Best of 2008 Results!

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JayBest of Casual Gameplay 2008After much deliberation and discussion for our largest annual "Best of the Year" feature yet, we have just published the results of the audience voting, along with our own picks that will serve to represent this year's "Best".

Update: A separate "Audience Award" appears above the voting results for each category.

You will notice that we deviated from the popular vote several times. We wanted to be sure some notable titles received the recognition and praise that we feel they deserve. Some games may have been at a disadvantage, due to their authors not having popular websites to help promote the voting, and the results showed a definite skewing in some areas that we attributed to this phenomenon.

Regardless of whether you agree with us, we are sure you will find much to celebrate among the excellent games represented within. Thank you again for participating in the Best of 2008 (we received more than 40,000 votes this year!), and here's to another year of great casual games!

Let's see the results!

Here is a handy list to the results pages for each of the categories:


I don't understand why the "Your votes" section show different results than the "Winner" section.


So if votes are irrelevant, how is this going to be structured next year?


I agree that the original announcement wasn't entirely clear about the reduced role of player votes.

It should have been made clear from the beginning that readers do not nominate games for the actual award, but only for a top10 list that ultimately no-one will remember.

"Help us out by voting for your favorite games of 2008!" I don't see how the votes 'helped' anything, since it was admitted that the actual award winners were picked with no regard to reader votes.

Take Pieces for example. How on earth could it be best of the year on one hand, while it couldn't make even the top ten on the other hand? That's a huge discrepancy that cannot be explained by popularity or the lack thereof.

If anything, the JIG staff pick seems to be more of an "affimative action" type of thing than an actual measure of quality.

Better luck next year.


It is a bit of a bait-and-switch. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see anything in the initial voting page saying that you guys would pick the winners without regard to the voting. Rereading the page, neither do you say that our votes will choose the winner directly, but I think it's obvious that this is the impression most people would get from it.

I think there's an easy way to make people happy on this one: make a shiny graphic that says "Audience Choice" or something. People like shiny. And that way we feel like our votes contributed to something more concrete than a small listing of names and percentages.

Anonymous January 29, 2009 7:42 AM

I'm amazed that Trapped & Matt Sandorf didn't get anything - didn't even do well in the audience voting! There were a lot of strong contenders, though.

I've no problem with the staff making their picks, but the reader voting was, I think, the most hyped element of the awards.

Anonymous January 29, 2009 8:20 AM

I agree with the above comments, voting now appears to be a bit pointless. I for one won't bother next time.
I also didn't like being forced to view the nominations page before the results page... I guess is was done to increase JIG's 'pages viewed' data and so increase their ad revenue... maybe that's also the reason we were asked to vote.


It did seem to make voting kinda pointless, didn't it? Don't think I'll bother, next time.


Do you remember what the voting page said ?
"You can vote for one game in each category, and once each day during the voting period!"

If we summarize the situation you have said "Vote everyday for the games you love !" and say now "Your votes were useless"... Don't you see how disappointing the results are now ?


My impression of all this is actually that this IS a two-way vote (sorry, my English is acting up on me).

The intention has been to both reward the readers' pick and the staff's pick, therefore the top 10. But if that is in fact the case, instead of the staff ignoring the reader votes, they do a bad job of making that clear, only declaring the staff pick the winner.

If it is in fact like people say, that you have basically ignored the readers' votes, well then this is one more guy who won't bother voting in the future. After all, what's the point, if we have no say in this?

Anyway, some comments on the winners. I am very happy that Vision, Violet and Hoshi Saga 3 won. They are simply just pure gems, clearcut diamonds in each their genre, so they definitely deserved to win.

It tickles my fancy to see Iji, Rom Check Fail, and Ben There, Dan That win as well. Iji is well, simply amazing. Rom Check Fail, while a small game, really pulls it off well using a very interesting idea. And Ben There, Dan That is right up there with the best of them, a good joke on old Sierra adventure games, while not up to par with them. But it deserves its first place by all means.

While I was rooting for Eyezmaze, I have to agree with the Staff's pick. Tonypa definitely deserves to win the Simple Idea category, he is the epitome of simple ideas, and never ceases to amaze with his simplicity, his simple ideas, his simple design, his simple games, that always strike one home for me.

I can understand why Blocks With Letters On and Zilch have been picked, they are both great games. Zilch is a fun game, with the excitement of dice games like Yatzy. And Blocks With Letters On reinvents the Sudoku genre with a twist. But honestly, I am a little disappointed that Griddlers didn't win. You simply will not find a better site for Picross than that, which many of the readers have proven from time to time in the different Picross review comments.

The fact that Passage, something I won't even call a game, or art, or an experience, can win, disappoints me. And the fact that Kongai of all games, win, really disappoints me. But well, I guess you can't win them all.


Okay, Jay already posted, so a little comment on that.

Jay, you seem to have the misconception that if this is down to us, then it will just be about who can gather the most support from all kinds of websites. Who says it is? I haven't seen a single of these games do any advertising saying "ZOMG, everybody, go to JayIsGames and vote for me everyday so I can win this phantastic award."

What this decision means to us, at least from my point of view and interpretation of the other comments, is that it seems like you are disregarding your readers. (Disregarding is the best word I can come up with, again my English is failing me).

Many of us are faithful readers of this site, and we love to read about all these games and give our opinion on them. Then you come along and say, "We really do not care about your opinion anymore, but we will make it seem like we do, only to disregard them completely."

Should the ones, who actually play these games, not have a say in which games are best? Or should JiG just turn into any other review site, where the staff makes their "Best picks"? The decision is yours, I guess.


I think it's a bit insulting to imply that the winners of the reader votes did so well because they 'drummed up the most support for their games'. Equally condescending is the notion that your readers are sheep that can be herded for vote.

Couldn't the vote results be interpreted in a more optimistic way, like that the games that did well in the public votes are the ones that simply impressed the largest number of players?

That's what I thought, but admittedly, I'm not in the industry, so who knows? Maybe it is really that bad behind the scenes.

One thing is for sure: much of this negative feedback could have been avoided if the announcement would have been more forthcoming about the true role of reader votes.

While this is not the first time it happened (the 2006 winners were also decided by staff), in that case, it was made clear in the announcement.

Then 2007 was without staff votes again, just like the ones earlier. The lack of consistency and the vague wording could mislead even site regulars, not to mention people relatively new to the site.

No-one said that you didn't spend a long time on it, but that it could be done better. Joye's idea is pretty cool, for example.

Don't take it too bad; there is always next year... ;-)


I understand many of the problems of internet voting. I just wonder, why do the votings first place, if a) except a rather worthless list they disregarded and secondly get devalued as unfairly manipulated eitherway :-/ I can fairly understand readers feel like having suffered a snub.

(Also I do not like the presentation of the results as they are very click heavy and not very well arrenged... but I don't feel like really bitching about this little thing..)


jay wrote:
And the voting pages received an inordinate amount of traffic from external sites and pages, pages on which only a few of the entries were listed, asking people to vote for them.
Therefore the voting results are not simply the JIG community.

this voting was supposed to be for the JIG community only?...

And I think that you shot yourself in the foot, Jay, because not only people don't want to vote anymore, but with the above statement you prevent all bloggers from spreading the word about your contest. Since it's biasing your results. o_0


I do agree with Jay, actually, that votes being funnelled from external sites don't necessarily reflect the Jayisgames "community." On the other hand, there's an evident disconnect between the announcement and its emphasis on voting, once-per-day votes, and the final presentation ceremony where audience votes are just a tiny little list. Needs rebalancing a bit, I think. Bigger font and a little commentary on the audience results would do the trick, in addition to explaining from the start that the staff are also picking their own winners.

As to the winners - I'm glad to see Iji and Vision getting awards. Iji is a truly excellent game, and Vision should be the model for modern Room Escapes. I don't disagree with the staff picks at all, just some of the representation.

Sorry for adding to the votes "furore," but it wouldn't be the Internets without drama, right?


I'm liking the new "Audience Choice" award in each category :)



This has got to be the biggest example of blatant click-whoring that I've ever seen on your site, Jay. Enough categories to generate a few dozen page-views to vote, encourage people to vote every day, then when it's time to post the results there's no easy way to just get a page with all the winners on it, the main post takes you to a page with no results on it, you have to click again to get to the nominees in the cat and then ANOTHER click to finally get the winner of that one cat, without a good way to jump forward to the cat you actually care about?

Hope you got your ad-rate up, cause I really like this site and I want you to do well, but can you inflict a little less pain next time?

[Edit: All categories are listed on the Introduction page, along with links directly to each category's nominations. If there were an easier way to present all the information present in this feature, without putting everything onto one gargantuan page, then I'd consider it. If you have suggestions on how we might do that, I'm very open to hearing them. -Jay]


I can't believe Tipping Point didn't even get into the top 10 in audience voting for adventure games. I really liked Tipping Point. Maybe having chapters 1-3 and chapter 4 separate split the vote.


Hey Guys. I wanted to jump in on the discussion. I'm one of the creators of Auditorium, which was lucky enough to win for browser-based puzzle game. We are very honored.

For us, we were so pleased to hear the final vote was cast from the JayIsGames staff. I must agree there were games in this vote that didn't have a fighting chance against those high traffic websites. That being said, I feel like adding the Audience Award was the right thing to do. I'm very happy to see both sides of the fence, even if Robokill couldn't make the top position.

I imagine it's quite hard to run an article this large, so I am grateful and think you guys did a great job. Thank you so very much and keep up the great work. JayIsGames is a beautiful website.


Popular isn't necessarily synonymous with better. Virtual Villagers 3, for example, won in its category, but it's a sequel and didn't do much in terms of innovating or furthering the genre. Airport Mania, on the other hand, did, which is why we chose it. It doesn't devalue reader votes at all, it's just a slightly different thing we're looking at.


Well, of course you're right on that point Jay : at the end, the only thing to do is to congratulate the winners :)
Thank you for the Audience Award !
(and sorry about the whole thing around votes and results, but without the Audience Award it would be quite bad)


I'm sure the JIG crew had a tough time deciding whether to pick their own favorites or let the community vote and risk having the poll rigged by unfair means. So they chose to diverge from the votes, because things just aren't the same they were a few years ago. From a charming, simple blog, JIG became one of the biggest and most popular game-reviewing sites on the net. And as the site grows bigger, so do the responsibilities. But I must admit I'm really sad to see JIG too being slowly changed by the power of the Internet industry.
I can deal with the overwhelming flood of ads everywhere. In fact, I'm happy that JIG is making money from them, the dedication you all put in the site is well worth it. But please don't just throw away that casual charm that brought us all here.

- Donut


Its suprising to see how this was misshandled.
A clear and even highlighting of the audience award and the critics award should have been the fair solution right from the start. To finally get it because of complaints reflects the the initial approach was wrong and smelt of certain attitudes that plague the indie and web gaming media.
Please Jay dont fall into the "some games are more worthy than others" trap that affects other review sites. This whole industry is indie and 99 percent of the winners in the pubic and critics catagories were original games produced by tiny one or two man teams working very, very hard. Theres no big companies like Sony or EA in the scene, and any flash game site that is popular, is purely a result of hard graft and releasing good quality games, and those games should not be treated differently from ones created by say a bedroom team. No one in this market has advertising budgets for their sites, you live and die by your games. In fact sometimes "cool indie" bedroom teams have the luxury of working on a game until they think its right, compared to many teams in small companies who work to much tighter deadlines.
Ultimately everyone in the scene is working to make the best games possible and its normally the media that lazily categorizes developers as big or small, the public dont care and are simply passionate about games they love. So popularity must supported as it is the desired outcome for many struggling developers, not something that should be regarded negatively. You wanted the hits and the larger flash developers - who are still tiny companies - delivered, those votes deserved a little more respect.
Sure you'll get it right next year.
Anyway, congratulations to all the winners, brilliant work all round.

fuzzyface January 29, 2009 4:33 PM

I'm no expert but additional ads does not necessary mean more money (this is a fallacy many other sites fall in). Sure it doesnt mean more attention... (compare google for an extreme case of little ads doing a alot of effect. or kongegrate in this field has not more than 1 ad per page...)

If I have something to complain about is that SEO obviously is here treated far more important than user comfort (you know the large walkthrough list on the left nobody needs when viewing the site or can turn it off...)

But we are straying offtopic. Congratulations for the winners.

A postive suggestion I would make would be additionally more special awards next time. Categories that go beyond the little drawers we sort games in. These awards could e.g. be:
* best graphics/animation
* best music
* best atmosphere
* best replay value
* best storyline

Boston Gamer January 29, 2009 8:34 PM

Although I appreciate that Jay and the other editors take their responsibilities as gatekeepers very seriously, I have to say (with no offense intended) that I don't really want to hear much from them in this sort of ranking. I love the site, the in-depth reviews, the forums, and the walkthroughs, but my tastes in games don't really seem to align with any of the main contributors. Which is fine, because there is enough forced diversity here that there are still plenty of games for me overall, but this is not so good for rankings.

For example, I've never thought that any of the editors are into hardcore logic puzzle games, so I'd much rather see the audience vote take precedence.

And there were so many categories that I just voted in the ones that I like, and ignored the ones I didn't, and I would have wanted results from like-minded folks. I don't see that "outside" votes are necessarily counter to this either - if someone is interested enough in a game to vote, then that is worth something to me.

As always, the criticism is meant constructively!


Thanks a lot for the award for Best Adventure Game!

I like when the person running the awards show has something to do with picking the results, rather than leaving it up to the public. I've entered contests where money was involved before, and the results were completely dependent on Newgrounds score. There was a lot of corruption in those contests, and a lot of the entrants went around downvoting everyone else's submissions for their own personal gain. The people running the contests knew this, but gave out the awards based on score anyway.

I'm not saying that it's that corrupted on here, especially without money involved. But don't lie to yourself, not every indie respects his fellow indies, and there was a fair bit of competition in this voting.

Also popularity != quality. There's a lot of quality stuff that gets overlooked, either because it's not simple enough for an average person to enjoy or that the author of the game didn't promote it at all. You're going to have a lot of variation in number of votes based on popularity in a contest like this.

Anyway, most of the results line up pretty perfectly with the popular vote. When you get down to 1%-2% differences, its fair enough to say that its within the margin of error for popularity.

Anyway he fixed it and added an audience choice award, so why keep bickering about it?


When I heard that the staff was choosing games of the year over the poll results I nearly jumped for joy. I think it was a smart move on the JIG crew's part. They turned it from a popularity contest into an actual games-of-the-year showcase.


Thank you very much for the award and all the nice reviews you have written :)

Of course it would make me even happier to see my games being very popular too (not even 2%, aww...) but then again, there are other very good games to vote for.


Congratulations to all the category winners...I can't imagine all the work that goes into making these games, but I do love them. Thank you, game developers, for doing what you do, and thank you, JayisGames, for providing a wonderful site that allows me to waste hours and hours of my life in front of my computer. This is a quality website, promoting quality games. I love you, man!

The Audience Award was a very good compromise, by the way.

mysteriousracoon February 1, 2009 1:18 PM

Some of you guys need to cut Jay and the rest of the guys some slack. They obviously put a lot of time into their awards and I don't think it's really fair on them to receive so much criticism.

Sure they can obviously improve next time. I was thinking they could have a separate emblem for the winner of the audience award and maybe they could include a quote from a user about what they thought about the game, which could taken from the comments.

In the end a lot of great games got the recognition they deserved and isn't that the most important thing.


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