Extra life

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It has been requested that this article be rewritten and expanded to include more information. Reason: the warioware series life counter and 1-up prompts in the intermissions should be added

This article is about the number of retries the player is given throughout the game, sometimes referred to as "1-Up". For other uses of the term "1-Up", see 1-Up.
Mario acquiring an extra life by picking up a 1-Up Mushroom
Mario defeats a Reznor by collecting 99 lives.
Mario gathering coins to eventually have 99 lives to defeat a Reznor in Super Mario-kun

An extra life, also known as a 1-up (alternatively 1-Up, 1-UP, 1UP, or 1up) or Life Up, is a mechanic used in video games, especially platform games, such as those in the Super Mario franchise. A 1-up awards the player an extra chance to beat the game. If a player loses a life, they are able to start from the beginning of the level (or sometimes at the level's checkpoint, if it has been reached) without losing a significant amount of progress. When a player loses all of their lives, a Game Over results, 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, falling into a pit, falling into lava or poison, getting crushed by an obstacle, or running out of time. In most games of the Super Mario franchise, players typically start with three to six lives and can usually earn more during the course of the game. Many of the games play the six-note tone e g E C D G when a character of the Super Mario franchise receives an extra life. Some games (such as Super Mario Land) play a different sound when a 1-up is earned.

Super Mario Bros. allows players to earn up to 127 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. A fast way to reach the maximum is through the infinite lives trick, done by kicking Koopa Shells (and occasionally Buzzy Shells) repeatedly against staircases, such as at the end of World 3-1. The trick was removed from VS. Super Mario Bros. by having most Koopas or Buzzy Beetles descending staircases in some levels replaced by Goombas. If the player receives 10 or more lives, a crown and a symbol are displayed instead of the number. 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 (though in the original NES version of said game, the last life is designated as "0," meaning the player can technically hold 100). In Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario 3D World, players can have up to 1,110 lives, with the hundreds, tens, and ones digits turning into crowns when the player reaches 1,000, 1,100, and 1,110 lives, respectively. In Super Mario Maker's 10/100 Mario Challenge, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS's Super Mario Challenge, and Super Mario Maker 2's Story Mode and Endless Challenge, up to three extra lives can be received per course/job, with a maximum of 100 (in the first two games) or 99 (in Super Mario Maker 2). However, in Super Mario Maker 2's Story Mode, the current number of lives always defaults to five when the player enters a different job.

Early arcade games, such as Donkey Kong, typically award an extra life after a large number of points is 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 needs to be collected to reward the player with an extra life. However, 1-Up Mushrooms are typically hidden and are very hard to acquire. This trend continued in other platform 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 platform and adventure games, collecting 100 of a specific item grants a 1-up (such as in the Donkey Kong Country series, where collecting 100 bananas yields an extra life). Super Mario 64 alters this formula—collecting 100 coins gives the player a Power Star, and after the player leaves 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 register only if one of the regular Stars in the level is collected. Unlike in most other games, every time the player leaves their save file and returns, the number of lives is always reverted 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 give an extra life, and the KONG 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 number of extra lives based on color. In some games, 1-ups award full health, such as in Super Mario Sunshine.

In the first Donkey Kong Country, the Kongs can also obtain an extra life by jumping on eight enemies in succession. This behavior returns in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, replacing a Banana Coin obtained from the previous few enemies in succession.

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 games of the Super Mario franchise, and in 3D games of the franchise 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).

Games of the Super Mario franchise 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, Super Mario 3D World, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder, each player shares the same life counter. (However, 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 surpassed only 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, he has an infinite number of lives.

In the Super Smash Bros. series, lives, referred to in-game as stocks, can be used as an optional additional rule. How many stocks characters have left is represented by small icons under the damage meter, and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, during a 1-on-1 battle, the stock count of both fighters is briefly displayed onscreen whenever a stock is lost (except when it is the final stock). In the Subspace Emissary mode from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, stocks also can be restored by obtaining Stock Balls.


See also[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Extra Life[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese 残り人数
Nokori Ninzū

Number of players remaining

Number of planes remaining (derived from a shooting game where the player controls fighter planes and robots)

Chinese [1]

German Extra-Leben
Extra Life
Italian Vita extra
Extra life
Portuguese Vida extra
Extra life
Russian Дополнительная жизнь
Dopolnitel'naya zhizn'
Extra life


Language Name Meaning
Portuguese (NOA) 1 VIDA