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.