All of the entries I was able to play were pretty great, so I weighted my scores with the following criteria: 1) game mechanics 1.5) innovation or sheer ballsiness 2) controls (how easy was the game to learn? To play? Were the controls intuitive, or did it take time to figure things out, especially when text is in Polish?) 3) graphics 4) music 5) packaging, which is big for me, but given minor consideration given the fact that so few entries had it, and 6) replay value.
1. The Rescue Expedition. While I've never really loved Pitfall-esque games, I have to say the unusual graphical environment really won me over. I've never quite seen monsters like this -- those spiders! -- and the main player, half-defined by shadows, is really well done. The user interface is also intuitive and easy to use...although I've been eaten by a few monsters when trying to switch from rope to whip. And -- as a major plus -- the packaging is beautifully done. Okay, I guess that means I lied about giving packaging a "minor" consideration.
2. Realsports Curling. Yes, it was already released for the 5200, but I think it will have a better home on the home computer line (and probably more exposure). There are lots of great things about this game, including gaming physics and the dual display for closeup as well as long cameras, and this game is pretty much unique to any computer system -- who else was gifted with a curling game? This is actually lots of fun, and I'm going to show it to my daughter's curling team. And I'm not just saying these nice things because the Canadian national anthem plays during the opening credits. One beef: I found the colours of the stones to be somewhat hard to see when played.
EDIT: okay, game reinstated after reading +Adam+'s comment below.
I'm going to leave the following comment below, even though it belongs in "random thoughts". I'm having a problem with cutting-and-pasting.
Mini Bros. BASIC ten-liner? Mind blown! The fact that the author not only said "I'm going to do Mario Bros. in ten lines! and in BASIC!", but also managed to pull it off, is such an inspiration to anyone (like me) who has ever thought of trying to program anything. And isn't that the most amazing thing that can come from these contests -- inspiring others to think about creating their own projects no matter the obstacle? I can't give this the number one spot because it's just too hard to play well, and it's up against really tough competition. This really is remarkable, though.
3. Jet Set Willy 2019. This port really is completely spot-on and a loving tribute to the Spectrum original. And the crowds cheered as they finally forgot the crushing disappointment of the Tynesoft port for the A8!
4. Monty on the Run. I never heard of this one before playing the A8 port...but did go back and look at the C64 and Spectrum originals afterward. I just love seeing older games come to the A8 with such fidelity to the original versions. Seeing the A8 mimic the Spectrum's colour palette and resolution is simply amazing, and the game itself is lots of fun. Controls are also spot-on, which is a must for a game that relies upon precision movement and timing.
5. Adventure Ponies. Isn't this game supposed to be for children? Pretty, candy-coloured death awaits you.
6. Imogen. So pretty! I really appreciated the graphical theme, which was a nice change from the usual sci-fi/monster elements. Loved the control bar and innovative (for its time) gameplay.
7. Gravity Worms, for the humour and gfx. The worm’s design is great, and the gaming mechanics are pretty spot-on as well. I found controls to be tricky and my Wico unresponsive, so I couldn’t get very far. I love puzzlers, though.
8. Millionaire. This is a beautiful, beautiful port...of a game show I absolutely hate. I should place it higher, but can't get past the gameshow origins.
9. Moon Patrol Redux. This game really has been improved. I went back and forth to the original release, and this is clearly superior. This is still a solid game at its core, and this update will encourage me to play more of it.
10. 601F, because...WTF? I still have no real idea how to play this, but it's so...intriguing! I love the concept, even if it brutally hard. Or maybe I'm just dense. I also really appreciated the level design feature.
I was going to give this spot to Mr. Hoppe, which is great, but I can't seem to get a handle on the controls. Mr. Crashe is what I am when I play this game.
-10 spots isn't enough. I didn't even get to list Star Vagrant or Dungeon Hunt II or License Plates or even Joyas, and it's not because they aren't good enough.
-I LOVE Rampart, and think that Castle Defender will be great fun for me, but I ran out of time and only put in ten minutes with it, so I didn’t think it was fair to rank it this way. I also didn't get the physical packages for Dungeon Hunt II (got it yesterday) and Star Vagrant (on its way) in time for voting, and I didn't want to rate the digital copies without looking at the overall packaging, because of all the effort that went in to that -- if that makes sense.
-I also think we need a category for BASIC games. And a special new prize for gaming humour, because Blocks on Legs: First Steps made me giggle.
-that Caveman-during-the Inquisition vertical scroller is just something else. I was mesmerized by the playfield graphics: it was like playing a game inside a lava lamp. If a game could win an award one graphic element, this would be my pick. I don’t have a Polish dictionary yet, so I couldn’t read the instructions...