The 351/1001 Milestone Awards

The 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die list is a limited-production, 960 page, 36 contributor, 5 and a half centimetre thick tome of opinions put together by Quintessence in 2010, and I am just over a third of the way through it, which means it's time for another Milestone Awards.

The 351/1001 Milestone Awards have felt a long time coming, but we finally get to whittle down titles ranging from Duke Nukem 3D to Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, so that we can blitz through the best of the best like a Japanese supercar blitzing through the collectors market.

Last time, I mentioned that the era of my childhood was rapidly approaching, and the decisions would get harder and harder as many a bias started to take control. This time, that's proven true. Let's see what's what.

First off are The Indifferent 5, games that get the reaction an off-brand but clearly inspired by a copyrighted car design would get if chosen to be modelled in an equally bland game. They're games, is what I'm saying. These five games are games, congratulations to them.

International Track & Field, Konami
Syndicate Wars, Bullfrog Productions
I.Q.: Intelligent Qube, Epics
Beatmania, Konami G.M.D.
Final Furlong, Namco

Keep going around the track guys. Someone wants to see you finish, I'm sure.

There were actually enough games to fill two Indifferent 5 lists, but there was only going to be one title to find itself the answer to What Was That 1 Even Put On The List For?

What Was Vectorman 2 Even Put On The List For?

We've moved on from these games. Earlier than the 301st entry and you might have made it, Vectorman, but in this day and age (that being 1997ish), you just don't cut the mustard.

When one goes, one must take its place. A car with only three wheels is a mistake, and it's broken, so it needs four wheels, and four just so happens to be the number of games that these so-called 'contributors' could have picked from, meaning one of which should have been 'contributed' to the 1001 list to fix the clearly faulty inclusion of that previous award winner up there.

Without faffing around any longer, I scream You Forgot What?! with the following illustrated question:

Heads. Will. Roll. Whattigattiguddiga.

It is the race for pole position that heads up these Milestone Awards, firstly with The Top Ten. The best ten games from this batch of 50. I thought ten of them were indifferent, and one of them shouldn't have been anywhere near the 1001 list, which leaves 39 games vying for ten positions. Lovely. No overtaking, now.

10: Final Fantasy VII, Square
This far down? Yes. I've not played enough of it to hail it as the future of video gaming yet.

9: Super Mario 64, Nintendo EAD
This far down? Yes. It essentially gave birth to the third dimension, but that's not good enough for me.

8: Bushido Blade, Light Weight
Higher than SM64? Have you lost your fu- No. It's the International Karate + effect - it brings a stupid smile to my face.

7: Blade Runner, Westwood Studios
So unexpected that I'm still amazed at its existence.

6: Fallout, Interplay Productions
It's got its faults, but they're not found in the stories you get from it.

5: Tomb Raider, Core Design
That. Handstand. And the whole female ass-kicking protagonist thing, of course...

4: Metal Slug, Nazca Corporation
Again, it brings a smile to my face. That's gaming, right there.

3: Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital
The sequel is better, but it's not on the list, so this is. Played it so hard in my youth I could practically smell the burning rubber...

2: Quake, id Software
It still holds up, doesn't it? mlook at it again and again.

So, what could be better than Quake? Well, look, I've ranked it better, but that doesn't mean it's better better, you know? But it is Bond. The number 1 spot this time around goes to GoldenEye 007, a game I wish I could have played in my youth for more than ten minutes.

With those games now fueled by nitrous oxide, where do they slot into The Topper Than That Top Ten? Is The Oregon Trail still clinging on after 350 other games?

No. No, it isn't. These ten are, though.

10: Blade Runner, Westwood Studios
The series we all know Westwood Studios by has been kicked off with the help of the game most of us don't know Westwood Studios by.

9: Fallout, Interplay Productions
Emerging from the vault to say hi, but I suspect it'll disappear back into it before long.

8: Tomb Raider, Core Design
Maybe Lara can find Vault Boy later on.

7: Metal Slug, Nazca Corporation
This top ten list mainly comprises of games I want to play right now, in all honesty. I want to play this one right now.

6: Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital
But now I want to play this one.

5: Quake, id Software
Do you see how difficult it was to rank these yet?

4: Super Mario World, Nintendo EAD
A survivor of The 301/1001 Milestone Awards topper ten. I think survivors will have to be mighty impressive going forward, especially if I end up defaulting to a list of 'Games I want to play right now'...

3: GoldenEye 007, Rare
"[is this list] For the readers, Frank?" "No. For me."

2: Super Mario Kart, Nintendo EAD
In an alternate universe, Crash Team Racing occupies this spot...

1: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Nintendo EAD
(Insert joke about trying to force this one off the top spot here)

The checkered flag drops and that's another Milestone Awards done. Lots of changes. Lots of opinions. Lots more games to play, starting with something called Star Fox 64. Probably another Nintendo 64 title, that.

Game on, won't you?


Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

Very intriguing.

A long time ago, in an operating system far, far away, I emulated a handful of games through DOSBox with the aid of Boxer, for I was the kind of computer user who preferred the 'it just works' approach, which of course meant I gamed far more often on a console, and not on my Mac.

One of those emulated games was a demo for Star Wars: Dark Forces, a first-person shooter set somewhere in the Star Wars universe I knew and loved, which made an awful lot of sense, even if I found it to be a little cumbersome and old in places - I didn't admire the history of gaming as much as then as I do now.

I don't remember much of it, which is fine because it's the sequel, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, that we care about today. A long time ago, in a little corner of the expanded universe that totally happened but not according to the House of Mouse, mercenary Kyle Katarn is about to face his destiny by confronting the Dark Jedi who killed his father.

I think. It doesn't sound like much of a plot, but we'll take what we can get.


Myth: The Fallen Lords


It hasn't happened in a while, but we're about to play a game I've never heard of in my life up until this point. I guess you could say I've only ever heard of it as a... myth...

What happens when you take a real-time strategy game, strip out the resource gathering rubbish, slap in some fantasy warriors of all sizes and shapes, and plonk it inside a 3D world that soon fills up with many, many bloody remnants of the combatants?

The answer is Myth: The Fallen Lords.



Murder Death Kill?

I have seen very little of MDK and played even less. After seeing it, I think I filed it away in my memory in the 'weird games' folder, and it wasn't until reading the synopsis before finally getting around to playing it that I understood why.

You are Kurt Hectic, a janitor turned astronaut who, along with mad scientist Dr Fluke Hawkins, and robotic dog Max, have taken it upon themselves to save humanity, whose Earthly home is currently being consumed by giant Minecrawlers on the hunt for natural resources.

You have a gun for an arm, your face turns into a sniper rifle and your parachute is... n't a parachute.

My Dear Knight, what even are you?


The Curse of Monkey Island

The Monkeys are listening.

Would you look at that? Another point and click adventure game finds its way onto the 1001 list - my favourite genre, don't you know?

LucasArts adventures have been cropping up in this list frequently, and they tend not to disappoint so it would seem that the third Monkey Island title, headed by those who were behind Full Throttle, is more of the same and then some.

The Curse of Monkey Island is, so I read, not as fondly remembered as the first two titles, but still has plenty to offer players, especially in the looks department. This twenty-year-old game has not been given an HD re-release of any kind, and it looks like it could have been released twenty minutes ago.

But how does it play? Like a twenty-year-old point and click adventure title? What's going on? Should I have played and completed the previous instalments? I should get going and work towards answering these questions, really.


Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter

Imperial Task Force Vengence, grrr.

Source // MobyGames

Star Wars: TIE Fighter was a hit in my books, but it was marred by its difficulty. I generally want easy games, I'm not going to lie. When I want a challenge though, I want an honest challenge, and humans are better at that (apparently) than artificial intelligence.

If TIE Fighter was too challenging and full of bullshit/pilot error, then Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is a step towards redressing the balance.

Our only problem is that it addresses it so far in one direction that the game is now a multiplayer-only experience. From the late 90s. With a small player base.


Gran Turismo

Get The New Machine!

I don't drive a car. I have no intention to. But I enjoy racing games and can - should the make and model suit - enjoy looking at cars. For the longest time in gaming you couldn't really do both, and certainly not to the extent that Gran Turismo offered.

One hundred and forty licensed and detailed cars from manufacturers the world over, a simulation mode to take you from your first driving test to your final championship victory, an arcade mode to try out some of the best cars before you find the in-game cash to buy them in the simulation mode - Gran Turismo gave an awful lot to players when it finally hit the shops in the late 1990s, and at some point near its release it gave an awful lot to me too.

I've not played the original game properly since there was only the original game to play. Its many sequels and the console generations that have launched since have given me no need to, though I have always wondered whether it holds up, and just how different it is to the modern Gran Turismo titles.

Fitting, then, that I come back to where it all began while the PlayStation Network is experiencing problems that stop me from fully enjoying GT Sport...


GoldenEye 007

The name's Bond.

First Person Shooters. Video Game Console. The two have a history of not getting along, according to the Internet, and you can see why. When compared to the precision of a mouse and the vast array of inputs available on a keyboard, a limited controller with clumsy digital inputs just doesn't seem like it'd work.

Yet GoldenEye 007 exists and is considered one of the greatest titles known to man, as well as one of the most important milestones along this historical trek of ours - a first-person shooter on a video game console that doesn't suck.

I first saw it somewhere around its release at a friends house. I don't recall much of that day and don't think I ever played it myself, and most of what I know about it comes from watching plenty of speedruns and hearing it almost constantly get brought up in discussions of someone's gaming past.

Let's get this blog done in six minutes, shall we, James?



Hello, my friend. Stay a while and listen.

Source // Wikipedia

"Mindlessly satisfying", they say. Just clicking here, clicking there and watching monsters explode. Why, then, is Diablo on the 1001 list?

This action-heavy, hack and slash RPG was inspired by Rogue, the developers seeking to emulate not only the stories players found themselves in but the strategies of when and where to move and act so as to not die as soon as you enter a room.

Then, after a vote to turn the game from turn-based to real-time, gaming changed a tad...


Final Fantasy VII

You look like a bear wearing a marshmallow.

A long time ago, I was told to get Final Fantasy VII because it was just that good. What did I do? I got Final Fantasy VI because it came with a demo for Final Fantasy X, which was obviously the better purchase - a taste of the paste with a glimpse at the future too.

But if you've read that blog post, you'll know that already. It's finally time for Final Fantasy VII, which is - apparently - one of the greatest games ever made in the history of ever, so it's got some clout around these parts.

It's also got some Cloud too...

See what I did there?

Cloud. You play as a kid named Cloud. Is he even a kid? I don't know. They all look like kids.