Item (game)

Item (game)

In pencil and paper games and computer and video games, an item is an object within the game world that can be collected by a player- or, occasionally, a non-player character. These items are sometimes called "pick-ups".

Items are most often beneficial to the player character, but some games contain detrimental items, such as cursed pieces of armor that confers a negative bonus to the wearer, and cannot be removed until the curse itself is lifted - the means to do this may be costly or require a special item. Some items may also be of absolutely no value to the player. Items are especially prevalent in Role Playing Games, as they are usually necessary for the completion of quests or to advance through the story.

Types of items

Items often come in various types, and in most games where items are collected, they are sorted by these types. In RPGs, an item inventory is a common UI feature where one can view all the items that have been collected thus far. Often, these are sorted by categories, such as "equipment" or "Potions." In other game genres, the items may take effect as soon as they are obtained.

Items in role-playing games

Of all the types of video games, role-playing games tend to have the widest variety of potential items. The most important of these are potions or health drinks, which are often used to restore a character's Health Points, or HP. HP is reduced during encounters with monsters or when the character has fallen into a trap. Often, status effects like poison will reduce HP at a steady rate, but this could also occur due to an extreme environment (such as underwater or a bare vacuum of space.) Another crucial type of item is the Mana potion, used to restore Magic Points, or MP, which can often go by other names (such as Skill Points (SP), Ability Points (AP), or Power Points (PP)) that is consumed by the performance of magic attacks or intricate skills.

Equipment is another, completely different type of item. Equipments are clothing and weapons that can be used by the player character to enhance their stats or grant new abilities. Usually, powerful equipments have restrictions on them (such as high level requirements or stat requirements) to prevent new or weak characters from becoming too strong too quickly. Often, the statistics of a weapon can be increased through the use of rare items like Materia in Final Fantasy games or scrolls in MapleStory. In most modern video games, equipment will alter the appearance of the player character, so sometimes equipment will be in high demand not due to the statistics it adds, but for its looks. In MMORPGs, events based on either real world holidays or in game ones may allow the characters in the world to obtain rare items only available for the duration of the event. Some players, usually referred to as "rare item collectors," will try to gather as many of these as possible, even though they usually have poor stats. Event items sometimes are merely for novelty and are not intended at all for use in normal scenarios.

Another common variety of item in Role Playing games is the Monster Leftover, a (normally useless) item dropped by a certain species of Monster when it is defeated. These can be used as sign that a player has defeated a powerful monster, like a trophy, or given to Non-player characters in order to complete a quest or in exchange for money or a better item (normally, large quantities are required for the latter.) The leftovers of Boss monsters are often the rarest of all, and are prized for their relatively high value. Sometimes, monster leftovers can be used to upgrade or forge new equipment, often with the attributes of the monster whose leftover was used.

Various Role Playing games offer the ability to combine items to create a new, usually better item. Although the term for this varies, this function is common in some MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and in single-player games like Final Fantasy. Usually, combining items is required for obtaining better equipment for the player character, or for creating items needed to complete a quest.

Items in platform games

In many platformers, like "Sonic the Hedgehog" and "Super Mario Brothers", items are scattered throughout the Level in Item Boxes or on their own. Many video game items include are common to all games.

1-ups or continues give the player character "extra lives" and allow them to continue after being killed. 1-ups usually come in the form of the main character's face (or the text "1UP," though this is less common in modern games.) In some games, they can also be obtained in Special Stages and by collecting a large number of minor treasure items (i.e., collect 100 rings in "Sonic" games to gain one extra life.), by finishing levels in a certain amount of time, or by getting a certain number of points.

Treasure such as coins, rings, gems or jewelry are another common item. These are often used to determine the player's score. In some games, particularly those with an overworld map, players can take these items to a shop-like place and exchange them for new abilities or equipments. Usually, such treasure items are found in small quantities as one progresses through a level, however by exploring players can often find secret areas containing a large number of them.

In some platformers, particularly those with a hit counter like Kirby, medicine, food or energy containers, are found, which give the player extra health or defensive ability. These are normally very rare, so as to make the player watch their hit counter carefully. In some games, like the Sonic series, the treasure items (rings) double as a method of enabling extra hits.

Quest items (also known as plot items, or key items) are required to complete several games or stages. In platformers, these are not always required, but may be optional goals to get a better ending. The Sonic the Hedgehog series has a recurring side goal being the collection of the Chaos Emeralds.

Items in adventure games

Often in adventure games, there are many puzzles that need to be completed in order for the player to advance through the dungeons or levels. Usually, this can be done through the use of specific items gathered while exploring the dungeon. This is a very common element in the "Legend of Zelda" series, where items like the Hookshot are necessary to pass specific obstacles. Other important items for navigating puzzles are bombs, which can open new paths, and the boomerang, which can retrieve items from a great distance.

Another generic item needed to progress through dungeons in adventure games is the key. Sometimes there can be several keys within a dungeon, or just one skeleton key which is good enough to open all locked doors.

Items in shooting games

Items in shooting games are not as common as in other genres, however they still play a major role in the gameplay. The most common items are the health pack, similar to a potion in RPGs, and the Ammunition pack, a generic box of ammo that will work with whatever gun the player character has equipped at that time. Sometimes, in games with large amounts of different weapons, there will also be specialized ammo packs, like napalm canisters or Rockets/Grenades for Rocket and Grenade Launchers, respectively.

Rarely, new weapons can be obtained, normally from defeated enemy soldiers but also from machines or robots depending on the game's setting. Generally, more powerful weapons (such as the aforementioned Rocket Launchers and flamethrowers) tend to be found later in the game. In some games that cross genres, like Twisted Metal, the weapons come in the form of powerups that have very limited duration.

Items in fighting games

In fighting games, items are far less common, however they still appear in many titles. In wrestling games, things like folding chairs and other innocuous items are often used as makeshift weapons, sometimes with a limited number of "uses" before the item breaks. In the "Super Smash Brothers" series, items play an important role in the combat, and the timely arrival of a certain item, like invincibility or the hammer, can completely alter the course of the fight.


A set is a group of items with similar properties that, when combined, give an overall set bonus. Typically, these bonuses are added when there are two or more pieces of the set equipped, and each subsequent bonus stacks with the one before it.

For example, in "World of Warcraft", the "Black Dragon Mail" [] set gives:
* Improves your chance to hit by 1% "with two items"
* Improves your chance to get a critical strike by 2% "with three items"
* +10 Fire Resistance "with four items"

Therefore, if a player had all four pieces, they would receive the chance to hit, critical strike and fire resistance bonus.

Sets can range anywhere from two pieces to upwards of eight or ten, depending on the game and the available equipment slots. Also, as well as improved bonuses, item sets usually have a distinct look to them, through use of unique game artwork.


* [ Items and Weapons: Super Smash Bros Melee] . Retrieved on October 29, 2007.
* [ Legend of Zelda items] . Retrieved on October 29, 2007

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