Created By: DragonQuestZ on October 12, 2009

Video Game Lives

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3 lives stand between you and Game Over.

We have 1-Up, and Meaningless Lives, but we don't seem to have a trope about lives in video games.

Basically, lives in video games is one of the things standing between you and a Game Over. In a typical game you usually lose when when your your Life Meter runs out (or get hit when you are a One-Hit-Point Wonder), your time runs out, or you fall down a Bottomless Pit.

1-Up and One Up Sampo are how you gain extra lives. Meaningless Lives is when the lives are almost inconsequential to completion.

Classic Cheat Codes are often a way to gain extra, or infinite, lives.

Notable Uses:

  • Zelda II is the only game in the series to use lives.
  • The first Spyro the Dragon games used lives, but the later entries after Insomniac left the series, and Insomniac's own Ratchet & Clank, dropped lives in favor of just having you restart at checkpoints when you die.
  • Using the "Konami Code" in the NES version of Contra would give you thirty lives instead of 3.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • September 29, 2009
    "In a typical game you usually lose when when your your Life Meter runs out"

    Us older gamers remember when having lives was the standard for video games. Life meters didn't come along until later.
  • September 29, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • September 29, 2009
    rjung, that's why the next part of the sentence mentions those. Did you miss the part in parentheses?

    "What the hell does this "Notable" word mean?"

    That doesn't forbid asking for notability, just requiring it. And for a trope this common, we don't need to list every game that has lives.

  • September 29, 2009
    Reg Shoe
    Infact, for this trope, nobable is VERY needed. Otherwise the examples list would be from here till next AUGUST.

    Another notable use is Paranoia, mostly because it is NOT a videogame.
  • September 29, 2009
    Serious Sam 2 had lives and a health meter, though you could always save your game. It also gave you extra lives at every interval of points, an odd example given the era it was released in.
  • September 30, 2009
    • The first two Duke Nukem games had both health bars and unlimited lives. Lose all ten blocks off your health bar and you'll be restarting the level (maybe from the checkpoint in Duke Nukem II if you've found it before you get killed).
    • Rise Of The Triad gives you lives and a health meter. You even get bonus points for unused extra lives at the end of the game!
  • October 7, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    There should be a division between games on how new lifes are handled. Continue immediately from where you died, or back to the beginning of the level (or a checkpoint)?
  • October 7, 2009
    Folklore example: Cats.
  • October 7, 2009
    No one's said Sonic or Mario yet... why?
  • October 7, 2009
    The Crash Bandicoot has a dogged determination to keep the Lives mechanic.
  • October 8, 2009
    "No one's said Sonic or Mario yet... why?"

    Because this is a widespread trope. Imagine if we listed every game that had lives.
  • October 8, 2009
    Then again, Mario games sill use lives, so they count as something to note.
  • October 12, 2009
    You Only Live Thrice

    Since three is the standard convention.
  • October 12, 2009
    That seems more like a Sub Trope for this.
  • October 12, 2009
    Dick Richardson
    Most arcade games.
  • October 12, 2009
    random surfer
    Similarly, in Pinball games you get a limited number of balls (3 last time I played any, 5 back in my day), and you earned more balls and/or a free game based on points.