I’m really pleased with the success of the community voting. The distribution of the points is what I expected, and shows that 25 points were sufficient, all games got their fair share of points. Also, the top 10 games and the bottom 10 games of the community vote and judging vote were really similar.
The bottom-most games seem to have one thing in common, difficult to play and co-op gameplay. While the top-most games seem to have something in common, that being easy to get started, easy to understand and control.
I allocate 5-15 minutes to each game when I judge. If I’m unable to get pleasure out of the game within that time, well, that pretty much determines my score. Normal users aren’t so forgiving, going away from the game if the description and how-to-play text takes longer than drinking a cup of coffee. The community voting seems to agree.
Take Burning Man as an example (congrats btw!), it looks cool, the controls are simple (just arrow-keys), and it’s very obvious what you need to do. As you get further into the game it becomes more difficult with wood, and the bombs, and then acid! The gameplay is really nicely balanced, each level gives you a challenge, but not an too easy one or difficult one. The game is also forgiving on mistakes, allowing you to restart on the failed level, instead of going back to start. I showed it to a co-worker of mine, and 2 hours later I checked in on him and he was still playing it, that’s really when I knew for sure this game was going to win.
Maybe a lesson for us all. Keep it simple, intuitive, good looking and well-balanced.