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Simple, yet Awesome

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The Browning M2: in continual service since 1921, with only one major modification to the design.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sometimes the simple solutions are the best ones. Though the best solutions are sometimes the boring ones, occasionally they achieve a sort of elegance that keeps them from being dull. Although lacking the over-the-top badassery and flashy visual effects that would make it Awesome, but Impractical, their very simplicity gives them a sort of awesomeness all their own. These are timeless answers to enduring problems, and can always be relied on to do what needs to be done, without needing pointless ostentation to call attention to themselves. Where other things come and go, things that are Simple, yet Awesome endure.

Less impressive than Awesome, but Impractical, but not as dull as Boring, but Practical. Something that's Simple, yet Awesome is something that you'll find yourself using over and over again, and enjoying it, despite its lack of Visual Effects of Awesome.


Obviously more common in Real Life than in fiction, as once a simple, effective, cheap solution to a problem is obtained, basic economics prevents fancier but less cost-efficient methods from replacing it.

Compare Simple, yet Opulent.


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  • Commercials for Breyers ice cream like this one focus on the simplicity of the product's ingredients and why that makes it good.

  • Dragon Ball: The most useful technique in the entire franchise is none other than the humble Taiyoken, or Solar Flare, a non-damaging technique that temporarily blinds the opponent and never stops being useful, all the way from the original series through GT. Your enemy can punch teleport? Solar Flare. Your enemy can regenerate? Solar Flare. Your enemy is a thousand times stronger than you are? Solar Flare. If your enemy has eyes, it will work.
    • Also, Krillin's Kienzan, or Destructo Disc. A weak attack honed to absurd sharpness, it never fails to cut through whatever it encounters, barring Perfect Cell. It's especially effective against arrogant bruisers who assume that they can No-Sell it because they have many times Krillin's power. The only reason he's never managed to kill a main villain with it is that they always catch on at the last second and dodge (except Cell, who stops it with his neck). It really says something that, in spite of Freeza being so much more powerful than he is, Krillin's Ki-enzan is able to cut off Freeza's tail. Given that Krillin can't so much as scratch Freeza with other attacks, it gives you an idea of just how effective this attack can be. Freeza later uses a similar, but remote guided, attack, in his fight against Super Saiyan Goku. Until Cell comes along, there is no one, but no one, who could survive a blow to a critical area from this attack.
      • Additionally, the scene of Perfect Cell resisting the attack was anime-only filler and has been deemed non-canon; the Kienzan is supposed to be able to cut through anything.
    • Piccolo's "Special Beam Cannon" is another example. It's not insanely powerful, or flashy. It's simply a powerful blast condensed into a shot the size of a handgun bullet... and has been used to kill enemies much stronger than he is, and that can No-Sell most of his other attacks. It started as Awesome, but Impractical due to its five-minute charge time, but further training obviated that drawback and turned it into this.
    • The initial Super Saiyan transformation could count as well. Despite there being more levels beyond it, the first level continues to be the most used transformation among the Saiyan protagonists. This trope is kind of spelled out in the Android Saga by Goku. Vegeta and Trunks opt for more powerful, but severely draining transformations while Goku and Gohan decide to train their control over the initial transformation to better conserve their energy. As a result, Goku and Gohan end up more powerful ( in the case of Gohan, far more powerful) than either Trunks or Vegeta and have the greatest chances of defeating Cell.
      • Taken to the logical extreme years later, where Word of God stated that there wouldn't be any (true) Super Saiyan forms past Super Saiyan 3. Instead they would train their bodies in their base form and make use of the less taxing Super Saiyan 1 transformation to give them the appropriate bonuses, instead of the more taxing forms. Presumably as Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan (better known as Super Saiyan Blue) are basically base form and Super Saiyan for gods, this holds true for these forms as well.
      • In the Dragonball GT universe though, there is Super Saiyan 4. However, the requirements and usage make it unique. More practical than 3, the state resembles having chest fur and a longer tail, looking like Oozaru elements have been mixed in, giving a unique yet powerful look.note 
    • Tenshinhan's Tri-Beam. A triangular energy blast that leaves a square shaped hole. It is, more or less, just a powerful burst of energy that covers a fairly wide area. It is more or less the opposite of the Special Beam Cannon, and it is more or less just a blast of force more than anything. Tenshinhan is one of the characters who Can't Catch Up, and seems like he cannot contribute anything during the Cell Saga... up until he confronts a Semi-Perfect Cell, and proves that, while he can't stop Cell, he can at least stop him from moving by using this attack to pound Cell into the ground like a nail over and over. Cell cannot move fast enough to evade the blows (Since they cover such a wide area), and while they don't actually hurt him, they're powerful enough to keep pushing him down further and further. The only reason that Cell was eventually able to escape was because Tenshinhan eventually ran out of stamina.
    • Dragonball Super's Ultra Instinct is shaping up to be this. Difficult for even gods to achieve, it is based on Mushin (無心 lit. "Empty Mind").note  Not limited to gods, it allows one to fighting without consciously thinking and be free from all distractions. Goku's strength has increased dramatically from being able to enter an incomplete state of it (he's able to do it defensively, but still consciously thinks on attacking and still requires a lot for him to use it). A good example of someone who has mastered is none other than Whis (though it's implied all the Angels know it or at least can learn naturally compared to the Gods and mortals.)
  • In Hellsing, Captain Pip Bernadotte and his Wild Geese prove that you don't need to be a supernatural ultra-badass to take down vampires. They do it with conventional military tactics — open ground seeded with land mines and covered by machine gun positions, only modified by having blessed (and potentially silver-based) ammunition.
    • In fact, they would have picked off the whole army had Zorin Blitz not arrived and used her nightmarish illusion powers to leave the Wild Geese in psychological shambles and thus vulnerable to the remnants of the army.
  • Holyland is all about straightforward, effective moves for surviving street fights. It's still really awesome.
  • If Fate/Zero taught us something, is that Firearms are a great way to deal with Mages.
    • Also: the enemy has fortified the upper floors of a hotel in such a way they're impassable? Just blow up the hotel.
  • The simple Kunai and Explosive Tag combo from Naruto. Explosive Tags are explosives made of paper, and can easily be made to be as strong as a hand grenade or a cannon shell. Kunai can be extremely sharp in the Narutoverse and are still used even against strong enemies. Combine the two and you got a stabbing exploding weapon. Naruto combines this with the 'Thousand Years of Death' to jam an kunai with an explosive tag wrapped around its handle right into partially transformed Gaara's rear... and... BOOM! Weakened him enough that he'd need to fully transform! Not only that, explosive tags can be used for more mundane purposes and can be stored safely-they only activate through chakra thus, fire can't set them off (unless purposely designed that way), they can be stored in the hottest, driest, or even wettest areas in the Narutoverse and still work. And Konan takes this Up to Eleven, combining 600,000,000,000 Explosive Tags with her Paper Person of God technique for 10 minutes straight of explosions.
  • In My Hero Academia, the One for All quirk is this. Simply put, people with this ability can give their own strength and the quirk to another person, meaning that if a body-builder were to have this power and pass it on to someone else, they would have the same strength as the body-builder plus the strength they had to begin with. But due to this power being passed down from multiple generations of heroes, One for All ends up becoming absurdly powerful, almost enough to destroy most people that are hit by a direct punch from those who know how to use it. The drawback? There is currently so much power stored up by the quirk that a normal person would probably die if they were next in line to inherit the quirk without proper training.
    • Another example is Shota Aizawa's quirk, erase. Simply put, it lets him disable the quirks of anyone he's looking at without even getting within arms length. The only flaw is that it gives him dry eye if used a lot, which is easily fixed with the eye drops he has on him at all times.
  • One of Oda Nobunaga's earliest goals in Drifters is to try and produce gunpowder and matchlocks what little resource available. As both he and Toshiro explain the true value of fire arms is in how easy they are to use. Allowing even a peasant to kill a fully trained soldier with only a bit of practice.
  • In the old anime of Sailor Moon, the Crescent Beam: while the other Sailor Soldiers got new and more powerful attacks all the time, Sailor Venus stuck to her first attack up to late in the fourth season because it was just that effective, being a thin blast of energy fired from the finger that, similar to Dragon Ball's Special Beam Cannon above, was just so concentrated that it could pierce through almost any enemy, with the option to fire a literal shower of them just in case, as the one exception found out the hard way.
  • Instead of traditional magic, Asta from Black Clover has enhanced physical capabilities and 2 swords that can nullify any magic they slice through. He can also deflect magic spells with one and fire magic destroying waves of energy with the other.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman does things like this occasionally.
    • One Issue of The Batman Strikes! had Batman defeating villain Black Mask by walking into his lair and... offering his henchmen jobs. Without Mooks, there wasn't much that Black Mask could do.
    • Batman also once took down the Injustice League by paying off Mirror Master and donating to the orphanage he grew up in. Every once in a while, being one of the wealthiest men in The DCU comes in handy.
  • Early on in Chris Claremont's first X-Men run, the X-Men have to fight a bad guy who's on a space station. Does Claremont give us a hypertech Reed Richards-designed ship? No, we get six pages of a midnight launch of an ordinary space shuttle that make it seem just as cool as anything out of sci-fi.
  • Paperinik New Adventures has a few examples:
    • Klangor is an Evronian cyborg Super Soldier with the firepower of an armored battalion and an impressive ability to absorb energy attacks, enough to actually shrug off one of Xadhoom's lighter blasts-one that would have disintegrated a small warship. We meet him in The Well, Evron's planet prison where he had been thrown in for mutinying and being too useful to kill. How did the Evronians defeat him without killing him when, as he explains, he has still more than enough firepower to blast his way through the entire garrison? A remote-controlled off switch.
    • Paperinik's main weapon is the Extransformer Shield, with an immense number of features, including a small laser, a much larger laser, an anti-gravity beam, a weapon that reads your thoughts and projects a hologram of your worst fears, a weapon that forcefully teleports you far away (the rare times it works), a minisub form, and many more. What are the ones Paperinik uses most often? Shield, paralyzer beam, the rocket for flying around, and the extensible punch, perfect for defense, movement, capturing enemies alive, and smashing things.
      • This comes from the "classic" stories, where Paperinik's most used gadgets are a paralyzer beam pistol (that is one-shot in case someone steals it), a spring-loaded punch in the belt, rockets on the belt, plastic masks, and spring-heeled boots to jump really high. Those gadgets allowed him to become so feared by Duckburg's criminals that by now when they're caught in the act they surrender on the spot and go to the police to turn themselves in after a quick and nice chat, because they know perfectly they will get arrested, but this way they at least dodge the savage beating. And while he sometimes need other gadgets for the stronger or more cunning criminals, many of them follow the same approach, such as the Tele-Ultra (that uses ultrasounds to shut down electric devices. Any electric device).
      • Some of Paperinik's "classic" devices show up in PKNA, such as the belt rockets and the masks. The rockets allowed him to escape when an Evronian warship blew up the building he was on, and the masks allowed him to sneak into places that are defended against more sophisticated disguises (such as a research center the Time Police kept under surveillance-the Raider had tried to enter using holographic disguises and other hi-tech methods, and Paperinik gave him a mask and a nice suit and they entered from the main door, with Paperinik hidden in a gym bag).
  • In every version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donatello uses one of the most primitive of weapons, a wooden bo staff, yet is just as badass as the other three Turtles.
    • In the 2012 animated series, he gets an equally effective and simple weapon, a naginata. Furthermore, the staff merely has a retractable blade, allowing the switch between the two easily (the same way Mikey's nunchunks have retractable blades to become kusarigara.)
  • Jay Garrick's helmet. It's a bit goofy looking, but he keeps it because it's important to him. DC keeps it because it's just iconic. Geoff Johns seems to make it a point to have Jay use the helmet in a practical way whenever he writes Jay; In JSA Jay used it to reflect light onto a shadow powered enemy, in The Flash Jay threw it, in Infinite Crisis he uses it to deflect Superboy-Prime's heat vision and in The Flash: Rebirth he punches it to create a sonic boom.

    Fan Works 

  • Soul Eater: Troubled Souls: How Tsubaki and the Pot Twins dispatch their meisters’ shadow when they are unable to. Tsubaki stealthily uses Prehensile Hair in the form of a chain-scythe to slit the throat of Black☆Star’s shadow while it’s busy talking. Pot of Fire breathes fire on the face of Kilik’s shadow to debilitate it while Pot of Thunder gives it an electrically-charged wet willy in which the shocks goes directly to its brain.
  • In Why No One Messes with Luna, Luna's main method of dealing with Reapers is this. Celestia's method of doing so consists of melting them to slag with massive blasts of solar plasma, Luna? Just throw the moon at them in space. Not nearly as fancy as her sister or some of Luna's other attacks, but given she took out a third of the Reaper fleet with it, it is definitely awesome and very effective.
  • Captain America: Ghosts of HYDRA: Sharon Carter's fighting style; she doesn't have Natasha Romanov's grace or Wanda Maximoff's acrobatics in fighting ability, but she fights efficiently, hits hard and delivers blows with lightning speed.
  • Nico Robin in Stallion of the Line at one point uses her power to load and fire all of the Straw Hat cannons at once, by herself being far more efficient than the rest of the crew combined.
  • Naruto's first purely offensive jutsu in Naruto: Ramen Days is the Kunai Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. For most, it turns a single kunai into ten mid-flight, but Naruto's control is so horrendous that it turns a single kunai into a solid wall of steel. Not a fancy technique, but few survive being stabbed everywhere at once.
  • FateBlack Reflection: During their intense rematch, Lancer notes that this is what Ichigo's fighting style amounts too. Unlike most Servants and high level Shinigami who have flashy, advanced skills with their weaponry, Ichigo really only has the bare basics of swordsmanship. But combined with his insane strength, speed, and combat instincts, he's capable of keeping pace with the likes of Berserker and Lancer.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku notes that his Kryptonian Combo Platter Powers aren't especially complex or technical, but any of them would be Pro Hero material on their own. While this makes it tough for him to come up with new applications aside from making them stronger, faster, or more accurate, it also means that he'll rarely be lacking in anything he ever needs. Besides, who needs a super technical Quirk when you can flatten robots by landing on them and are nearly invincible against most forms of damage?

  • Black Hawk Down: Two Delta Force snipers kill dozens of attacking Somalis while defending a crashed helicopter with nothing but small arms. No artillery, machine guns, or gunships, just superior training and professionalism against a Zerg Rush. The two snipers were eventually overrun and killed, but they successfully saved the helicopter pilot they were defending, and received the Medal of Honor for their actions.
  • Ash in Evil Dead 2 has to figure out how to start his chainsaw when he's got a boomstick in his left hand and said chainsaw in place of his right. So he adds two little protruding bits of scrap metal to his harness, which allows him to pull the ripcord quickly, easily, and badassly.
  • Near the beginning of Taken, Liam Neeson's character has to catch a mook. In Paris, no less. Surely there will be a free-running scene! But no, he simply climbs into the mook's abandoned car and runs him down. He later acquires two handguns, but instead of using Guns Akimbo, he tucks one into his belt and doesn't draw it until he's exhausted the other's ammo. Most of the movie ends up being Liam Neeson's ex-CIA character subverting standard action movie tropes with much more practical approaches.
  • Johnny English Reborn when chasing down an highly athletic Chinese thug, Johnny uses practical means to chase him, the thug jumps up a fence Johnny opens the gate, the thug athletic jumps over some obstacles Johnny uses a ladder, and so on...
  • Late in Iron Man, Pepper Potts and several SHIELD agents need to break into Obadiah Stane's vault. Pepper's key card won't work, so Phil Coulson attaches a small device to the door's lock. As Pepper asks if it's some kind of hacking device, the door explodes open.

  • In The Thirty-Nine Steps and its sequels, John Buchan's Gentleman Adventurer Richard Hannay is an extremely competent spy who relies upon very practical strategies. For instance, he is a Master of Disguise, which he accomplishes through altering his mannerisms more so than his appearance.
  • Many hitmen in Tony Hillerman's novels fit this trope — they accomplish cool things by meticulous planning and step-by-step execution (no pun intended).
  • The Dresden Files is fond of this.
    • How do you deal with a Native American Eldritch Abomination that eats magic and is practically immune to everything you throw at it? Opt for the Nuclear Option.
    • How do you kill a wizard, which can usually manage to cast a revenge-curse before they die even if you manage to mortally wound them? With no warning, via sniper rifle, at sufficient range for the bullet to arrive before the sound of the gun.
    • Firearms are used extensively against supernatural horrors, notably when Marcone led a squad of mercenaries into a council of vampires by way of the Nevernever.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured an episode that dealt with an ancient demon that "cannot be killed by any weapon forged". It was eventually realized that this was descriptive, not prescriptive, and weapon technology had come a long way since it first appeared. They blew it up with a rocket launcher.
    The Judge: What's that do?
  • Burn Notice runs on this. Most of the plans they use are designed to be as simple as possible to execute while completely blowing their target's mind.
  • The Stargate-verse uses this extensively.
    • Stargate SG-1 explains the difference between an alien staff weapon and a P-90.
    • One of the most important things they're trying to do in the show is keep Bad Things from getting on Earth through the Stargate. The primary way they do this? By fitting a big metal gate one centimetre in front of the portal, causing anyone who opens a portal to them unexpectedly and walks through without transmitting a security code gets teleported straight into a solid metal wall. Squish.
    • Stargate Continuum features a type of stargate wormhole that allows time travel by using SG-1's discovery of the effects of routing through a certain, extremely rare type of solar flare. The obvious solution is to invent some way to artificially induce one, right? Nope! Just use a deep space observatory to watch the hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy and wait for one to oblige you.
  • Robot Wars had a huge amount of this. In particular, Chaos 2, which had a simple pneumatic flipper, but claimed the UK title twice in a row.
    • The S.Ri.Mec, or self-righting mechanism. It can both flip your opponent over, making him unable to move, and flip you back over if he does it to you.
    • With robot combat in general, wedges are this, at least among the fans that like them. (For others, they fall into Boring, but Practical.) the ability to slip underneath your opponent simply because of the shape of your machine provides both superb offense and defense at the same time. As these competitions have weight limits, robots with weapons must set aside some weight to their weapons whereas wedges can allocate their available weight completely to speed and pushing power. In addition, they don't have to worry about any weapons breaking over the course of the competition. Because of these advantages, weaponless robots like New Cruelty and The Big B tore through their competitors to become runners-up, with the likes of Tornado and Original Sin actually winning their competitions, defeating every weaponized robot they faced.
  • The Batman series had the Riddler once get the perfect burglary tool; a rare wax that is a powerful corrosive that can eat through thick steel or concrete within a few minutes, is practically silent in use and a pocketful is all you need, yet it is perfectly safe to handle until you expose it to direct flame.
  • According to an alien prince in Babylon 5, the human built Starfury Fighter is more interesting than more advanced alien craft due to it's no frills, effective brutality.
  • Cobra Kai: This is Miguel's style to a T. He disdains flashy attacks and focuses on delivering basic punches and straight kicks with pinpoint precision and overwhelming power. While he is by no means the most visually impressive fighter in the series, he dominates any fight he gets into almost effortlessly.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The famous Anderson Spine Buster involves whipping the opponent into the ropes, catching them by the waist as they come off, spinning them off the ground 180 degrees and them planting them on the mat with your shoulder on their sternum. The Rock simply grabbed the legs, lifted them up and skipped to the last part. The bionic spine buster kept the whip part but just involved positioning weight so that they hit the shoulder and then falling with them, no hands necessary.
  • Rocking horse holds involve locking, wrapping or trapping the legs in some fashion, usually with your own, before pulling back on the arms. Where most variations of wrestling holds are usually more complex than the original, Mercedes Martinez's is purposefully much simpler by her placing her feet at around the shoulders, allowing quicker application as a counter or transition hold. April Hunter showed why most don't do it this way though when she bit her way out.
  • The Sweet Chin Music, while a simple Superkick instead of something more elaborate, is still relatively easy to perform, lightning-quick, and has a high chance of knocking someone out cold right then and there (including in Real Life).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pokémon: Base Set Blastoise is very good (with an ability letting it break one of the basic rules of the game by playing more than one energy card per turn), but is usually overshadowed by much more popular Charizard.
    • One particular deck that's incredibly simple is the Rampardos Donk deck. Evolve Cranidos to Rampardos, and attach a Fighting Energy to Rampardos. Now it can do 80 damage every turn. It is also one of the fastest-functioning Pokémon decks to have ever existed.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition has "save or suck" spells, which (instead of dealing damage directly like Fireball or Lightning Bolt) usually give the enemy huge penalties that lets you kill them in other ways. Prominent examples include Grease (a low-level spell that makes the floor slippery, making it harder for the enemy to move or dodge, and may make them fall over entirely) and Glitterdust (which blinds everything in an area by covering it in glowing golden dust). Better than that, Glitterdust also outlines invisible creatures inside its area, NO SAVE ALLOWED, and bypasses spell resistance. Even when See Invisibility can't help (such as spotting a water elemental underwater), Glitterdust can show you exactly where it is if you can find it within a 10' radius circle. It's one of the best 2nd-level spells in the game.
    • The spell magic missile. One of the simplest, and earliest, spells for Sorcerers/Wizards, and yet can still hold up to the higher level ones due to its scalingnote . Dragon #328 added the Force Missile Mage, which takes magic missile even further, though it somewhat forces those who take into When All You Have Is a Hammer.../The All-Solving Hammer, as the prestige class makes magic missile into one of the most ridiculously versatile spells in the entire game, at the cost of usually making it the only offensive spell you use in the game.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • While the game has numerous big, flashy spells and humongous, powerful creatures, the very best cards tend to be low in mana cost with very simple effects such as "draw three cards", "add three mana to your mana pool", "take an extra turn after this one", or "deal 3 damage to target creature or player". Even creatures with no abilities at all can be awesome.
    • A general rule for the metagame, especially the Legacy format, is that the best spells are the ones with cheap costs and good effects. Due largely to the effects of Power Creep over the game's 20+ years of existence, this means that the vast majority of "playable" or "optimal" spells in Legacy cost either 1 or 2 mana. In all these cases, the effects are generally simple yet absurdly devastating: 1 Black Mana: Lose 2 life, look at your opponent's hand, and they discard any one non-Land card you choose; 2 Blue: Counter target spell; etc.
    • There is an entire deck archetype based on this principle: Mono-Red Burn. The deck contains exactly 17 Mountains, 3 Mountain-like lands that can burn, and no less than 24 effective copies the same card - spend 1 red mana to deal 3 damage to your opponent. Remember Lightning Bolt up there? The main reason Magic even has the four-copy limit for an individual card was to keep people from playing what was dubbed "The 40 Lightning Bolt Special" which is this trope taken to its logical conclusion.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Dark Hole. It clears the field of monsters, and often is the best card for removing an opponents best monster from the field. Also its equivalent for spell and trap cards, Heavy Storm. Harpy's Feather Duster can do the same, except your cards are not destroyed.
    • There's also Synchro Summon, as well as the later introduced Xyz Summon. Both are straightforward: turn two monsters on the field into a big monster, kept in the extra deck. It does not take your normal summon, and it doesn't take cards from your hand. It just gives you a boss-level monster. Synchro Summoning completely changed the game when it came out, emphasizing the use of these boss monsters, and Xyz summoning followed the same paradigm.
  • Exalted has Excellencies, simple magic powers that - depending on the specific Excellency - add more dice to a character's pool for a roll, add automatic successes to a roll, or allow a re-roll. There's nothing complex about Excellencies, but Exalts can use them to generate absurdly large die pools and achieve successes far beyond what mortals are capable of.
  • BattleTech sports the Medium Laser. A staple even in the first versions of the game, the Medium Laser is, succinctly, perfectly balanced. It is ideally sized to cram just about anywhere in the mech design process so long as you have a ton left to fill and an empty crit slot, and has a very impressive damage/mass ratio. It also has manageable heat output, no need for ammo, and is quite cheap. You can cram a stupid amount of them on a 'mech as well as enough heat sinks to fire most of them without overheating. Its sole downside is that its range is a bit short. Its more advanced offshoots don't manage this awesome simplicity quite as well: Extended Range variants put out too much heatnote , pulse lasers weigh twice as much and don't have the same range, heavy lasers are twice as bulky and are REALLY hot-running, and also have accuracy penalties.
  • Go Has two objectives. Control larger areas of the board and avoid having the other player capture your stones. Because these two goals are so contradictory of each other, strategies can be extremely varied and even psychological. The game is Serious Business on the Orient, on a level similar to Football in Europe, and games can last for days with the loser vomiting blood simply by succumbing to stress.
    • To demonstrate the simplicity, here are the rules in just 96 words!
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Imperial Guard, an army of Red Shirt soldiers backed up by some of the most practical and easy-to-field vehicles in the entire game.
    • The Leman Russ is the bread and butter of the Imperial Guard vehicular lineup, being able to do and take immense damage for it's very cheap price. Between the number of loadouts and varieties, no proper Imperial Guard army would be complete without at least half a dozen waiting to be deployed.
    • The Basilisk Artillery cannon is essentially a WWII mobile artillery piece sized up to Warhammer40K levels. They're little more than giant metal tubes on treads, but they will destroy anything unlucky enough to be in their range of fire.
    • The Chimera is the standard APC, and essentially a brick on treads. It's so solid, however, that it can get soldiers to and from places safer than most aerial transports.
    • Even without vehicles, an Imperial Guard army consists of men with what equates to a bunch of flashlights and t-shirts. All of them firing at once, though, can melt just about any target, and a huge grouping of simple soldiers can be terrifying.
    • The heavy stubber is an extremely unsophisticated weapon compared to the bolters and power swords out there- yet is churned out by the billion on forge worlds due to its simplicity, ease of maintenance, and rate of fire. Yes, even 40 millenia into the future, you still can't do better than the Browning M2.
    • Imperial Guard tactics usually boil down to "drown everything that isn't yours in firepower until you win". There are few things more satisfying than unleashing a volley of barrages from a mass of field artillery or rolling over a hundred dice from nearly every single unit. Indeed this is part of the army's appeal; no fancy tricks up their sleeves, just good ol' brute force and lots of artillery shells.
    • The Tau, being a highly advanced, futuristic alien race might not seem like candidates for this, but a Crisis Suit wearing Commander with an Onager Gauntlet is this. Normally Tau suck at melee, with even their melee units being extremely fragile. The Commander has a decent enough melee profile, but lacks power weapons to take advantage of his enhanced strength, and number of attacks. The Onager Gauntlet however, allows it's wielder to trade all of it's attacks in for a single attack that hits as hard as a Tau Hammerhead Gunship's Railgun. Very few infantry class models can survive a hit from that, and even the most heavily armored of vehicles is very likely to become an exploding wreck from it. It's also so cheap points cost wise, there is no excuse for a Commander not to have it.
    • Lore-wise, the humble Lasgun straddles between this and Boring, but Practical. As mentioned in other pages, the basic Lasgun is horribly weak compared to other weapons and only effective in massed number. Yet its design is incredibly robust, its power cell can last for a long time and can be recharged by sunlight or by heating it on fire in a pinch (which could also turn it unstable, making for an improvised explosive). Many characters preferred the Lasgun over the more advanced weapons due to its simplicity and reliability, and its basic design allows for more advanced derivatives such as Lascannon, Hellgun, Multilaser, Long-Las, up to the Volcano Cannon that can fell a Titan. Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, prefers to use a laspistol instead of the bolt pistol, a pistol that shoots .75 calibre explosive rounds, due to it's light weight making it a lot easier to pull out and shoot when (not if) the need arises as well as having the ammo it needs instead of having to lug around extra bolt rounds that are quickly chewed up.
    • Every Space Marine chapter has a specialisation towards a particular aspect of war. Space Wolves are superhuman space Vikings who kick ass in close combat, Blood Angels are psychotic vampire berserkers and masters of rapid deployment, Raven Guard are awesome pseudo-Native American warriors who are great guerilla fighters, and the Ultramarines... are pretty good at logistics. Hey, don't laugh, guess which one of these has a mini-empire spanning five hundred worlds?
  • From Vampire: The Masquerade, Presence is not quite as heavy-handed as Dominate, but it is awesome for 3 reasons: It doesn't need eye contact, it can affect everyone in the room, and it ignores Generational differences (whereas Dominate needs eye contact, only works once at a time, and fails on lower Generation).
  • Chaotic has Primal Smash for attacks and Cadence Clash for mugic.
    • Primal Smash does 20 non-elemental damage while only costing 1 build point to put in an attack deck, allowing it to basically be splashed into any deck possible for quick, decent damage that'll be more or less unhindered by anything to remove elements or displines. The only downside is that it's Unique, meaning your only allowed one in your deck.
    • Cadance Clash is a generic mugic (Meaning it can be cast by any creature) for only 1 mugic counter. It negates an opponents mugic and returns it to the hand. Considering that mugic counters are a limited resource, it can potentially shut down any mugic interruptions, and if the mugic was on the more expensive side (I.E. Cost more then one counter to play), it can potentially lock them out of using it for the rest of the game. Even if they decide to use the mugic you negated again, it's still forcing them to waste even more counters, which can really cripple decks without reliable counter generation.

    Video Games 
  • A lot of Older Than the NES games are Simple, yet Awesome. Asteroids (you have to shoot all the meteors), Space Invaders (shoot all the aliens), Defender (again, shoot aliens), and Pac-Man (eat all the dots and avoid the monsters) were all simple, yet popular to the point of addictive.
  • There's a reason why Shotguns Are Just Better is a very prevalent trope. Simple to use, easy to maintain, efficient... it's hard to find a game in which the shotgun is a bad weapon, even when it's a Short-Range Shotgun. The only consistent aspect that keeps them from being a Game-Breaker is that they have painfully long reload times.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    • The Feather potion. Easy to make from the very start of the game by using abundantly available plants, it reduces the weight of all carried items. This means increased carrying capacity, faster run speed, higher jump height and lowered fall damage. A player that quaffed enough Feather potions can jump from the top of Cyrodiil's highest mountain and glide across the entire map. Such player can also sequence-break dungeons, jump and evade enemies until the cows come home, grab every single piece of loot and abuse unreachable ledges and pillars to take out powerful melee opponents (such as Umbra) with ease.
  • Shadowverse: Aggro decks in general are like this, as they are not only easy to play in ladder, but many aggro decks are also relatively easy to assemble since most aggro decks usually don't run a lot of expensive Legendary cards and even if they do, they usually run one set of a Legendary card that defines their aggro deck (Albert for aggro Sword and Carabosse for aggro Blood and even so, there are reasonable cheaper alternatives to use on curve). Aggro Forest plays this trope straight, as aggro Forest doesn't run any legendary cards and have very simplistic combos to execute with Elf Song and Beetle Warrior.
  • StarCraft
    • M and Ms. It's simply a bunch of Marines and Medics and can win the entire game if enough of them are used. Basically the same thing as the Zerg Rush, which also counts as Simple, yet Awesome.
      • The sequel replaces this with Marines and Marauders. Marines shoot while Marauders tank damage and slow units down; both are relatively inexpensive, and can use Stimpacks to drown opponents in a tide of fast-moving firepower. This is pretty much the standard composition of almost any Terran army.
    • The Protoss Dragoon is available shortly after your first Gateway is constructed and looks quite "neat" being a quadrupedal tank. Respectable Hit Points combined with an anti-armor/anti-air "Phase Disruptor" ensures the Dragoon a place in a well-balanced army. Upgrade them with "Singularity Charge" and their range increases from 4-squares to 6 (Half the range of Terran Siege Tanks in artillery mode).
    • Besides the (in)famous Zergling, the Hydralisk is another mascot for the Zerg army. They're Snake People-like beasts that use shoulder-mounted biological needles to penetrate armor and provide anti-air. As a matter of fact, if you win a match as Zerg, your victory screen shows a Hydralisk posed triumphantly over skulls; it can be speculated the Hydralisk was a favorite among Blizzard Entertainment at the time.
  • Starcraft II introduced a feature that made the Zerg much easier to play: a button to select your entire army at once.
    • The campaign had an upgrade for ghosts/specters that meant their cloaking no longer used energy, allowing players to have permanently cloaked scouts.
    • One of the research options in Wings of Liberty campaign fuses the tech lab and reactor into a new building that lets you build two of any unit at a given building.
  • Mirror's Edge: Everything you can do in the game can be done in real life, albeit with a lot of practice and a lot more pain. Yes, even that three story jump you just did in a cutscene.
  • The SMG in Just Cause 2 is a nice example. It's fairly effective, and, though you can't order it right away, ammo is plentiful, between enemies who use it, and the crate containing one given to you at the start of most faction missions. In addition, any given respawn point (faction HQ) probably contains one for the taking.
  • The Iroquois Light Cannon in Age of Empires III. It can't be built until the Industrial Age, and doesn't do as much damage as any other cannon in the game, but is long-ranged and has enough bonus damage modifiers to fill the roles of three European cannon units at once, and has an incredible level of mobility. It's also slightly cheaper, and (with Siege Discipline) takes up relatively little population.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Spy's main weapon is a simple Butterfly Knife. It's the weakest melee weapon...unless you hit them in the back, resulting in an instant kill. This knife has been the bane of players everywhere since the beginning of Team Fortress 2.
    • What many pro-players consider to be the greatest class in the game is the Soldier: Rocket Launcher, Shotgun, Shovel. The sheer amount of stuff people pull off with Rocket Jumping is amazing, and the class is known for being able to switch from defensive positions to ultra-aggressive bombing run attacks within a matter of seconds.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, most classes have special skills like the ability to drown your foe in sauce or dance battle them until they are rendered harmless. Turtle Tamers get the ability to headbutt, knee, and whack them with their shield. Oh, and, they will always hit, the second delevels, and the third stuns, which makes for a very easy fight for as long as your MP keeps up.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series is full of this sort of thing. Someone running from you? Create a roadblock of stolen cars. Need to avoid a swarm of heavily-armed enemies? Drive a car up to a wall and climb on top to hop over.
  • Metroid's humble but mighty Screw Attack. All you have to do is jump to one side or the other, and Samus' armor is electrified, killing most enemies on contact.
    • The Space Jump: while spin jumping, jump again in midair to go higher up than you could with a normal jump. As many times as you want!
    • Super Missiles, particularly in the Metroid Prime series. They're by far the most cost-effective ammo weapon available, doing considerable damage in exchange for a mere five regular missiles and a brief charging period.
  • In the Mega Man series, using the regular 'ol Mega Buster is sometimes the best way to defeat certain enemies and bosses.
    • In fact, the deeper you go into the continuity, the better it is to simply wail on bosses with regular charged shots, which has been available since the start of the game. Mega Man ZX makes it blatant with Model X's singular biomerge mode, which can charge up to two shots, the second which ignores Mercy Invincibility, which stronger weapons would be subjected to.
  • In Mass Effect 3, one of the starting weapons is the Mantis sniper rifle. Because it's a starter weapon, it can be easily and quickly upgraded to it's full level, is one of the most powerful weapons ingame, and is the lightest sniper rifle, which is a godsend to power-dependant classes. Whatever the Mantis can't One-Hit Kill with a torso shot, it can kill with a headshot.
    • The Omniblade is a valid in-universe example, in which melee applications for the tool were almost as old as the device itself. While it may be useless at range, it proves to be quite effective against the waves of husks the reapers send at them in large numbers.
  • Ar Tonelico 3: This is Coccona's preference; she doesn't like her weapons having extra dodads and her supermoves are all based on a simple premise like 'turning' or 'go fast in one direction'.
  • Crysis 2 has the K-VOLT. It's a humble submachinegun, so on paper it should pale compared to much of the rest of the inventory; however, it's an electric submachinegun, so while the damage isn't high compared to, say, a heavy machine gun, its pellets shock Ceph troopers into complete inactivity for a couple seconds. Paired to your suit's massive damage in melee attacks, this lets you fire a shot into a trooper, you run up to him while he's twitching harmlessly and whack him with a powered punch, then retreat back to safety and let the suit recharge. Enemy grunt down, with a total ammo expenditure of one.
  • In Metro 2033, you have not one, not two, but three types of shotguns. The Uboinik is a perfect semi-automatic with a capacity of six shells and a rather nasty melee attack, but its reload is awkward to put it mildly and, due to a glitch, it fogs up even your watch when you try to look at it (it's supposed to fog up only the background). The Heavy Automatic Shotgun has a 20-round capacity and a good fire rate, but its firepower per shot leaves much to be desired. On the other hand, the humble, crudely-made and extremely common Duplet, a double-barrel, has a no-nonsense operation and the highest punch of the selection (especially when discharging both barrels), and its drawback - rather short range - isn't much of an issue in the cramped tunnels you spend the majority of the game traversing through.
  • Dark Souls offers all types of fancy, super-menacing enchanted equipment derived from demons, angels, dragons and Eldritch Abominations alike, with quite a few earning the "Great-" prefix in their categorization. Yet some most impressive and efficient-in-action weapons are completely ordinary ones. One of the most famous is the Halberd which has not only the high-speed long-range attack of spear classes and a Difficult, but Awesome secondary swing attack possessing both spear-class range and a near full-circle spread, but also does axe class levels of damage, meaning a moderately upgraded Halberd can one-shot most minor mooks and immediately clear rooms full of them with enough distance. There's a reason you so commonly see specters wielding them for most of the game.
    • Other similar weapons include the Hand Axe, Club and Heater Shield. The club, for example, can One-Hit Kill the basic enemies in the first stage, can stunlock as long as your stamina lasts, and is light enough that most classes will be able to light-roll while wielding it.
      • In some areas this applies to clothing, too. Platemail in a toxic swamp just weighs you down. A set of heavy boots and a hood traditionally worn by swampdwellers lets you move quickly, and helps keep poison damage down.
    • The NPC Solaire's gear invokes this. Aside from a hand-painted sun decoration, it's just a regular suit of plate and chain armour.
  • While players usually insist on the awesome yet insane option (such as pumping magma into pipes to dump onto their plentiful problems), the most efficient ways to defend a fort in Dwarf Fortress tend to be simple in nature. The humble drawbridge, linked to a lever, will seal off most threats outright, even without being used to squash invaders (though later updates removed the "dwarven atom smasher" glitch that drawbridges had). Carving fortifications is also simple yet effective, allowing marksdwarves to turn enemies into pincushions while being mostly protected from return fire.
  • In the FTL: Faster Than Light, some things are can be defined as that:
    • The Kestrel B, easily considered one of the Tier A ships, is ridiculously simple. It starts with 4 Basic Lasers, a Mantis, two Humans, a Zoltan and basic equipment, instead of flashy things like the Zoltan Shield or Cloak Systems. Its sheer ease of modification and the fact it starts with plenty of support weaponry makes it a very versatile ship that is able to support nearly anything the RNG throws at you.
    • Humans. No bonuses, but no weakness either. That opens up for a plethora of support roles such as being able to repair somewhere like the Pilot's cabin with ease, without needing to screw up the Engineer who's currently trying to keep the Shields or the cloak system online, or just being able to gain that crucial edge in a fight.
    • The Ion Bomb. No damage, but it literally can take out any system out of a fight for a long while. On top of its ultra-lockdown power, its low energy consumption allows more savings on scrap.
    • The Engi A. A basic fire drone, a fast-firing Ion weapon, 2 Engis and a Human in crew, and Healing Drones as an augment. Not flashy, but it's one of the few ships that can reliably down enemies with 3 shields using only basic equipment, due to positioning, you don't even need to stop piloting the ship in case of battle, unless they beam into the pilot's room.
    • What is considered to be one of the best weapons is the Burst Laser Mk. II. Fires exactly one extra shot compared to the Mk. I, and loses to the Mk. III in potency, but it's highly reliably and useful in all sorts of ships, fires 3 shots in quick succession while only requiring one weapon space, and consumes only 2 energy, so it's always going to be useful.
  • Take every shape that you can make by rearranging four squares of identical size. Give them to the player one by one and task them with stacking them so as to minimize empty spaces between blocks. Increase speed as the game progresses. Tetris. Awesome.
  • Give the player a field of different-colored tiles and a limited ability to rearrange them. Cause them to disappear and be replaced when three or more identical tiles are placed in a row. Bejeweled and every other Match-Three Game out there. Awesome.
  • Rhythm Games:
    • Interfaces that use an interface consisting of notes scrolling down (or up) in separate lanes per button. A very simple setup, popularized by beatmania, but it's extremely easy to sightreadnote  notes on and allows for the creation of crazy hard charts that don't rely on Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
    • beatmania itself. While it has received a number of interface enhancements, it has only had three changes ever done to its core gameplay: the addition of two new buttons, the option to play with the turntable on the left, and the addition of "hold"-type notes. Other than that, the simple whack-a-mole-esque formula of "notes fall down, hit the right buttons when they reach the red line" has not changed in almost twenty years.
    • Pop N Music is even simpler, foregoing a turntable for two more buttons. It has been around almost as long as beatmania.
    • DanceDanceRevolution, In the Groove, and Pump It Up: Four or five directional foot panels and scrolling notes, with the same simplicity as the above rhythm games. And they're great for cardiovascular workout, too.
    • CHUNITHM gives you a sensor bar as wide as the screen above it that's 1:1 with the chart interface, on which you hit notes corresponding to their horizontal position on the screen, while ocasionally lifting your hands to hit "Air" notes. Super easy to learn, yet has the potential for absolutely Nintendo Hard charts. No wonder it's one of the most popular arcade rhythm games in Japan.
  • Arcanum:
    • The Harm spell. It's a humble first-level combat spell, but it's cheap in mana, its damage goes up the more magical aptitude you gain, and your mage can cast it as fast as you can click on the enemy. Basically it's a magical machine gun, only it always hits home, and you can regenerate the ammo!
    • Keys take up two inventory spaces, and you'll find a lot of them throughout the game. One Keyring later, and they all infinitely stack in two spaces.
  • In Warframe some of the most practical weapons are the bows. Completely silent with good critical hit rates, good damage multipliers, and can even punch through both thin cover as well as multiple enemies. With the right mods you can boost their damage further and ensure you'll never run out of ammo.
    • In yet another example of Shotguns Are Just Better, two of the most sought-after guns in the game are the Tigris series (regular, Sancti and Prime), and the Sobek. The former is a Tenno take on the mundane hunting shotgun, complete with wood finish and shrapnel pellets, which actually integrates rather well into the game by giving it the highest damage-per-bullet score. The latter is a Grineer-made auto-shotgun with a 20-round drum mag loaded with buckshot charges, and one of the earliest armaments available to new players, who may disregard it for flashier-looking guns... Or at least, until they're strong and seasoned enough to farm for its exclusive mod, Acid Shells, giving to the gun a respectable crowd-control effect and innate Anti-Armor, which is the defining factor for veteran players.
    • Warframe abilities can let you do anything from crush your foes with devastating magnetic fields, banish a hostile's brains into a pocket dimension while leaving the rest of them in realspace, fry your enemies with millions of amps of power, or even raise their spirits back from the dead to fight on your side. The most practical and fondly-used powers? Crowd control binding or stunning attacks, and healing abilities.
    • In the backstory, this trope had to be invoked. The evil "Sentients" could automatically take control of any technology more advanced than a colt revolver. Thus almost all Tenno weapons lack anything computerized or electronic, but they're no less deadly for it. Granted, this was only true for the magic space ninjas themselves; the 'zero-tech troopers,' regular humans sent into combat with leather armor and bolt-action rifles, got the significantly shorter end of the stick.
  • One Finger Death Punch has very basic graphics and exactly two moves. Click left to attack to your left. Click right to attack to your right. With just two buttons, the game turns your little stick man into a Bruce Lee Clone par excellence, with more style and combat pacing than games with twenty times the budget.
  • Three of the Giga Wing ships employ special features such as Spread Shots, Roboteching homing missiles, and exploding mines. Ruby's ship, Carmine, on the other hand, forgoes all of that for a basic highly-concentrated linear shot. Coupled with the fastest movement speed in the game, it's well-suited for score chasers.
  • The "ID Tech 1" 2.5 D engine, better known as the "Doom Engine," has this reputation. It generated a significant community of mod makers. With the release of the source code, an editor called Doom Builder was coded that made building maps even easier, thanks to a built-in 3d viewing mode, and ports of the Doom Engine like Boom & Zdoom (derived from Boom) greatly increased rendering limits, opening up the possibility for huge maps with 1000's of enemies to battle. Hexen scripting allows increased complexity for maps, such as customized victory conditions, while limit-removing source ports made it very possible to program the engine for custom genres of games.

    You don't necessarily need extensive programming to have fun with this engine; plenty of Doom-II-format levels are available on "Doom World" and they are star-rated so it is easy to find quality content. If you love hordes of monsters to battle, there are maps with enough of them to put Serious Sam to shame.
  • Golden Sun: Of all the many ways of raining destruction on foes, be it through Psynergy (earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions...), Djinn (elemental spirits that can deal double damage, drain life, lower resistance...) or summons (using said Djinn to bring in dragons, meteors, gods, the apocalypse, hurl enemies into the Sun...), the most efficient way to grind or battle random mooks is the humble attack button. Not only because it goes a lot faster than selecting a different command, but weapons unleash their special effects so often it's funny. Want to drop giant swords on your enemy's heads? Drown them? Jump into space and slam-dunk a miniature star on them?
  • Described in Enter the Gungeon in the Flavor Text for Old Goldie, which is a simple, but excellently-made, shotgun in a game full of wacky and fantastic guns.
    The right answer isn't always a gun that shoots bees, a water gun, or a flaming hand. Sometimes, all you need is a simple concept executed immaculately.
  • The humble joystick and D-pad. There's a reason just about every video game controller in existence has one or both of these and a few buttons. As a more specific example, the Super NES controller: a D-pad, four face buttons, two system-function buttons, and two shoulder buttons; hailed by many as the gold standard of 2D gaming controllers.
  • Painkiller (2003): Many modern First-Person Shooter games have a deep story, tactical gameplay, and realism.

    Painkiller, however, went back to basics; realism is only a suggestion and the only missions are to kill all the monsters and demons in the highly varied levels.

    You basic weapons, the Painkiller, and Shotgun remain effective for the entire game, and are the signature weapons of the main character.
  • For the Super Mario Bros. games, kicking Koopa shells. It's the most basic move Mario has, but nothing is more satisfying than kicking a shell and watching it take out a line of enemies and/or breaking all the blocks to clear a path for you.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 has enemy and item tossing. You'll be doing a lot of throwing throughout the game since it's your only way to attack due to the Goomba Stomp not being an option, but nothing gets more fun than throwing enemies against other enemies or throwing vegetables, keys, and blocks at your foes.
  • Soldier: 76 of Overwatch fame has become something of this in the game's competitive as well as casual scene. The character plays like a regular first-person-shooter character would, with a high-powered rifle and a sprint mode, alongside an AoE healing ability and an aimbot as his ult; all in all a very generic and scattered skillset. However, his raw damage output, high accuracy, fast movement speed and healing capabilities makes him one of the most balanced characters in the game, and allows him to do almost any job fairly well.
    • To a lesser extent, Bastion. It is a common complaint among players that all a Bastion has to do to win the game and get Play of the Game is to sit in turret mode and hold down the left trigger... Which isn't entirely wrong, really. A good Bastion will occasionally mix things up with its self-healing ability and relocate if things get too hairy, but it'll still be sitting in one spot and firing its minigun for most of the match.
    • Lucio is this for support characters. Lucio's healing works as an area of effect, providing a passive healing buff to all his team in the generous range. All Lucio has to do is hang around and not die, which his high mobility is great for. In skilled hands Lucio can be a highly mobile harasser as well as a healer, and with good positioning he can instakill enemies by knocking them into pits and wall-riding on hard to reach terrain.
  • Viktor and Tyra from Paladins are Damage Champions that are rather plain in comparison to everyone else. Victor, much like Soldier: 76 can dash, lob grenades, and aim down his sights and his ult shoots three missiles. Tyra chooses fire power over accuracy and can use her grenade launcher or fire bombs to punish clusters while marking enemies with Hunter's Mark to add a 15% damage boost and her ult lets her pump out even more lead. All in all these skills are not flashy and not very well suited to anything else. However Viktor is well suited to popping in and out of fights and scoring headshots and his ult can and will force the other team to disperse off the point while Tyra can provide covering fire and deal major damage to select targets.
  • Einhänder has the Cannon gunpod. Compared to other flashy gunpods such as the Vulcan, Juno, Spreader, Flash, Wasp, Hedgehog, Mosquito and such, it only fires out a single shot forwards- the most basic of attacks. It's also got a pretty solid firing rate, ammo for it is extremely common, and it deals pretty high damage, allowing the player to take out larger mooks and bosses quickly. If the enemies are weak enough, it also penetrates them, making it good for both weak and strong enemies.
  • In Halo, humanity in the 26th century has access to space flight and ships capable of ripping holes into an Alternate Universe in order to achieve FTL travel. With it they've colonized dozens of planets, and they've built powerful magnetic weapons and nukes capable of wiping out entire cities with ease, and developed the technology and science to create Super Soldiers. And yet, for the average soldier, the standard weaponry of a metal-slinging pistol, machine-gun, shotgun, rocket launcher assault rifle, and grenade have endured more or less unchanged and still perfectly capable of killing even some of the most horrifying alien creatures out there.
  • Cooking food and elixirs in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the most basic thing you can do in the game, yet the art of cooking can help create some of the most powerful dishes and elixirs in the game that can give Link a massive edge over his enemies. You can potentially create dishes that can restore 20+ hearts with a secondary effect like boosted defense or even make an elixir that can give Link an incredible boost to his attack power for potentially up to 30 minutes if you got the right ingredients.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Across the entire series, the iconic cardboard box.
    • From Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the Mk 22 tranquilliser gun sees a lot of mileage over flashier weapons because it is silent, very accurate, able to instantly incapacitate with a headshot (ideal for a Pacifist Run) and it's even quite satisfying to use in boss fights because killing them non-lethally nets you special camos with unique abilities (The Pain's lets you control hornets, Ocelot's eliminates handshaking while aiming in first-person, The Fear grants you 80% camo everywhere at the cost of very high stamina drain, etc.)
    • The simple knife from the same game also qualifies. Grab an enemy and threaten him with it to get special information, instantly kill him, and also very handy in the boss fight against The Fury, because it rips up his suit and leaves him vulnerable to grenades and explosives.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Sonic the Hedgehog is known for simply running really, really fast. It looks cool and he's saved the world countless times by getting where he needs to be very quickly.
  • The Sparta Kick from Assassin's Creed Odyssey is about as simple as you can get: kicking people or animals really, really hard so they go flying, or become completely unconscious. It is one of the first skills you can get, but it remains useful all throughout the game, costing only one adrenaline bar, having extremely low cooldown, and is a cheap and easy way to get some breathing room in crowded fights, or knocking down challenging foes for a few precious seconds. It's also all but vital to killing high HP enemies via sending them down long drops or into the sea to the maw of a waiting shark, especially early in the game. Few foes are immune to it, and even then, it's only to the knockback, it has long invincibility frames, and just looks and sounds awesome along with being really, really entertaining to use.
  • The Super Smash Bros. series has King K. Rool's entrance. Other fighters generally start matches by entering the stage in various fancy and stylish ways (the Mario brothers coming out of pipes, the Star Fox cast, Captain Falcon and Wario driving in their vehicules, Kirby using his warp star, Mr. Game & Watch fading in, etc), while the Kremling king simply falls in from above, followed by his crown. Not only is it a neat reference to his first appearance in the DKC series, he still makes his entrance memorable by doing it with his arms crossed.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 


    Western Animation 
  • The first episode about Clay from Xiaolin Showdown is centered around this trope. He completes the obstacle course faster than his teammates by turning around and taking the objective directly behind him — since the course is arranged in a circle, he sees no reason to go though the traps to reach the goal. Later he beats Jack Spicer in a showdown involving catching a bird — Jack gets beaten and bruised chasing it, while Clay fills his hat with seeds from nearby sunflowers to get the bird to come to him.
  • Similar to the comics example above, Batman is able to take down another incarnation of the Injustice League by donating to a public television station ( said donation was made in the name of the Ultrahumanite, a big fan of the station's opera shows).
  • Ben 10 has Fourarms, an alien form that grants Ben Super Strength and 2 extra arms. Not very flashy, but his fighting capabilities more than make up for it.
    • There is also Way Big, who is one of the Omnitrix's most powerful aliens, surpassed only by Atomix and Alien X).
    • Another example is Toepick, whose sole power is having a Nightmare Face that can terrify anything that isn't blind, emotionless or Ma Vreedle (she's seen worse).
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: In stark contrast to the other Boxmore robots, Ernesto eschews theatrics and fancy special attacks in favor of simply converting to ball mode and rolling over his enemies. He’s extremely durable and heavy, so it’s an absolutely devastating move when used properly (and it’s very easy to use). Using this simple technique, he’s probably come the closest to defeating the Plaza heroes in a straight fight.

    Real Life - General 
  • Science generally paints a picture of the amazing complexity of our universe arising from incredible simplicity. For example, in order to get the wide variety of life on Earth, all you need is 'reproduction with variation'. From a single absurdly simple original replicator (the existence of this original replicator is the subject of Abiogenesis), and the almost tautologically basic idea of natural selection (that which reproduces better will make more copies of itself), we have a planet populated by animals that are capable of traveling to the moon, and maybe more. Evolution doesn't need very much in order to make something amazing.
    Carl Sagan: These are some of the things that molecules do, given four billion years of evolution.
  • Arabic numerals. Or any positional notation system. Ten symbols (eleven if you want fractions) is all you need to write any number at all, no upper limit, in a way that's incredibly easy to do sums with. Previous systems relied on inventing new symbols every order of magnitude, and were only really useful for recording totals - just try adding up Roman numerals. Trying to multiply or divide in Roman numerals is a nightmare, while still being relatively simple with Arabic notation (though not as simple as adding).
  • Association Football. All that is required to play is two teams and a small round ball, and the rules are also easy to learn: don't use your arms (unless you're the goalie), and kick the ball into the net. Even in the professional levels where you need much more than that, the rules and equipment required are simpler compared to most other sports. Its relative simplicity has helped made it the world's most popular sport — so much, that its biggest event, The World Cup, is THE biggest event in the world.
  • To some, Minimalism, less in detail, more on space.
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
  • Tools and machines can be astonishingly simple. In fact, you can get quite a bit done with a bit of brute strength and one of the Simple Machines: The Lever, Wheel and Axle, Pulley, Inclined Plane, Wedge, and Screw. Many more complex tools are also based on these as well, or combinations of them. For everything else, you have Duct Tape and a hammer. Or, if you lost your hammer, you have a rock.
  • Many martial arts that originated from actual fighting. Outside of a competition there's a pressing need to put down the enemy fast, and complex moves tend to leave one exposed to easier and faster attacks. Specific martial arts and their background:
    • Orginated from British steet-fighting style before the Queensberry Rules were introduced to stop the massacre, Boxing has only four attack moves.note  It is still one of the most effective forms of martial arts in existence.
    • Developed on the battlefield Muay Thai is founded on simple techniques like the low kick and throwing elbows and knees while clinching. It is also widely regarded as the single strongest stand-up martial art in the world and forms one of the four pillars of MMA along with the aforementioned boxing, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
    • While better known for it's meditative movements, Tai-Chi's signature punch is a quick, straight jab to the opponent's face.
    • Created to help European Jews survive the persecutions in the Thirties and perfected on the battlefield of the Arab–Israeli Conflict, Krav Maga is designed to end the fight as quickly and pragmatically as possible without complex movements. Similar in principles is Kajukenbo, created by five martial artists aiming to create something that would work into a very violent neighbourhood. Whichever you face, your nards are not safe.
    • Jeet Kune Do is based on simplicity; Bruce Lee, a street fighter even before starting training into martial arts, had little respect for fancy moves.
    • Created by French and Genoese sailors fighting among each other in the streets and against pirates when at sea, Savate essentially revolves around delivering fast, accurate kicks with hard footwear, or a boxing-like punch. In execution, it is as elegant as it is brutally effective.
  • During the Second World War the de Havilland Mosquito was made of wood and canvas, old fashioned and low tech for the time. However whereas repairing a Spitfire took time and effort, a Mosquito could often be patched up by glue and canvas. Despite that it was the fastest plane ever built at the time, had enough capacity to act as a bomber (so much so that the British often sent it bombing Berlin by day), and if it found itself against enemy fighters it could outgun and outrun them with ease. To quote the Reichsmarschall:
    In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy.
    The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that?
    • Production had the advantage that, being made of wood, canvas, and glues, there was much less pressure on the supplies of raw materials from other war production, making it much easier to get raw materials. It was also easier to find people already skilled in the use of the simple materials (cabinet makers and carpenters, for instance, could easily learn how to make parts for the Mosquito). If not, then training for woodwork is easier and faster than training for metalwork, and also requires less sophisticated manufacturing equipment.
    • Paradoxically, it was not only fast and well-armed but very durable too. German cannons fire explosive shells which do not trigger properly against the Mosquito's frame - the shells just punch through without detonating. Lightning Bruiser.
  • Homes made with shipping containers. As pointed in the Boring, but Practical page, the standard container's usefulness in transport is unquestionable, but as they're designed to be sturdy and withstand abuse they make for surprisingly good accommodation. The homes built in them don't have to be tiny or basic either, as they can be joined together and furnished just like a normal house.
  • Duct Tape. Just plastic, cloth weaving, and glue. So many uses that the MythBusters have claimed they could do an entire season based on it. Given that they've already done three episodes (plus one segment) based on duct tape, and a fourth episode with bubble-wrap as a co-star, this may not be an exaggeration.
    • Often paired up with WD-40. Originally developed to prevent corrosion in nuclear missiles, it has nearly as many mundane uses as duct tape. The corporate website boasts 2000+ known uses for WD-40, and allows visitors to submit new uses they have found on their own. The two products are associated with each other so much that it led to the development of a loose rule of thumb among mechanics and engineers: "If it moves, and it shouldn't: Duct Tape. If it doesn't move, and it should: WD-40."
  • Command line interfaces. They don't look like much, but a serious geek can move mountains with a few commands, especially on UNIX-like systems.
  • A Deck of Cards. It's cheap, the possibilities for games are endless, it uses no electricity, and can be played alone or in a group.
  • Handwraps for boxers. They are actually necessary; they protect your hands and makes wearing boxing gloves a lot less uncomfortable. At the same time, it looks really, really cool.
  • Books, and in fact any writing of any kind. Provided that the individual in question was literate and took the time to write, you could hear the words of heroes, generals, and kings who died centuries before you were born. You can learn skills that no one else in your area knows how to do, just by visiting your local library. You can, with the right text, learn anything from the scientific theories of Thomas Edison to the sword fighting strategies of Miyamoto Musashi! As LeVar Burton would say, "Take a look, it's in a book!"
  • Writing generally. It's nothing more than the use of inscribed or imprinted signs and symbols meant to represent language. But it is, without a doubt, the most important and powerful invention in history. It facilitates the keeping of history and culture; allows the creation and development of philosophy, religion, science, mathematics, and law; and allows the recording and transmission of ideas across time and space far beyond the scope and scale of individual human experiences, lifespans or travels. Writing is what allows humans and human communities, on any scale, to comprehend and learn from not only their own experiences and insights, but potentially those of any other human who ever had the opportunity to commit their own experiences and ideas to writing, so long as it's in language that can still be understood, and those writings have survived.
  • The Latin Alphabet. Twenty-six letters, arranged in the right combinations. billions of possible ideas to convey.
  • Most classical musical instruments. The basic designs haven't changed in centuries, yet they can be combined in all sorts of ways to produce just about any kind of music you can imagine.
    • Strings: tightly-stretched strings or wires that are bowed or plucked to produce vibrations, usually amplified by a soundboard.
    • Woodwinds: a vibrating column of air, with various exits covered or opened to alter the pitch.
    • Brass: The instrument casing produces a resonance and amplification of the buzzing of the player's lips, with valves or slides used to alter the length of the tubing.
    • Percussion: Just find something and bang on it. Different surfaces, materials, and striking implements produce different sounds.
    • The piano, for all its apparent complexity, is basically a set of levers which manipulate hammers into striking strings. It is relatively simple for beginners to learn, but one skilled musician can play highly sophisticated pieces that few other instruments would be capable of performing.
  • The skateboard. In short, a piece of wood with two axles of two wheels each, that can carry the user at faster speeds than walking with less energy per unit of distance exerted and can be comfortably carried around when not in use. And that's without getting into their usage in extreme sports.
  • Any species described as a living fossil. Some of these creatures have remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. For example, Horseshoe crabs as a whole have lived for over 400 million years and the Atlantic horeshoe crab species has been around for half that. By comparison this one species is significantly older than the dinosaurs and lived much longer after they died out. And its based of of something twice as old.
  • Thrift stores in general; don't feel above shopping at them, as they can be a great place to find a wide variety of objects for a greatly reduced price, including used laptop computers if you're fast. If a kitchen appliance has failed on you, you don't have to buy it new when a quality thrift store may carry a surprisingly good-looking used model. You can even fill your wardrobe with quality fabrics shopping here.
  • The military wet weather poncho liner. Affectionately called by everyone from Airmen to the Marines as the "woobie". Introduced during the Vietnam War as a liner to keep personnel warm during rain storms, they quickly found multiple uses for them in a variety of situations, from make shift sleeping bags, to camouflage drapes, to even hammocks. When a soldier, marine, airman, etc. discharges from service, they will often pay out to keep their woobies rather than turn them in for reissue.
  • Sunglasses. Two lenses that block out harmful ultraviolet rays and overall protect your eyes from extremely bright sunlight and reflected glare from shiny material like snow. And they look cool.
  • Human language fits this trope. Every spoken language has a surprisingly small number of components (50 sounds on average), but it can be used to convey an infinite variety of concepts.
  • Articulation in toys. A figure with movable joints can be posed in a great number of ways that make it a very flexible item to play with or display. The feature requires no batteries, it's waterproof, it's cheap to manufacture, and lasts for a much longer period of time.

    Real Life - Automotive 
  • Hotbulb engines, also called semidiesels. They are extremely simple machines made of low-precision, easy to manufacture cast-iron parts, so they can be produced entirely in your average machine shop with no need for special tools. They're also easy to maintain and repair, and once their head is heated enough they run for ages on pretty much anything that can burn, from automotive fuel to volatile flammable dust. Modern engines have all but displaced them in developed countries (mostly because of their massive weight and need for pre-heating), but the poorest countries in the world - where even a normal diesel is troublesome to repair - still get a lot of use out of them.
  • Economy cars can verge into this trope thanks to the availability of "hot hatchback" and "sleeper" models. These can have higher performance than expected, yet still have a frugal inline-4 engine, so that fuel economy isn't sacrificed horribly. The engine options may allow for a V6 which can pack a thrilling punch.
    • The Honda Civic may fall into Boring, but Practical in base form, but the car is available with many options to appeal to numerous price points, from the basic model up to the Type-R package. As the model has been updated, Honda has enhanced the styling as well as the performance, in an effort to ditch the boring-ness of the past.
    • The Toyota Camry has subjectively moved towards this trend with annual updates to the car to keep the model fresh. The base 4-cylinder has about 200 horsepower which may not seem like much, but for typical use, it gets the job done without being too anemic. If you live in a congested region of the world, the higher performance V6 can be overkill.
  • The ideal muscle car is meant to embody this trope, in the sense of being high performance yet inexpensive compared to dedicated sports cars. Many of the first muscle cars and ponycars in The '60s were simply coupes and family sedans with bigger engines installed in them; the Pontiac GTO, for instance, was originally just a package for the comparatively plain Tempest sedan, while the original Ford Mustang was built on the same platform as the compact Falcon. They often didn't have the tight handling of Porsches or Ferraris (and are thus occasionally mocked by some auto enthusiasts as "poor man's sports cars"), but they were fast. Even today, cars like the Mustang, the Dodge Challenger, and the Chevrolet Camaro start at just over $25,000, and only go above $40,000 on the most high-end models. (Even the 840 hp Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, at $85,000, is cheaper than a Porsche 911.) To quote Peter Henshaw in his book Muscle Cars:
    "[The muscle car] is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder's philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it. The Muscle Car is Charles Atlas kicking sand in the face of the 98 horsepower weakling."
  • Sometimes, purchasing a used fleet vehicle can be a good option for a reliable car. Commercial companies tend to service the vehicles properly, keeping them in good condition for their age.
    • The Ford Crown Victoria and its upscale cousins, the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car, are generic-looking and fairly heavy sedans (the lightest models weigh just over two tons), but there's a reason they were the cars of choice for American police, taxi, and limo fleets for decades, and that's because they were built like a rock and more than able to withstand constant, long-term use. The Crown Vic was a Lightning Bruiser in the hands of police, such that Ford continued making the Police Interceptor model for another year after discontinuing the civilian models, while the discontinuation of the Town Car left many limo service operators wringing their hands at the thought of having to one day replace their cars with finicky Lexuses, Cadillacs, and Mercedes-Benzes. Likewise, since many of them were fleet cars, and because their basic body-on-frame design made them easy to repair, used examples tend to be well-maintained. If you can find one of fair shape, it can be owned for a good bargain. Due to the sheer quantity of vehicles, spare parts are both plentiful and economical. The mechanical parts are rugged, the fuel economy is reasonable for cars of their size, and a fairly-used one can go another 100,000 miles or two. If you have been craving an American V8 car, then this will give you a taste. Also, one parked at your home gives the illusion of police presence, scaring away many trouble-makers. However, they have had some design problems; especially be sure that your model has not been recalled for a vulnerable fuel tank that may rupture in a high-speed collision.
  • Sometimes, all you need to have a well-loved gasoline/diesel engine is to just keep it simple.
    • The Chevrolet small-block V8 and the LS & LT successors. They appears archaic, with a camshaft-in-block setup, and only two valves per cylinder in a pushrod/OHV configuration. However, the original format was built since 1955 and only phased out by 2003 with the introduction of the LT-series followed by the LS-series revisions. Their simplicity and volume-of-production makes them affordable by V8 standards, and are a popular engine-swap for many hotrod applications. The engines has even seen use as an engine-swap for Jeep Wranglers too, due to the engine block's reputation. The cam-in-block feature makes the engine quite compact (compared with an over-head-cam), making it easier to fit into many engine bays without extensive "surgery".
    • Its smaller sibling from another General Motors marque, the Buick "Fireball" V6 that was iterated over the decades into the 3800 V6, made the Ward's 10 Best Engines of the 20th Century list alongside the Chevy small-block V8. The 3800, particularly its L67 Supercharged variant, is also a common candidate for engine swaps in smaller cars like the Pontiac Fiero, and it frequently outlives the rest of the car built around it, with many examples clocking in at over 300,000 miles and still going strong.
    • The Inline-6 engine setup. Its main drawback is engine length, often limiting it to trucks and sports cars. Still, the I6 needs no more than two cam-shafts (for Dual Over-Head Cam), is naturally balanced and needs no counter-balancing to offset negative vibrations, and many car enthusiasts enjoy the smooth, refined sound of an Inline-6 revving up. It's also less complicated than a v12 and shares a similar smoothness.
      • The AMC 4.0 Liter Inline-6, made famous in the Jeep Cherokee, was only discontinued by Chrysler because current engine bays were becoming too tight to hold the lengthy engine. However, in spite of the engine not being loaded with horsepower (190 HP in stock trim in the final years), the engine is a durable cast-iron block using camshaft-in-block. Keep the fluids changed when needed, and this power plant will rarely let you down.
    • Push-rod (cam-in-block) Engines, themselves can be an example of this trope, with General Motors achieving good results with the design (see above on the LS V8 and 3800 V6). While power-per-liter is often spoken of as a reason for dual-overhead-cams, the push-rod engine is very space efficient, housing the camshaft in the core of the engine, and making up for fewer valves with higher displacement. This makes a push-rod engine a likely candidate for engine swaps, and their tendency for mass production from General Motors makes them very cost-effective. The push-rod engine did have a negative image due to their symbol of the slow innovation in the US automotive industry, but their simple design helped Chrysler, Ford and General Motors keep engine costs from being too hard to swallow.
      "Don't forget about the weight advantages. The [Corvette's] engine has one camshaft and a small drive chain that's connected to the crank. A DOHC V-8 has four camshafts and drive gears, beefy heads to hold the shafts, and two long chains."
      Car And Driver, May 2004, LARRY WEBSTER
      • Push-rod engines don't have to be fuel guzzlers either. The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, properly equipped, is rated in US fuel economy at 17 M.P.G. City & 29 M.P.G. Freeway. 2015 The Ferrari 458 , and the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan are much more expensive cars, granted, but are more tuned for track performance and are rated 13/17 and 14/20 respectively.
      • Before the "Hemi" V8 began to catch up to the Dodge Viper V10, said v10 got variable valve-timing added to the engine design, showing a good future for the push-rod design. As of 2013, Chrysler and General Motors implement VVT into their push-rod engines more prolifically, to keep the engine format competitive, and further enhance desirability for engine swaps. It's not as flexible with the valve train as DOHC but still makes a difference. Another innovation on the horizon is a design that allows the use of 3 valves per cylinder (similar to a SOHC engine that has one camshaft per cylinder bank).
  • Motorcycles 500cc and below like Piaggio Vespa scooters. Sure, they're not high speed powerhouses like the Suzuki Hayabusa, or a badass bike like a Harley-Davidson in the 1200cc range, but they can be considered Cool Bikes in their own. They're light, can reach sufficiently fast highway speeds, are easier to handle (weight being part of it, not being twitchy being the other), and are insanely efficient (250cc bikes can routinely achieve 80MPG, 500cc bikes maintain a Prius worthy 55MPG). It could be easier to perform a cornering in these types of bikes, especially small sports bikes like Honda CBR250R.
  • The coupe utility, aka the ute, was first designed by Ford Australia in the early 1930s after they received a letter from a farmer's wife who requested "a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays". The resulting "Kangaroo Chaser" (as it was called when it was shown in America) became a phenomenon in Australia and New Zealand, especially after Ford's competitor Holden started building its own utes in The '50s, leading to the creation of an entire class of vehicles that combined the comfort and modest size of a car with a truck bed that could be used to haul large items — a perfect vehicle for the needs of a farmer or laborer who didn't want or need a full-size pickup truck. While they never really caught on outside Oceania (the US has the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero as Cult Classics, but few other successful examples), they have gone on to be viewed as symbols of Aussie culture due to how they embody this trope.
  • The Mazda MX-5 convertible often has critical acclaim for its agile, responsive handling, top-down fun, and reasonable price point. While the engine is modestly powered, engine performance isn't really the main point of the vehicle (though enthusiasts have been know to swap more powerful engines in); this relatively low power works to the car's advantage, making this excellent beginner's car for those who want to get their feet wet in race-track driving, without going out of control easily.

    Real Life - Food 
  • Tabasco sauce has a very popular hot sauce for the almost 150 years it's been around. Most hot sauces will have a variety of ingredients, some natural, some artificial. Tabasco, on the other hand, lists only three—red pepper, vinegar, and salt—and yet it's a mainstay at many eateries.
  • Peanut butter. Not only does it taste good, but it's cheap, it's a good source of fiber and protein (meaning that it makes you feel full so you'll eat less), it contains several healthy vitamins and minerals, and it can decrease your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. Many people are surprised to learn that peanut butter can actually be considered a health food because it tastes so good.
  • Two slices of bread, with any filling you desire. Just about anything can go in a sandwich, and it creates a healthy, portable, no-silverware-needed snack or meal that can be eaten at any time of the day, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Indeed, sandwiches have fed countless people, young and old, rich and poor, the world over for decades. And, with a little creativity, you can create some very interesting and tasty fillings. Suddenly your humble sandwich isn't so boring now, is it? The burger is another highly customizable spin on the sandwich, adaptable to tastes from all over the world.

    Like grilled cheese sandwiches? Try the indoor grill. Probably the most famous of them all is George Foreman's Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine line. Fits on top of the stove without getting in the way of other cookware. You just have to plug it in, let it heat up, and then cook your stuff. Best of all, no fire and next to no grease — which makes it perfect for more challenging creations.

    Peanut butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. BLT. The simpler a sandwich is, the more awesome it is.
  • Rice and beans. A popular dish all over the world (Latin American, India, Middle East), it is very nutritious, it's a complete protein source, cheap, easy to make and with spices, quite tasty.

    Fried Rice is good way to use up left-over ingredients, with no set recipe. Common ingredients include vegetables, scrambled eggs, flavorful oil, soy sauce, and a seasoning spice. Good results are obtained from keeping the recipe as simple as possible so that a cacophony of tastes don't overwhelm the taste buds. Have the fried rice with a side of flavored bean and enjoy your nutritious meal!

    Similar to fried rice is a "Rice Pilaf". It is popular through out the Asian continent and the Middle-East, and can be assembled in a single pot to cook with little user intervention. Depending on your recipe, you sauté the vegetables to release the flavor, add your rice as well as herbs and spices, and finally add a flavor stock. Cover the vessel and check up on it occasionally to prevent scorching (no stirring is needed). Fluff the rice after the rice kernels are fully softened, and serve as an easy side-dish.

    Congee, which also uses leftover rice. At its basics, you just boil water and rice together along with some additional ingredients such as diced meat and veggies. A popular cold-weather dish in many Asian countries, especially for those coming down with colds.
  • Honey. It's sweet, it makes for a good dressing for a surprisingly large array of foods, and, combined with water, can fulfill the need for mead; unadulterated mead is simply honey fermented in water. However, the thing that makes honey really special is that, as long as it's sealed, it doesn't spoil. Ever. If you break open a 3000-year-old sealed jar and find honey inside, you can safely eat it as if it came from the store yesterday. The low amount of water in honey, combined with its chemical makeup, means that any bacteria in honey literally get the water sucked out of them and die. As a nice side effect, this means that honey can be applied to wounds as antibacterial disinfectant in a pinch.
  • Food bars. Be they granola, protein bars, or even the simple chocolate bar. They are affordable, easily stored, and provide a degree of nutritional value that allows a person to continue functioning for a reasonable amount of time until allowing for a more-traditional meal.
  • Chocolate in its pure form is also considered a food of the gods in many cultures for its excellent taste and capability to provide long-lasting energy.
  • Lactic acid fermentation is one of the oldest food-preservation techniques in existence. Well-known products of this are foods such as sour-cabbage, with variations as simple as Sauerkraut, and complex formulas such as the spicy Kimchi. Fermentation is very easy, making Sauerkraut as simple as washing, chopping up, and salting cabbage, and storing it inside of an air-tight jar for 4-weeks or more.

    Sour-cabbage is a very healthy condiment, providing many digestive benefits, and many people feel it tastes very good with many main dishes. Lactic acid fermentation kills/prevents many harmful organisms, including the infamous botulism strain, and preserves the vegetable or milk product from the harsh acidity it creates.
  • Pizza, an evolution of the simple flat-bread from antiquity, and popular around the world. It depends on which area of the world you are in for the preferred toppings, but there are many combinations that work for many tastes. The Americas are familiar with the Tomato-sauce & Mozzarella cheese base (Neopolitan-style), but a pizza could be made with any sauce of your choice (how does a favorite curry sauce sound?). Numerous regions of the world have their own spin on the toppings, making "pizza around the world" an adventure of its own.
  • One-pot Soups are quite straight forward. One example can be made simply by dicing vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, for example), adding oil to a pot, sauteing the vegetables to release the flavors, optionally adding seasoned meats to saute them too, then deglazing the pot with some flavored liquid (cooking wine if you desired), and finally adding a broth (chicken, beef, tomato, etc) to the pot. Even more flavor can be added by adding herbs such as thyme, bay-leaf, garlic, parsley, and some salt & black pepper to taste. A large batch can be prepared ahead to time to last the entire week if desired. There are numerous recipes on the web to try out.
  • Part of why bacon is quite popular is that it's so damn simple to prepare. Just dump some strips onto a pan; since bacon is inherently full of grease it'll cook in its own juices. If you don't have access to a stove or are afraid of the vicious "spitting" that frying bacon produces, you can microwave it or cook it in the oven as well. Bacon is so good that people whose religions forbid consuming pork have been known to convert after tasting it. For vegetarians and people who don't want to change religions, there are vegetarian bacon substitutes and turkey bacon available.
  • Coffee. At its basics, it's just ground coffee beans and water, with several kinds of preparations available: drip, French press, cold brew, and the Difficult, but Awesome pour-over, for instance. Yet it's the most consumed source of caffiene in the world, with several ways to spruce up the everyday cup of joe: sugar, milk, creamer, etc. It's diet-friendly too: black coffee packs only about five calories per cup.
  • Like coffee, tea is also pretty simple. It's just cut-up leaves that you pour hot water onto and let steep for a few minutes. Or, you can use cold water in a pitcher with tea leaves and leave it in the fridge for several hours to make iced tea. Either way, it's another one of the most consumed beverages in the world, enjoyed in many occasions such as morning routines, parties, fine dining, and even pre-bedtime relaxation since tea is also widely available in herbal caffiene-free varieties. Tea is low-calorie just like coffee with only nominal calories per cup.
  • Barbecue. The first form of cooking ever invented it's simply meat cooked over fire. It can be changed up with different kinds of meat seasoned with different sauces and spices to create a near endless variety of flavors. Some scientists even believe that the extra protein from cooking meat led to more developed brains. Millions of years later, it's still a favorite the world over with many restaurants devoted entirely to making different kinds of barbecue. Since you're cooking over a grill (hence the term "grilled") or with the food on a spitroast (i.e. a rotating stick), the fat will drip out of the food, making it one of the most healthy ways to prepare a hot meal.

    Add wooden smoking media to the fire (use a smoking pan with gas grills), and the smoke particles will settle on your food, adding interesting flavors to food based on the type of wood used.
  • Chopsticks. They're literally just two identical rods, and yet they are a staple of East Asian dining, and can substitute for fingers if you want to pick up and eat something solid that can be eaten with your hands and don't want to get your hands all greasy. And countless graphical designs for chopsticks exist, allowing you to personalize your eating experience.
  • The Snackeez is just a cup with a screw-on bowl. It isn't visually impressive or flashy, but that barely matters when you can hold both your drink and snack in one hand.
  • Pasta is also popular the world over for this reason. All you need is something to boil water in. The sauce can be just about anything you have on hand. Pastas also tend to be dirt-cheap, which is why they're favored, along with instant ramen, among people with low incomes.

     Real Life - Technology 
  • It is well known among engineers, computer scientists, and hackers that the ThinkPad line of laptops (especially the T series) is the personification of this trope among computers. They have a dull, boxy and dark-gray design that has barely changed in 15 years and rather unimpressive technical specifications, yet their price tag is at least 50% more than a laptop with comparable performances. Why? Because they are famous for their extreme reliability, robustness, and general usability. The design process is simply geared towards making a solid, reliable and efficient machine rather than maximizing performance for a price. Some regular users claim the quality has gotten lower since Lenovo bought the brand from IBM in 2005, but others find they have remained faithful to the original philosophy.
  • Write-once-read-many optical disks:
    • Successful formats include CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R (similar to DVD-R, but with additional features), and more recently, the BluRay BD-R. They aren't as fast in reads/writes as Hard Drives, or as swift and low-latency as solid-state-drives, but they are cheap with reasonable shelf-life for their cost if you pick a quality brand. They consist of a writable dye sandwiched between layers of plastic and have no moving parts by them-selves. As of 2016, the drives are highly prolific in desktop and laptop computer systems, and most models support both single-layer 4,482 Megabyte discs plus double-layer 8,145 Megabyte discs. They can also boot a computer system, and hold a generous-size operating system.

      Rewritable versions of the optical disc have addressed the lack of re-usability with write-once media. However, this malleable medium can be vulnerable to heat-based corruption, slows down maximum writing speed, and adds cost to the disc. Thus, the simpler write-once format remains more popular due to in-expense, and low chance of accidental erasure.

      DVD Recorder Drives are inexpensive (around $20 on Amazon), making it frugal to fit old computers with at least a DVD/CD-ROM combo drive. Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) & Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) models can be found to help in this regard, or a Serial-ATA Pci card can be added to some hardware if it is worthy of extra expense.

      The BD-ROM drive didn't become prolific like DVD, but BD-R disc prices are on par with the cost-efficiency of DVD+-R and support 25 & 50 Gigabytes for single and double-layer respectively. The BD-XL format supports capacities of 100 GB and 128 GB.

      The CD-ROM drive's awesomeness became apparent in the 90's on the IBM-compatible platform thanks to Killer Apps like "The 7th Guest" and "Myst", and the PlayStation 1 became a huge success, partly thanks to the CD-ROM drive on-board, reducing media costs for game developers.

      On this note, DVD-Video remains highly popular for films and custom video burning, in spite of only supporting 480p resolution. Part of the reason for this is because it is quite adequate for most TV-sizes and the players do not have any invasive DRM hardware standards. Again, most computers come with a standard DVD drive, and mostly let you play the films without hassle. Even most Linux systems only need to execute a particular command script just once to activate the decrypter, and they're set to view DVD films. Plus, a DVD-R drive is extremely cheap to get these days; you can snag a good one for just 20 USD.
  • The turn-table hard disk drive is still relevant as of 2016:
    • In spite of the introduction of Solid State Drives, they are very cost-efficient for their capacities. A multi-terabyte model gives Optical and Tape rivaled cost-effectiveness, or makes up for the extra cost with superior read/write performance. External-models can be power-efficient enough to run on just a USB port, and fit into a pocket or laptop bag. Add a data recovery plan with your purchase, for a trivial cost; you have peace of mind that professionals are on stand-by for a few years to recover your data in most failure scenarios.

      Handle the drive with care, and keep it safe from shock (even with a drop-detector on the drive), and your hard-drive will stay safe in most cases. Cloud-storage on top of a hard-drive system ensures a spare copy of your data survives, or you can keep back-ups on BD-R discs.

      Flash Memory is starting to catch up with hard disks, but research and development is continuously used for expanding the capacities of the Hdd towards tens-of-terrabytes to make up for their moving parts. The next improvement for Hdd is the possible wide-spread implementation of high-speed Flash Memory on the drive controller, for fast-access to frequently-used files.

      USB thumbdrives are slowly starting to become this as well, especially as the price per unit of storage space goes down. Several gigabytes of storage, all on a device that you can slip onto your keychain, with limitless possibilities for use; you can store documents on them so you can work on them whether at work, home, or a computer elsewhere, run a whole operating system entirely from one (in fact, this is a popular method for trying out Linux distributions before doing full-fledged installations, and Windows has been getting its feet wet with this concept too), use them as authentication keys for logging into various services, and so on. In 2005, a 16 GB flash drive was a bit of a luxury. In 2018, you can get one for five U.S. dollars.

      Micro SDXC memory is even smaller, and doesn't have to be terribly expensive. A chip smaller than a postage stamp can hold 128gb of memory and is available for $40 USD or less online, and decreasing. Great for recording HD Video, especially ultra high speed 1 models & above. It's used in a wide variety of devices, from PCs (No dedicated microSD slot? Just get a USB adapter) to smartphones to Nintendo handhelds, particularly the New Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch.
  • The 15-pin VGA connection remains prolific on used legacy hardware such as older monitors. They even rivaled the DVI connection that was supposed to replace it due to the video quality difference being hard to notice, and VGA cables being less costly than DVI. HDMI has all but replaced DVI and VGA however in developed regions, but VGA still remains common on legacy devices and has surprisingly good capabilities.
  • Ever since its conception, steam power is still in use. Back then they used it for industry and transportation, now we use it for power using the Steam Turbines. Even the fancy nuclear reactor, at the end of the day, is boiling water to provide steam and spin the turbines.
    • Mainstream fusion reactor designs (and a substantial fraction of alternative designs) are of the technologically less demanding neutronic variety, ruling out fancy electromagnetic energy collectors in favour of steam plants. In fact, there is at least one proposal out there for a future power generator using a micro black hole - feed matter in, get high-energy Hawking radiation out, absorb said radiation in a big heavy spherical shield cooled by pumping a fluid through it... yep, you guessed it; it's a steam engine. As Ogden Nash once put it:
      One constant truth mankind has found
      Through fire and flood and slaughter:
      The thing that makes the wheels go round
      Is plenty of good hot water.
  • The humble cellphone shell case (or tablet case, or handheld game system case). A simple accessory that can guard your device against scratches, moisture, and light impacts. More often not, cases come in a variety of designs—everything from simple single-color designs to fancy jewel-encrusted cases to cases depicting your favorite characters, giving your device some extra identity and helping it stand out so that your friends don't mistake your phone for theirs by accident.
  • Mouse traps, and by extension any sort of lethal or nonlethal trap designed to handle insects and rodents. Because the intended victims of these traps have the advantage of numbers, the traps' designs must by necessity be simple enough to be easily mass-produced. The prototypical mouse trap, for instance, is just a piece of wood, a metal bar, a spring and a trigger. The phrase "build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door" (often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emersonnote ) has come to be a popular metaphor for the value of innovation.
  • The electrical motor was figured out in the 19th century and it has not seen major improvements in technology for a long while. But pretty much everything that moves relies either on this or internal combustion engines. Even some diesel trains and boats use electrical motors because using a diesel engine to produce electricity is more efficient than using a diesel engine outside its optimal range. The fancy Tesla Model S uses literally the simplest electric motor design, 3-phase AC induction motor. A power drill motor is more complex.
  • For similar reasons to engineering, such solutions are much desired in some schools of thought about game design, especially for tabletop games. The more contained a rules set is, the easier it is to make it fly. That, and too many rules start interacting in weird ways, allowing for more and more Game-Breaker problems to crop up. Notable aversions come from attempts to add "realism" to a game, reflecting the wide range of variables that can influence events in real life. There's a definite upper limit to how much math most people will happily tolerate in the basic attack roll, however - if your rules start requiring long division, you might want to go back to the drawing board.
  • In software design, simple, clear algorithms are more robust and easier to understand than trying to improve performance.
    • This was also the idea of the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture. It was found doing simpler operations was much faster than doing more complicated operations that achieved the same thing in a single instruction. Pretty much every modern CPU is now a RISC design at its core.
  • The introduction of radio communications had massive effects on many fields, not least of which was the practice of war. Ships at sea could communicate with each other or their home bases instantaneously (or at least as fast as a message could be keyed into a telegraph and relayed along) instead of having to send messengers directly. As radios became smaller and introduced voice capability, pilots could more easily communicate with each other or their ground forces to coordinate their efforts instead of resorting to wing waggles and hand signals. And then, of course, they introduced Radar, which meant the radio could also help look for the enemy, instead of needing someone to spot him with the Mark One Eyeball first.
  • And on the topic of radio communication, there are many ways to send a message over radio. You can use amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, Single Sideband, a wide variety of digital message formats with various strengths, weaknesses, and features, but at the end of the day, one of the most reliable methods of sending a message long distances is Continuous Wave, also commonly known as Morse Code. The signal requires very little bandwidth to be viable compared to voice or more complicated digital modes, requires relatively simple equipment to send with (really, you can use two bits of wire and just tap the ends together to close the circuit, as CW is either sending or it is not), and the simplicity of it means that it can be picked out of noisy radio frequencies with relative ease due to not sounding like anything else. In fact, it doesn't even require a radio. Messages in Morse can be sent using lights, mirrors, flags, or even by blinking your eyes (as was once famously done by a prisoner of war being forced to be in a propaganda video). And while relatively few people understand Morse code, almost everyone knows the signal for distress: ditditdit dahdahdah ditditdit
  • Serial communication sends only one bit at a time, but it's replaced practically every form of peripheral cabling signaling. The reasons include fewer wires necessary for data (at the minimum two) and it can be clocked as fast as necessary. The inherit problem with parallel signaling is that faster clock rates reduces the tolerance the signals can arrive to be considered the same data chunk and not all the signals arrive at the same time due to travel time and propagation delay through other chips. Plus, serial channels can be piped together to form an ad-hoc parallel data interface anyway.
  • How UNIX does security. UNIX was built on the idea that everything about a computer can be thought of as a file. For example, if you wanted to print something, you'd write to the "printer file." UNIX was also designed with multiple users, both local and networked, in mind. So access to these files is controlled via nine bits, in three groups of three. The groups of three represent the owner of the file, a group of users, and everyone else. Within that are flags for being able to read, write to, or execute the file. Folders are a little different, but otherwise have the same attributes. There is also a separation between ordinary users and the superuser or root. Only root is allowed to modify certain files, with authorized users providing a password. This simple representation has given UNIX and its derivatives rock solid security to this day. Microsoft's Windows file permissions work similarly, but is more verbose, with each group having up to eight or so types of permission.
  • As explained in a now-famous xkcd strip, one of the best ways to come up with passwords — or rather, passphrases — is to simply string random words together. Simple, because words are easier to memorize than a completely random permutation of letters, numbers, and symbols. (Compare something like "rumble trope peanut electrical amulet" to a more traditional mash-the-keyboard password like "DFj49fds%j".) Awesome, because the resulting password will be guaranteed to be long enough that a brute-force attack will be a prohibitively costly effort.note That said, however... 
  • This is a driving reason why the Game Boy was so massively successful even in the face of technologically superior portable consoles like the Game Gear and the Atari Lynx. It had a simple rugged design that allowed it to survive life in the hands of a careful gamer or a careless child (not to mention a bomb in the Gulf War), and it's no-frills monochrome screen used much less battery power than the colorful competition making it by far the cheapest and most economical option.
  • Push Reel Mowers, the ones with the cylindrical blade that's spun just by pushing the mower. They take a little more effort to push but they're simple, rugged, and effective. You'll never struggle to get one to start, you don't need to worry about dragging a cord around, and it'll never stall or run out of gas mid-job: just grab the handle and start pushing.
  • The Shinkansen, in a sense (except for the 500 series). Fast as it is, it isn't really frilly or something, especially for usually flashy Japanese standards, nor is it luxurious in any way. It wasn't made for showing off. It was made for only one thing which it has been doing amazingly well and amazingly reliably for more than half a century: hauling millions upon millions of people pear year through sometimes densely populated areas within short times.
  • One problem with seats on trains is that usually about half of them always face backwards (unless it's a single-cab railcar or a classic US streamliner that can only travel in one direction and has to be turned around at the end of the journey). At least on German Trans Europ Express saloon coaches and Japanese Shinkansen high-speed trains, this problem has been solved with seat rows that can be rotated as a whole. This, however, requires a very sturdy bearing and a whole lot of space between the rows, especially as some of the Shinkansen's seat rows have three seats each. The Deutsche Bahn has disabled the turning seats on their former TEE coaches long since because they were too expensive to keep in working order.
    The German-made Uerdinger railbuses from The '50s (thereby predating both the Trans Europ Express and the Shinkansen) achieve the same by having backrests that are padded on both sides, and that can be flipped to both sides of the seat cushion with a simple mechanism that also always tilts the seat cushion towards the backrest. This is so easy that passengers can — and are encouraged to — operate it. So whether you want to sit "forward" or opposite your buddies, just flip the backrest over.
  • The Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer. Let's see. Fully analog, monophonic, only one oscillator, not a single LFO, two downright frugal envelopes with only one shape parameter each, no patch memory. It has been outdated at least since the arrival of MIDI. In fact, by late 1983, early 1984, the last new ones were sold for some $100 or given away as a freebie when you bought a matching TR-606 drum machine. But just a few years later, three Chicago DJs found out how this little silver box can rock clubs and raves, and it has been doing so for some three decades now. In fact, despite the availability of multiple hardware clones based on the same circuitry, the 303 is still becoming more and more unaffordable.

    Real Life - Weaponry 
  • Modern firearms in general, really. You might be wondering why we don't use caseless rounds, or gyrojets, or flechettes. Simply put, modern firearms are simply just that practical. Specific examples, in chronological order are:
    • The oldest firearm design still in mass production is the break-action rifle or shotgun. The basic boxlock design had already been perfected in 1875 and it's still in production in the same basic form, which has exactly 3 parts: hammer, spring, trigger. Manufacturers had added over time features like ejectors, Drilling three-barrel combinations, single selective triggers, automatic safeties, yet the basic and also most reliable design is not different from what the great-great-grandfather of a modern trooper might have wielded. It's basically indestructible (as in firing nowadays a gun of 1900 vintage) and with proper barrel construction it has been endlessly proven one can fire 1 MOA (in layman terms, a 5-shot group the size of a wristwatch) from a break-action cheap as dirt.
    • The humble revolver. As handguns go, it is one of the most simple designs around, with fairly intuitive operation. Revolvers are antiquated—the first cartridge-firing revolver dates to 1854, predating The American Civil War, and the iconic Colt Single Action Army was a military service revolver as early as 1872. The simple function of a cylinder containing multiple cartridges that rotate into line with the barrel reduced the amount of time needed between shots versus a single-shot weapon, while the simple durability of a properly-crafted revolver makes it an excellent platform for firing high-powered magnum rounds. They are still common in modern use as target shooting pistols as well as concealed carry or home defense weapons—they can be stored loaded without worrying about issues like magazine spring failures, and will usually operate even if not maintained religiously. They also have the option (within some limitations, mostly cartridge rim size and length) of loading different cartridge types into the same cylinder, the most famous example of this being that a weapon chambered in .357 Magnum can also take the less powerful (and therefore lower-recoil) .38 Special if desired; the common saying is that a revolver will fire anything that will fit neatly into the cylinder.note  More modern semi-auto pistol designs usually require, at the very least, swapping out parts to take a new cartridge type, with some even getting finicky when switching between jacketed and hollow-point rounds of the same caliber.
    • The M1911 pistol. A simple and reliable gun that has been in service in the US Army, from World War I to beyond the Cold War. More importantly, its short recoil design is now used by the vast majority of other semiautomatic pistol designs, including the extremely popular Browning Hi-Power, CZ75, and the Glock series of pistols.
    • The Browning M2, as pictured. Designed by the famously prolific gun designer John Browning back in 1918, the "Ma Deuce" remains the quintessential and most prolific heavy machine gun in the world, still used even today by modern armies. Its mountings have evolved over time, but the core weapon itself remains largely the same as when Browning designed it. Gets bonus points for having such a high precision that a scope and switching to single shot can effectively turn it into an anti-material sniper rifle. Carlos Hathcock held the sniper kill distance record for thirty-five years using this weapon. Upgrades by the US Army are modest by DOD standards: a quick change barrel, minor modifications to the bolt, a new trigger. The M2A1 was named the "greatest Army inventions of 2011".
      • The M2 Browning is actually the larger child of a veteran machine gun, the M1917 Browning machine gun. Water cooled and belt-fed, the M1917 used .30-06 Springfield up until the late 1960's before being phased out. The machine gun was lighter then contemporary Maxim-style machine guns and it's left-to-right belt feed and tight clustering of bullets were copied by alter machine guns. Its smaller child, the M1919 Browning machine gun is still being used as a light vehicle gun and as an infantry tripod while the M60 is used as a general machine gun instead.
    • The AK-47 is, essentially, as simple and rough-hewn as a fully automatic rifle can actually be. That makes it virtually indestructible (they can notoriously be dunked in mud and fired without cleaning) and has allowed people to acquire one who could otherwise hardly afford a good club. Its predecessor, the SKS, also has a reputation for simplicity and reliability and was the workhouse of the PLA for years.
      • It's also worth noting that the design of the AK-47 has since been utilized in many weapons used to this very day. Most Eastern European, Middle Eastern, African and Asian armies use assault rifles, marksman's rifles, squad automatic weapons and sub-machine guns using the same designs Mikhail Kalashnikov made close to seventy years ago. Russia's current service rifle, the AK-74M, is really just an AK-47 with a different caliber, a multifunction recoil compensator and new synthetic furniture.
    • The Carl Gustav is slightly older than the AK-47 (first released 1946) but still widely used today. It is more accurate than similar unguided anti-tank weapons and immensely versatile, capable of firing a ton of different ammunition types, including flechettes and airburst rounds. In other words, it is essentially a bazooka that can be used like a shotgun and a grenade launcher. Although largely obsolete in its original (anti-tank) role, its versatility and accuracy have seen it repurposed to take out fortifications, light vehicles and helicopters, all roles in which it still excels.
    • The common pump-action shotgun. Although weapons like the M1 Garand, Glock 19 and Smith & Wesson Model 10 are popular with many homeowners, the pump-action shotgun is one of the most-loved weapons for home defense. The operation's simple: fire the shotgun, pump the slide and reload. Rinse and repeat. Other factors include easy-to-get ammunition (while people may have difficulty finding assault rifle rounds, buckshot is incredibly plentiful.), the awesome cocking sound can put off burglars/murderers/stalkers/salesmen almost instantly and thanks to the smoothbore design, loads of rounds can be fired without much problems, from buckshot/birdshot to flechettes, incendiary rounds, flares, solid slugs, tracers, rubber shot, grenades and even table salt. And with reliable designs like the Ithaca 37, Remington 870 and Mossberg 500, it's hard to find one that will let you down.
    • The Glock pistol, in its many models, has been fairly referred to as the "AK-47 of pistols," with operation as simple as is possible for a semiautomatic pistol and ruggedness and reliability that are legendary. The soundness of the simple design can be attested to by the facts that it has barely changed since it was first laid down in 1982, 27 different models in seven different calibers have all been successfully produced around it, and how much it's been imitated by competitors. It's hated passionately by some, who regard its blocky, utilitarian lines as ugly; its long, heavy trigger and loose tolerances as compromises to accuracy; and its lack of manual safeties and need to be dry-fired before disassembly as potentially dangerous. That still hasn't prevented it from becoming the most influential handgun design since the Browning Hi-Power, popularizing once-radical but now-common features like polymer construction, striker firing, and double-action-only triggers; and it's likely the most common semiautomatic pistol design in the world as of the 2010s, in military, law enforcement, and civilian hands.
    • The Scout rifle concept originally conceived by Jeff Cooper, and later put into production by many rifle makers, strives for simplicity and versatility to produce a general-purpose rifle that "will do equally well for all but specialized hunting, as well as for fighting," in Cooper's words. Basically, it's a bolt-action rifle typically chambered in .308 Winchester (one of the most common big game calibers, and also a prevalent military caliber, designated as 7.62x51mm NATO), or a similar caliber, that weighs less than 3 kilos, is less than 1 meter in length, is usable with simple optics or iron sights and a simple sling, and will allow a competent shooter to take any animal up to about 450 kilos, or a human target, at at least 450 meters using the iron sights.
      • Bolt-action rifles in general, really. They don't fire as fast as semi-automatic or fully-automatic firearms and have a smaller magazine capacity, but they are easier to maintain, less likely to misfire, cheaper, more accurate at longer ranges, perform beautifully in extreme environments and more suitable for stealth (they lack the clacking sound of the bolt closing and opening in autoloaders, and the user's is less likely to be revealed to enemies since the cartridge isn't visibly flung into the air). The 'Awesome' comes from how bolt-actions can chamber powerful cartridges without increasing the size/weight of the weapons and that some models, such as the Lee-Enfield and Mauser rifles, look utterly gorgeous, while others such as the Mosin-Nagant are incredibly rugged. It's also important to remember that bolt-action rifles were the staple infantry weapon for practically every country during the first half of the 20th century and proved their worth in two world wars, with many nations using their bolt-actions into the 1950s despite the advent of semiautomatic battle rifles like the M1 Garand and assault rifles like the AK-47. And even today, many nations still use bolt-actions as their primary sniper rifle, such as the AWM, FR F1, M24 SWS etc. All this, and using a relatively simple action based off operating the bolt on a door.
  • The humble crossbow, in use for centuries, can put an arrow through your chest at the pull of a trigger. It's often considered one of the oldest complex mechanical devices that has seen continuous use by man, with examples dating back to the 4th century BC, and hasn't significantly changed in all that time.
    • And a regular bow, though taking more skill to use well, is even simpler.
  • For all the high-tech gear available, one of the most useful tools/weapons has operated basically the same for the last two and half million years: take something that can hold an edge and be wielded with one hand, and you have the knife. And unlike many of the other weapons above, it has a versatility that is unmatched by any other weapon; the knife is not only a weapon in its own right, it can be used as a tool to create a huge variety of other weapons.
    • Anyone with competent and realistic martial arts or law enforcement training and experience quickly learns to respect, if not fear, knives as weapons. Knives are available almost everywhere, and can be bought without restrictions in most countries. Where they are restricted, they can easily be made from makeshift materials. They’re silent and often easily concealable. They don't need ammunition. They don’t jam. They’re usually dangerous in more than one direction. They’re very difficult to take away from a resisting person without getting cut yourself. And anywhere they can reach an artery or vital organ, they can inflict deadly injury.
  • The axe was one of the most common weapons on ancient and Medieval battlefields for a few reasons. First, everyone knew how to use an axe. You may need some training on combat uses, but standard use and proper maintenance of an axe was known by all but the highest level of society. Second, axes were far simpler to make and repair than swords. If an axe breaks, it's going to break at the wooden handle. Very simple and cheap repair. A broken sword blade is pretty much useless. Swords also must be forged, whereas axes could be cast because the extra size gave it strength. Third, swords were rarely effective on more than one type of armor. One effective for full plate would be less effective against mail or leather because slashing, stabbing, and chopping with a sword require different blade types for maximum effectiveness. Axes, on the other hand, were heavy enough to cause damage against (or through) most types of armor. A battle axe with a spike on one side and a blade on the other could be effective against even the most heavily armored knight.
  • The spear can be as simple as a short pointed stick and still be effective in battle if used properly. Spears were a very effective and cheap way to defend against cavalry charges and pike walls were a standard tactic for centuries. Combined with a strong shield in proper formation and you have the unstoppable phalanxes of the ancient Greek city-states and Alexander the Great's army; without a shield, you have Swiss mercenaries and the Cromwellian army.
    • A primitive spear can be made without tools by sharpening one end of a mostly straight stick with your teeth. This is how chimpanzees make them and probably how our ancestors made them before figuring out stone tools.
  • Any weapon which doubles as or was a farming tool. Machete Mayhem, Sinister Scythe, Kukris Are Kool, Fighting with name it, chances are they serve as both a weapon for self-defense and agricultural implement.
    • Related to this is the infantryman's best friend, the entrenching tool (basically, a combat spade). It is used for fortifications, fieldcraft, latrines and, more pertinently to this part of the list, a melee weapon. Some commando units and Spetsnaz are even formally trained in their use as a combat implement rather than their ostensible use.