Staff Picks: 2019’s Biggest Disappointments & Surprise Successes

As the year draws to a close, we turn to our faithful Geekade staff to tell us what they consider to be the ultimate winners (and losers) of the past 12 months.  Join us as we look at 2019 with a critical eye, and please chime in with your own thoughts on a variety of categories.

Today, we ask the Geekade team not one but two questions, which go hand-in-hand.

First, in your opinion, what was the year’s biggest surprise success?

Matt Raimo (Waveback) Professional wrestling. With All Elite Wrestling getting a TV deal and basically forcing WWE to step up their game, the wrestling fan has got their pick of the litter. And I didn’t even mention the return of National Alliance Wrestling, either.

Dave Marconi (You Shall Not Pass Go) This may be preemptive, but I’m going to say Henry Cavill’s casting as Geralt of Rivia [in Netflix’s series, The Witcher]. When announced, I was heavily skeptical. But after some trailers, hearing his vocal impression, and seeing him fight, I’m sold. The series even got a green light for two more seasons before actually airing. [Editor’s note: Responses were due at the beginning of December]

Karen Randazzo (This Week’s Episode, The Think Tank) I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but I am pleased by the success the movie Hustlers had this year. Can I get a “hell yeah” for women using their power to fleece gross, rich, white dudes out of cash they don’t deserve and making bank? I just love the idea of it so much. More movies with diverse casts of powerful women in the future, please!

Dean DeFalco (Vest Lord, General Administrator) Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair. Playtonic gave those characters a second chance and did something they’re good at instead of trying to emulate an aging genre. I’m looking forward to their next title.

Kris Randazzo (Stone Age Gamer, This Week’s Episode, Waveback) I’m not saying I’m a prophet, but when the first trailer for Untitled Goose Game was released, I was beyond hyped. When the game released, I bought it instantly and it was everything I hoped it would be. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how much that silly goose would infect the internet. It died down eventually, but man, it’s so nice seeing a game that was clearly made with a lot of care resonate with so many people. I fully expected it to be a low-key cult hit at best. Instead it was a massive success. HONK.

Brenda Cierech (Tardy to the Party, 31 Days of Horror) My personal surprise success? Pulling off my two week vacation in England. Between the organizing and the planning and the cost, I wasn’t sure it would all work out. But it ended up being a wonderful adventure that brought me a lot of joy.

Secondly, what were the year’s biggest disappointments?

Dave Marconi (You Shall Not Pass Go) : My best bud Cengiz leaving You Shall Not Pass Go. No two ways about it, I was sad to have him leave the cast.

Matt Raimo (Waveback) Tool’s latest album, Fear Innoculum. The album is great both content wise and musically, but my disappointment lays within the 13 year wait and the actual pay off. Tool has set the tone for their career in that they have been evolving since day one and after their penultimate release 10,000 Days I had a certain level of expectation. I expected more evolution from them, and like all of their fans, was made to wait 13 years. After listening I was left with the feeling that Tool had plateaued.

Dave Marconi (You Shall Not Pass Go) My best bud Cengiz leaving You Shall Not Pass Go. No two ways about it, I was sad to have him leave the cast.

Karen Randazzo (This Week’s Episode, The Think Tank) Game. Of. Thrones, y’all.

Dean DeFalco (Vest Lord, General Administrator) I expected it to be, but Bubsy: Paws on Fire was not great. It came from a great a developer but even they couldn’t salvage the curse of Bubsy. It’s okay Choice Provisions, we didn’t expect you to succeed, but we appreciate you trying.

Alex Watley (Watts on Wrestling) The most disappointing game of the year was Anthem. Wow, that was a stinker. This was supposed to be the game that killed off stuff like Destiny and The Division. Instead, they rushed out an unfinished mess that was clunky at best and infuriatingly busted at worst. I got it for free, and I feel like I spent too much. Then to have EA lash out angrily at their  community, throw BioWare under the bus, and divert all attention to Apex Legends for a quick cash grab? What an absolutely turd of a game! The most disappointing movie of the year was Alita: Battle Angel. Wow, that sucked. Why do I still give James Cameron the benefit of the doubt? Because I love Terminator too much? Because that sucked too! But I digress… Alita had great actors delivering the most cliche lines imaginable. The plot jumped all around and they took what could have been an amazing heroine and made her revolve around a guy… a very ,unlike able guy. I had high hopes for that one.

Kris Randazzo (Stone Age Gamer, This Week’s Episode, Waveback) Choice Provisions made a Bubsy game, and I was really hoping it would be stellar like their previous Bit.trip games, but it wasn’t. That said, there’s no bigger disappointment to me this year than Game of Thrones. I rather enjoyed the finale the first time I watched because I’m notoriously easy to please sometimes, and I’ve always had a hard time following Game of Thrones for some reason, so a lot of details were just straight up lost on me. However, upon reflection, it became apparent just how broken the whole thing was. For a show that showed so much promise, and was so freaking good for such a long time, to go out with that level of nonsense was really heartbreaking.

Brenda Cierech (Tardy to the Party, 31 Days of Horror) I have two major disappointments, neither of which I actually saw. The first was the new Dark Phoenix movie. I was initially excited about it (it’s one of my all-time favorite comic storylines), but everything I read or heard about it was extremely negative, and I couldn’t bear to watch something that might be so bad it could ruin my affection for the original work. The second was the Watchmen series on HBO, which sounded like it had potential until I watched the trailer for it and realized that it wasn’t what I expected. Based on what I saw, I couldn’t bring myself to try that either.

Billy Ludt (Select Your Starter) : Honestly, Kingdom Hearts III. I liked the first two games a great deal, and the third, I think, remained in development purgatory for far too long. The lore was too into itself, and I wasn’t interested in the spin-offs. I wanted more of what we knew from Kingdom Hearts I and II, but what we got was a game ridden with cut scenes and quick-time events.

Amy Ebeling

Editor-in-Chief, failed vegetarian, and collector of terrible tattoos.

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