Chocolatier is in the running for Best Strategy Game of 2007 at the upcoming Zeeby Awards. We chatted with Michael Thornton Wyman, CEO of Big Splash Games, about what makes Chocolatier special and why it deserves to get your vote.

Can you give us insights or fun facts about the development of this game?

As diligent developers, we were forced to taste as much chocolate as we could get our hands on while we researched and built the game. We even took the Scharffenberger factory tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at the "bean to bar" process of fabricating chocolate from scratch. Hopefully these grueling labors paid off!

What makes Chocolatier special, and why should people vote for it?

I feel like Chocolatier was really fresh in terms of the casual games space and what came out last year. We really set out to try to make something different, away from the top selling, tried and true categories, and we were blown away by the positive response from fans of the game.

Besides your own game of course, what other games impressed you in 2007?

I try to play as many casual games as I can – everything that hits the Top 10 lists, as well as other games that strike my fancy – and in general it seemed to me that the casual games quality bar was really raised over the course of 2007. A lot of great games came out last year; some stand-outs for me included Peggle, Burger Shop, Miss Management and Build-A-Lot.

If you win a Zeeby, how do you plan to celebrate (aside for going to Disneyworld, of course)?

Chocolate Martini’s, anyone?

Any final words for your fans?

Just a huge “thank you” for all of the support, suggestions and words of encouragement you have given us, both through our website as well as on various publisher’s forums. There are even some fans out there with sites hosting Chocolatier recipes spreadsheets and a Baumeister family tree! We’re a tiny team so we can’t get to all the emails and postings we’d like to respond to, but we do pay really close attention to everything we come across. So thank you!

Voting for the Zeebys runs from now until July 5. Click here to vote for you favorite casual games of 2007.