An extra life (also known as a "1-Up", "1-UP" or "1UP") is a term used in video games, especially platforming games, such as those associated with Mario. A 1-UP awards the player with an extra chance to beat the game. If a player dies, they will be able to start unscathed from the beginning of the level (or sometimes, at the level's mid-point, if it has been reached). When a player loses all of his/her lives, the result is a Game Over, and the game must either be played again from the beginning, or be restarted from the last save point. Players can lose lives by being defeated by an enemy, or falling into an abyss. Players typically start with three to five extra lives, and can usually earn more during the course of the game. A six-note tone, containing the notes E,G,E,C,D,G in that specific order, has always been heard when a Mario game character has received an Extra life.
As of Super Mario Land, the maximum number of lives Mario can obtain is 99. In some more recent games, he can have up to 1,110.
Early arcade games, such as Donkey Kong, typically awarded an extra life after a large number of points was acquired by the player. However, the 1-UP independent of score did not emerge until the original Super Mario Bros. In this game, the 1-Up Mushroom was introduced. This special item merely needed to be collected to reward the player an extra life. However, these items were typically hidden and were very hard to acquire. This trend continued in other platforming and adventure games, and as such, extra lives were often seen as the ultimate bonus of early gaming. Examples of life-giving items include the 1-Up Mushroom and 3-Up Moon.
Super Mario Bros. also introduced another concept associated with 1-Ups – collection of a hundred objects. In the game, if one hundred coins were collected, the player would be rewarded with an extra life. In many platforming and adventure games, collecting a hundred of a specific item would grant a 1-Up (such as in the Donkey Kong Country series, where collecting a hundred Bananas yields an extra life). The game Super Mario 64 alters this formula - only fifty coins were needed for a 1-Up, but a hundred were required for a much more valuable item, the Power Star, which were needed to complete the game. The extra lives from collecting coins only registered if one of the regular stars in the level were collected. In other games, a low number of items could be collected for an extra life. These include the Dragon Coins of Super Mario World, where five coins would earn an extra life, and the KONG Letters of Donkey Kong Country, where all four letters would grant a 1-UP. However, these collectibles would only grant a 1-Up if a complete set was acquired in a single level, unlike coins and bananas, which had a running total throughout the game. Some games also feature items that award more than one extra life. These include the 3-Up Moon from Super Mario World, and the various colored Extra Life Balloons of Donkey Kong Country, which yield a different amount of extra lives based on color. In some games, 1-Ups award full health, such as in Super Mario Sunshine.
Extra lives can also be obtained by jumping on each enemy consecutively without touching the ground. As the player jumps on each enemy, they earn points. After the player jumps on the eighth enemy, they earn an extra life. This technique can be used in most of the 2D Mario games. It is featured in 3-D Mario games on the Yoshi Planet in Space Junk Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy and the Giant Koopas Planet in the Supermassive Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Except in these games and Super Mario 3D Land, the player does not earn points but still earns an extra life after jumping on the eighth enemy in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 or fifth enemy in Super Mario 3D Land).
Extra lives are only surpassed by the "Continue", which grants an entire new set of extra lives, instead of just one.
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, when Bowser is going through the Super Mario Bros. style levels, it is shown that he has infinite lives, and no matter how many times he dies, he will not run out of lives. This may explain why he always survives each battle with Mario, no matter what fate he suffers at the end of each game. This did obviously not apply to the time when he was temporarily destroyed by Dimentio in Super Paper Mario. However, this is probably simply so that the player doesn't get a Game Over from what is simply a mini-game.