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Best of 2008:
Airport Mania: First FlightAirport Mania from South Winds Games is a time management sim that drops all the trite settings and food-related themes we've grown tired of in the genre. Instead of serving cake or pizza or sandwiches, your job is to direct airplanes, load passengers, and make sure everything runs smoothly. All of this is accomplished with a simple interface and airplanes that are too cute for their own good. And unlike real airports, you can actually have flights arrive on time or even early!

Why we picked it: Some genres are so well-tread that it's hard to deviate without destroying what makes the games fun in the first place. Airport Mania makes a bold move by taking the time management gig outdoors, and puts you in charge of one of the most hectic jobs around: managing airline flights. The execution, however, makes the task so enjoyable you never even think about the hassle associated with airports. Playing Airport Mania is a smooth-as-silk experience that flows from level to level, gradually upgrading your abilities as you play. The visual style is really catchy, too, which puts an excellent gloss of Super Extra Fun Paint over the whole game.

Audience Award:
Virtual Villagers 3: <br />The Secret CityVirtual Villagers is back, and we're so excited we couldn't wait until the weekend to tell you! With Virtual Villagers 3: The Secret City, the surprisingly addictive real-time simulation game sticks with its proven formula and makes a few minor tweaks to freshen up gameplay. With new secrets to uncover, new technologies, real-time weather effects and a whole new island to explore, Virtual Villagers 3 has all the ingredients that made the first games so compelling, plus more.

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