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Having surgically implanted several redundant hearts within his chest, Link fears no cardiac arrest!

A common bit of widely understood symbolism in Video Games: a heart is used to represent someone's health or life. The Life Meter or lives counter may be made of hearts, and health-related pickups may be in the shape of hearts as well (see Heart Container).

The reason the heart specifically is used for this trope is because of the positive connotations the heart has picked up over the millennia: "lifeblood", love, as well as it being considered the most important organ by the medical community for the longest time (and it's still considered the second most important organ behind the brain, but brains are rather squicky and have different connotations entirely, mainly intellectual).

Compare Heart Container, Heart Symbol, Healing Potion.

Examples of Hearts Are Health include:
  • The Life Meter and the famous Heart Containers of The Legend of Zelda series.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (only in the Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance remakes; the original NES version used hexagons instead)
  • Pandemonium
  • Grand Theft Auto II uses hearts for its Life Meter.
  • The NES Little Red Hood... But the hearts that replenish health are HUMAN.
  • The Smurfs on the SNES use hearts as a Life Meter too.
  • Prehistorik Man does as well. It also has heart containers.
  • In the XGen Studios Web Game Stick Arena Ballistic, your Life Meter has a beating heart next to it. As you take damage the heart becomes damaged, leaks blood and beats more weakly.
  • Crystal Caves
  • Terraria
  • The Life Meter in Sapiens depicts a heart of variable size when you're still quite healthy. It is replaced by a skull when you get weaker.
  • StarTropics I & II both use hearts as a Life Meter which are filled by Heart Containers, similar to Zelda.
  • Non-video game example: it became a sort of Memetic Mutation for Kakuzu in Naruto - he really did have five hearts and wouldn't go down until all were destroyed - as the new chapters of the manga progressed, fanart would depict him with a decreasing heart meter.
  • Decap Attack plays with this; your health meter is comprised of actual, realistic beating hearts.
  • Cave Story has both heart-shaped health refills and Heart Containers.
  • Purple represents its health restoring items as hearts.
  • Viewtiful Joe
  • Minecraft
  • Astyanax
  • Primal Rage has a slightly more gruesome application this: your lifebar is represented as a major artery ending in a beating realistic heart, and your stun gauge is represented as a spinal cord ending in a brain: when the stun gauge is depleted, the brain crackles with electricity, and when you take damage, the heart beats faster. If you lose a round, the heart explodes and the brain is fried to ashes.
  • Eternal Daughter
  • Spelunky combines this with Cardiovascular Love: it uses hearts for life, and they are restored by the floating love hearts that appear when you get a kiss from a damsel.
  • Heart containers in An Untitled Story take the form of hearts radiating with red light.
  • The Binding of Isaac has hearts representing health.
  • In Aladdin, the powerups that restore health are blue hearts.
  • Averted in the Castlevania series: hearts are ammo or money (and in the Metroidvania games, mana); food is health. Many new players seem to be initially confused by the nonstandard association and often ask why picking up hearts doesn't refill their life.
  • The Super Star Wars games uses a lightsaber as your health meter, but hearts are used for health restoration.
  • Splatterhouse is another game that uses realistic-looking human hearts for life points (and hockey masks for lives).
  • Milons Secret Castle
  • MegaZeux uses heart shapes by default for picking up extra health.
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