What are Power Ups?

The series of my blog posts called Let’s talk about games is a collection of interesting facts and considerations about video games and issues related to them. In the series, I write about games seen through the eyes of their creator, gamer and mother of a child who is just entering the world of games. I introduce various concepts related to the game industry and discuss various topics that may bother you in connection with games.

In today’s post I will tell you what Power Ups are and how they affect how we play games?

What are Power Ups?

Power Up is a concept from video games, meaning a graphical element of the game that increases the player’s capabilities, e.g. gives him additional skills, an advantage over opponents, extra time, shield, increasing the number of points obtained, energy level, etc.

Therefore, Power Up can be treated as kind of reward.

Visually, Power Up often takes the form of a special item placed in the gameplay. Such an item must be found and collected. Such items can be, for example, armament, a heart, or a first-aid kit, representing the player’s health regeneration, speed, power, time slowdown bonuses, magic items, coins, treasures, but also items related to the given plot – mushrooms, bananas, stars, etc.

Power Up was first used in Pac-Man in 1980. It was the so-called Power Pellet, also known as Energizer. When Pac-Man ate the Power Pellet, his ghost opponents went into blue mode. While in this mode, Pac-Man could consume ghosts.

Power Ups later became a standard element of many games, e.g. in action games, platformers and arcade games to diversify the gameplay and give players more possibilities.

Nowadays, Power Ups often appear as part of the marketing and advertising of games, as an additional paid option (see the article What are loot boxes?).

How do Power Ups affect how we play games?

Currently, Power Ups are usually an integral part of the plot and appear when the player needs additional help or wants to increase their chances of winning, thus enhancing the attractiveness of the game.

Power ups provide players with additional tools and power that allow them to succeed and overcome obstacles in the game, which can increase their level of satisfaction.

As a result, they are also very popular in games and used as a tool to multiply the player’s involvement and extend the playing time.

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