The Free Cheese

This week on The Free Cheese, it’s all about games.

With Game of the Year behind us we spend the podcast talking about everything we’ve been playing in the last few weeks.

We touch on Code Vein, Madden 20, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, Wattam, Shadows of the Damned, Demon’s Tilt, and so much more.

We learn some new phrases and prepare for our annual predictions show next week.

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Episode_331.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The conclusion to our Game of the Year 2019 Awards arrives with the induction of another game into The Free Cheese Hall of Fame and of course, our Game of the Year.

Listen in to hear our final day of deliberations and read below to see the winners. Thank you for spending your time with us this year. Enjoy your video games!

Hall of Fame - Super Metroid

We started inducting games into The Free Cheese Hall of Fame a few years back now and our process yields a new entry: Super Metroid.

We start with a list of 30 games (shown in the table below), each of us nominating 10 that we believe should be in The Free Cheese Hall of Fame. We write them down on sticky notes and place them on the table in front of us. We then remove one each and continue around the table until only one game remains.

For our full list of games in The Free Cheese Hall of Fame, check out the Hall of Fame page.

Metroid Pokémon Crystal Metal Gear Solid
Tetris (GB) NFL Blitz Earthbound
Parasite Eve The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Resident Evil 4
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 Resident Evil 2 (PSX) Super Metroid
Pinball (NES) Halo: Reach Tetris (GB)
Balloon Fight Super Metroid Shenmue II
Metroid Prime The Sims Final Fantasy VII
Castlevania RollerCoaster Tycoon GoldenEye 007
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Chex Quest Dota 2
The Legend of Zelda Wii Sports Halo 3

Game of the Year 2019

Resident Evil 2

The Free Cheese Game of the Year 2019 is Resident Evil 2. Capcom delivered an experience that captivated us and brought the franchise to new heights. With the difficult task of remaking a highly revered game, Capcom created something that stays true to its origins and remains wholly modern. The game propels our expectations for the franchise and for future remakes in different franchises. What we expect will be set against Resident Evil 2 as the barometer.

We loved most the sense of restriction that we felt with every shot we took and every bite we suffered. There were few moments of safety and even those were a short-term illusion. The constant fear of something dropping from the ceiling or slamming through a wall echoed through each playthrough.

What makes Resident Evil 2 more special is how much is waiting for you even after you finish it. A single playthrough shows you the story in full. A second is like hearing your favorite album recorded by another one of your favorite bands. It’s still got the same core to it but with a different sound that defines it yet again. Somehow, seeing both all the way through adds something to this game that outweighs either story individually.

2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

3. Control

4. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

5. Devil May Cry 5

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Game_of_the_Year_2019__Day_5.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The fourth day of Game of the Year 2019 has arrived and with it another round of awards. Listen in to hear us deliberate and select our winners as we reminisce on the moments throughout the year in gaming. Read on below for the list of winners.

Don’t forget to vote for Reader’s Choice Game of the Year 2019!

Most Surprising

This game came out of nowhere. Sometimes this is actually true in the event of a surprise announcement and others the game was just not on our radar and suddenly became something to fall in love with.

Tetris 99

Runners Up: Ring Fit Adventure, Kind Words

Favorite Free Cheese Moment

We create a lot of content over the course of a year between podcasts and videos. Of all of the little moments where we crack each other up, there’s always one that gets us the most even months later.

Ben predicts Shenmue 3 delay immediately after getting a point for a Shenmue 3 delay the previous year.

The Free Cheese 2019 Predictions

Runners Up: #WhereBritFaceGo, Whenever there is a new belt introduced in FCW

Best Score/Soundtrack

Can you imagine your favorite game without its soundtrack? Video game music is just as important to the game as what you’re looking at or playing or how you share it with your friends. This award celebrates the best compositions of the year.

Devil May Cry V

Runners Up: Death Stranding, Super Mario Maker 2

Most Anticipated

More than most years this category felt weighted. A lot of games we expected in 2019 slipped into 2020 and moreover we know that new consoles are on the way. With so much coming in the next calendar year, it was hard to narrow down our anticipation to just a few but this award goes to the game we just can’t wait for.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Runners Up: Cyberpunk 2077, Sequel to Breath of the Wild

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Game_of_the_Year_2019__Day_4.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Welcome to or third day of awards for 2019. Today we debut some categories and celebrate the best games that don’t stop. Listen in for our deliberations and read below for the winners.

Don’t forget to vote for Reader’s Choice Game of the Year 2019!

Best Gameplay

We’re debuting this category despite the obvious need for it in previous years. What we do in a game is ultimately what hooks us in the first place. We can watch or read or do most things from a game in any other media but we can’t play our media like we can in a game. This celebrates the game that ultimately did something innovative and provided us with a new way to play.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Runners Up: Session, Devil May Cry V

Best DLC/Expansion

Thankfully, video games are no longer confined to their original releases. Developers can expand upon them with new content and fix what might have needed a change. This category awards the game that added the most significant change to its core title and made it relevant beyond the original release date.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

Runners Up: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Favorite In-Game Moment

This award celebrates the one time in a game that made you want to tell everyone to play it. Every game has a moment where something clicks or comes out of nowhere and that surprise of it all makes it incredibly memorable.

Ashtray Maze (Control)

Runners Up: Nero vs Vergil (Devil May Cry V), Time jump (Fire Emblem: Three Houses)

Best Ongoing Game

Games as a service are so prevalent that we felt there should be an award for the one that does it the best. Separate from a single piece of content added or an expansion, this award goes to the games that make us want to come back regularly and not just for a single piece of content. Their continual changes and deployment make the content within significant and rewarding for us to keep playing all year long.

Destiny 2

Runners Up: Magic: The Gathering Arena, Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Best Nintendo Game

2019 was a powerful year for Nintendo. While its American arm and the industry lost the force of Reggie Fils-Aime, the company continued to grow and expand its business. We saw the launch of a new model of the Switch and the premiere of massive franchises like Pokémon and Fire Emblem on the hardware. Beyond just first-party output, Nintendo partnered with third-party developers for exclusives like Astral Chain and Daemon X Machina that flesh out the library of the hybrid console and add even more reason to own one. While the other console manufacturers put out fewer games with new hardware on the horizon, Nintendo filled the calendar with games to play.

Super Mario Maker 2

Runners Up: Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Ring Fit Adventure

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Game_of_the_Year_2019__Day_3.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

2019’s awards continue with our next wave of awards. Once again we are gathered on a podcast to deliberate each award and grant one winner with two runners up. Listen in for the full debates and surprises, then read below for the winners.

You can also still vote for your Game of the Year 2019 in our Reader’s Choice Award.

Best Multiplayer

This category awards the best use of multiplayer in a game this year. The way that a game can effectively bring us together is something that dates back to the beginning of video games and we love finding new ways to play with other people.

Kind Words

Runners Up: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Magic: The Gathering Arena

Best Character

This category highlights a character from a game who became an integral part of what made that game special to us. Without them, the game could have still been great but with them it is so much more.

Fragile (Death Stranding)

Runners Up: Dante (Devil May Cry V), Raphael (Fire Emblem: Three Houses)

2019’s 2018 Game of the Year

We typically use this category to celebrate the game from the year before that might have made it into our top five had we played it. There were no games from 2018 that any of us went back to that we were compelled to nominate. Either we did a great job last year at playing everything great or we missed a lot. Stay tuned for 2020.

Biggest Disappointment

This award goes to the game that let us down the most. We had such high expectations because of its marketing, its developer, its franchise, or something else. In the end, the final output was not close to what we had hoped for and in some cases turned out pretty rotten.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Runners Up: Team Sonic Racing, Anthem

Best PlayStation Game

The edge of this generation is easy to peek over in 2019 and our glimpse at the future happened a few times as Sony officially announced the PlayStation 5 for next Holiday. With most of its first-party studios likely creating experiences for the new hardware and some working on games that slipped into 2020, it was a smaller year for PlayStation exclusives. It might feel a little like we’re just giving an award to give it but Death Stranding got us talking. Only one of us finished the game but each of us became infatuated with it in many different ways. Ultimately, the first production from Hideo Kojima and team post-Konami and without the Metal Gear name was something to revel in. It’s weird and beautiful, strange and maddening, and it all comes together in something that we’ll likely still talk about for years to come.

Death Stranding

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Game_of_the_Year_2019__Day_2.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Welcome to the beginning of our Game of the Year 2019 awards. Each day this week, we’ll have a new podcast episode where we worked out the details of every award and agreed upon a winner and two runners up. You can listen in to go on the journey with us and read on to see the winners. You can also vote for your Game of the Year 2019 right now!

Out of Time

We wish we could play everything and that time was not finite. Yet it is and we must make choices for one reason or another. This category awards the game that we ran out of time to play. We wanted to, but something else got in the way. Once the calendar opens up a bit, the winner is our choice to hop into next.
Hypnospace Outlaw

Runners Up: Shenmue III, Judgement

Best Mobile Game

As mobile gaming continues to grow and becomes more aligned with what we can play on our consoles and PCs, there is still inherent value in a game designed for short sessions. This category celebrates the little ideas with a long lifespan.

Runners Up: HomeRuntaro, Mario Kart Tour

Favorite Industry Moment

We love when surprises happen and we love being excited about video games. Sometimes our dreams come true and sometimes we get caught off guard. The winner of this award is something that had an impact on us or the greater video game industry that signified a shift in gaming.

Bungie Breaks Up with Activision

Runners Up: Final Fantasy coming to Game Pass, Banjo & Kazooie coming to Smash

Best Story

This award goes to the game that provided us with a reason beyond gameplay to keep coming back. We were invested in its characters and its narrative shaped the way we engaged with it.

Death Stranding

Runners Up: Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Devil May Cry 5

Best Xbox Game

We had originally nominated two games for this knowing that really only one game deserved the spot. 2019 was a transformative year for Xbox both in the gaming industry and at The Free Cheese. As we enter the final year of the Xbox One’s life (kind of) we each own and are active on the Xbox One, something we couldn’t say a year ago and definitely not at the start of this generation. While the first-party output might have been light, we recognize how strong Xbox has become as a brand and are excited for the future. To that end, the best in class for Xbox was Gears 5 which sung success for Xbox Game Pass as well, arguably just as important to the ecosystem as the accompanying hardware.

Gears 5

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Game_of_the_Year_2019__Day_1.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week on The Free Cheese, a city above the sea.

Marc and Joe reconvene after The Game Awards to talk mostly about the Xbox Series X and what a new BioShock game could be. We recap the State of Play and highlight our favorite headlines of the week.

We also talk about Resident Evil 2, Magic: The Gathering Arena, Death Road to Canada, and Shovel Knight. We check in with a ™ game based on some creepypasta and sign off before our own Game of the Year awards debut next week.

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Episode_330.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week on The Free Cheese, we celebrate 25 years of PlayStation.

With our Game of the Year awards looming in the near future, Matt spends a week beating every game that came out this year. Marc plays a Kojima game about wandering in the woods and fighting monsters. Joe finally found the pinball game.

Our topic of the week has us thinking about what happens when creators lose control of their creations and what it means to truly have ownership over intellectual property.

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Episode_329.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week on The Free Cheese, work it out.

We’ve still got a little more to say about the Sega Saturn after spending a week trying out its library.

As the year comes to its end, Matt is checking off the last few games from his list, Marc is exploring the black sheep catalogue of a favorite developer, and Joe is... trying new things.

We talk about the absence of VR on the next generation of Xbox, the next move for Hideo Kojima, and what a new Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater might look like.

Direct download: The_Free_Cheese_Episode_328.mp3
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 6:00am EDT