I am proud to present the first annual Biggie Awards (BA for short), a list of products, in categories that I made up, that I think were the best of 2008. The methodology behind the awards was very scientific, if I got excited about a product, it was nominated. Now, the envelope please…
Best Indie Game: Tie- World of Goo, Castle Crashers
Congratulations to 2D Boy and The Behemoth for sticking to their guns and making the games they wanted to make and being financially rewarded for it. In case you haven’t been paying attention to my blog, this is the future of game development. Small, focused, creative teams making fun, inventive games. The key word is fun, not pandering to Marketing, not selling out, not shaders, Direct X 11, or HDR.
Best Product to Hide Massive Complexity: Wii Fit
There is more engineering in the Wii fit than in most consoles, yet it comes off polished, fun, and useful. I love the way it “talks” to you when you step on it or when you gain a little weight. Nintendo keeps hitting home runs. They know what is fun and they are not afraid to break out of the box to find it.
Best Editor: Spore
Contrary to many people I enjoyed the game, but what impressed me most was the editors and technology behind the game. I think the future of game development for big titles was shown in Spore. Editors and procedurally generated content are the only way we will be able to make large content games due to cost constraints. This kind of procedural content creation is what will allow the small “rock band sized” teams I advocate to make big games.
Best Single Button Game: Tower Blocks
Digital Chocolate made this fun tower stacking game that can be played anywhere, i.e. on a cell phone, in Facebook, etc. Integration with your true friends is an extremely important feature and is what drives you to keep playing.
Best Distillation of an old Game Mechanic: Eleven Blood
This Facebook game has many old game developers crying fowl. Why would people want to play a game that has so little interaction? Well, I think games like EB, Mafia Wars, etc. are really bringing a fun new approachability to role playing games.
Best Graphics: Little Big Planet
This is my idea of of how to use powerful shaders and high end graphics. No uncanny valley, no crap lip synching. Just cool little characters running around in a world that looks real, yet you know it can’t be. Honorable mention for the awesome UI on the level editor. There are so many interface breakthroughs on that editor that a book could be written about it.
Best Flash Game Site: Kongregate
These guys have risen from start up to the best Flash game site in less than two years. Clean, developer friendly site that has really brought Flash games to a new level of respectability. I could do without the chat window next to all of the games, so the game window itself had the option of being bigger, but other than that, these guys are on fire. Impressive!
Best Future Way to Play Games: Instant Action
Even though I was involved in the early days of IA, I have to mention this service. The more I get used to web based “cloud computing”, the more I refuse to download and install a game to play it. Too much hassle, and most of the time, it requires updates to drivers and other things I don’t have the patience to do. Instant Action is not getting the attention it deserves.
Best Developer to Change the World: Harmonix
Best New Business Idea: Flash Game License
Best Business I Wish I Had Started: Mochi Ads
Favorite Game Review Site: Jay Is Games
Best Facebook Publisher: Playfish
Top Big Games I Don’t Care About Left4Dead, Fallout 3, Farcry 2, GoW 2 – shows how out of touch I am with the core gamer market.
Best New gaming Platform iPhone
Best Video Site That I Thought Was Going to be Crappy HULU
Best Old Internet Service That I Never Used Until Now Pandora
Best Web App FriendFeed
-Jeff Tunnell, Game Maker
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