Skip to main content

What games, movies, and TV made you happiest in 2019?

(Image credit: Disney)

2019 has been a massive year for games, TV, and movies. The last 12 months have been a wild ride with Control, Apex Legends, and Resident Evil to play, and Captain Marvel, Watchmen, Chernobyl, Midsommar and more to watch. With so many things competing for our time and money it can be easy to miss, or even completely forget, some of the standouts of the year, so we asked the GamesRadar team to share the games, movies, and shows that made them happiest in 2019. Maybe you'll find a few you can agree with, or maybe even discover something new. 

This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.  

The Mandalorian

Baby Yoda

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Baby Yoda. Need I say more? Rachel Weber

Sea of Solitude 

(Image credit: Jo-Mei Games)

The happiest moment of my 2019 came from a quite sad place. When I sat down to play Sea of Solitude, I was just starting to get back on my feet after I lost my job at the start of the year. Everything felt so uncertain, and while my dream job finally felt within reach for the first time in six years, I was pretty terrified about the future. I felt so alone in that fear, which is why I was so drawn to the premise of Jo-Mei's game. I hadn't played anything that hit me so hard with its portrayal of loneliness, and the impact it had on me just reinforced my resolve to keep trying to pursue my dream of writing about video games for a living. Little did I know just a week later, I would receive a phone call telling me I'd gotten the dream job, and I'd even get the opportunity to interview Sea of Solitude's Cornelia Geppert and write about it a month in. I'll never forget when my feature went live and I saw Geppert's reaction to my words - it was the moment that getting the job really sunk in. Forgive me for ending this on a mushy note, but now that I get to work with such a talented and supportive team every day and do what I love, the happy moments just keep on coming. Heather Wald

GamesRadar+  

Regardless of all the brilliant games, TV shows, and movies I've ploughed hours into across the long days of 2019, nothing has brought me quite as much happiness as GamesRadar+. That might sound a) ridiculously cheesy or b) like PR / marketing spiel, but it's the truth. Over the past 12 months, we've seen a lot of change on this site. We've had excellent staff members leave for new opportunities, and slowly built an even more excellent new team that I am incredibly proud of every day. We've built a brilliant new guides team that help players get the best out of games. We've created a fresh entertainment team that will bring you the best of the best in the TV and movie space, helping you find what you should be watching, and why. We've diversified our features output, bringing on excellent new features writers both in-house and through collaboration with the brilliant creative minds of the freelance world. We've broken exclusive news stories, celebrated the best corners of gaming, and reminded everyone that games are inherently fun through our news coverage. We've started a hardware team that gets to tinker with the shiniest of gadgets and help you find a bargain to save you money at a time when it feels extra precious. And ultimately, we've all really enjoyed doing all of it. I've spent the past 365 days watching this team blossom, watched our little site break every single one of its traffic records - actually we broke our monthly traffic record seven times this year, which feels insane - and surpass all our expectations. But it's not just about the numbers, it's about the people, and this team is going places. So bring on 2020 and thanks for sticking with us. Sam Loveridge

Apex Legends

(Image credit: EA)

I'd been out of the competitive shooter game for quite some time before Apex Legends appeared in my life like the suspiciously perfect man who arrives in a sleepy town just in time to save a lonely young woman from falling through a patch of thin ice in a Hallmark Christmas movie. It appeared, fully formed, without warning or fanfare, and asked me if I wanted to become an Apex Legend. So, I gave it the ol' college try - I stayed up all hours of the night playing it, drinking cheap red wine and whisper-yelling into my headset until I heard the elusive "You are the Apex Champion" ringing in my ears. It enveloped me like the warm embrace of a first lover, and even when we fought (like the time I dropped my team into a particularly lucrative corner of the map just to ricochet off the roof and slide into the sea), I found myself longing for more. With its unique take on the battle royale phenomenon, its vibrant and diverse cast of Legends, and its continuously inspired and flat out fun limited time events, Apex Legends brought me back into the competitive shooter world that I had yet to visit since Black Ops 3. See you on the dropship in 2020. Alyssa Mercante

Arise

(Image credit: Techland)

I'm going to praise a late addition to 2019 in Arise, simply because it was released at such a disastrous time most people will likely completely have missed it. However, if you get the chance to check it out, you should, as it blends gameplay and storytelling in such a beautiful way. Spoilers, it starts with the main character dying and navigating through his life using a time-controlling mechanic to reward and fast forward events. However, it’s how the level design blends this mechanic with the key moments of an old man’s memories that really make it stand out - riffing off motifs and symbolism from the events, with some amazing music that soars around it all. There’s one caveat here, and that’s the platforming is frustratingly inconsistent and derails at least one important level completely. But persevere and there’s lovely, tragic and beautiful game to play. Leon Hurley

Control

(Image credit: 505 Games)

2019 got off to a bit of a rocky start. But I remember being sat at home one evening, having recently been made unemployed, watching the E3 2019 announcements and noting the games I was most excited for. After 40 seconds of female bad-assery, unexplained floating bodies and the promise of special powers, Control went straight to the top of my list. The one to watch. 


A few months later I had gotten a job, my current job, as the Video Producer for GamesRadar and been sent on my first work trip to Cologne for Gamescom (I still can't believe that was my first work trip.) The team and I were invited to an Nvidia event to play some new games and bask in the wonder of Ray Tracing (it makes things look wetter, fyi) and I got the chance to play Control. Afterwards, I had to take a moment to myself. Control was everything I'd hoped it would be. Stylish, mysterious, SO VERY COOL, but it was the full circle moment of being at an event, playing the early access of a game that I had added to a wish list during a low point, that meant so much to me.


It went on to become my game of the year, no competition. I'm thankful for that game, but I'm more thankful for GamesRadar, the wonderful people I work with and, of course, Ray Tracing. Lovely, moist Ray Tracing. Ellen Causey

Death Stranding

(Image credit: Sony)

Enjoy isn't really the right word. At times - when you're thrashing through a snowdrift in the game's chugging central section of relentless delivery missions - you wonder if the torment will ever end. Is Kojima trolling us? Well, yes, he is - and the miracle is that you keep going. Kojima's bitterly divisive epic is a sermon on the nature of belief, a warning about environmental unsustainability, the isolating nature of social media, and an ode to the hard yards that scaffold human kindness and all meaningful achievement. It's a plea for delayed gratification and endurance, in a world where numbing convenience is only ever a click away; and we never need to confront the human cost of those who haunt the delivery floors, or weave their delivery bikes through midnight streets. Only in this dark timeline could we greet a broadly non-violent, daringly innovative game about the need to (re)connect with our humanity with shrugs of 'it's boring', reveling in the schadenfreude at watching Kojima's messiah complex unravel. This isn't his best game - far from it - but it wraps the most-satisfyingly gamified objective and reward system around, quite possibly, the world's worst delivery job, which feels like a fitting sermon for our age. And, even if you don't buy the overt moralising, it's *beautiful*. The post-game, shorn of the plot hokum excesses, has an almost meditative quality, as Sam continues to endlessly deliver parcels of faux-satisfaction, imposing order on chaos, as nature juts and snarls in the background, untamed in its majesty. Dan Dawkins

Risk of Rain 2

(Image credit: Hopoo Games)

I knew Risk of Rain 2 was something special as soon as I played it, but even as a big fan of the original game, I never thought I'd get so much mileage out of the sequel. It's been a mainstay of my friend group's gaming rotation throughout the year, and I've put in plenty of hours playing on my own. It's what every Early Access game should aspire to be: a fantastic experience that gets noticeably better with every update. The best update so far was the addition of the Loader, a melee character equipped with a grappling hook. Playing as Loader is some of the most fun I've ever had in a video game, and I don't say that lightly. I haven't seen this kind of pure, kinetic exhilaration since Marvel's Spider-Man. The Hidden Realms just update came out this week, and I've still got plenty of challenges to finish and alternate abilities to unlock. Risk of Rain 2 is an absolute blast every time I boot it up, and I'll be playing it for a while yet. Austin Wood

Fleabag 

(Image credit: BBC)

Fleabag's first season is so good, news of a follow-up made me nervous. On the one hand, yes I'd love more of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's razor-sharp dialogue and coy glances to camera. On the other, why mess with near-perfection? Suffice to say, my fears were completely unfounded, as this year's sequel was even better. It's still hilarious, telling the sort of jokes that make you laugh before you can register just how dark they are, but it was also kinder, offering the titular Fleabag a shot at love with the year's most adorable (and, fine, Hot) priest. On top of that, the story was just as playful as the characters, as no moment on TV this year left my partner and I as giddly surprised when said priest (Andrew Scott, bringing a whole tonne of smouldering charm) broke the fourth wall to ask who Fleabag was talking to. Just a delight from start to finish. Ben Tyrer

The End of the F**King World 

(Image credit: Netflix)

The end of the F**king world felt like one of those shows that was so perfect at the end of the first season I couldn't really see a way of making a second one without undoing everything that it has built. The trouble with having a popular first season however is that people (and executives) want more of it. So, when the inevitable announcement came I was worried. Now though, having watched season 2, I know I shouldn't have been. I'll keep this spoiler free but entering the second season with all those feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and willing it to just 'be 'good' then coming out the other side able to say it's just as good as the first season makes me very happy and is a rare thing these days....isn't it Games of Thrones season 8?  James Jarvis

BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman season 6

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bear with me. BoJack horsin’ around for his sixth season didn’t make me happy happy. They call it the Sad Horse Show for a reason. But the fact that a story as richly-told and deeply personal to both myself and many others has managed to end things on its own terms puts a massive smile on my face. Yes, I’m still smarting over Netflix cancelling Tuca & Bertie, GLOW and… *gestures towards a pile of unfinished shows that Netflix binned recently* BoJack managed to buck that trend.

By the time BoJack makes his final bow in 2020, it’ll be safe in the knowledge that this won’t be a rushed goodbye or Netflix taking it behind the barn and putting the show out of its misery. It’s going to be a complete story, filled with quality from beginning to end with very little interference from the higher-ups. How many shows can say they’ve achieved that this year or any other year? Bradley Russell

Avengers Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Somehow (specifically: two young children to parent) I went all of 2018 without seeing Infinity War. Leading to the geekiest of new year’s resolutions: I’d watch the previous MCU films in the correct chronological order before going anywhere near Thanos’ snap. Captain Marvel scuppered the timeline aspect of the challenge - released in 2019, set in 1995 - but otherwise the experience proved a revelation, with even Hulk and Iron Man 3 entertaining on second watch, and all those post-credits scenes made to feel in sync. As for Endgame itself? Utterly sensational. Tearful, too, given that one of those children was named after [massive spoiler redacted, but you can surely guess]. Loved it 3000. Ben Wilson

Gang Beasts

(Image credit: Double Fine)

The primitive joys of Gang Beasts are ceaseless. While I originally bought Boneloaf's button masher at the time of its PS4 release two years ago, flailing around as those Play-Doh invertebrates has brought so much joy into my 2019. Through its endless rounds of physics-based mayhem, I've helped show formerly indifferent friends that games aren't all shooty shooty bang bang, kept about a dozen nieces and nephews entertained for hours, and had barrels of fun in the process. And that's before you add alcohol into the mix. Trust me; you haven't truly afterpartied until you've brought out the Gang Beasts. Alex Avard

What the Golf? and Detective Pikachu

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

What the Golf? came out on Apple Arcade right around the time I was going through a bad mental health period earlier this year, and good grief I still can't believe just how therapeutic it was. Lying in bed playing one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud games I've played since The Stanley Parable, and it was a pseudo-golf game on iOS? Despite it being a game with next to no story or even lines of dialogue, the number of times it took me by surprise and cheered me right up are countless.

On the other side of the fence was Detective Pikachu. I can admit it wasn't an Oscar-worthy flick, but as a lifelong Pokemon fan who's sole genie wish would be to make Pokemon a real thing, Detective Pikachu was everything I wanted and more. Ryan Reynolds wasn't my first choice to voice everyone's favorite yellow mouse – that went to Danny DeVito – but seeing the CGI used to bring so many Pokemon to life was phenomenal. Every single time I saw a new Pokemon, if I wasn't in the middle of a packed cinema, I would've audibly gasped because each one was so, so impressive. I would've liked it to be a little longer, but the second they announce a sequel whether it be Detective Pikachu 2, Electrician Eevee, or Postman Pelipper, I'm going to be all over it. Ford James

Assassin's Creed

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Allow me this, a not-strictly-2019 answer. There was no Assassin's Creed release this year, but my 2019 has been dominated by the AC games. Making up for lost time and because of missing them previously somehow, in my single-player gaming time this year, I have only played Assassin's Creed games since the 29th of March. This was when the Remaster of ACIII game out, and I have played through all of them in some sort of Creed-athon, devouring each from 3 onwards, including DLC. (I even supplemented the games with Assassin's Creed Symphony in October, too.) For clarity, that consists of: AC3, Liberation; Black Flag; Freedom Cry; Rogue; Unity and its DLC; Syndicate and its DLC; Origins and its DLC; and Odyssey. At the time of writing, I am deep into Odyssey and have just finished the main story. 'What a slog' some may say; 'Why did you start with 3?!' others might exclaim, but I've had a really awesome time catching up on the games, enjoying each saga and story, and seeing the growth of the series happen before my very eyes, immediately and continuously. The series not having a new release in 2019 did make it easier, and now I'm all caught up (basically), I'll be primed and ready for whatever comes next. So, here's to you, 2019, my happy year of the Creed-athon. Rob Dwiar

Dungeons & Dragons

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

My wife and I moved to a new town in 2017. Up until January of this year, I didn't know anybody else here. I had friends and family not too far away, but I was still socially disconnected from the place where I live. Then I printed out a character sheet, created a gnome wizard, and headed to my local game store for D&D Adventurers League. Then I came to the next session, and the one after that. Soon I was running a table myself, creating ever weirder characters, and - yes - making friends who lived in my ZIP code. Now I'm in a local game group that streams our adventures in the new Descent into Avernus campaign every other Sunday and I'm still an Adventurers League regular. Dungeons & Dragons isn't even my favorite tabletop RPG, but this year I was especially grateful for the way it brings people together. Connor Sheridan

Got a question you'd like the GamesRadar team to answer? Let us know on Twitter.