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In 1-Up Blast from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, 1-Up balloons allow Mario to add 1-Ups to his score. 
Grabbing a "1-up," usually appearing in the form of a green mushroom, will result in an additional life, or "man," in many Nintendo games.  These green mushrooms are normally found in a "?" Themed Box scattered around the Mario Universe.  In games not related to Mario, "1-ups" are not necessarily in the form of a Green Mushroom.  They may take the form of any number of things that all add another life or man to the player.

The "1-up" has its origins in the arcades.  Those games were made to be very difficult, and eat up the players' coins.  Because of this, the "1-up" was one of the most coveted items that could be found in a video game.

In modern games, however, the relevance of the "1-up" is on the decline.  Modern games, since they are played on consoles and do not require coins to continue, do not rely on "1-ups" to lengthen the game time, but simply give every player infinite chances to finish the games.

While the "1-up" is becoming an ever more rare in-game item, they shall never be completely lost, for as long as there is a single "1-up" left, we may rise and fight another day. 
In the Mario & Luigi series, the 1-Up revives your fallen bro to 50% of your health while the Deluxe version doubles the revival power to 100%.

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