Returning from the distant past to ensure that the stupid are culled from society in a number of phone-distracted jaywalking incidents, it's The Milestone Awards, a hastily cobbled together mishmash of whatever was available, shoved out of the door far before it's ready.
The latest batch of games from the 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die list has thrown up quite a few worthy contenders for the awards, and picking the winners has been as agonising as choosing the right starter Pokémon.
Eligible titles include everything from Tetris to Wizball, and the lists were decided by how often I needed to press B to ensure they were caught in their Pokéballs. Which of your favourites were really tricky bastards to catch?
We begin as ever with the awards for The Indifferent 5, five games that give me the same reaction as catching a Pidgey - "Yeah, it's a bird, I guess. It'll peck if it needs to". In no particular order they are:
Leaderboard, Bruce Carver, Roger Carver
Blasteroids, Atari Games
Galaga '88, Namco
Spindizzy, Electric Dreams Software
May they all have a safe transfer to the Professor.
Sometimes you have to wonder just why something was included on a particular list, and the What Was That 1 Even Put On The List For? award tries to highlight the games which, if they were original Pokémon, would be Staryu. It was much tougher than it has been this time around, but I have to come away from my deliberation with the following question:
What Was Trinity Even Put On The List For?
I'm not saying it's bad, just that it's a Staryu.
Knocking it out of the 1001 list means having a list of only 1000 though, and that simply isn't good enough. We must find a replacement in the form of a You Forgot What?! winner. If it's not a challenge to find games, then it's a challenge to pick games. Some titles never made it to the list because their sequels and spin-offs did it better, for example. Some titles are so wacky to have perhaps not been known by anybody in the first place.
I was casually browsing a list of games of the era and one very strange title jumped out at me. Psyduck and I are wondering why on earth Fat Worm Blows a Sparky didn't make it to the list, even if on name alone.
It's a thing of beauty, but it sadly has no home on the 1001 list.
We're now getting into the meat of The MileStone Awards. Cutting 50 titles down to 10 isn't easy, but seeing as I've already discarded 6 of them as Pidgey's and Staryu's, I shouldn't have that much of a problem. I know I've been relating games to Pokémon this time out but there's no way I'm working out my top ten first generation Pokémon for the sake of a throwaway awards season joke. You'll just have to go with a bare list that begins with:
10: Alter Ego, Activision
Is it a game? It's enough of one to sneak onto the list, yes.
9: OutRun, Sega AM2
Just having a relaxing drive.
8: Arkanoid, Taito Corporation
It's a better Breakout, easy for picking up and playing on the go.
7: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Nintendo R&D4
Yeah, I'm no good, but I admire not holding back the difficulty for the sake of the players.
6: Bubble Bobble, Taito
Caught me off guard I think, and now it's caught you off guard skimming this top ten.
5: R-Type, Irem
Lack of skill hasn't put me off it yet.
4: International Karate +, System 3
Those animations, though... Why can't Street Fighter feel this brutal?
3: Sid Meier's Pirates!, MicroProse
Careful to not rank this one based on the updated version, but the idea alone should ensure it ranks high.
2: The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo R&D4
I am almost embarrassingly poor at it, but it's lasted this long for a reason.
and finally, the best game of the latest 1001 batch, number 1 can be nothing other than Tetris. Sing it with me now, doo, doodo doo, doodo do...
That, ladies and gentlemen, Cloisters and Onyxs, was The 151/1001 Milestone Awards, but we have one final list to work out. Which of our latest batch of games have made it through the final ten to be crowned Pokémaster? What does The Topper Than That Ten list now look like?
Eligible for this award are all the games from the list so far, which reaches from Wizball all the way back to The Oregon Trail. Have the late 1980s knocked everything out of the arcade, or are there still some titles that you just can't remove from any best of the best lists? Let's find out:
10: Qix, Taito
Clinging on for dear life is this little puzzler from days gone by.
9: Donkey Kong, Nintendo R&D1
A childhood favourite but it's slipping down the ranks.
8: Rogue, Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman, Ken Arnold
NetHack didn't do as well as Rogue, and Rogue now finds some tough competition to deal with.
7: R-Type, Irem
We can consider R-Type to have merged with Gradius here. Maybe Gradius is a power-up or something.
6: International Karate +, System 3
Well now it just shows my sense of humour, doesn't it? Getting kicked in the face earns you a top six spot apparently.
5: Sid Meier's Pirates!, Microprose
Grabbing as much booty as it can lands Pirates! a top five place.
4: The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo R&D4
You knew it would be up here, and I dare say I'm not even a fan of it.
3: The Oregon Trail, MECC
Yes, remarkably, this is still highly ranked.
2: Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov
Always worth playing.
1: Super Mario Bros., Nintendo R&D4
It could be here for quite some time.
That, my friends and fellow gamers, is that. Have I lost my grip on reality? Do I know a good game when I see one? Just what is the reason for Staryu to exist? Ponder upon those questions as you pass the time waiting for The 201/1001 Milestone Awards, which will happen in 50 reviews' time. What great titles will we see? What difficult decisions will we need to make? Follow this blog to find out.