Bytten Ernie Awards 2008
Once again it's that time of year. A time when we all need to pick our favourite games from the previous twelve months and bestow them with the coveted Ernie Awards. And once again the whole task is very difficult, having been faced with a huge variety of games and a host of high quality offerings. This year's Ernies go out to a sheepdog, ghosts, racers, a mad professor and global domination, which is remarkably normal in comparison to some of the previous winners (a pirate cactus, for example).
Without further ado, I will let Andrew Williams announce his first and most desired Ernie.
Best Overall Game - Professor Fizzwizzle and the Molten Mystery by Grubby Games
This has been a very difficult award to select. Nominations included Wicked Defence, a stylish and addictive tower defence game that pushed my computer to its graphical limits; Cryptex of Time, a matching puzzler that oozed quality in every aspect; Band of Bugs, an unusual take on an RPG with much more accessibility for the casual gamer.
But in the end, one game scored higher than all of these and deserves special mention. Professor Fizzwizzle and the Molten Mystery featured the return of the wonderful Professor and a number of new features to boot. Many of the suggestions given after his first outing have been acknowledged and included, and some altogether new features too. Fizzwizzle is cute, addictive, high quality and a game with plenty of longevity, and all these things make it deserving of this high accolade.
Most Ambitious Game - FASTER by Digital Kickers
Unlike the previous category, I had a clear winner in mind for this one. No other game I've seen this year quite matches FASTER for sheer balls. Digital Kickers have reason to be proud - though it was still quite raw in places and the online racing would benefit much more from having a greater online community, the sheer content of this game is breathtaking. Certainly FASTER would win the "biggest download size" award, perhaps out of all the games Bytten has reviewed thus far.
It also joins an elite group of games which I nearly couldn't review at all. Both my laptop (which refused outright to run it) and the desktop machine (which had a number of graphical glitches) were useless. Fortunately our new laptop arrived a few weeks before the deadline and was able to take the punishment! Ambitious in scope as well as system requirements, FASTER deserves an Ernie purely for daring to be bigger than anything else out there.