[[quoteright:256:[[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mario_with_3_lives.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:256:"[[Disney/{{Aladdin}} That's it, three!]] [[RuleOfThree Uno, dos, tres.]] [[TryNotToDie No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.]]"]]

Video Game Lives are basically how many tries a player has before a GameOver. They aren't as common these days, but were prevalent in the days of NintendoHard games, and is OlderThanTheNES.

'''Ways to lose a life:'''
* Taking enough damage (if the player has a LifeMeter).
* Taking any damage (if the player is a OneHitPointWonder).
* [[TimedMission Running out of time]].
* Falling down a BottomlessPit.

This actually started out with {{Pinball}} games, where you had a limited number of plays until you had to put in more money. This continued in arcade games. When games were released in home consoles, the need of lives was largely removed (with an exception of games where the goal is to get the highest score and not beat the game), but was initially kept in as TheArtifact and the punishment of running out of lives was changed from entering a new coin to starting the game over. Eventually a continue system had also gone more widespread so the players didn't have to start from the beginning of the game when the lives ran out. In time, the importance of lives diminished which could be first seen clearly in PC first-person shooters which started to utilize save and load system. In 2000s, many flash games removed the lives system altogether so they could add the difficulty in their games without being really frustrating. In the late 2000s, this spread to commercially released games too. Despite this, many modern games still use the lives system.

OneUp and InfiniteOneUps are how you gain extra lives. MeaninglessLives is when the lives are almost inconsequential to completion.

Video Game Lives sometimes have GameplayAndStorySegregation in terms of PlotlineDeath.

{{Classic Cheat Code}}s and cheat devices are often a way to gain extra, or infinite, lives.

Modern video games generally do not have lives counters, instead opting for a "one-and-done" health bar system that can be increased RPG-style, or infinite retries, with different ways to gauge difficulty.

Not to be confused with VideoGamesLive, concerts in which classical musicians play video game music as directed by Tommy Tallarico.

'''Disclaimer: This is a widespread trope. So examples had best be more than just any game with lives.'''
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!!Video Game Examples:
* ''VideoGame/AladdinVirginGames'' and ''VideoGame/TheLionKing'': Treated extra lives differently from continues (known as "wishes" in the former game).
* ''AliensInfestation'': Plays with this by giving each Marine have their own face, name, and dialogue. AnyoneCanDie, but you can rescue Marines knocked unconcious by aliens be finding the hives where they were taken. (The first time, that is. The second time they're mortally wounded...[[{{Squick}} well]]...) As well, you'll often come across other Marines in hidden locations that you can recruit into your fireteam (though they'll only accept if you're down a man or two.)
* ''ArmedPoliceBatrider'': You decide on a team of 3 different characters, each character representing one life. When your current character is destroyed, you take control of the next character.
* ''VideoGame/AstroBlaster'' gives you three or five starting ships, but run out of fuel or crash into the mothership during the docking sequence and it's instant game over.
* ''BattleCity'' series: You start with 3 lives, but you'll get instant game over if the enemies manage to destroy the base.
* ''VideoGame/{{Columns}} III'': Had an odd version, especially since it's a PuzzleGame. You could collect Mystic Hourglasses which turn back time when shattered, allowing you to challenge the enemy you were fighting again.
* ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'': Actually goes out of its way to give a full explanation on how the protagonist, Conker, manages to get away with dying only to come back to life. The in game explanation (obviously used to parody this trope) is shown in the form of a cutscene that plays the first time you die, and explains that "Greg the Grim Reaper", who controls death, must give squirrels multiple chances at their lives. They even give an explanation for 1-UPS, stating that they act as "tokens" that Greg trades for extra chances.
* ''VideoGame/{{Contra}}'': This game on the {{NES}} give you 3 lives, unless you enter the KonamiCode and gain 30.
* ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'': These games used lives. Most games in the series tend to hand them out at hilariously generous rates, however, so you might as well have an infinite amount. But as the manual for one game says, "we give you all those lives [[NintendoHard for a reason]]".
* ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution'': The [[NintendoHard Challenge/Oni mode]] is a rare RhythmGame example: you start with four lives, and every time you get a Good, Boo[[note]]Almost in US versions[[/note]], Miss[[note]]Boo in US versions[[/note]], or NG, you lose one life, and losing all of your lives will, of course, trigger a GameOver. (And unlike other modes, in which you can keep playing if the other player is still alive, the game stops ''completely'' on your side if you die, showing "Game Over" on your side of the screen.) If you're lucky, the song you're on may give you a life back once completed. The Extra Stage system in ''Dance Dance Revolution [=SuperNOVA=]'' onwards, also uses lives, and One More Extra Stages give you a mere [[OneHitPointWonder one life]].
* ''DTET'': This ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}'' clone has lives, unusually for a FallingBlocks game. In most modes, you start with multiple lives, and every time you top out you will, instead of getting a GameOver, use up a life and the playing field will be emptied out.
* ''VideoGame/EveryExtend'': This series makes a single life trivial: you start with a large stock of lives (usually 12), and your only attack consists of you exploding your current life to destroy other enemies. Because of this, the games offer generous amounts of [[EveryTenThousandPoints ext]][[TitleDrop ends]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Fable I}}'': The original game uses a variant. If the Hero dies, the player is forced to reload. However, the Hero can find and buy "Resurrection Phials." If the Hero dies while carrying Resurrection Phials, he'll lose one Phial and have his health partially restored. He can carry up to nine. Later games in the series eschew this system entirely.
* ''VideoGame/FridayThe13th'': Each character has [[FinalDeath but one life]]. Lose one, you switch to another character. Lose them all, and you get to see the infamous "[[HaveANiceDeath You and your friends are dead]]" GameOver screen.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': The video game actually explains the presence of lives; the Professor builds a "reanimator" that resurrects you when you die.
* ''VideoGame/{{Galaga}}'': Plays with the underlying concept of lives. Each life represents a ship in your fleet. If your ship is captured by a TractorBeam, the enemy takes control of your ship and you move on to your next ship (life). If you destroy the controlling enemy, you can retrieve the ship and regain it. But instead of increasing your lives by one, it instead lets you control both of them at the same time, doubling your firepower.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'': The "You Only Live Twice" multiplayer mode is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: you get two lives. Lose them both and [[GameOver you're out]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Gradius}} III'': Uses lives in the normal manner, but they can be prematurely consumed to increase one's firepower. The weapon selector lets the player equip a special item. When they use it, they lose four lives, but receive four AttackDrone[==]s in return.
* ''VideoGame/IllusionOfGaia'': Explained the presence of revival after death - the main character is psychic, and the former run is presumed to be a dream giving him a glimpse into the future.
* ''VideoGame/ImpossibleMission'': Getting killed knocks off a certain amount of time. If you run out, [[EarthShatteringKaboom the world goes kaboom]]. GameOver.
* ''VideoGame/IWannaBeTheGuy'': One of the few merciful concessions made by this game is averting this. It's nightmarish with infinite lives, imagine it with ''limited'' lives.
* ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'': This game is an usual example of an {{RPG}} using lives. Party members start each battle with five lives, when their HP hits zero, they lose a life and stay down for a few moments before getting back up with full HP. If a character loses all five lives, they're out for the duration of the encounter (or in the case of the protagonist, GameOver). This seems shockingly generous until you realize characters are rather fragile in this game and [[NintendoHard a single tactical cock-up will see your entire party losing a life each in short order]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Meteos}}'' features this as well, though you have to manually set having more than one [[CallAHitPointASmeerp Annihaliation]].
* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'':
** Has a few sections where Bowser plays through a fascimile of the original ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros''. Before each attempt, a screen like the one above is shown, only replacing Mario with Bowser, and the three with an infinity symbol.
** While ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' doesn't have extra lives, Luigi does mention them at one point.
* ''{{Police 911}}'': This series gives you ''one hundred'' more extra lives above your starting three if you reach the top rank of Comissioner - but since the process of losing a life and restarting takes about 15 seconds of your rarely more than 2 minute timer (the game ends instantly if the timer runs out) this is solely a BraggingRightsReward. And if you die on your way to Commissioner rank, you lose every promotion and have to start over.
* ''VideoGame/{{Purple}}'': This game is a modern example of this, coming alongside with ScoringPoints.
* ''VideoGame/RaySeries'' (''[=RayStorm=]''): Has makes this a JustifiedTrope: your extra lives come in the form of the other R-Gray craft in your squadron. When one is destroyed, the next one takes its place.
* ''VideoGame/RockBand'': This game is another rare rhythm example; if you fail in a band, someone else can bring you back, but if you fail three times, you're done for good (and [[DeathsHourglass so is your band]] unless the song is ending).
* ''Satan's Hollow'': Used extra lives in the classic sense, showing them as replacement ships in the corner of the screen. Enemies will try to grab and fly away with them.
* ''VideoGame/ScottPilgrim'':
** This game naturally plays with this.
** Heck, the [[ComicBook/ScottPilgrim graphic novels]] and [[ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld the movie]] play with it as well, inasmuch as Scott actually manages to pick up an extra life in real life. [[spoiler: And use it.]]
* ''VideoGame/SilentScope'': Early games in this series used both lives and time - if you get shot, stabbed, or[[HostageSpiritLink shoot a hostage]], you'd lose one of multiple lives (and gain some back by viewing [[MaleGaze bikini-clad women in the scope]]), but the game instantly ends when time runs out. Later games meld time and lives into a life-meter which constantly ticks down - get shot and you'll lose ''time''.
* ''VideoGame/SpaceInvaders'': But it's instant GameOver if those aliens reach the bottom.
* ''VideoGame/SpyroTheDragon'': The first few games used lives, but the later entries after Insomniac left the series, and Insomniac's own ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClank'', dropped lives in favor of just having you restart at checkpoints when you die.
* ''VideoGame/StarCitizen'' isn't out yet, but the devs have discussed how they plan for death to work in-game: A player character can "die" a finite but non-specific number of times before being KilledOffForReal. How many "deaths" you get before "permadeath" depends on how you went down and how quickly your unconscious body got hauled to a medical facility. The closer you get to permadeath, the more scars and/or artificial replacement bits you'll have.
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'': Has an item called the Bafomdad, which works like an optional extra life: die with at least one in your inventory, and it'll ask you if you want to use one; if you do, you come back to life right where you stood. There's only one to collect in Krystal's part of the game, and it doesn't carry over to Fox's part. Fox himself can only carry one until he gets a Bafomdad Holder, which lets him carry ten. The game has many more, but if you have ten already, you can't pick them up; they stay there until you try with nine or fewer.
* ''Super VideoGame/MeatBoy'': Gets a LampshadeHanging, where [[spoiler: the Hell level is littered with the many, many Meat Boys that have perished brutally in your control.]]
* Another PlatformHell game, ''Syobon Action'', has a lives counter that starts at three ala ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros'', but instead of giving the player a GameOver when it hits zero, it just keeps dropping into negative numbers.
* A variation of this mechanic occurs in the original ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' game on NES. In that game, you have the four different ninja turtles; rather than providing an arbitrary number of lives, a turtle will be captured when his health bar is exhausted, and the player has to face an additional challenge to rescue him.
* ''VideoGame/TotalOverdose'': Had up to 9 'Rewinds', which would back the action up to 5 seconds before death, giving the player opportunity to other choices, [[CycleOfHurting if possible]]. Running out of Rewinds resulted in FinalDeath, but one could always use a Rewind to exit the mission and return to Sandbox mode, cutting their losses.
* ''V2000'': The player character is a drone pilot (supposedly) working alongside many others, and lives are the interdimensional exploration ships they fly. Since there's no danger to pilots but a shortage of crazy world-hopping [=UAVs=], extra lives represent being trusted with more resources. This falls apart the moment the player gets an extra life by finding trophies, but it was a good try.
* ''VideoGame/WarningForever'': Gives you a choice between different kinds of lives. You can either have standard lives, or a {{time|dMission}}r which loses large chunks of time if you get killed.
* ''VideoGame/YoshisStory'': Has a special variation. Instead of lives, the player has 8 different Yoshis to play as (which differ in color and favorite fruit). There are two ways of increasing the count: finding two secret Yoshis and finding white Shy Guys, which can rescue a lost Yoshi.
* ''You Only Live Once'': Parodied rather savagely in this DeconstructionGame. As the name suggests, it's a platform game where you only have one life. If you try to "continue" when the nerdy protagonist dies, [[spoiler: the game just shows his kidnapped girlfriend calling an ambulance, then the paramedics declaring him a lost cause, his death getting reported on the evening news, the BigBad being arrested for manslaughter because of the death-trap-laden castle, and finally a memorial built on the stage where he died. And on top of all that, you can ''never'' play the game again, unless you find and delete the appropriate file.]]
* ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'': This is the only game in its series to use lives. (Though in a way, bottled fairies in later games could be considered extra lives, since in most games you will automatically use up a bottled fairy when you die.)
* In ''VideoGame/TheAdventuresOfLomax'', you have a limited amount of lives. Should you run out of them, you have 3 continues available that will bring you to the beginning of a level with 3 additional lives.

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!!Non-Video Game Examples:

* ''[[http://youtu.be/tpeXTgwh7F4 Brawl in the Family]]'': Interprets the word "lives" quite literally.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': One of the show's "Anthology of Interest" episodes featured them in a world that was more like video games. During an invasion, Fry gets killed but comes right back because he still had an extra life. Unfortunately, [[spoiler: General Pac-Man was not so lucky]].
* ''Series/{{Knightmare}}'':
** After explaining how the [[HitPoints life force meter]] works, Treguard would give the team a warning along the lines of "this is no game for a player with numerous lives, and when this one is done, [[GameOver your adventure is over.]]"
** The French and Spanish versions [[OneHitPointWonder had no life force meter]], but had a 4-player team that could play as long as there were one knight and one advisor left (which means three lives).
* ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' has Xandir, who has the usual "extra lives" being a videogame character. Though this depends on RuleOfFunny because there have been episodes where he has been KilledOffForReal (and then TheyKilledKennyAgain him back to life, just like the rest of the cast).
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