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Bytten Ernie Awards 2009

Strangest Experience - Spandex Force by KarjaSoft
Last year the winner for this category was a sheep herding game from KarjaSoft. Just after these awards, a second game arrived on the virtual desk - Spandex Force, a bigger and far odder game. I was rather taken by the chance to create my own superhero and save the day, though it was a little less thrilling when I realised I'd be doing so by matching symbols. Even so, the mission plots and the genre sending-up character dialogue were brilliant and made this game both a joy to play and utterly bonkers.

Rivalling this was a game experience that was initially far stranger for me. Lugaru saw me taking on the role of Turner, a kung-fu rabbit avenging the deaths of his family in a manner resembling "Watership Down" as directed by Quentin Tarantino. There was plenty of blood.

Spandex Force Darkwind: War on Wheels

Most Addictive - Darkwind: War on Wheels by Psychic Software
No challenge for this category - I have never encountered a game quite as addictive as Darkwind. Post-apocalyptic settings, cars with armour and guns, deathraces, battles with gangs of pirates... all very thrilling stuff. The learning curve is a tad steep, but the big draw for Darkwind is the community. Older players are always happy to offer advice, or take new players out on patrol with them (a dangerous activity for a lone newcomer). It's this community spirit which sucked me in so often that I started getting complaints from my partner. If anyone here wants to join up, quote my ID in the referral field - 13687 - and I'll get rewarded for bringing you and mayhem together!

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