Between Crash Bandicoot’s Aku Aku masks, Sonic’s invincibility boxes and Talmit’s wing-and-clone-floating-vortex-of-death combo (btw, if you’ve never played Talmit’s Adventure, I hope that last example will convince you that you should) my childhood was full of moments where I could unleash my fury on unsuspecting minions, even though most of the time I could generally make my way through the level without such upgrades.
|What could be more fun than being possessed by an ancient spirit you found in a box?|
Naturally the king of the power ups is Mario; whether it was fire flowers, capes or stars most people first encountered power ups through this series. Not to mention that if asked to name a power up from a game, most people will respond with be “super mushroom”. What was important about Mario's power ups is that they felt like an optional advantage; you can complete the sun level in Super Mario 3 on your own, but using the P-wing will always be more fun.
|I'm not sure what Copernicus would think of this game, but I 'm pretty sure he'd hate this guy|
Often modern power ups will take this form; more and more games use power ups as a way to integrate new game mechanics into the world they have created, and that is fine, but I do miss the fun that comes from the traditional power up. Luckily though, whenever I worry about the future of power ups I just remember the New Super Mario Bros Wii Penguin costume, because no power up will ever beat its pointlessly daft, slidey fun. Also... 3D Land's Boomerang Flowers are a just a bunch brilliance in a can.