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Sugar Wiki / So Short, It Rocks

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Bugs Bunny: It's magnificent!
Porky Pig: It's stupendous!
Daffy Duck: It's short!
All three: IT WINS!

Inversion of It's Short, So It Sucks! and aversion of Padding.

(Categorically not a Spear Counterpart to Petite Pride. It's not that kind of trope...)

Where a work is exactly as long as it needs to be and no longer. Rather than Padding out to a watered down length, the creators deliberately deliver a condensed experience that is awesome all the way through and is good because of its short length, not just in spite of it. Similar to British Brevity, but without the link to British TV season lengths. Lots of works created by smaller teams, like Indie Games, follow this as it's easier to create a short experience with a small team.

Obviously a YMMV, an Audience Reaction Trope and Gushing About Shows You Like. Not only is good or bad subjective, so is long and short, and what is considered long is dependent on the medium, and if the work is great because of its short length or in spite of it. A good rule of thumb for length is a work like a game, book or TV show that can be completed in a single sitting or a movie under an hour long. For content, a work with no padding and a central concept or mechanic such that it would have needed padding to make it longer.

Compare Miniscule Rocking, which covers all unusually short songs in any genre, not just rock.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • Cencoroll is criticized for being a 30-min long movie, but is very well praised for its visuals and unique plotline for fans of Mons series.
  • FLCL lasted only 6 episodes, yet was acclaimed in no small part to fitting in everything it needed to (which is to say, a lot) with no padding.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica was only 12 episodes, but that allowed the show to be tightly-plotted with essentially every scene contributing something specific to the overall plot, the overarching themes, or development of the characters. Part of the controversy over its sequel movie and spin-offs is that none of it was planned beforehand and contradicts what allowed the original to be strong.


     Puzzle Games 
  • Although most puzzles can be completed in a single sitting, that might be fifteen minutes for a Sudoku up to hours for a cryptic crossword. Puzzle types intended to be solved extremely rapidly fall under this trope.
    • Jumble puzzles first appeared in newspapers in 1954, created by Martin Naydel. Two five-letter and two six-letter words have their spellings scrambled; it's up to the reader to unscramble the four words. Likewise, key letters can be arranged to spell out a pithy caption to the included comic panel.
    • Challenger is a four-by-four spreadsheet that includes totals of the rows, columns, and diagonals. Given four starting digits, the challenge is to supply the missing digits that will add up correctly. These puzzles include a difficulty timer that rarely exceeds nine minutes, and is often less than five minutes.

     Video Games 
  • Action Game: Many action games can be beaten in a single sitting, with the replayability coming from multiple paths or Score Attack or speedrun modes.
    • Star Fox 64 can be beaten in a couple of hours, but as a result is constantly action-packed and can be replayed to discover alternate paths.
  • Puzzle Game: By their nature, puzzle games or games with heavy usage of puzzle elements for their gameplay lean towards this trope, as once you've solved a particular puzzle type, having the player repeat the same solution multiple times would be complete padding.
    • Limbo and its spiritual successor INSIDE (2016) both pitch their puzzles such that they're satisfying to solve, but unlikely to result in you getting hung up on a section. Together with the constant changes of scenery and oppressive atmosphere results in a tight rollercoaster of an experience.
    • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons hit on just about every possible variation of the "single-player co-op" mechanic the game was built around, and the short length heightened the emotional impact of the journey of the characters.
    • Portal spends most of its length teaching the player how to think with portals, with the end section a final exam of all that has been learnt, rather than using the same techniques over and over. This together with the hilarious dialogue leaves you wanting more rather than frustrated by padding. The sequel was longer by adding more mechanics to add variety, as well as the co-op campaign, but each could still be beaten in a single sitting.
  • Environmental Narrative Game (aka Walking Simulator):
    • The Stanley Parable can be beaten in just a few minutes, the real experience is seeing the effect that different choices have. Even finding all the endings could be done in a single sitting. If the main path were longer, then the repeated playthroughs that are essential for the full experience would be tiresomely repetitive.
    • Jazzpunk is very short and weird with only 3 chapters, but its gameplay, humor, and art style are so unique that it definitely is this trope.
  • Florence can be completed in around 20 minutes, but the professional-looking art, beautiful music and use of puzzles to communicate the plot make it an absolutely enjoyable experience.
  • Mad Rat Dead can be completed in a weekend, but its normally forgiving gameplay, loads of Awesome Music, swanky art style, and surprisingly deep yet short story will leave you satisfied even after the story is over.

     Web Original 
  • Vines enforces this as videos are limited to six seconds, long enough to post video clips of awesome flukes and goofballs getting pwned.
  • Both TikTok and the defunct had 3 to 15 second videos synched to music or another audio, which in capable hands could lead to amusing results.
  • 17776 was released over 10 days and 25 pages, in which it thoughtfully explores a far-future world where everyone is 15 000 years old, completely immortal, and doing what they can to find meaning in their unending lives.
  • Nightmare Time is an anthology series made up of hour-long episodes in Team Starkid's Hatchetfield universe. (Think The Twilight Zone (1959), but with recurring characters and all set in the same town.) One of the chief criticisms of Black Friday was that it tried to fit too much into a two-hour stage production, resulting in several stories going at once and introducing several interesting characters, but none getting the full attention they deserved. Nightmare Time's format allows it to focus on one storyline and a handful of characters at a time—and, judging from fan receptions, an hour is all they need.

     Western Animation 
  • Over the Garden Wall's 10 episodes left it the perfect length to showcase its development without dragging out.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars (not to be confused with another work) episode run times average less than six minutes, leaving little room for anything that's not badass action.
  • The story of Gravity Falls covers a summer vacation and ran for two seasons, but won quite a lot of critical acclaim in that short time.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures contains an in-universe example in the episode "Animaniacs!" Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig were forced to judge the student films, and they end up giving The Plucky Duck Story high praise solely because it was short (all it consists was just Baby Plucky crying over his deflated first intertube as the words "The End" Fade In over the scene — no title card or credits). Ironically, Plucky's film was supposed to be at least a more normal length, but he was forced to edit it down due to Shirley's film, which was shown before his, being absurdly long.
  • Though this wasn't the creator David Mitton's intent, TUGS lasted only 13 episodes, but many of its fans say that was all that it needed with its Visual Effects of Awesome and Darker and Edgier storytelling compared to its sister series Thomas & Friends which rarely went a darker route, not to mention the show's long term Seasonal Rot made many fans of TUGS like the fact that it only lasted 13 episodes and wonder if the series might have gone downhill had it been given more. Not to mention the fact that the director worked on Thunder Birds means lots of Explosions and destruction as well.