Annual Game Music Awards 2018 – Best of the Best

Each year, we end our awards week with a “Best of the Best” post – the culmination of our awards process. At the beginning of the year, we start a spreadsheet of notable soundtracks we come across; at the end of the year, we take a few weeks to sift through the releases and decide which scores go into the awards process. From there, we narrow the list down to five nominees per category; finally, we vote, ensuring that we take the time to listen to each nominee before making any decisions. Finally, out of each category, we choose the nominee that received the most votes from our writers.

It’s never an easy process; every year we host the AGMAs, we see so many phenomenal scores, and in wanting to celebrate what we remember from the year, we always run into the issue of having too many great soundtracks to choose from. I’m detailing the process now for our readers partially because, as is frequently the case, we ended this year with a soundtrack sweeping up a good number of the categories. This is in no way undeserved – Octopath Traveler was an incredible feat pulled off by Yasunori Nishiki. As I’ve been saying in the Octopath Traveler blurbs over the past week, I’m still floored by how cleanly Nishiki recalls some of the great JRPG scores of the past while keeping the thematic content of his own score so original; the fact that each of our writers held this score in such high esteem just goes to show the number of ways a score can impact its listeners. It is undeniably a great soundtrack; we are proud to name Octopath Traveler score of the year, and Yasunori Nishiki composer of the year.

I’m also detailing the process because I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a composer about awards processes – not ours in particular, but in general, and in the complexities of that come with them. There are always going to be great soundtracks that we don’t see in these awards. As hard as we try, we can’t listen to them all, and at the end of the day, our awards are simply a cumulative opinion of our team at VGMO. For my part, I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by an extremely capable team who takes the time to celebrate this very niche genre with respect and care – no review is written thoughtlessly, no nomination or vote is submitted without equal attention spent on each possible option.  However, I would also like to take a moment to thank and congratulate each of our nominees and finalists, as well as the composers who keep writing music, and keep this genre going strong with high-quality soundtracks.

So – to round up our 2018 AGMAs – we are proud to present the winners in the ‘Best of the Best’ category of the Annual Game Music Awards 2018. These panel-voted, officially-recognized awards provide a thorough and wide-reaching recognition of achievement in game music over the last year. The panelists have selected their choices by carefully considering the merit of the game music created this year — as art and entertainment, as part of in-game experiences and as part of stand-alone albums. Congratulations to all winners, runners-up, and nominees.


Score of the Year :: Octopath Traveler




Artist of the Year :: Yasunori Nishiki



Audio of the Year :: “Main Theme” from Octopath Traveler and “Always Been but Never Dreamed” from Tetris Effect



Album of the Year :: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Original Soundtrack




Organisation of the Year :: Procyon Studio


Posted on February 17, 2019 by Emily McMillan. Last modified on February 17, 2019.

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About the Author

A native and lifelong Texan, I currently work in software education while contributing news, reviews, and interviews to VGMO on the side. I love the feeling that comes with the discovery of a brand new soundtrack, and always look forward to the next rekindling of that excitement. Outside of VGMO, I enjoy playing piano, listening to classical music and film scores, and trying to go unnoticed in any stealth RPG I can find.

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