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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 in the Mario franchise. A 1-UP awards the player with an extra chance to beat the game. If a player dies, they are 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 their lives, a Game Over results, and the game must either be played again from the beginning, or restarted from the last save point. Players can lose lives by being defeated by an enemy, falling into a pit, or falling into lava or poison water. In most Mario games, players typically start with three to six extra lives, and can usually earn more during the course of the game. Many of the games play a six-note tone that contains the notes G, C, E, C, D, and G in that specific order when a Mario game character has received an extra life. Some games (such as Super Mario Land) play a different sound when a 1UP is earned.
Super Mario Bros. allows players to earn up to 128 lives, but (in the NES version only) earning more than that gives a Game Over in the next death due to a signed integer overflow. The NES version of Super Mario Bros. 2 allows players to earn up to 255 lives, but earning more than 100 lives causes the tens digit of the life counter to show letters. As of Super Mario Bros. 3, the maximum number of lives Mario or Luigi can typically obtain is 99. In Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario 3D World, players can have up to 1,110 lives.
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 100 objects. In the game, if 100 coins are collected, the player is rewarded with an extra life. In many platforming and adventure games, collecting one hundred of a specific item grants a 1-Up (such as in the Donkey Kong Country series, where collecting 100 bananas yields an extra life). The game Super Mario 64 alters this formula - collecting 100 gives the player a Power Star, and, after leaving the level using any star, 1-Ups are granted at 50, 100, and 150 coins (but no other intervals). The extra lives from collecting coins only registers if one of the regular stars in the level are collected. Unlike most other games, every time the player leaves their save file and returns, the amount of lives is always reverted back to the default setting. In other games, a low number of items can be collected for an extra life. These include the Dragon Coins of Super Mario World, where five coins gives an extra life, and the K-O-N-G Letters of the Donkey Kong Country series, where all four letters grant a 1-UP, but only if a complete set is acquired in a single level, unlike coins and bananas, which have a running total throughout the game. Some games also feature items that award more than one extra life, such as the 3-Up Moon from Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U, 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, and in 3D 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).
Mario games with cooperative multiplayer have used different life systems. In games such as Mario Bros. (and all its ports), New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, each player has their own life counter, though in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World each player shares the same life counter (though New Super Mario Bros. 2 does not deduct lives if only one player dies in a level or if both players bubble themselves. In the case of Super Mario 3D World, the life counter has a combined total depending on the number of players rather than starting at six).
Extra lives are only surpassed by the "Continue", which grants an entire new set of extra lives, instead of just one.
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