What's Your All-Time Favorite Video Game Power Up?

In today's open thread we're talking about the greatest power ups of all time.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/the-scopes-in-battlegrounds-are-the-best-power-ups-in-years
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Quad Damage

The shift in play when someone grabs it in QW is such a rush.


The Cape in Super Mario World!

Nothing quite like the first time in the game that you see that little feather pop out and start floating to the ground. Grabbing that thing and then taking off to the sky is exhilarating.


LEGO RACERS changed power ups in kart games in a really smart way, and only one other kart game I played even tried to do it and that makes me sad.

So in lego racers, power ups were different colored bricks. Red brick were offensive forward attacking power ups, yellow were trap power ups, blue were shields, and green were boosts. Along with those were white bricks around the track, collecting those would increase the power of the type of power up you were using up to three bricks. So the red power up chain went as follows

no white bricks- cannon ball
1x white brick - rope that pulls someone ahead of you backwards
2x white bricks - magic zapping power that auto targets people for like 8 seconds
3 x white bricks - torpedos

It sad that no other kart racers have done this as it made for interesting decision making. White bricks were often not in the optimal place for the fastest way around the track, so you had to go out of your way a bit to grab them. God, why has no other kart racer (other than modnation racers) taken this system?


There are several in Team Fortress 2 but getting a good über or criticital-charge (or borth) from a medic as a heavy or almost any other class can be so satisfying. Since you can scout and plan your way into the enemy base there’s a chance for major damage allowing for that turn of the tide win either defending or attacking in CP Tf2.

Mmm, the homing lasers in Gunstar Heroes. I loved that I could dodge while not worrying about aiming and it was fun to just see the screen fill up with my own lasers.

A lot of the “vehicle power ups” in yoshi’s island drastically change how you interact with and perceive those levels. Those are the kinds I find sticking with me.

Surprisingly I’m going with another power up from a different run n gun game, the Spread in Contra was always a favorite. It felt like a rapid fire shotgun and helped people who couldn’t aim as well. Other items may do more damage to a single target but the spread made you feel super powerful.

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Spread in Contra was the only way my dumb childhood hands were able to beat the game. It’s a Good Powerup.

Maybe not quite a power-up but the Sword in Halo. It is super powerful & you could clear a room real quickly if you knew what you were doing. The way it changes how you play and how others play against you makes it that much more satisfying to get.

This line stands out to me because it reminds me of when I first heard the Stuka sirens in the trailer for Dunkirk and made me go from “That’s a weird addition for a plane” to “That’s the absolute last thing I’d want to hear before I die. Fuck psychological warfare. Fuck war. Fuck this.”

Yeah, as someone who quickly jumped into playing medic and ended up having something like 300 hours total as the class, ubercharges are probably my personal favourite. Building that charge up and holding it until the right moment / trying to get the enemy medic before they had a chance to pop theirs added such a cool dynamic objective on top of the capture point/payload stuff.

And even though they patched it so you wouldn’t need to do it anymore, the oldschool “soldier intentionally damages himself during pre-game to get the uber charged faster” was an interesting lil behaviour to emerge out of game mechanics.


I loved the berserk power up in the new Doom, because it’s utterly ludicrous and allows for some brilliant catharsis, and also on tougher difficulties I imagine choosing when to pick it up is an important part of the strategy of not dying.

Hold up, how deep into this are we going to get without talking about our favorite Kirby powerups?

Mine is easily the stone. Nothing like floating around like a big dumb marshmallow and then turning into invincible stone to crush your unsuspecting enemies. Also slides down hills!

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Calling it a power-up is maybe a bit of a stretch but I always thought that the long jump module in Half Life 1 felt really good to use and it’s a part of the reason I love moving around Xen in that game. Something about the 3 button combination and then the really long jump that let you air-strafe a lot ruled very hard imo.

kirby in his robot form in robobot!


A lot of my favorite power-ups are in “Metroidvania” games. It’s central to the genre that new abilities should drastically affect what you can do and where you can go, and often a game has one stand-out ability that makes you think “now I can go anywhere,” like Super Metroid’s Space Jump. But my absolute favorite is probably Bash, from Ori and the Blind Forest. It’s simple enough: grab on to an enemy or projectile, point the stick in a direction, and let go. Ori shoots off in one direction, while the enemy or shot flies the other way. This completely re-shapes the game. Every enemy and shot isn’t just an obstacle to be avoided, it’s both a platform and a weapon.

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I still get kind of giddy thinking about the first time as a 4-year-old that I got the raccoon leaf in Super Mario Bros. 3 and thought “OH MY GOD I CAN FLY NOW!!!” Pretty sure no power-up is ever topping that feeling.


Oh man, I would be so sad if I didn’t rep Castlevania in some way here. I’ve always had a soft spot for the holy water. It can completely break some bosses in the first game, and in the later games it was fun to have the constant damage ticker with an area of effect. Also the badass nature of just throwing a glass full of blessed water on the ground and watching it shatter never gets old. The only thing that comes close is chugging half of a 40oz in Saints Row 2, and immediately smashing it on the ground.

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I agree about the scopes in PUBG! I found a 15x once and was completely drunk on power. One of my favorite powerups recently was the punching one in DOOM. I don’t remember what it’s called but you feel like an absolute GOD when you are just rippin up those demons like ticker tape! I also have always loved the golden mushroom in Mario Karts. The sword from Halo isn’t really a power-up per se but it was extremely hard to deal with back then. OK one more! When you get Ana’s ult in Overwatch it can be really super fun if you don’t panic and waste it.

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It’s also Kirby’s best special move in smash bros so there’s that