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Best of 2008 (shared):
Floating Islands GameFIG plays a lot like Rob Allen's Hapland series with more action and a distinct Lemmings slant to it. In each level you must guide the main character through the stage, collecting all of the gold stars before reaching the flag at the end. You can only affect his movements indirectly, however, by clicking and changing different parts of the environment at just the right time. It combines quick reflex gameplay with just enough puzzle elements to make it captivating, and the artwork creates a beautiful setting you just can't resist.
PassageArtistic expression is becoming more common in video games, and the Passage is a fine example of using the medium to explore greater issues. The heavily pixelated, 100x16 game takes just five minutes to play and puts you in control of a character that ages as the journey goes by. Every element is packed with possible meaning, and as you move through the screens you explore what may be interpreted as the passage of life. It simply must be experienced to be understood, and even then the discussions (listed at the bottom of the game's homepage) are remarkably insightful and varied.

Why we picked them: A simple game built around a simple idea that's executed in a near-flawless manner. Similar to Rob Allen's well-known Hapland series, Floating Islands Game takes a more action-oriented approach and features point-and-click puzzles heavy on proper timing and trial-and-error gameplay. The art style is perhaps the most alluring aspect of the game, and you'll find strange and funny characters inhabiting the game's islands that exist only to make you smile. A superb puzzler you'll want to complete in your very first sitting!

It's hard to believe, but a five minute pixel art experience truly can be a profound thing, and Passage is proof of this. Some will walk away unimpressed and others will come away from Passage awed and maybe even changed. What gives Passage a place of honor in 2008 is its ambition, its ability to stir up debate, and its own merit as a work of art.

Audience Award:
Floating Islands GameFIG plays a lot like Rob Allen's Hapland series with more action and a distinct Lemmings slant to it. In each level you must guide the main character through the stage, collecting all of the gold stars before reaching the flag at the end. You can only affect his movements indirectly, however, by clicking and changing different parts of the environment at just the right time. It combines quick reflex gameplay with just enough puzzle elements to make it captivating, and the artwork creates a beautiful setting you just can't resist.

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