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Bytten Ernie Awards 2011

Strangest Experience - To Hell with Johnny by
Johnny and his girlfriend take shelter from a storm in an old abandoned church. To their astonishment, Hell itself rises up, leaving Johnny tumbling into the depths of the earth. By landing on platforms as he goes, the journey is survivable - but it's a bit more complicated than that. There are monsters, traps and the ever descending debris from above, and that's just for starters.

It's a very simple concept, but well considered. Virtually everything can be adjusted and the whole theme is delightfully odd. I was particularly taken by the special graphics modes for the visually impaired, in which Johnny and the various game aspects become large coloured blobs and all the menu options are spoken when you hover the mouse over them. Strange, but deliberately so. More strangeness please,, and I hope this Ernie provides some encouragement!

To Hell with Johnny A Tale In The Desert

Most Addictive - A Tale In The Desert by eGenesis
We get a lot of games at Bytten. Some are good, some are bad. The good ones tend to remain on my desktop for some time - the bad ones do not. But it's a rare game that has me still playing it for a long time afterwards, and this is what happened here. eGenesis introduced me to a MMORPG with no combat, no monsters, no dungeons. On paper that sounded bizarre - but it really does work. Instead you take the role of a citizen of Ancient Egypt, learning a range of skills and building compounds and facilities and so on. You level up by taking a range of tests - from the simple, such as building a sculpture or collecting signatures for a petition, to much more involved and complex tasks. Many of these are socially based tasks; digging for stones or mixing concrete are two examples where one person alone won't get very far.

Ultimately it was this social aspect that caused me to drift away - the guild I joined all disappeared one day and never returned, leaving me the only person tending the farm (so to speak). And of course, the inevitable fate of all online worlds - the real one kept getting in the way! Still, I am pleased to see that A Tale In The Desert continues without me and note new features are already available, such as... cats?

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