Fanbyte’s Game of the Year Week: How Does It Work?

Hey folks! Next week marks the start of our Game of the Year coverage. We’ve been preparing for this week for a while now, and in our conversations to decide Fanbyte’s end-of-year award winners, we’ve come up with some ground rules. Those include some major, possibly even divisive decisions we thought we ought to mention!

The Awards & Schedule


  • Best Grind Award – Given to the game with the most satisfying reason to mine ore, tick boxes, or craft a billion pieces of armor.
  • Most Satisfying Detail Award – Given to the game with a particularly brilliant detail that enhanced the overall experience without being a central part of the game’s core loop.


  • Best Snack Award – Given to the most wildly attractive character to appear in a video game this year.
  • Best New Character Award – Awarded to a character who made their first appearance this year and had the most lasting impact to their game or franchise.


  • Problematic Fave Award – For the game that we liked in spite of itself. The ultimate winner of this award will be a game we acknowledge has deep, genuine, transcendent problems, while being difficult to pry ourselves away from.
  • Biggest Disappointment Award – Given to the game that had the most promise, but fell flat in one way or another. We wanted to like the winner of this category, but just can’t do it.


  • Most Agonizing Trend Award – Given to the overarching concept we collectively hope will die in 2019.
  • Ongoing Game of the Year Award – Awarded to the game-as-a-service we enjoyed the most in 2018.


  • Best Weapon or Sports Game Award – Given to our favorite in-game weapon or our favorite sports game of 2018. There can be only one!
  • Game of the Year Award – For the game we think best represents what’s good about games in 2018. This was a tough one. This year wasn’t “2017 good,” but it was pretty solid. Ultimately, we’re happy with our choice. We hope you will be, too!

Stream Notes

Have you checked out our Twitch channel yet? You should! We’ll be on every day next week playing some hits from 2018 and things we’re excited about this month.

Notes on Nominees

When we first started discussing our GOTY work in early November, we figured we’d leave some room at the beginning of December (oh say around the time Super Smash Bros Ultimate came out). We revisited this in light of the fact that December is (bizarrely) stacked with mega high quality releases this year.

We’ve seen AshenSmash Ultimate, and others completely warp our idea of what was truly best in 2018. And hey, Below just came out today. Yowzers…

We took all of this under consideration for our major awards (like Game of the Year). And we decided to take December releases out of the running. They’re still eligible for 2019 Game of the Year, though! And my best guess is we’ll have a similar cutoff next year, and so on.

So while you might see some recent releases mentioned in our smaller categories next week, please don’t send us angry @s on Twitter saying Smash Ultimate was robbed of GOTY. We already know it’s great! We just didn’t have time to play enough of it as a collective before making our final decision.

And that’s about the long and short of it. Stay tuned for our final decisions on Game of the Year 2018 next week. We love you.