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Buying most upgrades gives the chance that they will appear as you run. What is unclear to me is whether I can influence the likelihood that I'll get a given powerup by NOT buying the others. The other possibility is that not buying a powerup just means there is a blank spot where I would have gotten that powerup.

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Having bought all of the powerups, I can say that they all appear with the same frequency. It does not appear that you can influence the appearance rate. There will not be a blank spot in place of the powerup.

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Yeah, just corroborating what Usernumbererror said; I'd maxed out Coin Magnet, and I accidentally pushed Mega Coin to level 1 when I'd meant to leave Magnet as the only upgrade. Now I get Magnet exactly half the time and Mega Coin the other half. Same number of Power Ups per distance too, roughly. I think Power Ups have a preset probability of showing up on each segment of the run (same way obstacles and turns have a probability of showing up each segment), and when a Power Up is rolled positive in a certain strip, the game runs an even probability function as to which Power up will show.

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Well this was more to my original thinking, and perhaps I like your answer better. If I understand correctly, you were trying to make Coin Magnet your only power up, so that when you "rolled" a power up by random chance, it was always Coin Magnet - right? If so, maybe you could edit your answer with the rationale for only buying one (or a few) upgrades. For example - why would only Coin Magnet be best? –  EBongo Mar 28 '12 at 1:51

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