The Free Cheese Game of the Year 2016 continues with Day 4 of voting.

Joe, Marc, Matt, and Dashe discuss the nominees for the fourth round of Game of the Year categories.

This day includes the awards for:

  • Best Single Player
  • Most Innovative
  • Favorite Industry Moment
  • Best DLC/Expansion
  • Best Narrative/Story

You can listen to us debate today’s five categories on the podcast via the media player just below, or use one of the links to find the podcast on other services. We spent a while with our list of nominees, slowly eliminating options until we ended up with a winner and two runners up for each category.

If you’d prefer just to see the results, you’ll find those below as well. Each category hosts a winner and a writeup that explains the idea behind the award as well as why we believe the chosen winner should have won.

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Best Single Player


We talked previously about the fun of video games and what its like to play with other people. This category is about those games that we love because we play them alone.

DOOM is The Free Cheese’s winner for the best single player experience in 2016 because of how great the campaign is. Specifically, every stage felt perfectly crafted and designed. Not only did we find it to be the right amount of challenge with a balance of reward, but it never stopped being purely awesome to play through. We never found that we were growing tired of the experience and DOOM never let up.

We loved searching for hidden figures in each stage just as much as we loved leveling our weapons up and murdering demons. From the start of the game, where the narration shouts “Fuck you,” to the pandering and trite stories in other games, DOOM let us know what type of game we’d be playing. The giant sign that read “DEMONIC INVASION IN PROGRESS” set the tone for the badass murder roller coaster we’d ride for the next several hours, our hands never reaching down to hold the safety bar.

It made us love first-person shooters when we otherwise typically don’t. We felt powerful as we marched through each stage and we felt smart when we figured out the puzzle to a room. Finding the right combination of fight and flight to overcome any monster that dare cross our paths was a constant feed of reward for us and ultimately DOOM is the best single player experience we can recommend this year.

Runners Up: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End • The Last Guardian

Most Innovative

The Affliction System (Darkest Dungeon)

This award is reserved for that which is new; something that we haven’t seen or experienced before. This brand new concept is something that both surprised and delighted us, and we hope to see more like it.

Darkest Dungeon features something called “The Affliction System.” Within the game, every character will react and change based on circumstance. Depending on the outcome or the situation within a dungeon, the characters will change for better or worse.

We thought this was such a fantastic new system for gameplay, making Darkest Dungeon stand out against other roguelike dungeon crawlers, on top of its already interesting setting and design. The Affliction System gives new meaning to the idea of in-game experience and for all of the new things we witnessed this year, this one was the most impressive.

Runners Up: PlayStation VR • Time Manipulation (Superhot)

Favorite Industry Moment

Nintendo Switch Reveal

The award for Favorite Industry Moment is meant to celebrate something impactful that happened this year in video games. It was more than just a headline and it made an impact on us enough to remember it again and again.

It’s difficult to go up against a console reveal in this category, but the Nintendo Switch reveal was a special beast. We had nearly eighteen months of speculation leading into this reveal and just under three months living with the knowledge of a pretty credible leak. The closer we got to the actual reveal of Nintendo’s next console grew increasingly maddening.

Rumor and speculation had become fact in our minds and we reached a point where we just wanted to know something official before rumors went wild and reached a peak that we could only fall from. What surprised us the most about the reveal wasn’t what the console was, but how excited we were in spite of already knowing everything.

The video, running just over three minutes long, painted a picture of a different Nintendo and clearly defined which direction the console would be heading. We rewatched the reveal over and over again and ate up any information that came with it. Of everything that happened in 2016, Nintendo Switch’s reveal was our favorite.

Runners Up: Sony’s E3 Press Conference • Guillermo Del Toro: “Fuck Konami”

Best DLC/Expansion

Animal Crossing: New Leaf Welcome amiibo

One of the best feelings is the surprise of something unexpected. It helps too if that thing is great. Nintendo gave us just that this year with the Welcome amiibo expansion to Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

We weren’t expecting a three year old game to receive an update, especially not from Nintendo. Yet, in November one of the 3DS’ best games received an update to make it even better.

When Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer was released, we lamented the fact that its system for rearranging the home wasn’t in New Leaf. We had also collected near everything possible in the game in its three years of existence. With that, we anticipated a sequel that would likely not arrive until the next Nintendo console, and we quietly left New Leaf behind in favor of other things.

This update not only added new items and that coveted stylus-controlled arrangement system, but it got us back into the game again. We started scanning our amiibo to see who would show up and which items we could get. Suddenly a game that we thought we’d never return to was brand new again with new games built in.

The best part: it was free for us to update and enjoy.

In an era of microtransactions and nefarious locking away of content behind paywalls, this update to one of our favorite 3DS games was a welcomed treat.

Runners Up: Rainbow Six: Siege Year 2 • Overwatch Halloween

Best Narrative/Story

That Dragon, Cancer

This award is for not just the story that we loved the most but for the way it was told to us. It’s important to have a great story, but even a great story can be squandered if its not delivered in a way that tells it well.

That Dragon, Cancer is a powerful game. It puts you through the life of a family living through the horrors of childhood cancer and the emotions that come with it.

You play through a series of moments that happen in the family’s time with their son, Joel, and you experience as they experience the volley of that journey.

As games evolve and become more than what they were, it’s those like That Dragon, Cancer that elevate the medium into something more.

Runners Up: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End • The Last Guardian

We’ve concluded the penultimate day of Game of the Year 2016 awards. Congratulations to all of today’s winners. Come back tomorrow for the final day of awards, with five categories remaining including Game of the Year.

Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day.


  1. […] Round 4 | Best Single Player • Most Innovative • Favorite Industry Moment • Best DLC/Expansio… […]


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