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"I'm glad people still use hammers in combat; I find it much more intimate than guns. This thing weighs 5 TONS (yes, TONS), so only your Combat Equipped soldiers can use it. Five tons in a few square feet means that the hammer can crush enemy tanks, EASILY."
Shattering Justice description, a weapon meant to be used with Power Armor, Risk of Rain

This is a sister trope to Magikarp Power where something which appears useless or obsolete becomes more effective because it's more compatible with the very latest technology than what came in between (either in technology or the ability of the user). The two can be distinguished thus; a Magikarp Superpower becomes more effective after working and improving it (e.g. levelling a Magikarp up until it evolves into a Gyarados), while this trope becomes more effective because something else has improved (e.g. a high level item which gives Magikarp in particular a significant boost in power).

This can include previously obsolete technologies that suddenly prove to be a vital part of (or to complement) the latest ones or (on a more individual level) someone with a great deal of experience in a given field using a technique beginners avoid because their experience allows them to do it more effectively. All that matters is that the method in question is genuinely ineffective without the advancements or experience to take advantage of it. Historically, it can include technologies and ideas which were too ahead of their time and needed other advancements to be fully realized.

This doesn't just mean technology or techniques that have been around for a long time being used; they have to actually be obsolete. So a vehicle which uses technology which has been around since the dawn of time, like wheels, wouldn't count because nothing has ever replaced the wheel, but a new, renewable fuel which turned out to be more efficient in a steam engine rather than a petrol or diesel engine would.

In speculative fiction settings, this is a common way for a work to justify the prevalence of swords over guns using Technobabble (or Magibabble) to establish some technology which shifts the mechanics of combat in favor of melee weapons somehow (often overlapping with Enhanced Archaic Weapon).

This can also overlap with Break Out the Museum Piece (if said museum piece uses a technology which is advantageous in the situation at hand). A subtrope of Older Is Better. Also related to Bishōnen Line (for cases where the creature crossing it originally had a more human form). Compare Minovsky Particle, where a new development justifies otherwise impossible technology.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the second half of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Gunmen are dropped in favor of the new Grapearls. It turns out that the Gunmen are still more useful against the Anti-Spiral proxies because they were designed specifically to fight them, as although Grapearls were based in Gurren Lagann's specifications, their pilots are unable to channel Spiral Energy through them.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, Armor Digivolving is said to be an ancient form of evolution that the Control Spires can't deactivate. The ability to use it is why the old guard can't fight the new villains and the newcomers are needed.
  • One might be forgiven for thinking that Mazinger Z is a completely outdated scrapheap by the time of Mazinger Z: Infinity. However, when Kouji finally takes Mazinger out into battle, it's revealed that while Mazinger Z was indeed on display in a museum, it was also constantly being quietly upgraded since it was used as a testbed for new technology.
  • In the Gundam franchise, the Oldsmobile Army of Mobile Suit Gundam F90 pilot machines from the long-gone Principality of Zeon. However, after making contact with remnants of Char's Neo Zeon, those ancient machines were heavily upgraded (using the parts of the newer machines) so as to be a match for many of the Federation's mass production models. It looks like you're facing an old Gyan from decades in the past... but under that old shell is the reactor, armour and machinery of the modern Geara Doga.

    Comic Book 
  • Pretty much any superhero/supervillain who uses a tricked-out, obsolete weapon as their gimmick. These include Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Capt. Boomerang, Batman (with his various batarangs) and etc. The supervillain, Marvel's first Black Knight was all about this, he wasn't worthy enough to inherit his ancestor's magical sword so he used his comic-book engineering skills to make himself bullet-proof chainmail and a laser-tipped jousting lance.
  • X-Men: Doug Ramsey aka Cipher has the ability to comprehend any and all languages. Suffice to say, he wasn't much use in a fight. But here's the thing: he was created in the 80's, before the digital revolution. And any language was shown to extend to computer code. Naturally, when he was resurrected, this, combined with his understanding of body language quickly elevated his usefulness. A one-shot story also showcased that he was able to understand the "language" of a city — allowing him to find a terrorist just by seeing the things that were "wrong" in the environment.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Coreline: The availability of technology from all over Fiction inside the setting means that enterprising people have utilized advanced technology to upgrade old (by Real Life and other shows' standards) vehicles and weapons in order to create Ace Custom pieces or simply make a mass-produced new "mark" of the old gizmos. Two examples within the setting are the Stingray Industries "Slammer" (an updated copy of the AMT Automag V that works up to par of military-grade combat pistols) and the A-101 "Thunderchild" (an updated version of the A-10 "Thunderbolt" (or "Warthog") that is widely used for anti-armor/mecha-hunting duties).
  • Linked in Life and Love: After retrieving his old Hunter weapon Black Valentine, Roman comments that he hasn't used it in years and that it's a decade out of date. His co-brother-in-law Qrow, who had been keeping it all these years, tells him that he's maintained it and even modified it to use the newer dust rounds.

  • In Woody Allen's film Sleeper: After waking up in the future, Miles orders some health food for breakfast (he used to own a health food store). It's revealed that in the future they've discovered that "unhealthy" foods are actually extremely good for you.
  • In Neil Blomkamp's Elysium, a gangster hands Max an AK-47. Max asks whether it is a family heirloom, being that it is the mid 22nd century, and AK-47's have likely been out of production for a hundred years. The gangster replies that it has been upgraded with air-burst munitions and a simple point-and-shoot interface.
  • The T-X from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines has a liquid metal outer layer like the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day and a metallic skeleton like the T-800 series from the original; while it is theoretically more vulnerable because of the skeleton, it has the ability to carry onboard weaponry and isn't vulnerable to things that can damage a T-1000 specifically. For instance, near the end of the film the heroes activate a supercollider that acts like a powerful electromagnet, peeling the liquid metal off of T-X and short circuiting it, which would have killed a T-1000, but the T-X uses its skeleton to pry itself off the supercollider and disable it. The LEGION Terminators of Terminator: Dark Fate go further by using the liquid metal sheath as an Attack Drone and Combat Tentacles.
  • Sky High (2005): The Big Bad is an example of this trope. Back in the 80s, Sue Tenny's technopathy powers ended up condemning her to the sidekick track because technology wasn't advanced enough for her to make great use of them. The advancement of technology in the years that followed made it so that, when she re-enrolled in Sky High in the early 2000s, her power was seen as far more useful; as a result, she made the hero track instead.

  • In Dune, both laser weapons and human-sized energy shields are widespread, but due to the Technobabble behind them if one meets the other then a catastrophic explosion occurs. Shields aren't proof against slower moving objects though, so most combat is waged using swords and knives. It also becomes relevant in-story later on when the Harkonnens use the ancient and obsolete technology of artillery against their enemies holed up in caves. Artillery and other projectiles had fallen out of use due to shields, but they're very effective for collapsing cave entrances.
  • In the Honor Harrington series, fusion power plants are commonplace for starships, and the inability to miniaturize them past a certain point makes ships smaller than destroyers impractical in combat. The Graysons, lacking the ability to develop fusion power plants, instead spent several centuries obliviously improving on fission reactors. The result, while far less capable than the fusion power plants, are much easier to scale down, and more than adequate to make Light Attack Craft, operating in large numbers with disproportionately powerful weaponry a very unpleasant surprise in battle.
    • Grayson had a similar story with their inertial compensator. Unable to buy their own from their more advanced neighbors they were forced to invent their own from scratch and the resulting designs were rather underpowered compared to everyone else. That was only because of the crudity of the Grayson manufacturing base. The engineering principles behind them, however, turned out to be a major innovation and when applied to Manticore's start of the art technology proved to be a vast improvement over previous designs.
  • In The Forever War, combat takes place within projected stasis fields which neutralize all electromagnetic fields except those contained within a special coating. This means no modern weapons work and leaves humans and aliens fighting an interstellar war using swords and bows.
  • In Michael R. Hicks' In Her Name series, the aliens attacking humanity are very close to, if not quite actually Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. However, their goal is to test humanity rather than wipe them out immediately, and they view one-on-one hand-to-hand as the only honorable form of combat. They, therefore, take steps to prevent modern (in-universe, meaning futuristic from our point of view) weapons, and especially computer-controlled ones such as missiles, from working. Fighting mostly involves tanks and basic projectile weapons, while space combat frequently results in boarding actions which had been previously unheard of.
  • In a future so distant that the sun had been extinguished, the Earth had become The Night Land a wasteland full of mutated humans and supernatural horrors. Firearms were ineffective against most enemies in the Night Land, so a polearm was developed. One with a spinning saw-blade that was souped up with earth energy.

    Live Action Television 
  • In Star Trek: Voyager the ship's engine and hull get improved using technology based on the carburetor of an old Ford pickup truck and the hull of the Titanic, respectively, though these examples were more used as inspiration for adapting modern technology than actually using old physical tech to upgrade.
  • Old Klingon ships in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were protected against the Breen energy-draining weapon, by an obsolete component (it might even have been a reference to the outdated plasma coils in the cloaking system from Star Trek: Generations). Until a sample energy-draining weapon was captured, the Klingons had to bear the brunt of the war effort on their own.
    • In the episode "Captive Pursuit", O'Brien offers his assistance to fix Tosk's ship but doesn't know how to go about it unless he knows what the broken part actually does. Tosk explains that it collect interstellar particles and converts it into energy for the engines. Miles compares it to a ramscoop used to suck in air. With that comparison in mind, Miles is able to fix the ship and improve its performance.
  • In Power Rangers RPM, the Paleozords were a Super Prototype that had to be scrapped since they were uncontrollable. But by the time they're unearthed, the related tech had advanced to the point that losing control was no longer an issue.
  • In Arrow, for Season 6 John Diggle had to take on the Green Arrow mantle. Unfortunately he's a mediocre archer, so the team took a crossbow design and created a new rapid-fire loading system for it. As an expert gunman, he transitions easily to the crossbow and its innovative rapid-fire lets him go up against guys with submachine guns.
  • Near the end of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the SHIELD team has to make do with old World War II-era equipment. One of the outdated surveillance devices proves incredibly useful, as it can bypass modern security measures while its obsolescence means that nobody deploys the countermeasures that do work against it anymore. Unfortunately, this worked against the team as well — their target's data was completely immune to computer hacking by virtue of the fact that they used a pre-computer system of a room full of filing cabinets.

  • In Veritas, after spending long periods training to purify his Ki flow, Gangryong discovers that he gets much better results if he deliberately clogs the flow until it bursts and washes out his system. Overlaps with Dangerous Forbidden Technique, since timing it wrong could kill him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traditional melee weapons are not common on the various Humongous Mecha of the BattleTech setting, with the overwhelming majority of armies preferring modern ranged weapons such as lasers... up to the point that specialty armor such as laser-reflective armor starts negating most of the effect of modern energy weapons. However, it is especially vulnerable to shattering from the impact of a melee attack. As a result, the previously mostly-ignored melee weapon category suddenly becomes a fairly effective option as more units start using the advanced laser-reflective armor type.
  • As future humans of the Dark Age of Technology encountered aliens with heavy armour who were quick enough to close in for melee, there was a need for weapons that can cut through armour up close. Thus a sword that had been souped up with a powerful motor and mono-molecular teeth was developed. Also, unless you're a Warhammer 40,000 caveman, most combat knives use a mono-molecular blade.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! is a rare TCG where cards never rotate out, so sometimes old decks get new cards to make them competitive. Usually it's only a couple of cards, but those cards can be game changing. This ranges from new cards for old powerhouses like Dark Magician, to more obscure archetypes like Karakuri, to cards that make Skull Servant the centerpiece of really powerful decks.

    Video Games 
  • In Chrono Trigger, Robo, a robot from the year 2300, can be equipped with stone arms you find in prehistory and they're the best weapons you can find (at the time).
    • Also, while the Masamune is quickly obsoleted by other swords after defeating Magus with it, it can be upgraded to Frog's ultimate sword after Opening the Sandbox.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, GDI forces had no answer to Nod artillery until the Juggernaut was developed. The Juggernaut was essentially a triple-barreled naval gun, taken off of a regular battleship (since Tiberium infestation has choked the seas too much for a conventional navy to be of any use) and mounted them on a mecha walker frame to make it mobile. The Juggernaut is so useful that it was retained into Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars, even when other GDI mechs had been scrapped.
    • For Tiberium Wars, GDI found their mechs were vulnerable to sabotage from elite enemy infantry (who could just sneak up, plant explosives on one leg, and send the whole thing off-balance), so they reverted back to conventional tanks which were previously obsolete. Instead of merely digging up museum pieces, the next-generation Predator tank was improved with a larger cannon than previous tanks and the new Mammoth tank had two sets of tracks to help carry a better missile rack and more armour. Both tanks could later be modified to get rail guns for more firepower.
  • Normally the artificially intelligent UCS of Earth 2150 are the Higher-Tech Species to the human factions as of Earth 2160 (they've overtaken the previous hi-tech faction of the LC), however for their basic infantry they have them outfitted with built-in gatling guns. Even the in-game description notes that these machine guns are obsolete compared to the humans' energy rifles, so the UCS have them equipped with depleted uranium ammo. But even with this, those gatling guns are still kinda puny. Luckily the UCS troops are all battle robots that can be mass-produced and they can increase their survival rate by sheltering in the faction-specific bunker.
  • In the Mass Effect series, you get the omniblade, which is a "disposable silicarbonate blade almost as hard as diamond, build by an omnitool micro-factory". In short, it is a trusty old knife, except it's an Absurdly Sharp Blade able to cut through most things. Must useful if used in tandem with a Tactical Camouflage to stab an enemy In the Back (like Kasumi Goto does), or used against Husks.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, high-frequency blades are widely used by cyborg soldiers due to widespread adoption of carbon nanotube-based armor, which is very effective against bullets, but can still be sliced through by HF blades. This is further extended with Sam's Murasama: since it's a high-frequency blade made out of an expertly crafted 16th-century katana instead of a mass-manufactured modern day blade, it's by far the most effective weapon of its type.
  • Dynamix's Metaltech series of Real Robot combat Simulation Games introduced an advanced assault HERC, the Apocalypse, in a mission pack for Metaltech: EarthSiege that takes place after that game's campaign and before the sequel, EarthSiege 2. Touted as incorporating Cybrid miniaturization technology, the Apocalypse was just as heavily armed as the Terran Defense Force's mainstay assault HERC of the time—the Colossus—while being considerably faster, lighter, and better protected. Fast forward two centuries to Distant Sequel Starsiege, and the TDF are still using the beloved "Apoc," with the current model being the Apocalypse Mk. V.
  • Ninja Gaiden have made the humble bow and kunai knife relevant to modern times by turning them into explosive weapons. The bow can be outfitted with arrows tipped with tank shells while the kunai becomes the Incendiary Shuriken by having an incendiary grenade for a handle. Now these weapons are fantastic at taking out armoured vehicles and mook mobs respectively.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pikachu, despite being pretty much the official mascot for the franchise, was never very useful in-game due to its low stats. Later generations, however, included a special item called the Light Ball, which could be equipped by Pikachu (and only Pikachu) to double its attack power and also allow it to pass down the Volt Tackle move to its offspring, thus giving it a viable role as a Glass Cannon.
    • This happens quite often when new mechanic such as Z-Moves is introduced. For example Splash is a joke move that does nothing for the majority of series. But using it with Normalium-Z as a Z-Move causes it to raise attack by three ticks (or by 150%). It can be only used once in battle though.
  • The obligatory BFG weapon in Serious Sam is the "SBC Cannon", a man-portable cannon which fires depleted uranium cannonballs. Also in Sam's arsenal are Colt Single Action Army revolvers fitted with "techno-magical ammunition replenishers" and a Tommy Gun retrofitted to fire 5.56 rounds.
  • This is the basic story behind the Unreal Tournament 2004 modification Ballistic Weapons, where humanity got into a war with an alien race whose Deflector Shields repelled all of their futuristic energy weapons. In desperation, humanity then pulled their old bullet-firing weapons out of storage, and found out the aliens' shields did nothing to stop shots from those. Most of the weapons actually playable in the mod are futuristic upgrades of old 20th- to 21st-century weapons.
  • In the PC turn-based tactical game Spellcross, flamethrowers had long been obsolete on the battle-field. But when the bullet-resistant undead started appearing, the idea of using "flamethrowers" was mulled. But to avoid getting too close, these "flamethrowers" weren't the World War 2-Vietnam spray guns instead they were incendiary bomb launchers and some were even mounted on specialized infantry fighting vehicles for extra protection.
  • More of a stylistic choice, but in Valkyria Chronicles, the World War 2-era forces had taken a medieval knight's jousting lance and removed the spear portion to replace it with either an anti-tank rocket launcher or an anti-personnel mortar.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, there comes an episode where the Decapodians invade Earth. All standard future weapons are disabled, so they get an old heat-seeking missile out of a museum to bring down their mech. The Decapodians' war machine is cold blooded "just like them", but Zoidberg solves this by improvising a burning spear (from a flag, demonstrating his point about symbols of freedom vs. actual freedom) and throwing it to serve as a beacon for the missile.
  • Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles: This G.I. Joe toy line had as its selling point (among other things) the usage of reactivated and upgraded World War II vehicles by the titular team (two of the most important ones were a P-40 Warhawk piloted by the titular Super-Soldier that had VTOL capabilities and autopilot (and a minigun that wouldn't be out of place in a Warthog anti-tank plane) and the "Blitz" tank, a Sherman upgraded with a plasma cannon as a main gun).

    Real Life 
  • Most computer programmers are taught not to program in "machine code" and other low level languages (basically the code the computer's processor itself uses) because it's not worth the effort, however a particularly dedicated and skilled programmer might do so to draw the most out of a given piece of hardware (this practice is a lot less common now as higher level languages have become more efficient, hardware's improved to the point where limitations on software efficiency aren't so strict, and compilers have developed near-omniscience in their ability to generate optimal code).
  • In warfare;
    • The state of the art in artillery has see-sawed between solid and explosive projectiles as different generations of armor and target hardening have come and gone.
    • On a related note, it's sometimes speculated that improved missile technology will further reduce the importance of gun armament in naval warfare, with weapons such as the Rolling Airframe Missile taking over secondary roles that are usually covered by gun-based systems. However, other speculations contend that advances in anti-missile technology and emerging technologies such as the railgun will reassert the importance of gun armament in naval warfare.
    • For the first half the century, the hand-cranked Gatling gun had been largely replaced by fully automatic machine guns; it was later brought back as an air-to-air combat weapon, with the hand crank replaced by an electric/hydraulic motor and beefed up to fire cannon rounds at a rate of up to 6,000 rounds per minute.
    • "All or nothing" armor strategies. If something's armor isn't strong enough to withstand a direct hit from the weapons it's expected to face, then it's better not to give it any armor at all and enjoy the benefits of lighter weight.
      • Infantry are probably the most extreme example. As guns became stronger and more accurate troops went from fully armored (if they could afford it) to virtually unarmored, until even officers were wearing nothing more than a basic jacket and trousers, because it was all useless. Then, in World War I, indirect-fire artillery made shrapnel at least as big a concern as small-arms fire for infantry, so metal helmets and (in some circumstances) light breastplates were adopted to protect against these new threats. Over time, developments like kevlar, ceramic plates, and ballistic shields have also gradually turned the tide against small-arms fire, but modern sci-fi seems convinced full body armor is poised for a comeback.
    • By end of World War I, military aircraft had evolved from unstable civilian designs to highly agile killing machines. The advent of the turbojet engine during World War II and further research in aerodynamics (much of it acquired from German scientists after the war) allowed aircraft to exceed the speed of sound without suffering from stability issues. However, starting in the 1970s, military aircraft were purposefully designed to be aerodynamically unstable. This, of course, reduced their maximum speed and flight ceiling but ended up improving their overall maneuverability and flight characteristics, especially at low-to-mid altitudes where most missions take place. The disadvantages of an inherently unstable craft (namely, controlling it) have largely been mitigated by fly-by-wire control systems.
    • Most silencers rarely manage to completely eliminate the sound of a gunshot. Up until the development of specialized silenced firearms and ammunition, the only feasible alternative for silent killing at long range was a crossbow. Even into the more modern day crossbows and the like have remained somewhat common among special forces, at least according to some stories, since the sharpened tip and slower speed of an arrow compared to a bullet makes them much better at penetrating most types of modern body armor.
      • Additionally, Chinese cops in areas that suffer from terrorist attacks are being issued crossbows for use against suicide bombers. The impact of a bullet might trigger a shock-sensitive explosive; a slower-traveling crossbow bolt is less likely to do so.
    • When tanks first appeared in WWI, they were lightly armored and mainly fired high-explosive munitions for infantry support. By the end of WWII, they had become well-armoured machines with guns that could fire high-velocity shots to pierce increasingly heavy armor. However, the development of increasingly effective shaped-charge warheads during the Cold War led to a belief that no amount of protection could be assured against such weapons. German and French tank designers responded by reducing armor to increase mobility and focused mainly on having their tanks' guns fire high explosive anti-tank rounds at long ranges. However, all of these changes were reversed by the development of composite armor and ERA (explosive reactive armor) blocks, as well as smoothbore guns firing kinetic energy penetrators with extremely high velocities, thus returning to the paradigm of a heavily armored tank with a high-velocity gun.
    • There's an interesting example with submarines, as well. Nuclear-powered subs are unparalleled in their ability to roam the open ocean for months at a time with little to no support. For most of the mid-late 20th Century, they also performed much better in terms of submerged speed and other factors. However, beginning with the Soviet Kilo class in the 1980s, diesel-electric technology started catching up in performance, if not loitering time. While their batteries limit the amount of time they can spend underwater, diesel-electric subs are now significantly quieter than nuclear subs.
    • The PaK 36 was a potent anti-tank gun when it was first introduced. However, by 1940, it was dismissed as "the Wehrmacht's door-knocker", as it had become virtually unable to pierce the armor of any Allied tank. The weapon was rescued and given a new lease of life by the advent of tungsten-cored ammunition, allowing it to penetrate thicker armor than the standard round could manage. When it became apparent that even the improved ammunition would no longer work, the gun was further adapted to fire a shaped charge grenade from the muzzle, which had the ability to pierce virtually any Allied tank armor up until the end of the war. Though it was supplanted in its role as an infantry anti-tank weapon by larger, more powerful guns, the PaK 36's lighter weight, low production costs, and ease of handling had some distinct advantages that allowed it to remain in production until 1942, with some light infantry and paratrooper units using it until the end of the war.
    • At the start of the Cold War, heavy 7.62mm battle rifles were issued, but were quickly obsoleted due to their larger calibers being superseded by lighter 5.56mm weapons that performed just as well for less weight. Many such battle rifles have since gotten a second lease on life as sniper or designated marksman rifles - some, in fact, being much more useful and widespread in that form than they were as general-purpose rifles.
    • Ukraine modified antique water cooled machine guns for use against Russia. This wasn't purely a move of desperation. These machine guns can continue to function so long as they are supplied with ammunition and water. More modern machine guns use an interchangeable barrel system or simply accept that the gun will be damaged in the rare instances where it needs to fire continuously. However, the political situation meant that highly mobile warfare modern machine guns are designed for wasn't possible between 2014 and 2022 while also demanding around the clock suppressive fire. Water cooled guns are perfect for this.
    • Both sides in the war in Ukraine have used old Cold War, or even WWII, manually aimed AA guns to counter drones.
    • Speaking of drones, the first combat drones fielded with called, Assault Drones. These radio controlled aircraft were more often than not manually guided, occasionally through a built in tv camera. However, during World War II, crude automated navigation (V1 Buzz bombs) and crude homing technology (glided bombs) emerged. Combining the two post war lead to "assault drones" becoming "cruise missiles." The manual aiming was eliminated because it was both easy to jam and often had to have the operator close enough to be in harms way. In the 21st century though, various digital forms of communication emerged that were much harder to disrupt. While these were first used in reusable drones that launched missiles themselves, it didn't take long for "suicide drones" to emerge. These can be very hard to jam as they can disguise their transmissions as other forms of data, in a largely digital world, and their human operators can't be fooled the same way a guided missile can.
  • Submachine guns in police work. While most militaries have replaced SMGs with carbine length assault rifles, many police have found their old sub guns to be much better for the job they are tasked with. This is primarily because pistol caliber rounds have lower penetration and it's easier to make an even lower penetration round for indoor use from them (substantially reducing the risk of civilian casualties). Pistol rounds are also cheaper, especially in countries where civilian handgun ownership is legal, and solves the logistical problem of having to order multiple calibers of bullets.
  • In car design;
    • Diesel cars became trendy around 1980, but they had their problems and quickly disappeared for the most part. Then sometime in the 2000's, diesel-powered autos made a comeback due to improved technology. Then in the 2010s, it was discovered that manufacturers were cheating on emissions testing, resulting in them falling back out of favor.
      • Diesel engines also need next to zero modification for conversion into burning biodiesel, a fuel with almost zero carbon footprint. In fact, Rudolf Diesel's first few engines were built to burn cooking oil, the precursor of modern biodiesel, as their fuel. Biodiesels are also fairly cheap as they can be made from kitchen and slaughterhouse waste, lowering the demand for city landfill capacity. Some cities—Shanghai, for example—have their entire bus fleet converted into running on biodiesel and new buses are biodiesel/electric hybrids. Also in Shangai, citizens with biodiesel compatible cars can buy biodiesel from bus companies at a much lower price than petroleum diesel, and the conversion fees—if any—are partially covered by the city. Biodiesel generally has the same fuel mileage as petroleum, and the natural lubricating property of biodiesel reduces the wear and tear of the engine.
    • The Wankel rotary engine. Mazda touted the Wankel as the engine of the future, as highlighted in this oft-played commercial from 1973. But the Wankel had its problems and was pretty much forgotten at least for automotive use, except in the RX-7. Technological improvements brought on the Renesis, a new rotary engine in 2003 for the RX-8. The other wiki says Mazda discontinued that as well, though, for emissions standards reasons. However, the Wankel engine isn't dead: as of November 2013, Mazda is working on the successor to the Renesis and have plans to develop a smaller rotor as a range extender for hybrids. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly popular as a small engine in applications where its high power-to-weight ratio, smaller dimensions, and inherent simplicity far outweigh its disadvantages.
    • Double example: during the early days of automobiles, electric cars were better regarded than gasoline vehicles. Internal combustion technology, of course, outpaced electric vehicle technology for most of the 20th Century. With advances in electric cells and motors (as well as the development of hybrid cars, thanks to computers becoming advanced enough to manage the energy in them) they're beginning to become viable once again, even to the point of overcoming the auto industry's notorious barriers to entry and high-level change.
  • Airships. The airships of old had a lot of safety and maneuverability issues and thus were phased out by airplanes. Modern technology, though, can provide cheap nonflammable helium and an effective slightly-heavier-than-air design that greatly improves maneuverability. As a result, new airship projects are starting to appear, since they are much more fuel-efficient when carrying heavy cargoes than airplanes.
    • Also they need a relatively smaller airfield to land, rather than miles of landing strips. They're like a third option between airplanes (which can carry heavier loads faster, but require more space and upkeep) and helicopters (which don't require nearly as much space to land, but have much less carrying capacity).
  • In the early days of the games industry a lot of them were made by individual programmers (or small teams) who self-published (by distributing cassette tapes or floppy disks with photocopied manuals). As computer hardware became more powerful, games became more complicated to make and larger teams were needed. Then Digital Distribution happened, along with smaller devices which call for older styles of gameplay and improvements in middleware that make it easier to create compelling games without large teams, and "indie" games made by single people are back in vogue.
    • Internet distribution has also sparked a similar resurgence of self-publication in literature and film, which was long ago common in both fields but had fallen by the wayside in the interim.
    • Throughout the 70s, game developers were generally not credited due to fears of competitor publishers trying to poach those developers. Developers would then take steps to make themselves known as the makers of these games, first through Easter Eggs and then finally the right to be listed in credits that are accessible through more obvious means. However, some developers, mainly indie/doujin developers, in the 21st century have come to find that Celebrity Is Overrated, and so choose to become Reclusive Artists under pseudonyms that they don't attach to other aspects of their lives so that they can work on their games in peace, keeping contact with their fans limited so as to not face pressure from critics and people impatiently waiting for their future games.
  • For some, cars with tape decks. These were generally obsoleted by built-in CD players, but in the interim, there were special adapters that connected to the headphone jack of a portable CD player to use the car's speakers. Then came the advent of MP3 players. At that point, you could still use the adapter with the MP3 player in the same manner, but it had no way of interfacing with a CD player. Because of that, the obsolete tape deck would actually be the preferred method of interfacing with your car's entertainment system.
    • Likewise, car cigarette lighters started to go out of style as public opinion turned against smoking... until people started realizing that the sockets that housed them could also be used to recharge portable electronics. While the lighters themselves are unlikely to make a comeback any time soon (even for those who do smoke, the things pose a serious burn/fire hazard because the red-hot coil doesn't self-extinguish), the prevalence of car chargers has given a new lease on life to the mechanism that formerly heated them up— albeit possibly temporary because a USB port is much smaller and not really more expensive for automakers to put in.
  • The ubiquitous "QWERTY" keyboard layout was designed first and foremost to prevent typewriters from jamming by putting letters commonly used together far away from each other; however, advances in typewriter technology and moreover the rise of the computer made QWERTY's benefits irrelevant, rendering it The Artifact. Now, we have smartphones, where thumb-typing and predictive text benefit significantly from the next letter usually being on the other side of the board.
    • Mechanical switch keyboards used to be commonplace in the 80s, then over time, keyboards makers switched to rubber dome switches probably for cost reasons. Now, mechanical keyboards are all the rage again due to their reliability, as well as other features like tactile feedback or easing the ability to "rapid fire." Heck, even the old IBM Model M, released in 1986, is becoming a well sought after item.
  • Coaxial cables were thought to be obsolete in delivering TV signals by wire, replaced by composite, component, and then HDMI. The humble coaxial, however, was found to be unparalleled at delivering Internet signals to households short of specialized wiring like fiber optics. The result is that coaxial returned in The New '10s as a popular way for households to go online, as it's fast and cheap.
  • In large cities with very dense populations and perpetual heavy motor traffic, some police officers have taken to traveling around on bicycle, as they can fit into tight spaces easily, are almost completely silent, and, with enough skill, can turn on a dime. They might not reach the blazing speeds cars can, but that doesn't matter when every driver is stuck in gridlock.
  • In robotic combat, bots with hammers for weapons had early success in the early 2000's, but improvements in armor soon rendered them useless in comparison to spinning weapons. Then came the 2016 season of BattleBots, where improvements in pneumatic technology, the idea to anchor the bot to the metal floor using electromagnets, and the fact that you can aim a hammer but you can't aim a wildly spinning object, saw bots like beta and Chomp advance deep into the tournament. Chomp, in particular, has a computer-guided system (all other hammer-bots prior had their hammers controlled by humans) and a pointed tip, allowing it to strike with pinpoint accuracy. For instance, Chomp defeated the previous year's champion Bite Force by pecking at a small hole in Bite Force where its drive chain was exposed, rendering Bite Force's spinning drum useless less than 10 seconds into the match.
  • Most home video game consoles stopped using cartridges in the mid-nineties in favor of CDs (although they stayed more popular in the hand-held market, as spinning optical media wasn't as compact and uses more power). The sole holdout, Nintendo, proceed to demonstrate why the others had moved on as cartridges' advantages such as faster load times and no need for separate memory cards were vastly outstripped by how much data CDs could hold and at a much cheaper manufacturing price; most N64 games retailed for $50-60 on cartridges packing 4-64 MB capacity, while its prime competitor the PlayStation gained the edge with $40-50 games on 650 MB compact discs (granted, most of the space was for soundtrack audio, but even then developers still had a lot more space to work with and even if they didn't use much of the disc space for game data, they could put on much higher-quality soundtracks). Since then, games have gotten larger and now take a significant time to read from the disk, while cartridges have become smaller and cheaper with the advent of flash memory. Nintendo, after three generations of disk-based systems, returned to cartridges for the Nintendo Switch with much fanfare and success.
  • There have been more than a few cases of obsolete aircraft receiving a new lease on life via various design upgrades. One dramatic example is the Basler BT-67, a rebuilt Douglas DC-3 with such upgrades as a strengthened and lengthened fuselage, new turboprop engines to replace the old piston engines, new avionics, and modifications to the wings. The end result is an aircraft with all of the strengths of the DC-3, but with greater carrying capacity, range, speed, and of course a renewed service life for the 1930s-era DC-3. Given that over 16,000 DC-3s were built (including military variants, licensed copies, and even foreign knock-offs), there are more than enough airframes and parts to keep the popular aircraft in service.
    • Another similar example is the North American P-51 Mustang, which saw various rebuilds and upgrades, including the Cavalier Mustang, originally designed as a high-speed VIP transport, but which would evolve to become an attack plane for the export market, and the Piper PA-48 Enforcer, which featured a turboprop engine and was marketed as Counter-Insurgency (COIN) attack plane. The Piper Enforcers were so heavily redesigned and rebuilt, that they only shared about 10% of their parts with the original Mustangs which they were originally built as.
    • Somewhat less dramatic but far more entertaining was the brief trend of taking piston-engined aircraft (typically transports or tankers) and fitting them with jet engines (in addition to the piston engines, not instead of, mind you) to give them additional thrust. While many of these aircraft's top speeds were limited by their airframes, the additional thrust did mean they could carry heavier loads, such as was the case for the Fairchild C-82 Packet and C-119 Flying Boxcar. For the tankers, such as the KC-97 Stratofreigher (itself a much-redesigned spin-off of the B-29 Superfortress), it allowed the tanker to keep pace with the jet bombers it was meant to refuel (previously, refueling had to be done with the jet bomber idling its engines with flaps and airbrakes extended, following the tanker as it went through a full-throttle power dive to try and stay ahead of the gliding bomber it was refueling). The practice mostly went out of fashion with the introduction of both jet-powered transports and the turboprop engine (itself being a relatively small turbine engine turning a large propeller).
  • Biplanes, while largely obsolete, still see use in certain niches where short-takeoff-and-landing ability are favored over airborne performance, to include things like cropdusters. One military design which was introduced surprisingly late (1947) was the Antonov An-2, a Soviet-designed biplane transport intended for use from short or improvised airfields and popular among such players as North Korea and North Vietnam (being able to takeoff from and land in any flat-ish clearing is handy when any sizable or well-built airfield is likely to be a target of the United States Air Force). The airplane proved so versatile that it saw an upgrade in the form of the turboprop-powered Antonov An-3, which was introduced in the 1990s.
  • The pocketwatch had become a rare sight by the end of World War I as men started wearing wristwatches instead. By The New '10s, however, it was popular again to check the time by reaching into one's pockets, now that cell phones had surpassed watches in timekeeping devices and, well, people commonly store their cell phones in their pockets.
    • And now with sufficient miniaturization of the required electronics, fitness trackers, GPS watches, and smart watches have begun digging right back into the market for wrist watches by providing many of the functions of a cell phone in a much smaller device that can be worn all the time and is often much more strongly built than phone units, as well as be used where/when cell phones are unwanted.
  • The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus pandemic brought back a few old ways of doing things that were deemed obsolete for decades or made them more popular:
    • An effective way to keep protected from infected people, most of whom show no symptoms and are unaware they're infected, is to remain in a car, which is an enclosed space. As a result, the Drive-In Theater found a comeback as a way for people to go out to see movies while ensuring the virus doesn't hop over to other people while they're watching.
    • Before shoppers could wander throughout a large store, such as a department store or a supermarket, and pick out whatever items they wanted off the shelves, large stores had a model in which customers would write down what they wanted, and once they were paid for, an employee would go find the items and bring them to the customer. This old model died out in the 1990s, at least in North America, but has found new life in online ordering and curbside pickup, in which this is exactly how the process goes and has minimal physical contact.
    • Online grocery delivery means Americans can, once again, have someone drop off bottles of milk at the doorstep in the morning. It's not a good idea to have them do it every day though, unlike in The '50s.
  • This is the whole idea behind the Squatty Potty. Let this Shakespearean actor and an ice-cream-pooping unicorn explain it to you.
  • Terrestrial broadcast television, the first way to view the medium, has started to make a comeback. This is partially because digitization of TV did broadcasting a lot favors, allowing signals to come in clearly note  and from farther away. The main factor is streaming though. Many people no longer see the point of paying for cable or satellite when you can get everything when you want it off your wifi router. Cable also has the weakness of using the same bandwidth as internet, and if the cable provider goes down, it will usually knock both out. Broadcasting, though, only costs as much the equipment and will still work even if the cables are down, one of the situations one might consider watching traditional television.
  • The German railway company RailAdventure, which specialises in delivering and moving trains, uses a fleet consisting almost entirely of heritage locomotives for its duties. The stated reason for this is to avoid conflicts of interests: Train Manufacturer X might have issues with a modern locomotive of a competing manufacturer being used to deliver their own trains, but absolutely nobody would be upset with a beloved classic locomotive from a long-defunct manufacturer doing the job instead.
  • Thanks to a 1966 refurbishment of the line, the Island Line on the Isle of Wight features a tunnel near its northern terminus that is too small to take normal sized trains. Since then, the line has thus been populated by retired London Underground trains that have been shortened and adapted to accept a different type of third rail electrification, but have otherwise received little modernisation. The first set of trains to be permanently assigned to the line, the Class 485/6, date back to 1923. Upon retirement at 59 years old, they were replaced by the Class 483, based on the 1938 Stock that was 83 years old upon retirement in 2021. Their replacement the Class 484, is adapted from 1980 D78 Stock, and were 41 years old upon their adoption.
    • The company behind the Class 484, Vivarail, specialises in the conversion of retired London Underground ‘D’ Stock into modern trains for regional lines, under the rationale that doing so is hugely flexible and cost-effective.
  • In the old days of television, shows intended for rebroadcast were mastered on film since there was no way to record a video signal. These would then be rebroadcast through a device called a Kinescope, essentially a TV camera positioned in a tiny movie theater that would watch the film and broadcast what it saw note . Then videotape came along. With component systems like Betacam, it became possible to store a TV signal as good as (and honestly much better), than any TV could receive them. So TV shows only used film on outdoor locations (the cameras were lighter) and began to master everything else in tape. Only then HD came out and TVs could suddenly display much higher than Betacam. TV shows mastered on the older film process could easily be re scanned for HD broadcasting (and Blue Ray), while the newer video taped shows simply were never created in a higher resolution.
  • Arcade games were once the trailblazers of the gaming industry, until advancements in console technology and a paradigm shift towards long-form cinematic titles led to arcades becoming unprofitable and closing en masse in most non-Asian countries. However, starting in the late 2010s, Western arcades started to make something of a comeback, often using the "barcade" (bar + arcade) business model to capitalize on the social aspect of arcade games, one that isn't as easy to replicate with same-console or online multiplayer (i.e. get some friends together for an evening of drinks and grub on a weekend or after a day of work, and also enjoy some arcade games together while you're at it). They're still not as big as they were in the 70s through 90s, but between refurbished retro cabs, the development of new arcade games designed as Genre Throwbacks, and the continued development of Pinball games which have always been a staple of American arcades in particular, they've managed to hit a stable stride once again.