Every Ten Thousand Points

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Usually in games, the goal is to have the most points, in order to win. Yet when a game can go on indefinitely, the goal is to get as many points as possible. This likely started with pinball, but is more famous for Video Games, particularly Golden Age video games and puzzle games like Tetris.

Some games also give you a reward for getting a certain number of points. This is similar to experience points in Role-Playing Games, but instead of leveling up, the game gives an extra life or extra game. Sometimes there are other rewards, in order to get 100% Completion.

In several arcade games, the owner of the machine could change the amount of points required for a 1-Up, in order to change the difficulty.

This isn't as common these days, along with points entirely, but it occasionally pops up.

In games where dying is inevitable, point-based extra lives can cause Unstable Equilibrium.

A Sister Trope to Law of One Hundred.

Examples of Every Ten Thousand Points include:


  • The Trope Namer is Asteroids, which awarded an extra ship for every 10,000 points, with a limit of 99 ships. Top-level players would max out their ships, then use the time that it would take thirty or forty ships to be destroyed in order to take bathroom and meal breaks (or even short naps) during marathon sessions. Later Shoot Em Ups copied this practice, frequently with lower stockpile limits.
  • Scramble and Super Cobra similarly awarded an extra ship for every 10,000 points.
  • Later, Super Mario Bros. famously awarded an extra life for every 100 coins.
    • This is copied in a few other platformers, like Sonic the Hedgehog, some installments of which also gave you an extra continue for reaching certain numbers of end-of-level bonus points.
    • In Super Mario Bros 3, obtaining 80,000 points caused an "N-Spade" to appear on the world map, which led to a matching-card game where the player could earn power-ups and extra lives.
    • The tradition was continued with Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, where 100 Star Bits or 50 coins get you a life.
  • In the Lego Star Wars games, if you collect enough studs (points) in each level, you get a part of an unlockable item.
  • In Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, collecting enough points can unlock you bonus cutscenes and minigames.
  • In Kirby's Pinball Land, when you reached a point milestone, you'd get a Kirby dance!
  • Pinball machines in general use this to its fullest potential. Every modern machine will display a value which awards a free game to the player once it is surpassed, and most will also award additional games for earning enough points to appear on the high score list. Newer games can also be set to give out extra balls for points as well. (pinball 2000 used that as the default settings)
  • In some of those old side-scrolling brawlers, such as Final Fight, the only way to get another life was to get a certain number of points. Annoyingly, the number of points needed to get each new life after that would increase geometrically, so the bonus lives would get fewer and farther between as the game went on.
    • Alien Hominid uses a structure like this for its extra lives. The first one is at 1,000 points, and the number needed goes up by 100 points each time.
    • Streets of Rage 3 awards, in addition to the point-based extra lives, technique stars that upgrade your blitz attack. Stars are accumulated at every 40,000 points on your current life, and a life lost will remove a star and require you to get 40,000 more points to get it back.
  • In Star FOX, you got an extra continue when you got a certain amount of points.
    • In Star Fox 64, your shield meter doubled if you collected three gold rings in a stage. Collecting another three gold rings within that same stage earns you an extra Arwing (extra life.)
      • In certain levels, it was possible to get multiple extra lives this way if you started with two rings already in hand because there actually were 7 rings. They tried to avoid this.
    • Same for Star Fox Command, except you need to collect coins first (which spread out from kill No. 100). Command also had an item system that had an item appear for every fifth kill.
  • Geometry Wars gives you a Power-Up every so many points, and an extra life and bomb every other point threshold. The higher the level, the bigger the point gap: Grid Wars, for example, gives you an extra life every 150,000 points in Normal, and every 250,000 in Hard.
    • Geometry Wars Galaxies has the "Sur-" (survival) stages, which avert this trope: you get only one life, no bombs, and no way to get more of either.
  • Harnessing this gameplay mechanic is the only way to make any progress in Every Extend.
  • The later Commander Keen games doubled up on this trope—you could get twenty thousand, then forty thousand, then eighty thousand, then a hundred and sixty thousand, then a quarter million points (with additional lives at every quarter million points), as well as collecting little items to get a hundred of them to gain an extra life. Of course, you could save mid-level anyway so it didn't matter.
    • Early Commander Keen games simply gave you one life for every 20,000 points, and had several levels containing enough points in an easily obtainable location to make infinite lives a cinch.
  • Shikigami no Shiro III/Castle of Shikigami III has an interesting version of this - at certain point thresholds you receive both a bomb AND a life. You can only carry up to 3 lives and 5 bombs, though, so these bonuses are commonly squandered.
  • The song "Smoke Two Joints" by the Toyes mentions this trope by name with the line, "and at every 10,000 points, I smoke two joints." A one-up, indeed.
    • Notably, the line is omitted in the cover by Sublime since modern video games don't really work this way.
  • Warning Forever's 3 Lives mode displays your lives remaining as a decimal number with two significant digits. Every time you destroy an enemy part, you get .01 life, so every 100 parts you destroyed yielded a full extra life. Dying, of course, takes off 1.00 life, so once you fall into the 0.xx range, your next death will end the game.
  • Shoot-em-up Battle Garegga's Dynamic Difficulty is affected by the rate at which you get extra lives; the lowest extra life setting (at every 1,000,000 points) makes the game harder than with less frequent extra life rates. Those looking to complete the game will need the extra lives, as dying reduces the game's difficulty and keeps it playable.
  • Game and Watch games would often reward you by clearing your misses at certain score levels- if you had no misses at that point, you'd instead earn double points until you did miss. Also, if the game consisted of action that constantly sped up, it would usually slow down at certain intervals.
  • MMORPG example: Rohan Online's M.Kill system (short for Monster Kill) gives you bonus XP for every 20 mobs you kill, with the bonus increasing until you get 100 monster kills, at which point it resets back to 0. You don't get the bonus if you're fighting monsters with their names in grey, which are too weak to give you any XP or item drops.
  • Super Castlevania IV had you gain a life at 20,000, 50,000 and every 50,000 points after that.
  • Stargunner gives you an extra life at 500,000, 1 million, and every million after that. Not that this makes the game any easier...
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors replaced one dead neighbor every 10000 pts. If you already had all 10, you got an extra life.
  • The Thunder Force series likes to crank out lots of extra lives thanks to the low point requirements to get one. In Thunder Force III, for instance, it's possible to possess 12 extra lives (with 4 of them being your starting lives) by the time you get to stage 6.
  • The Skee-Ball variant Ice Ball rewards you with extra balls (along with the nine you start with) if you score high enough.
  • In Raiden Fighters Jet, it is possible to get an extra life by reaching the second loop...in the unranked Hard and Very Hard difficulties of the 360 port.
  • Referenced in an episode of The Fairly OddParents in which Timmy and his friends play a virtual reality game in which dying in-game will result in real-life death. During the Final Boss battle with Vicky, Timmy sacrifices his last life to save his friends, and right after he loses his last life, his score counter hits the extend point of 50 million, allowing him to respawn and narrowly avoid a Game Over.
  • Touhou games have various point boundaries that give the player an extra life. Depending on the game this may be the only way to get extra lives.
  • Chuckie Egg has it exactly: an extra level every 10,000 points. Curiously, the points value of an egg goes up every fourth level; on Levels 29-32 it reaches 800 points, meaning, since there are 12 eggs per level plus birdseed, you're guaranteed an extra life just for completing the level (and you will probably get most of the way to a second one from the time bonus). You'll need them all.
  • In some of the Sonic the Hedgehog games, getting enough points will give you an extra life. For an example, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, it's after 50,000 points.
  • Atari ST game Time Bandit (unrelated to the movie) starts you off with about 20 lives. And you get another every 1000 points. You go through them fast.
  • The Beetle Mania minigame in Super Mario RPG drops a heart at 10,000 points and then every additional 70,000 afterwards.
  • Every 5000 points in Robot Unicorn Attack gets pretty dolphins jumping around.
  • In pokemon.com, games will give you a trainer token after 5,000 points, the first time you reach it under an account, that is, then it sticks to this rule like glue, all games except puzzles apply
  • Twin Cobra had different difficulty settings that could vary this. An extra helicopter might be granted at 50,000 points and every 150,000 points thereafter under one setting; at 70,000 points and every 200,000 points thereafter in another.
  • CAVE scoring systems, particularly those of newer games, tend to involve so many digits the difference between the first extend and the second is one or two whole digits. For instance:
    • Do Don Pachi DaiFukkatsu ver. 1.5: 1,000,000,000 points, 10,000,000,000 points
    • Death Smiles Mega Black Label: 50,000,000 points, 300,000,000 points
  • Blue Wish Resurrection gives you two extends: One at 4 million and another at 10 million. In Blue Wish Resurrection Plus, however, you get one every 5 million points and you'll always get your extra life so long as you hit any multiple of 5 million.
  • In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, a 1-up star will appear for every 50 flowers or 10 stars collected.
  • In Brutal Legend, freeing every ten out of 120 Bound Serpents gave Eddie increasing bonuses to health, attack, and regeneration rate. You also got three Achievements along the way.
  • Silver Surfer gives you an extra life every 100,000 points.
  • In The Caverns of Hammerfest you get extra lives every one million points and at the marks of 100,000 and 500,000 points.
  • Averted in Thwaite. Unlike similar games that rebuild a city every n points, Thwaite rebuilds one destroyed house after each day that the player survives.