The 201/1001 Milestone Awards

Coming to you live (were it not for a cable fault) from the sunny (were it not for the winter storms) shores of California (by way of the English Channel) - it's The Milestone Awards!

Once again we whip out our mobile phones and hack our way back through the 1001 list to see which games are eligible for awards, blissfully ignorant of the screaming pedestrians on the sidewalk frantically diving for cover from our blinged out Blista's.

This time out, eligible titles range from Carrier Command to Another World, and those 50 titles are jam-packed with great games. It's been absurd trying to sniff out some winners.

Still, that's what I've done, so let's see what we've got.

As ever, we start with The Indifferent 5, five games who, if you hacked their phones while waiting for a bus, wouldn't even have an interesting descriptive by-line. They are titles that aren't bad; that are alright; that are just there, filling in some space. In no particular order they are:

Forgotten Worlds, Capcom
Snake Rattle 'n' Roll, Rare
Herzog Zwei, Technosoft
The Revenge of Shinobi, Sega
Exile, Peter Irvin, Jeremy Smith

Thanks for turning up, guys.

For every 50 games you round up, there's bound to be one that sticks out in some odd little way. Shunned by the rest of the group but still having some redeemable features I'm sure, these games probably win the What Was That 1 Even Put On The List For? award. This time around we have to ask ourselves this:

What Was Minesweeper Even Put On The List For?

It's clearly a boring grey office program and not a game. Honest, boss.

That, unfortunately, means our list is a game short of meeting its target of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, so we'll have to insert a forgotten title in its place. This title is so forgotten that I forget to include it in earlier Milestone Awards, and so - finally - we answer the question You Forgot What?!

Pitfall! We all forgot about Pitfall! It's such a shock that even Pitfall! is surprised.

We can only conclude that the votes to put Pitfall! into the original list were eaten by sewer alligators.

Finally, the meat of this post, The Top Ten. There were so many good titles on this list that I even considered a one-per-franchise clause or something, but, upon further thought, I simply went with the ten games I had a damn good time with. Or think I did. Or hoped I did. Let's begin.

10: Dr. Mario, Nintendo R&D1
Take two tablets every four hours.

9: Pang, Mitchell
Still not good at it, but it's easy to get into.

8: Raiden, Seibu Kaihatsu
A shooter, sure, but one I tried sticking with longer than most.

7: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, LucasArts
I found it easier to get into than the first of the series, and that's enough to rank it higher.

6: The NewZealand Story, Taito
Nostalgia gets the better of us sometimes - so much so that it's P2s nostalgia more than my own, but it's worth a high ranking whoever plays it.

5: Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, The Bitmap Brothers
I wish it were easier, but it's a joy all the same.

4: Rampart, Atari Games
A perfect blend of game mechanics.

3: North & South, Infogrames
A surprise hit, really. A fun little look into history. Not historically accurate history, but who cares?

2: Bomberman, Hudson Soft
So simple, so good, so annoying, so gonna win the rematch.

Despite there being three Mario games in this batch of 50, there can be only one game in the top spot. Oh, I think I just spoiled it by mentioning Mario. Too late now, the number 1 goes to Super Mario World, Nintendo EAD. I think this Mario series is going somewhere, you know...

But where is it going? And how far will it get? That's for the future to tell us. For now, we can only check up on The Topper Than That Top Ten list to see the best of the best. 201 games, from Another World all the way back up the list to The Oregon Trail, but which are my top picks?

10: Rampart, Atari Games
I really must track down some updated versions or homages to it, it's that good.

9: North & South, Infogrames
This, too, feels like a kind of hidden gem in this 1001 list.

8: International Karate +, System 3
It's going to take a bit to knock this out of the Topper Ten, but it's close. Until then, another satisfying thwack to the face, if you please.

7: Sid Meier's Pirates!, Microprose
Pirates are better than Railroads, Sid.

6: The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo R&D4
At some point, enough games will come along in a batch to just wipe this list out. Until then, the Zelda I'm frustrated with remains in it.

5: The Oregon Trail, MECC
It's slipping down the list, slowly but surely. 200 games later, it's still in the top 5 titles.

4: Bomberman, Hudson Soft
Oh, the joys of watching the inevitable unfold in front of your foes' eyes.

3: Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov
I do wonder if these games will survive until the 1001/1001 awards.

2: Super Mario Bros., Nintendo R&D4
Knocked off its perched, but by what, I wonder?

1: Super Mario World, Nintendo EAD
Oh, of course, by that. C'm'ere, Yoshi.

Thus endeth the awardsth. Were your favourites favoured by me too? Are you left scratching your head as to why I avoided the Super Mario Bros. sequels? Because they just weren't good enough for inclusion, that's why.

The 251/1001 Milestone Awards judging panel - me - will soon begin their lengthy processes, playing (or trying to play) another 50 titles before plopping them into somewhat arbitrary and definitely not objective lists.

Until then, enjoy your own top ten lists.


Another World

From one world to another...

I think a fair few gamers are familiar with the first handful of screens from Another World, a Dragon's Lair-like adventure where the fate of protagonist Lester is determined by our quick reactions and puzzle solving abilities.

Sorry, Lester. We hardly knew ye...


Super Mario World

Thank You Mario! But Yoshi is in another Egg!

If I remember rightly - and I'm not sure I do - I said that the first level of Super Mario Bros. is so recognisable to people that even people who have never played it know what it is and where it's from.

With the bright greens and the wee diddy Mario and an apple or two dangling out of nowhere, maybe this screenshot from Super Mario World does the same thing.

Most of my Mario experience has been with the Game Boy, or with various forms of Mario Kart, but this image is still so recognisable to me that it defines Mario on the SNES, and it barely contains anything. But maybe it's just me. Maybe I recognise it so much because that's mostly all of Super Mario World I've played.

Yeah, I've seen far more of Super Mario World than I've played. I don't think I ever played it on the SNES itself, either. No amount of Super Mario All-Stars comes close to absolving me of that sin...

Still, I must stop babbling and save the Princess. Again.


Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

Big Whoop

I know there are more than a couple of games in the Monkey Island series, but it wasn't until coming across The Secret of Monkey Island for this 1001 list that I had played any of them, and now we're already into the second title, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.

It's more point and click adventuring, more hand-drawn vistas and backdrops, more witty writing and puzzling... puzzles... and, thankfully, a novice friendly HD remaster that really shows it all off.

There's no point beating around the Guybush, though, let's get stuck in.



"They were going to turn you into a swan, as they tried to do to me."

Point and click adventures are fascinating things sometimes, for their own reasons - the writing in The Secret of Monkey Island, or the artwork in Broken Sword for example. The fascinating thing about Loom is that, while looking pretty good and having voice acting (depending on the version you play), the whole story is centred around and interacted with a musical stick.

Not like a flute or, as the 1001 list points out, Link's Ocarina in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but a literal wooden stick that magically plays musical notes, with the correct tune played in the correct place on the screen changing the environment and solving puzzles.

It sounds pretty neat, and it sounds like I'm about to find out if I'm tone deaf sooner than I think...


Super Tennis

Double Fault.

There are a few tennis games on this 1001 list. I don't really like tennis. I've played a few games down the years, more on consoles than in person (much more, really), and they always tend to go the same way - Fault, Double Fault, Fault, Double Fault, Fault, Double Fault...

Where is the fun in tennis games if that's your first experience with them? That or 00-15, 00-30, 00-40. There isn't any. Pong can't be the greatest tennis title in history, can it?

Let's see what Super Tennis can serve up for us.


Snake Rattle 'n' Roll

Watch out for Nibbley Pibbleys, Flying Carpets and Bigfoot!

I don't think I've ever heard of Snake Rattle 'N' Roll in my life. It hasn't been on greatest hits list I've come across, it's not been mentioned in passing, either by friends or in retrospectives - my radar simply hasn't got a clue what to do when these two snakes, Rattle and Roll, bounce their way into town.

Not for the first time then, let's find out what's going on.


Smash T.V.

(not a suggestion for dealing with higher difficulty games.)

I had heard of Smash T.V. for only one reason: that originally, it was thought to be so difficult to finish that a final bonus stage that was referenced and mentioned throughout the game, known as the 'Pleasure Dome', simply wasn't included for players to reach.

That's not all I know about Smash T.V. however. It's a twin stick shooter set in an alternate reality 1999 where gameshows about surviving massive hordes of enemies intent on killing you are the only thing on telly, and, naturally, the luckiest folks in this future scenario get to run through as much of this gauntlet as they can. That means you, the player.

But you'll have weaponry on your side. Lots of weaponry. And a few power-ups. And as many continues as you can afford. Whenever you're ready, just go through the door...


Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon

Toot, toot.

Not pictured: Railroads

Seeing Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon coming up on the list brought back memories of getting my hands on Transport Tycoon for the PlayStation: I was wowed by the idea, fired it up, didn't have a damn clue what was going on and quickly abandoned it.

Have I changed as a person since then? Can I competently run a railroad network spanning the country, delivering passengers, mail, livestock and much more besides?



Thunder(bolt) and Lightning, very very frightening, me! (Galileo) Galileo...

Source // Arcade Museum

The 1990s are upon us and still we're playing around inside alien technology against alien invaders in another futuristic shoot 'em up. The screenshot that accompanied Raiden's entry in the 1001 list was alright - nothing special - and the write up points out that, graphically, there isn't a whole lot to write about it.

You fly up the screen and shoot all the things. It's not overly colourful, it's like any other shooter. Oh. So why must I play this game then?



Ready! Aim! Fire!

The more I read about Rampart, the more I wanted to play it. Defend a castle from an attack from the sea, then repair it against the clock by jamming Tetris-like blocks into all the holes you now find yourself surrounded by, before plopping down some more cannons and doing it all over again.

How fun does that sound? How simple, too? That's an idea as easy to pick up as one of those rubber ducks at the carnival, and I want to play it.

Rampart, not Hook a Duck.


Super Mario Bros. 3

"The cover art depicts Mario, the main protagonist, flying with the ears and tail of a Japanese raccoon dog, obtained from the new "Super Leaf" item."

If you've been reading previous entries you'll know that I know of much of the Mario series from their re-release in the form of Super Mario All-Stars, and Super Mario Bros. 3 is no exception. The first time I tried it was on the SNES in All-Stars, as was the second, and all subsequent times I tried it. 

I've not played the original NES version until now, and, well, I think I might need to hand in any scrap of credibility I have as a video gamer because I'm frankly embarrassed with my performance in it.