New game plus

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Chrono Trigger (1995) is the origin of the term.

New game plus, also referred to by various similar names (new game +, new game ex, etc.), is a video game mechanic where a player is allowed to restart a game from the beginning, but with most or all of the character advancements they previously made left intact. This is usually done to allow the player to more easily find secrets they missed in their first play-through or more quickly experience alternate endings.


I played many of the earliest games that featured the new game plus mechanic when they were popular, but I usually didn't realize the mechanic existed, and instead just assumed when I beat the game there was nothing left to do. Like most retro gamers, my first memorable experience with the mechanic was because of Chrono Trigger. I appreciate it when developers add a new game plus feature to their games. It's usually fun to go through the early stages of a game when you're highly over-powered, and it's a fairly simple way for the developers to add replay-ability to a game.


The term "new game plus" comes from Square's 1995 JRPG, Chrono Trigger, where it was first clearly advertised as a function of the game. However, the mechanic has existed since the 1980s and was actually pioneered by Nintendo in their action adventure games, Metroid and Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story.

A traditional new game plus merely allows the player to use their more powerful character to replay the same game. No new content is added, the plot isn't altered, and difficulty isn't changed (other than it is now easier due to the advanced stats and equipment). There are notable differences between a new game plus and a similar game mechanics like an unlockable difficulty levels or unlockable content, so each should be treated separately, unfortunately, most online resources do not properly distinguish between them. For example, The Legend of Zelda is frequently listed as featuring a new game plus, however, the new game doesn't carry over the character's stats or equipment from the first game, but instead has altered content, so it should properly be categorized as unlockable content. Likewise, Super Mario Bros. is often listed as including a new game plus, but there are no stats or equipment to carry over, and the replay is more difficult, so it instead has an unlockable hard mode. Some games combine multiple mechanics, for example, a second play-through in Borderlands is a combination between new game plus and an unlockable hard mode.


This is a list of games that are important to me which use the new game plus mechanic.

Title Released Notes
Borderlands 2009-10-20 Combines new game plus with hard mode.
Borderlands 2 2012-09-18 Combines new game plus with hard mode.
Chrono Trigger 1995-03-11 The story resets; you keep all your stats but lose your party members. Each time a character joins your party in the story, they begin with the stats from the previous game.
Diablo 1996-12-31 At any time, you can start a new game with your existing character; all your stats and equipment are retained.
Gunmetal Arcadia Zero 2016-11-15 A traditional new game plus. You keep all your stats and equipment and play through the original game again.
Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story 1986-12-19 Standard new game plus; all equipment and stats are retained. Essentially required to get the best ending.
Metroid 1986-08-06 You keep all power-ups excluding energy tanks and missiles.
Pinstripe 2017-04-24 You keep your items which make it a lot easier to get more achievements.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link 1987-01-14 You lose all equipment but keep your levels, spells, and techniques.


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