon for non-mage characters.
    • Ropes. Introduced in 1.2, they aren't much to look at as tools, but are very helpful. You can combine 10 lengths of Rope into a Coil of Rope that can be thrown to tether it from a distant ledge, use them to help elevate your homebase/town off the ground so monsters cannot invade easily, and even use it to "Indian Rope" upwards into the sky in search of Floating Islands. Chains, which function the same or as a crafting component, are the iron/lead-based counterpart to ropes, only you're also able to forge them from ingots. They're really cheap, and can allow you to climb up them and go down them without taking fall damage. Extremely useful until you get wings, which are in Hard mode.
    • Summons are there to give you a small boost in damage. They even have their own class based around using summons.
    • Yoyos. Early yoyos are relatively cheap to make (the first wooden yoyo costs 10 wood and 20 cobweb) and deal decent damage since they are much more rapid than swords. Their main selling point, however, is that they can be guided around obstacles, letting fragile newbie characters take on hordes of zombies with some patience.
    • Iron and Lead. The second tier of the basic metals (next strongest after Copper and Tin), they will actually remain relevant to engineers and mechanism builders well into the lategame, despite being less powerful/exotic than, say, Cobalt or Mythril, as you will need these mundane metals to continue crafting things like Pumps (which you will want in order to make moving liquid around without resorting to a giant stack of buckets possible/less cumbersome), Chains (which are used to make Heart Lanterns and Watches, the latter of which is an important part of making Timers), and Buckets. They're even more indispensible if you plan to make and use minecart tracks, which require iron to forge.
    • When there is a Blood Moon, zombies can open your house's doors. You can stop them in two ways: put something behind the door or dig in front of the door so that the zombies cannot reach it.
    • Out of all the Expert Mode boss drops, there's the Worm Scarf. It reduces 17% of damage taken. Compared to most of the other pre-hardmode Expert Mode boss items, it sounds rather mundane but it isn't situational (Royal Gel, Hive Pack, Bone Glove, Brain of Confusion). Furthermore, this damage reduction is extremely useful for the increased damage that Expert Mode enemies do.
    • The Bug Net. It is used to catch critters, all of which are useful: things like bunnies and birds get you cash (5 rabbits sell for the cost of the Net) and worms, butterflies and fireflies are bait, required to get fish and, indirectly, some very good objects. If you get a Gold critter, you can sell it for 10 gold coins or use it as bait, with the highest fishing value in game.
    • Wooden platforms. A simple, semi-solid platform you can jump or fall through with ease. They only require wood to make and don't even need a crafting station. Pretty much every boss strategy begins with the phrase "Build an arena out of wood platforms." There's simply no more cheaper or effective way to put the terrain on your side than several long rows of wood platforms.
    • The Crystal Serpent, a hardmode staff that can be obtained by fishing it from the Hallow biome. It's a direct upgrade to the pre-hardmode staffs, and definitely not the most flashy hardmode magic weapon, but its great damage output, ability to deal splash damage, and great mana efficiency makes it easily the most reliable, and can easily carry you all the way up until Duke Fishron.
    • Early game, with how squishy your character is until near the end of pre-Hardmode, ranged and thrown weapons help immensely with picking off mobs from afar. Grenades in particular can one-shot most mobs, provided you aren't in the range to also take splash damage as well.
    • It's not uncommon to see people go for warding on all their accessories when one gets the Goblin Tinkerer. While the accessories offer a wide variety of stat buffs, warding gives plus four defense for your character. When stacked together with other warding accessories, the extra defense that results can be a godsend for squisher classes like mage and summoner, and with melee armor the character effectively becomes such a Stone Wall that even late game bosses have trouble dealing major damage.
    • Fishing. One of the most tedious tasks in the game given the fact that it also involves having to deal with the Bratty Half-Pint Angler NPC if you want his unique accessory rewards, it is nonetheless not only a major source of ingredients for potions, flasks and food, but also rare tools and weapons that are strong enough to let a player skip several upgrades to their arsenal if diligently performed. However, the biggest advantage of fishing is the acquisition of crates, which contain random accessories, ores, metal bars, money and other items; opening said crates upon reaching Hardmode will randomly yield any of the six different Hardmode ores, allowing a player to bypass having to break Demon Altars for the ores and risk spreading Corruption/Crimson and Hallow as long as they have enough crates in stock.
    • Out of all the tools at your disposal in the early game, one of the most crucial items to bring with you when spelunking - especially if you're playing as a mediumcore or hardcore character - is simply a piece of any underground trap, which includes active stone blocks, pressure plates, dart traps, etc. At first glance, they appear to be nigh-worthless Vendor Trash when you first start out, since the tools for wiring and making contraptions are not available until you reach the dungeon and free a certain NPC, making them functionally useless for the majority of pre-Hardmode... until you realize that, while held as your active item, they possess an inherent property that allows you to see the wiring of underground traps, which are otherwise very difficult to spot. Considering these traps are one of the most common causes of Yet Another Stupid Death, this is a godsend, as it allows you to scout out danger simply by quick-switching to the trap piece in your hot bar, like a minesweeper of sorts. Furthermore, it negates the need to spend extra time collecting enough resources to make Dangersense potions, the only other reliable way to counter underground traps.
  • Red Dead Redemption takes place at the sunset of the old west, 1911. The best gun your going to get is the Evans Repeater, not because it's super strong or has a special effect, but because it has good range, good damage, good speed, quick reload, and a large magazine. It might as well have the word PRACTICALITY stamped on the side.
    • One of the best pistols in the game is the FN M1903, or High Power Pistol. Not because it's fully automatic, or a fancy lever-action museum piece, or a 9-shot revolver, but because it's clip-fed for quicker reloads, semi-automatic for fast shooting, and does high damage.
  • Red Dead Redemption II:
    • Hunting:
      • The game features an absolutely massive array of animals to hunt, incredibly detailed and diverse in their size, appearance, and behavior, but most players looking to either make money hunting or provide meat for the camp will probably largely stick to Whitetail Deer. They're plentiful across most of the map, very easy to hunt once the player has a rifle, graze in groups so the player can usually find a pristine specimen, and fetch a fairly good price at the butcher.
      • The same applies to Alligators. They are extremely common, spawn in the swamp around Saint Denis fairly close to the entrances, and barely move. If you have a heavy rifle or upgraded arrows, you can just look for a perfect specimen, shoot them in the head, and bring their skin to Saint Denis for quick cash. Their only downside when compared to the aforementioned deer is that you can only store one alligator skin on your horse while deer skins are stackable (up to 10).
    • The game offers a wide variety of old west firearms, but the basic ones handed to you during Chapter 1 (the Cattleman Revolver, Sawed-Off Shotgun, and Carbine Repeater) are more than enough to carry you deep into the game. Ammo is extremely plentiful, upgrades are relatively cheap, and if you're a judicious user of Dead Eye, they'll drop nearly any humanoid enemy in the game with a headshot.
  • In Project Zomboid, the Park Ranger profession doesn't really offer much with fighting zombies or building things, but it does make you less vulnerable to adverse weather. This is important considering Knox County enjoys a sort of "maritime" climate; that is, it rains. It rains a lot.
  • Cataclysm:
    • Part of learning to survive is figuring out productive uses for all the clutter objects you find.
    • The fire ax isn't as glamorous as a broadsword or katana, but it has decent swinging power behind it and can knock back and stun enemies. It's also easier to find than the more exotic blades, as fire stations and firefighter zombies occasionally have at least one on hand.
    • The combat knife lacks the punch of the fire ax or katana, but swings quickly and accurately. More importantly, though, it's easier to find than the former two: manhacks and soldier zombies drop them, and occasionally a military surplus store or gun basement will have one.
    • The quarterstaff is not very exciting as a weapon, but it is easily-made (a pair of two-by-fours and 2 leather patches), swings relatively quickly, and works with multiple martial arts styles.
    • Weapons aside, some of the most sought-after articles early in the game are clothes with ample storage. Cargo pants can safe your life, and a backpack is worth killing for.
  • The "Strange Powers" update for Don't Starve gave each of the playable characters special powers. Willow gets fire immunity and an endless torch, Wendy can summon her sister's ghost as an ally, Wolfgang can bulk up with food to increase his combat stats... and Wilson can grow a beard. Beard Hair is a vital component of the Meat Effigy, meaning Wilson can make effigies without risking his Sanity Meter to spawn Beardlings. Shaving also gives a nice Sanity boost... or, in winter, Wilson's beard can keep him warm.
  • Pyramid-shaped techs in TerraTech. They don't look that great, but a simple pyramid structure provides the maximum possible space for guns while allowing all of them to fire at once.

    Game Systems and Peripherals 
  • Nintendo's Game Boy was built on this trope. Sure it has no backlight, and its color palette is limited to four shades, but at the time of its release (1989), backlit screens with color resulted in prohibitively expensive systems that eat batteries for breakfast, hence why the Atari Lynx (1989) and the Game Gear (1990) didn't do so hot in comparison. The Game Boy's strong battery life, high degree of portability for its time, immense durability, and low cost allowed the system to be the face of portable gaming for over 10 years, with a plentiful library of games that are the opposite of boring. Nintendo did eventually adapt color screens in 1998 with the Game Boy Color and lit-up screens in 2003 with the Game Boy Advance SP, but that was when such technologies became cheaper, more advanced, and more practical to implement in portable devices.
  • Sony for the fourth console in a row has used the exact same controller with only very minor and mostly cosmetic differences between them. While it's not as ambitious as Nintendo who always tries something new and innovative, it's also allowed them to practically perfect it and make a very reliable and overall well designed device, made it easier for the designers of long running franchises since the controller's layout remained the same, and allowed gamers to enjoy backwards compatibility without having to buy additional controllers, and of course, averted Damn You, Muscle Memory! for years.
    • The PlayStation line largely owes its success to this trope. Sony's consoles are often criticized for not innovating in things like controls like Nintendo has with D-pads, analog sticks, touch screens, and motion controls, or online services like Microsoft with Xbox Live. However, as the latter two brands know all too well, with innovation comes risk, and they've had almost as many supposed innovations fail as they have succeeded. Sony, on the other hand, builds consoles that incorporate features that have already proven successful on other consoles, which for the most part have ensured their consistent success and popularity to a great degree while their competitors have seen numerous ups and downs.
  • For arcade games, basic upright cabinets and Japanese "candy cabs" such as Sega's Astro City, Taito's Egret II; for the latter type of cab, there's even options available for HD games such as Taito's Vewlix. They're relatively inexpensive and compact compared to flashy but much more power- and maintenance-hungry dedicated cabs, go well with a large variety of games such as Fighting Games, Shoot Em Ups, Sports Games, and even some Mecha Games like the Gundam Vs Series, and the joysticks and buttons they use can be replaced as needed with new parts that can be bought by themselves in bulk, or swapped with different types for a customized experience. Games can be swapped out without having to purchase a whole new cabinet, and the monitor can be rotated into a vertical orientation for games that require it, such as many Vertical Scrolling Shooters. It's even possible to forego arcade hardware and instead set up a console or PC inside the cabinet, if you want the arcade experience but don't want the high price tags associated with authentic hardware. At the cosmetic level, customizing the cabinet for the game currently set up is as simple as slotting in the marquee and instruction slip, which you can either print at home if you have a printer that can handle the sheet sizes or at your local print shop. Candy cabs are also designed at sitting height, allowing players (especially those bound to wheelchairs and those whose physical problems prevent them from standing comfortably for long periods of time) to enjoy games comfortably longer than on upright cabs.
  • Cocktail cabs for reasons similar to candy cabs. It's a table with the monitor mounted under the transparent surface, is similarly compact, and you can even use the surface as a table for eating or paperwork in a pinch. Because of their small size, they are relatively easy to transport.
  • Another arcade example: Using standard currency (such as US quarters and Japanese 100 yen coins) for credits. While they don't allow for bulk discountsnote , they allow players to whip out their spare change to play instead of having to trade it in for specialized tokens or cards, and if you exchanged a paper bill for currency and find that you don't have time to use all your coins for games, you can spend them elsewhere. And if the arcade shuts downnote , your stacks of quarters don't suddenly become worthless.That said... 
  • For PC games, control configurations that use the keyboard and mouse, particularly in first- and third-person shooters. No need to buy a separate controller when there's already one below your screen! Many players been known to upgrade their mice and keyboard to ones that are better-suited for games, but still useful for everyday non-gaming functions.
  • Keyboard and mouse not to your liking? The humble gamepad works well too. Most popular gamepads, especially first-party ones for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Saturn, and, again, Sony's PlayStation controllers, work wonders for a wide range of games and can be used in a reclined position (such as on a couch). With the right adapters and drivers, you can use just about any major console's controllers on a PC.
  • Nintendo and Sega thrived on this trope when building their consoles. Instead of trying to come up with something custom and fancy for the the CPU or GPU, they used a readily available off-the-shelf part or hardware that another company already worked on and is just looking for a contract to produce the parts. Especially the case with Nintendo, as almost every system they built had a devkit available from day 1 because the console shared enough components as a readily available computer.
    • Similarly with arcades since the late 2000s. Instead of coming up with expensive custom hardware, just use something that exists (i.e., a game console) and modify it if needed. Or just use a bog standard PC.

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