Sure you've all USED
the '1-UP' and everybody likes
the '1-Up' when
they get one, but did you ever stop
about things like: Who invented
it? What was the first game
Martin A. Feldhausen is the man credited with coming up for the idea of the 1-Up, or
"Extra Life" as it was called. Actually, he originally had called it "Additional
Nicenessness," but his girlfriend at the time suggested "Extra Life" instead.
So how did this man's idea come to be? Well apparently Nolan Bushnell, who later went on
to found Atari, was a former coworker and friend of his in the early 1970s!
Feldhausen had come up with the idea over a few drinks around 1975, but had almost
forgotten about it three years later when Bushnell called him up to talk more about
"...this 'Extra Life' idea."
Feldhausen actually flew out to Atari to help them put the idea in their next game:
Asteroids (released in 1979). Some 23 years later, this game is honored as a classic,
and Martin Feldhausen attributes a great amount of the success to his "Additional
Nicnessnesses." Sadly, he never received any royalties for his idea since Bushnell
decided that extra lives were simply a marketing gimmic that decreased profit by 1/3
(8.33 cents) for each life given away.
Side note: The extra life isn't the only thing Mr. Feldhausen contributed to video
games! He also takes credit for:
- Suggesting "rectangular paddles" for the original Atari
- Games that use stereo sound
- The concept of a "Flight Simulator"
Much research for this node was gathered from the gamespy.com article "An
Interview with the Man Who Invented the Extra Life" written by Dave Kosak.