Monday, 4 March 2013


"Power-up" and "1-up" are examples of a common form of wasei-eigo, in which the word "up" is prefixed by some desirable quality. The general meaning of X-up in Japanese is "this will increase your X" and this construction is regularly used in areas such as advertising. This is similar to another phrase, X get, as seen in Super Mario Sunshine's Japanese version's "Shine Get!" phrase. Pac-Man is credited as the first video game to feature a power-up mechanic. 

The effect of the power-up was illustrated by one of the first cut scenes to appear in a video game, in the form of brief comical interludes about Pac-Man and the ghosts chasing each other around. The power pellet entered popular culture with a joke on the controversy regarding the influence of video games on children. In 1984, Sabre Wulf introduced power ups which provided effects such as speed up and invincibility. In 1985 Super Mario Bros. introduced the Super Mushroom, which has entered popular culture described as "the quintessential power-up". 

The original game idea was to have an always big Mario as a technical advance, but later the power-up was introduced to make him "super" as a bonus effect. The development team thought it would be interesting to have Mario grow and shrink by eating a magic mushroom, just like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Konami's 1985 game Gradius had the first use of a selection bar where the player could select which power-up effect to trigger, instead of having a fixed instant effect. In 1986 and the years after, the concept of permanent power-ups appeared in the action role-playing genre in the form of perks.

Friday, 13 July 2012


In computer and video games, power-ups are objects that instantly benefit or add extra abilities to the game character as a game mechanic. This is in contrast to an item, which may or may not have a benefit and can be used at a time chosen by the player. Although often collected directly through touch, power-ups can sometimes only be gained by collecting several related items, such as the floating letters of the word 'EXTEND' in Bubble Bobble. Well known examples of power-ups that have entered popular culture include the power pellets from Pac-Man (regarded as the first power-up) and the Super Mushroom from Super Mario Bros., which ranked first in UGO Networks' Top 11 Video Game Powerups.

Items that confer power-ups are usually pre-placed in the game world, spawned randomly, dropped by beaten enemies or picked up from opened or smashed containers. They can be differentiated from items in other games, such as role-playing video games, by the fact that they take effect immediately, feature designs that don't necessarily fit into the game world (often used letters or symbols emblazoned on a design), and are found in certain genres of games. Power-ups are mostly found in action-oriented games such as maze games, run and guns, shoot 'em ups, first-person shooters, platform games, puzzle games, and vehicular combat games.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Best Way to Avoid Failure is to Never Do Anything Worthwhile

Or at least that must be Sal Cordova's philosophy. In a couple of posts he's beaten his chest with self-important wankery, Darwin bashing, hanging equations with no explanation of their relevance, bragging about knowing algebra, and some bizarre attempt to appropriate Erwin Schrodinger to the cause of IDC and, I presume, "Advanced Creation Science". Actually making any kind of argument seems to be an alien concept to slimy ol' Sal. Seriously, this guy couldn't find his ass with both hands.