Artwork of a 1-Up Mushroom.
1-Up Mushrooms are common items. These mushrooms have green caps with white spots (originally orange caps with green spots). These items are usually hidden in invisible brick blocks, Question Blocks or hard-to-reach areas. They give the player an extra life.
1-up Mushrooms make their debut in the franchise in the game Super Mario Bros. as a rare item, usually found when hitting an invisible block.
1-up Mushrooms reappear in Super Mario Bros 2. as, once again, a rare item. However, the item takes on the appearance of a simple red mushroom with the words "1-up" on the cap, as opposed to white spots.
1-up Mushrooms appear again in Super Mario Bros. 3, behaving exactly like they did in Super Mario Bros., this time being more common. Additionally, when the player completes collects three cards from completing three stages, they will be rewarded a certain amount of extra lives, as listed below.
- Three Mushrooms = 2 Lives
- Three Fire Flowers = 3 Lives
- Three Stars = 5 Lives
References in Popular Culture
They have become used to represent advancement or gain in computer pop culture. The sound the game makes when Mario grabs the 1-Up Mushroom has also become entrenched in pop culture, referenced by video-game players, alongside the sound made when Link picks up an item in a Zelda game.
The 1-up Mushroom has also accumulated another connotation since the dominance of next-gen consoles like the PlayStation and the Xbox. It has come to represent identification with old school video gamers, a category of gamers who disavow the mainstreaming characteristics of next-generation game designers, licensors, and distributors, who have been accused of ignoring the fan base for the masses. Thus, the 1-up Mushroom is now part of an 8/16-bit lexicon that illustrates disapproval and resistance towards a perceived betrayal by the gaming industry and the standards by which 8 and 16-bit games should be judged. Shigeru Miyamoto wore a shirt at E3 2005 featuring the 1-up mushroom and text below it reading "1-up". These mushrooms are also known to appear in a wide variety of clothing and items. Some of these items include: shirts (and other forms of clothing), video-game console skins, and lanyards. And sometimes even on backpacks.
- There is a 1-UP Infinite Trick, by bouncing on shells continuously when the shell is bouncing side to side 1 block wide.