The term "1-up" may come from Japanese wasei-eigo (Japanese English). “~ UP” (Japanese: ～アップ) means “to raise the ability of; to increase.” Other examples include “Power up,", and “Ability UP!". This Japanese terminology has provided video games with another popular phrase, level up.
Pinball 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), he or she received an "extra ball," or "extra life." 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 multi-player 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.
The term "1-up" to designate an extra life first appeared in Super Mario Bros., where the player could collect coins to get an extra life, or find a green mushroom.
In current console gaming jargon, a 1-up refers to an item that gives the player an extra chance to complete the game. Often, 1-ups are obtained by completing in-game challenges such as collecting specific items. For example, if the player collects one hundred coins in Super Mario Bros., a 1-up is awarded. 1-up items are often hidden in dangerous or hard to reach areas which force the player to put their character in peril or devote extra time to the game to collect them.
Some games feature items that award more than one life at a time. They are usually referred to as 2-ups, 3-ups, 5-ups, etc., and are often represented by different colored 1-up items or text.
A few games may award items in addition to or in place of an extra life if the player earns a 1-up. For instance, in Rise of the Triad, if the player has less than 75% of their maximum health, a 1-up item heals the player to full health instead of granting an extra life, and a 3-up item heals the player and gives 2 extra lives instead of 3. In Wolfenstein 3D, a 1-up item gives the player an extra life, full health, and an extra 25 bullets. In console ports of T2: The Arcade Game, there is an item called "Credit", which adds an extra continue. A similar item is "Full Recharge", which refills the player's energy.
In most games, the loss of all lives result in a game over.
The sound of a 1-up can be achieved on a Piano by playing these notes (not chords) in order : E5, G5, E6, C6, D6, and G6.