I’m extremely proud of the list – I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve yet written as a freelancer for the video game website. So you should go read it, especially because it took me almost two weeks to make it happen. And it almost didn’t.
Because if you think about it, not looking at the list first, can you name 10 decent, non-all-Mario power-ups to make a list about? I almost couldn’t.
This one was an intense struggle. First off, what one might not think about, and what I didn’t consider when I pitched the idea and then asked to write it, is that most modern video games don’t include power-ups. Shields, hearts, 1-ups, invincibility items – they aren’t really included in games like Splinter Cell, Alan Wake, or Heavy Rain.
Here’s a good place to define what I mean by “power-up.” For the most part, a power-up is the kind of thing you find in the course of the game, which you pick up to get powered up momentarily. Think Mario’s mushroom. We’re not talking about the boomerang in The Legend of Zelda, or other sorts of equipment – mostly, it’s things you can find or earn and then lose.
This isn’t the hard-and-fast rule, because like I said, it was halfway to impossible to think of 10 (or even five) power-ups with any diversity, much less apply them to reality in a funny way. So there are a few things that toe the line and one or two that go straight over. But I figure, I think it’s funny so screw you, Gentle Reader.
I wracked my brain and the brains of my friends for a good week before I was able to put together the list. I also spent much of that time cruising the Internet for any sort of power-up lists. You know what there are a lot of out there? Repetitious, boring video game-related best-of lists. Like really self-indulgent ones. Best power-ups? Like, the best items you can pick up in a game? What do you take away from that, the feeling of, “oh yeah, that was a great power-up” and go about your day?
My list, on the other hand, has no real purpose in video gaming – its one job is to be entertaining, and I was certainly entertained in the writing of it, even if it was back-breaking to try to put it together in the early stages.
Anyway, eventually after scouring through lists, polling people, and generally discarding all suggestions, I came up with the list as it stands. I also had to help get some images together, so the images for Nos. 4-1 – those are mine.
Yes, the terrible photoshopping is purposeful.