It's back and it's bigger than ever - The Milestone Awards have returned. Which games took root in our hearts and minds? Which ones infected the list? Just where do they all stand in the grand scheme of things? Sit back and plug in as we look back over the latest batch of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
Eligible titles for these awards range from Dragons Lair to Skool Daze, and the winners have been chosen with a biased Random Number Generator, ensuring all of your favourites have been glossed over and avoided.
Let's cut the fluff and get on with our first awards for The Indifferent 5. Listed below, in no particular order, are five games that were alright, they weren't bad, but were otherwise a little bit 'meh' - if not at the time of the review then definitely ten minutes ago when they were being picked for this award. They are:
Pac Land, Namco
Bounty Bob Strikes Back!, Big Five Software
Demolition Derby, Bally Midway
Mad Planets, Gottleib
May they all be played for an indifferent five minutes.
Games come in all kinds of guises, but some of them make you question their existence - if not in terms of 'Why on Earth was this game made?', then 'What Was That 1 Even Put On The List For?'. It is heere that we celebrate the mystifying inclusion of an interactive story. A strange one, certainly. Different to anything else we've seen, definitely. A game? Ehh...
What Was Deus Ex Machina Even Put On The List For?
Still, go and watch it though.
But what would you have in its place, were you to take it out of the 1001 list? The You Forgot What?! award goes to a title that ought to have a home here but, for whatever reason, doesn't. Perhaps it was overlooked or forgotten about, perhaps it's a hidden gem on a long forgotten system. Maybe a sequel did a far better job.
I'm no expert, and I don't have a massive list of every game to be released in the first half of the 1980s in front of me, but I have to question the lack of Excitebike on this list. Is excitement not good enough a reason to play a game?
The award pile is looking a little thin which means it's time for the Top 10. Which of the eligible titles have beaten forty other games into submission and stand tall as the best of the best? Were to you force me to pick, it'd be these titles that get bundled together as a statement of just how good the early 1980s were. Assuming the list is only made up of 50 titles from the 1001 list...
10: Mercenary, Novagen Software
Didn't see much of it, but what a vision there was behind it.
9: Gyruss, Konami
Circling menacingly around the bottom of this list.
8: Spy vs. Spy, First Star Software
Hectic, but love the idea.
7: Gauntlet, Atari Games
Managed to get through 43 opponents before falling into the Top 10.
6: Juno First, Konami
Just look at it. Lovely.
5: Boulder Dash, First Star Software
Digging never felt so satisfying.
4: Elite, David Braben and Ian Bell
Again, barely scratched the surface, but its inclusion at number 4 is not at all influenced by the upcoming No Man's Sky.
3: Marble Madness, Atari Games
Short and maddening, a nice little pick up and play time sink.
2: Gradius, Konami
Proof that space shooters have come a long way for the better.
There can be only one winner and it should come as no surprise that the number 1 spot goes to: Super Mario Bros., Nintendo. At the time of these awards it's a week or two after the speed run world record being beaten, proving Super Mario Bros. legacy as a classic game worth playing well beyond its release.
Those were your 101/1001 Milestone Award winners, and by 'your winners' I of course mean 'my winners'. Did you think that Top 10 was all over the place? Disagree about calling Mad Planets 'meh'? Good. It makes little difference to me, but it shows you're passionate about gaming. Maybe you should give yourself an award.
There is one set of winners still to come however. Where do the winners of this Top 10 fit amongst the winners of the 51/10001 Top 10? Will we have a complete walk over of titles, or are some of the old classics still better than their more modern counterparts?
It is my great pleasure to introduce you to yet another insignificant award, The Topper Than That 10 award, a top ten list where every game from the 1001 list up until this point are eligible for inclusion. Everything from The Oregon Trail to Skool Daze has a chance of claiming yet more glory. Chances are that actually I've just mushed the two top ten lists together, but let's see where these classic games have ended up.
10: Boulder Dash, First Star Software
Where have all the dig 'em ups gone? Am I missing out on modern classics?
9: Elite, David Braben and Ian Bell
Not quite elite enough for a higher place, but damn what a bold game.
8: Choplifter, Dan Gorlin
Perhaps the surprise entrant, but what's wrong with that?
7: Marble Madness, Atari Games
Doesn't matter how good you are at it, play it.
6: Qix, Taito
Puzzling entry? Never. Came out of nowhere and wowed.
5: Donkey Kong, Nintendo
Barrelling his way into the Topper 10 with ease.
4: Rogue, Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman, Ken Arnold
Still bringing back those tabletop gaming memories.
3: Gradius, Konami
Such a show off.
2: The Oregon Trail, MECC
Still entertaining in its own way.
1: Super Mario Bros., Nintendo
No surprises, no contest.
Thus concludes the 101/1001 Milestone Awards. Why do I persist? Because I chose to. Join me once again next award season, with the 151/1001 Milestone Awards. Will the next game on the 1001 list manage to linger in my memory until those awards? The next game is Tetris, so yes. Yes it will. But will in win an award? Yes, probably. But which one? Stay tuned.