1-up (or “1UP”, “1-UP”, sometimes simply Life or lives, etc.), pronounced "one up", is a term in console gaming that commonly refers to an item that gives the player an extra life to complete the game. In certain games, it is possible to receive multiple extra lives at once. When this happens, the number of extra lives obtained sometimes changes the notification from "1-up" to the number that reflects the total lives earned: Two lives would be "2-up", five lives would be "5-up", and so on. Games that don't do it this way often simply repeat the "1-up" notification in rapid succession concurrent with the number of lives awarded. Please add 1UP images from Kirby, Mario, and any thing else to the gallery.


A 1-Up version of the drink, 7up


The term "1-up" appeared in American pinball games in at least the 1970s, perhaps earlier. These games often gave players multiple chances. When a ball was lost in the gutter, the next ball was loaded and the game continued. If a player met certain conditions (such as a high score), they received an extra ball. Later, this concept was applied to arcade games. The inclusion of extra lives was very common in video games from the 1980s on, even in otherwise 'realistic' combat-themed games.

"1-up" was first seen in multiplayer pinball and other arcade games. In these games, "1UP" meant that it was player one's turn. Likewise, "2UP" meant it was player two's turn, and so on. In some cases, arcade games also used this terminology to designate which score was whose. "1UP" followed by a score indicated it was player one's score, for example. It is believed in some circles to be shorthand for "player 1, step up to the machine," since a standard pinball table only has enough space and control mechanisms for one player to operate at a time.

The use of the term "1-up" to designate an extra life (attempt) first appeared in Super Mario Bros. where the player could gain an extra life in one of three ways: 1) Collect 100 coins 2) Find a green mushroom (later called a 1-up Mushroom) 3) Jump on eight consecutive enemies without touching anything else in the process, or use one enemy shell to kill eight consecutive enemies.