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And the winner is... №9

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Game Design Competition #9EA 2D

JayThanks to everyone who entered our latest Casual Gameplay Design Competition, our 9th to date. Each competition we have hosted here at Jay is Games has blessed us with an array of unique, original games to play, rate and discuss. This time we asked browser game developers to design a game around the theme of "FRIENDS", which resulted in 15 very creative entries from all over the world.

...But That Was [Yesterday]Today marks the end of the competition, and our kind and sincere thanks go out to each and every one of the participants, the judges for helping to score the entries, and to the players for enjoying the competition entries and for leaving constructive criticism and praise in the comments.

We are here to honor all of the games that were entered, as well as award a few prizes, too. Thanks to our kind and generous co-sponsor: EA2D for their support (Thanks, Elliot and Ethan!). It is due to the efforts of these people that we have the following prizes to award, so please show them your kind support as well.

CGDC8 sponsorsEA2DCasual Gameplay

The judging for our competitions is carried out by the JIG community at large, and all the games were scored based on theme, appeal & fun, innovation, composition, and technical merit. We appreciate the effort everyone put into judging the entries fairly and objectively. The results of your efforts are presented below.

And now, to the game designers who have made this, our 9th, competition a success. We appreciate and applaud your efforts and your dedication to the art of game design and to the creation of casual gameplay.

  1. First Place ($1,500):
  2. Second Place ($1,000):
  3. Third Place ($500):

Once again, congratulations to everyone who submitted an entry! Just being able to complete a game within a short development period is quite an achievement, in and of itself. Moreover, your continued participation in these competitions makes future competitions like this possible, and we can't thank you enough. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to hold so many competitions and share your works with the world at large. The entire collection of entries are all quite deserving of our praise. Look for reviews of the top games here on Jayisgames.com in the coming days and weeks.

Following is a list of the top 10 games by score:
  1. ...But That Was [Yesterday]
  2. Fiends
  3. Best Friends Fighter
  4. Zebulon
  5. Johnny Why 2
  6. The Greedy One
  7. Jay Needs Friends
  8. FrankenFriend
  9. Monsterz - Chainz of Friendz
  10. Break Them Out

We have published the community scores in a spreadsheet showing the average scores in each category for each entry.


Congratulations to all who participated. Just can't believe I've lost by one category, Innovation and I am better in every category than the third, including what flash game is all about, fun and this competition is about, friends theme. Since the 3rd to 5th place are so close, maybe we can have a poll from JIG players to vote for the 3rd place?


I was very impressed with '...But That Was [Yesterday]'. Seems like it deserved the win. Congrats to all the competitors!


Don't forget, the judges WERE made up of players too. :)

These were actually my top three favourite games, so I'm really happy things happened as they did. Yay for everyone! Fiends was great... I'm a huge fan of that type of puzzle-based gameplay.

I also feel like I should mention FrankenFriend. It was so weird and so charming. It had a fantastic concept and I'd love to see that fleshed out some more in the future! Maybe FrankenFriend DX? FrankenFriend 2: Franken Harder?



Nope, anybody can be a judge as long as you signup. Including hordes of Unity developers. Yay!

[If you are insinuating the judging was unfair, let me assure you that all scores were scrutinized for possible ballot stuffing and dealt with accordingly. We work very hard to be sure the results of our competitions are fair and just. Please respect that even if you are disappointed with the results. -Jay]


I didn't say that, you said that. Now everybody else are gonna think, I said that. :P

meester man December 7, 2010 7:21 PM

sigh. another game wins simply because it looks good.


Looking good is only part of the package. You have to have substance, too. I'm sure not everyone was hit with the same emotional experience others were playing [Yesterday] and that's perfectly fine. But to say it won just because it "looks good" is to completely ignore all the people who played it and found something to love.

All I know is I voted for the things I liked, and so did the community. It was really interesting to read the different comments on each entry and see the discussions some sparked. We had some tremendous talent turn out games specifically for this competition, and all of them showed a lot of creativity.

Anonymous December 7, 2010 7:40 PM

keybol and mr meensta: it's not like you two entered the competition. Games do need to look good ( take groundhogs day for example, its so unpolished it did not end in top ten) and if you hate art games...


Hooray! I'm a little bummed to see Frankenfriend and Monsterz so low (both of which had really great ideas, albeit with some presentation issues). The three winners were also among my favorites, though, so no complaints here.


What would you do with that much money?
Imagine if the guy got recruited by 2D?


Were they any judges that wrongly judged stuff, not that I hated the winner.


From a judging POV, the game that won wasn't my favorite--in fact, I didn't really like it! However, it got a pretty good score from me when I answered the questions on the survey objectively. Things might have been different if the questions were different, but they don't really allow for an emotional response. So many people loved that game, that I can't help but believe that, unobjectively, the "best" game won. I am always happy to be a part of the process, whether I agree with the outcome or not.


I am honestly surprised about how Fiends tied up there with [Yesterday] - I expected mid 4s for [Yesterday], but not from Fiends! Both of these games were my favs, though, so I am glad that they won. (Then it just scares me that everyone else was at least half a point away from these two... Ouchness...)

Now, should I install Unity just to try the third place game? Hmm.....

Congrats to all everyone, and happy playing!


i luv luv luvved [yesterday] and very pleased to see it on the top of the pack! thank you :)


Congratulations to the winners!

These competitions are great for aspiring/struggling game designers because of the motivation to practice our craft, and also because of the thoughtful and constructive comments that the JiG comunity takes the time to share with us.

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to express their opinions about the games. You're helping us make better games in the future.

I'm already looking forward to CGDC10!

meester man December 7, 2010 8:33 PM

i never said games don't need to look good. hell, just a game's presentation always affects my opinion of it in some way. and i know some people will have connected with BTW[Y], but this is casual GAMEPLAY design competition, not casual emotional connection design competition. and i tip my hat to OneMrBean for making a game that people seemed to like. i just didn't quite see how it was so much better than others.


Hat tips all 'round!

We thoroughly enjoyed the competition, in both senses. Thank you to everyone who left comments, you definitely helped us pick up our game, so to speak. We feel there's still much to be done with FrankenFriend, so we're going to keep woking on it.

@CowboyRobot, we're right behind you in line for CGDC10!


I'm... baffled that Monsterz scored so lowly. It was easily in the top three for me.

I'm glad about Fiends though. Definitely my favorite. Well done :)


Thanks for including the spreadsheet of results! I enjoyed seeing the correlation between community votes and competition results... as well as the weighting system. Congratulations to everyone who participated!


lol My favorite got 9th place. I should have voted. xD

Boston Gamer December 7, 2010 11:23 PM

Trying to stay positive, but I would have been pretty disappointed if Fiends had won. An uninteresting variant of a 10-year-old tactical battle genre, IMO. This was not an incredible crop overall, but "But That was Yesterday" was clearly the best game. It completely nailed the theme, had some interesting gameplay ideas, and was very sharp.

I liked BFF too, and sure, Fiends is an acceptable awardee, but "But That was Yesterday" was truly the standout. Kudos to the winners!

BuenoCabra December 8, 2010 12:29 AM

I don't think I played every game long enough to have an entirely informed opinion, but of the ones I did play, [Yesterday] was my favorite (even though I ran into the dreaded "missed the swing" bug and wasn't interested in playing all the way through again).

As far as the competition goes, it was good, but as a game on its own, I would really like to see it expanded and polished.


Congrats to the winners! This was the third competition for me judging: and the third where I was going to enter, but didn't... perhaps if there's one next summer I will.

Anyway, I'm pleased with the winners. I think Zebulon would have been swapped round with Fiends had it not been so confusing. I hope the author does more, as well as the other winners. I shall definitely be watching Glitchy Pixel for more Retro-Unity stuff.

Overall, I thought we had better games who didn't than in Sandbox: the winners circle for that was good, but all the rest weren't too great.



Okay, disclaimer time. I'm going to be critical of the system for judging here--but I recognize that this stuff isn't simple and that this is just my opinion. I also want to make clear that I appreciate the effort all the developers put into their games. I may have preferred one game over another, but that doesn't mean that I don't think both games are worthy of vying for the spot in question.

I think that Zebulon being defeated by Best Friends Fighter is really interesting...but also kind of nutty. I don't think that Innovation should have been weighted enough to cancel out the fact that Zebulon beat BFF in EVERY OTHER category.

In fact I don't even think BFF beating it in Innovation by nearly 1 and a half points should have been enough to tip BFF over the edge. This may sound crazy, but bear with me as I try to explain my rationale.

Innovation is at the end of the day a flat function. It doesn't make something better and can even make it worse. BFF was innovative in that the way it operated was different from the way most fighters operate. But should merely being different be enough to edge it past a game that beats it out in every other category including 'fun'?

As a judge I had no choice but to vote BFF as having high innovation, but in making that objective decision I was not really trying to make a statement that BFF deserved a higher ranking. In fact I'd argue that the innovation of BFF did not make it at all the better game.

I guess this is what I find interesting...I was kind of stuck between being honest with the rating for innovation and having the better game win (although at the time I didn't realize this was how it would go down).

I hope in future competitions Innovation is no longer a category. If it is I'm going to be very careful when selecting my rating for it. I blame myself partially for what happened in this competition, because I should have voted with more care towards the fact that I didn't find the innovation of BFF to be the kind of innovation that improves the experience.

Instead I foolishly voted as though the innovation existed in some kind of vacuum from the actual game.

Maybe the categories shouldn't be changed at all. Maybe I need look no further than myself for the error...still I hope my input is useful.

Thanks again to Jay and Co. for a great competition and thanks also to the creators of BFF for putting up with what might seem to be a post that is overly critical of their game. I look forward to seeing what you guys do in the future.


Thanks Jay, I really love these competitions and I try to always reflect that through my feedback.

I certainly agree that original games are important. A game like Small Worlds or ...But that was [Yesterday] would never have been possible if developers didn't push the boundaries of what a game should be, should accomplish, and how it should go about those things.

But I do think there are times when originality can get in the way of a game being good. It's really easy while pushing boundaries to lose sight of why those boundaries are there and what they mean. I remember a creative writing teacher I had who made a point of saying that, yeah sometimes good writers break rules, but that it's important to understand why those rules are there in the first place before you start breaking them.

In creative writing workshops we constantly had writers who would try to break every rule of story telling in order to seem edgy and stand out, but at the same time those stories often flowed worse than those from a writer who mostly stuck to the core elements of storytelling.

Heh, I'm wandering a bit off topic. I think coming up with a proper rubric for how to judge these games must be incredibly tough. As I read the actual question, I think I see how I might change it without actually needing to change the weight of the category.

"To what extent does the game design show evidence that the designer successfully explored methods or ideas that break free from traditional ideas and concepts?"

Well, I think I've more than said my piece on this topic. Good luck with running the next competition.


As I judge, I wasn't surprised that But That Was Yesterday was the winner... I was expecting it because it earned high scores in all the judging criterion: theme, creativity, production values, etc.

If this competition was about "What game did you most enjoy and had the most playing?" I would have chosen Monsterz: Chain of Friends (which I still gave high scores to).

Which reminds me, we can all nominate and vote for our favorites in the "Best Of 2010"... maybe some of these CGDC entries will find their way on the Best Of?

One last thing: this was the first time I participated and I'm glad I did. I broke out of my mold and played some games I wouldn't have tried otherwise and I learned a wee tiny bit about how much collaboration and effort it takes for JIG to be the great site that it is.


p.s. I notice on this, but not in emails or the forums I frequent, that words go missing from my posts. Am I typing too quickly and skipping over those keystrokes inadvertently, or is JIG-man eating my words? (somewhat rhetorical question... but actually rather curious... perhaps best to stop reading my own posts post-posting.)


Ouch, I did not think our standing in the third place generated such strong reactions against us... specially keybol's, that was just mean :(

I personally wanted to not say anything, but the critics are kinda heavy on me (Diana has nothing to do, its just me). I would want to say something about it.. but I can't, basically because I don't know what to say...

It kinda bums me out personally that it looks that we won something that some think its undeserved, that we won for a technical detail only and not on our own merits, and worse, to think we cheated in the competition in some way...

I can guarantee we did not want to make a bad game that won on purpose, or to make a bad game that toppled others that deserved more, we tried our best... and I can assure you that the next time we will try to make a better one...

meester man December 8, 2010 10:48 PM

@keybol: i'm pretty sure no one here is against ideas on how to improve the competition. that being said, you don't have to be so bitchy about it. i understand that you may be upset, but take a page out of ax's book and handle things cordially. i think you will find that you will get your way more often and that people like you more. i've said some words i already regret in earlier posts, and it's perfectly understandable that sometimes, you just have to vent. but now you should be a man and take responsibility for what you said and congratulate the winners. we'll all like you more for it.

Patreon VIP Chiktionary December 9, 2010 2:03 AM

@ Edwood,
Best Friends Fighter is a great game. If it wasn't it wouldn't have scored so highly.
Congratulations on a great game, and Congratulations to all winners and everyone who entered! Thanks for giving us some fabulous new games to play and think about. Going by the spreadsheet, and the ensuing discussion, the competition was pretty close which is a sign of some really talented game developers.
Like Cowboy and Synapse, I'm really looking forward to CGDC#10!


@Jay Glad you're tweaking some of the rules for the next competition.

@meester man You're right I'm bitchy trying to steal an award like Kanye West. Anyway, I totally forgot about this actually, I just wanted to state that the Johnny game currently frontpaged on Newgrounds has in no way connection to the 1st place winner. That parody was conceptualized way before...

Oh, Congratulations to the winners!

meester man December 9, 2010 4:22 PM

@keybol: if you won't apologize, then i guess no one can make you. i just thought you could act a little more mature and make the right choice here. i guess i was wrong.


Thank you for the feedback Jay... I was being mostly facetious...am sure I'm just typing too fast/not proofreading before posting (too used to having an edit function elsewhere).... and was rambling in weak attempt to nudge thread in direction other than bitterness over results.


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