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Best of 2008:
AetherAether is a gloriously imaginative and atmospheric puzzle game in which you swing through the stars to reach several different planets, each with a unique puzzle to solve. The designers have made a truly compelling experience, and it's a fantastic artistic endeavor. You can also just spend some time flying through space or the clouds, the music and movement are so relaxing.

Why we picked it: There is nothing else quite like Aether, because it draws from real-world experience, rather than from other video games. Edmund McMillen tried to capture the feeling of being a child through game design, and by the near-universal accolades Aether has received, it's safe to say that he nailed it. This is all the fears and fancy of a vibrant imagination condensed into a tight, playable adventure. It may be short, but all the parts work together in quirky harmony: artwork, music, stretchy tongue-assisted leaps into the lonely and wonderful reaches of space. A daydream come to life, and certainly among the Best of 2008.

Audience Award:
Submachine 5: The RootIt's here. The next installment in one of the most popular and critically acclaimed Flash point-and-click adventure series ever created. Submachine 5: The Root promises to take us to the very first (historically speaking) built submachine structure. At least as we know it.

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