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Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade: #30-11

The Shacknews Chatty community has come together to vote on the Top 100 Games of this decade. Today, we move towards the home stretch with #30-11.


Shacknews is preparing for our annual celebration for the Year in Games, honoring the very best in video games this year. However, this year also marks the end of the 2010s decade. So we also want to pay tribute to the very best of gaming in the past ten years. With so many games to consider, we wanted to cede the floor to the greater Shacknews community, the many posters of Chatty. So join us this week, as we check out the Top 100 Games of the Decade, as voted on by the Shacknews Chatty community.

Chatty has been a proud institution here at Shacknews since the site's inception over 20 years ago. Many have gone on to become developers, programmers, public figures, but most importantly, all of them are video game fans. So over the past few weeks, we've polled the Chatty posters on what they consider to be their best games of the decade. Through a rigorous process, we've put together a full list of 100 games and we'll roll those out over the next five days. We started with the first 25 games on Monday, the next 25 on Tuesday, the next 20 on Wednesday, the next 20 today, and will end on Friday with the Top 10.

In case you missed it:
Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade: #100-76
Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade: #75-51
Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade: #50-31

So with no further delay, let's continue the Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade.

StarCraft 2

#30 - StarCraft II (2010)

One of the prime pillars of Blizzard Entertainment is the StarCraft franchise and this decade has seen the bulk of the saga unfold and conclude. There were indeed challenges in place, especially coming off StarCraft: Brood War. But let's take a jump back to 2010 and let Brian Leahy tell us about Wings of Liberty in his own words:

"StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty isn't perfect, but it's damn close. The campaign is engrossing and varied, while the multiplayer component will be played for years to come. The upcoming expansions will help refresh the game when they are finally released and should bring major changes to the competitive scene. 2.0 stands out as the game's low-point, but should only annoy the die-hards. For most players, it functions well enough and allows them to get in and play some games. And as their track record shows, Blizzard tends to support its games for an extremely long time."

And support StarCraft II they did, continuing on with Heart of the Swarm. (Our old friend John Keefer has his reviews of the game's single-player and multiplayer, raving about them both.) Even with Blizzard largely moving on from the RTS franchise, StarCraft II continues to have its presence in the esports world and arguably helped build esports into the worldwide phenomenon that it is today.

Hear it from Chatty:

The first RTS I ever got into competitive, but man my friends and I were devouring build strats, discussing ways to get better and just having a blast. My main game though was 2v2 with a friend and the memories there are just so good. I also got into loving watching SC2 and even went to an esports event as part of a friends bachelor party to watch it. I feel like it really put esports on the front burner."

Slay the Spire

#29 - Slay the Spire (2019)

Digital card games have become a major genre this decade, largely led by Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering. That's nice for competitive players, but there haven't been a lot of card games that have revolved around solo experiences. Slay the Spire takes the best elements of Hearthstone and Magic and incorporates them into self-contained adventures, like something pulled right out of Dungeons & Dragons. On top of card battles, players will find themselves in D&D-style RPG scenarios where they meet different characters or make harrowing choices that influence the outcome of their expedition. It's a really cool idea and one that's fun to take on in short bursts or long runs. One of the strongest non-competitive card games out there.

NieR: Automata

#28 - NieR: Automata (2017)

Platinum Games has had quite the decade, led by this gem that introduced a captivating story and some wild action. Once again, we turn to our original review:

"This is a game that jumps from funny to emotional, from action-packed to slow and methodical, from 3D to 2D, all at a moment's notice. It's a game with questions to ask–not necessarily with the intention of providing answers, but rather hoping that you'll begin to ask them yourself. These questions are what make Nier: Automata a worthy sequel. Its predecessor focused on a very personal, emotional journey. One that had you sympathizing with the protagonist's plight, eager to help him save his daughter no matter what. This entry is less of a personal journey and more of an existential one, and it does it beautifully."

Hear it from Chatty:

"NieR: Automata is essentially the best anime film I've ever seen morphed into an unforgettable 80-hour gameplay experience. The narrative twists and turns like no other."


#27 - Factorio (2020?)

When I first threw out the idea of polling Chatty for Game of the Decade, I was asked if Early Access would be eligible. Somebody wanted to throw in a game called Factorio. At no point did I expect any early access game to get enough traction to crack this list, so I said, "Sure! Why not?" Then something funny happened. Factorio not only cracked the list, it placed high!

So wait… what is Factorio, anyway? The answer is a blend of RTS, survival, and construction simulation. Taking influences from games like Minecraft, the idea sees players looking to construct a rocket to get off an alien planet. This involves building a factory that needs to be defended from increasingly hostile alien life. It's proven to be an engaging base game and has already attracted the attention of the mod community.

Factorio has been in the works since 2012, but plans for a full-blown release in 2020. If the game's placement here is any indication, we may be revisiting this next year for the 2020 Game of the Year discussion.

Hear it from Chatty:

"So satisfying... yet also dangerous!"

"While technically still in early access, this game has be playable for over 7 years, and I've personally put over 2000 hours into the game. The point of the game is to automate everything, gathering resources, using belts or bots or trains to take the resources to your factory, to smelters, then to assembly machines to produce basic items, and then combine the basic items into more advanced items, and do this until you can launch a rocket into space. And if you are as addicted as I am, you don't stop there and continue until you have a megabase that produces over 1000 science a minute!"

"The factory must grow!!"

"900 hours and counting. It's just so satisfying making such colossal machines."

"I am an automation engineer so I do the same thing for a living but I still can't get enough. The sublime feeling I get when everything is working is perfect balance is unmatched."

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

#26 - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

The story of The Phantom Pain is legendary, starting out as Konami teasing an entirely new IP before revealing that it was all a ruse and that the man under the bandages was Snake. This series brought the genre-defining stealth of the Metal Gear Solid series and placed into a massive open world, creating whole new tense situations and giving players much more freedom to approach scenarios the way they see fit. Add in the base building and Hideo Kojima's penchant for epic storytelling and The Phantom Pain proved to be an incredible farewell, as Kojima would move on to do bigger and better things involving Norman Reedus.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Incredible emergent gameplay. First game in a long time I did 100% completion."

"The combat in this game has still not been topped, and I don't know if it ever will."

Horizon Zero Dawn

#25 - Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)

The premise for Horizon Zero Dawn put up some questions. So there are primitive human tribes out in the world hunting down… machines that behave like wildlife? But for all the questions about the setting, Horizon Zero Dawn worked. The combat was incredible, the actual process of hunting down the robot beasts was really cool, and yes, there is a story that dives further into this curious world. It was hard to believe that this was from the same team that brought us Killzone, but Horizon Zero Dawn does indeed stand out as Guerrilla Games' best work.

Hear it from Chatty:

"With just one PS4 exclusive, Guerrilla Games went from being a developer I was not very familiar with to one I am paying close attention to. Horizon Zero Dawn has all of the best elements of my favourite type of games (third-person), looks incredible, and has combat that's actually fun! Anticipation for a possible HZD 2 is off the charts."

"A new IP, an incredible graphics engine, unique combat mechanics, and a great story/universe, nothing more I could ask for."

Life is Strange

#24 - Life is Strange (2015)

While Telltale brought attention to the narrative game formula this decade with The Walking Dead, it was Square Enix and Dontnod Entertainment that rejuvenated it with Life is Strange. It tells a gripping story of teenage conflict and angst, all from the point of view of a young photography student who's seeing her best friend for the first time since childhood. Also, she has the power to rewind time and there's a giant apocalypse looming in the background. It's a story that sounds like a sci-fi tale in the description, but that's not what it is at all. Life is Strange is a very human story. It's a beautiful tale of friendship, betrayal, and sacrifice, one that put Dontnod on the map.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Honest and emotional with beautiful aesthetics both visually and aurally. There is not a better example of storytelling in gaming to this date."


#23 - Dishonored (2012)

While Assassin's Creed had set the benchmark for stealth action games, Dishonored surpassed the bar with the the freedom that it offered its players. Dishonored offered numerous paths and different ways to complete objectives, allowing players to approach it as a stealth game, an action game, or even a non-lethal challenge. With an intricate story helping set the table, Dishonored established itself as one of the best new franchises of the decade.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Great game, great art style."

Grand Theft Auto 5

#22 - Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

The Grand Theft Auto series has had quite the evolution and one can certainly argue that GTA V is Rockstar's opus. With an incredibly gripping story that followed around three fleshed-out characters, GTA V beautifully recreated the city of Los Angeles and turned it into the city into one of the largest playgrounds in modern gaming. Beyond the single-player, Rockstar also brought legions of players together with Grand Theft Auto Online, a competitive take on the franchise with frequent updates and a constant barrage of new stories and experiences. It's one of Rockstar's most ambitious projects, but one that cemented it as one of the premier creators in video games.

Hear it from Chatty:

"GTA V is an incredible achievement in its scope and implementation. This was one of those games that had me thinking about it all day and eager to jump back in."

"Not only was the campaign critically lauded, but GTA Online remains in the top 10 video games in both sales and concurrent players 6 years after GTA 5's release."

Red Dead Redemption

#21 - Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Rockstar actually started this decade with another crowning achievement. The follow-up to Red Dead Revolver captured imaginations everywhere, as Rockstar explored the declining frontier and tested players' sharpshooting skills, their horseback riding, and their penchant for morality. For the latter, characters would react to John Marston according to how players approached the new honor system. While the typical Rockstar gunplay was put to good use, RDR also introduced limb targeting in order to open the door for non-lethal options. It was one of the publisher's most ambitious projects and remains one of the best games of the previous gaming generation.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Novel setting compared to Rockstar's other offerings, an excellent mood-setting soundtrack, and one of the most surprising endings I've seen in a game."

Red Dead Redemption 2

#20 - Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)

So as it turns out, Rockstar would surpass their own efforts just eight years after the previous Red Dead Redemption. From our review:

"Open-world games are becoming bigger every year. It’s not uncommon for them to have over 100 hours of content. Most are unable to make all that content feel important and engaging, though. This is not a problem in Red Dead Redemption 2. It wouldn’t surprise me if I ended up spending 200 hours on a single save, then loading it back up in a few months to do it all again. Whether I’m chasing the thrill of a daring train robbery, or the serenity of a solo camping trip, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an open-world game I will return to time and time again."

Hear it from Chatty:

"An expansive open world where you fight for survival and find out who your friends really are."

"I got lumbago! It's a serious condition!"

Super Mario Odyssey

#19 - Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

Nintendo was inevitably going to release a new 3D Mario game, but they had raised the bar on themselves exceptionally high with the two Super Mario Galaxy games. As great as Super Mario 3D World was, the time was eventually going to come for Nintendo to try again with Mario in a proper 3D space. Would they be able to top themselves? Super Mario Odyssey answered that with a resounding yes, putting together the very best of 3D Mario platforming along with a slew of quality of life improvements that make this the smoothest of the bunch. (Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, you can possess enemies!) The hunt for Moons proved to be one of the most addictive elements of any Mario game, giving players more than 700 new Moons to find after defeating Bowser, giving Super Mario Odyssey the greatest post-Bowser campaign ever. If you've found all 999 Moons (even the Koopa races), you are a true legend.

FTL: Faster Than Light

#18 - FTL: Faster Than Light (2012)

Back in 2012, Subset Games stepped forward with another of the decade's early Kickstarter success stories, releasing one of the most gripping and brutal roguelikes to come along in the last ten years. The general idea is, you're managing a starship and just about anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The ultimate goal is to reach the Galactic Federation, but hostile forces are around every corner and the idea is to keep fixing whatever problems arise on the ship right until the moment that it blows up. It's one of those games that feels simple at the start, but gets hairy fast and part of the joy is in seeing how long you can hold out until you take on too much water. Roguelikes don't get much better than this.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Fantastic gameplay and insanely replayable..even if it's a bit too reliant on the whims of the RNG at times."

"I'll be playing this game 20 years from now and get sucked right back in."

Fallout: New Vegas

#17 - Fallout: New Vegas (2010)

Who could have guessed that the best Fallout game of the decade wouldn't even be part of the main series? Fallout: New Vegas is a spinoff developed by the crew at Obsidian Entertainment, one that covers the remains of the southwest United States. It's a more focused Fallout story, one that begins as a straightforward recovery mission and develops into all-out faction warfare. With some of Obsidian's best writing on display with the game's various quests, side quests, and endings, New Vegas stands out as some of Obsidian's best work, helping influence the developer's work on this year's The Outer Worlds.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Best Fallout."

"Man, it gets tough from here. New Vegas was such a great RPG experience that took Fallout 3 and really expanded it. I played through it multiple times, which is rare these days. Great characters and companions. Seems like the first game with "companion quests" that I recall. Loved it. Easily could switch 4 and 5 here, but I still think I'd put New Vegas above them slightly. The DLC was so good too."

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

#16 - PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (2017)

The battle royale craze all started here. Brendan Greene took his original DayZ: Battle Royale concept and turned it into a genre all its own. Anyone familiar with the idea knows how it works by now. One hundred players enter, only one is the Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. Before Fortnite, before Blackout, before Apex Legends, it was PUBG. And hey, PUBG is still a pretty amazing game, even to this day.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Despite all its flaws, for a brief period of time it was incredible."

"Unique mix of gameplay mechanics to create a totally new experience. Some of the most intense gaming I've ever had."

"Even though Fortnite eats its lunch in terms of player base, you can't deny the fire that PUBG started when it came out. It seemed to be all anyone could talk about or play for months. I still vividly remember the utter shock of my first death just as I pressed myself up against the church at Pochinki and the sheer heart-pounding elation of my first taste of sweet, sweet chicken."

God of War

#15 - God of War (2018)

God of War was a franchise that was on fumes. After the utter failure that was God of War: Ascension, it looked like Kratos was finished for good. But he settled down, started a family, and came back stronger than anybody could have ever imagined. The angle of Kratos as a retired god killer, goaded back into action by the Norse pantheon is a cool enough idea. But it's the angle of Kratos as a widowed father, left to raise his son on his own, and somehow incorporating that into the franchise's tried-and-true combat that makes God of War something truly special. The PlayStation 4 God of War stands out as one of the best comeback stories in all of gaming.

Hear it from Chatty:

"I have a child now. This means that the game pulls on my heart strings much harder. I loved the classic GOW1 on the PS2 and this just closed that youthful chapter of my life in a way that connected with my new life as a father."

"Inspired storytelling, fantastic graphics and ever increasingly fun gameplay."

"BOOOOOOOYYYYYYY, what a perfect blend of puzzles, action and storytelling!"
-Mad Brahmin Disease

The Last of Us

#14 - The Last of Us (2013)

After years of bringing the Uncharted series to the world, Naughty Dog went somewhere very different in 2013. What looked to be just another zombie game turned out to be something far more special. It was a look into societal collapse and the baser instincts of humanity when forced to fend for survival. The Last of Us had everyone from the opening minutes when they ripped everyone's hearts out from the get-go, as they told the story of Joel and eventual partner Ellie. The very human characters, along with the stealth gameplay and the open-ended approaches to dangerous situations made The Last of Us one of Naughty Dog's greatest efforts, one that has made next year's sequel one of the most anticipated games of 2020.

Hear it from Chatty:

"I don't usually like zombie games, but this one was incredible."


#13 - Overwatch (2016)

When Blizzard tackles new genres, it goes all the way in. They've shown this with World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Hearthstone. But were they ready to tackle team-based shooters? Overwatch proved that they were indeed ready, putting together an exciting 6v6 shooter that featured fleshed-out characters to go alongside unique abilities, precision gunplay, and game modes that emphasized teamwork above all else. While the game feels a lot different now than it did in 2016, Overwatch is still one of the best team-based shooters to come along since the heyday of Team Fortress 2 and one that its player base is excited to see expand in scale with the upcoming Overwatch 2.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Blizzard distilled Saturday morning hero cartoons into an online competitive game. That's f**king cool."

Hollow Knight

#12 - Hollow Knight (2017)

Hollow Knight can be described in many ways. It's simply beautiful, taking place in the vibrant world of Hallownest, surrounded by colorful wildlife and dense environments. It's a powerful story, one that sees the Knight attempt to ward off the all-consuming Infection. Also, the game is hard. It's shockingly difficult, given the abilities players are granted. It's one of the best Metroidvanias ever created, a true triumph from the folks at Team Cherry, filled with explorable areas, mysteries, lore, and so much more.

Hear it from Chatty:

"On par with Super Metroid & Symphony of the Night."

"Metroidvanias perfected."

"The best Metroidvania I've played in the decade for sure, possibly even surpassing the two games that the genre is named after."

Diablo 3

#11 - Diablo 3 (2012)

Diablo 3 didn't win Game of the Year in 2012. You know the story by now. It had one of the most disastrous launches a high-profile game could have ever had, largely due to frequent disconnections and the game's always online DRM. The "Error 37" jokes took over the internet for months. (Even Blizzard's making fun of themselves for it these days.) And let's not even talk about the Auction House.

So the fact that Blizzard was able to bounce back from all of this and turn Diablo 3 into one of the greatest games this decade has seen is truly something to behold. It featured a deep story, a massive Sanctuary world to explore, new features that allowed for experimentation with ability points, and a refined loot system. (Hello, Loot 2.0!) It's a game that's continued to improve in the subsequent eight years since its release, giving players more and more reasons to jump back in and keep battling demons and monsters, especially with the releases of the game's subsequent expansions. On top of that, the classes are a hoot, especially the Crusader, which was added in Reaper of Souls.

Hear it from Chatty:

"Kill monsters, get loot."

"More than 2000 hours played on mostly PC (a little bit of switch as well). My multiplayer game of choice for the Decade."

"Diablo 3 has seen a lot of criticism over the years but for me it's my single most played game of all time at this point. I liked it before Reaper of Souls and Loot 2.0 and I've absolutely loved it ever sense those changes that really brought the entire game to life. I have nearly 4000 hours in this game and will likely put in another 1000 before I finally put it down. It's an addiction."

We're almost at the end! Come back tomorrow as we wrap up the Shacknews Community's Top 100 Games of the Decade with the Top 10.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 19, 2019 3:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews Community Top 100 Games of the Decade: #30-11

    • reply
      December 19, 2019 3:14 PM

      MGS:V doesn't even crack top 25??? SHACK???

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      December 19, 2019 3:14 PM

      27!!! The factory must grow!

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      December 19, 2019 3:16 PM

      At least people won’t quit this place because Fallout New Vegas isn’t on the list. Haha

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      December 19, 2019 3:18 PM

      so what's left to be in the top 10? witcher 3, breath of the wild, skyrim, ... ?

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        December 19, 2019 3:29 PM

        Mass Effect 2 was my top pick, it better be in there.

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        December 19, 2019 3:47 PM

        Minecraft should be up there.

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          December 19, 2019 9:37 PM

          I think that just missed the cut off. Pretty sure it was first released in 2009. I seem to remember looking it up when I put my list together

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        December 19, 2019 3:55 PM

        dark souls

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        December 19, 2019 9:47 PM

        Rocket league is gonna be in there somewhere, I'm gonna guess 6th or 7th

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        December 20, 2019 4:12 AM

        It’s a long shot, but Fez is still out there. I had it pretty high on my list.

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        December 20, 2019 7:40 AM

        Witcher 3, Doom, Divinity Original Sin II, Wolfenstein the New Order were my top 4. I don't remember the order after that.

        I believe DOS2 and WTNO have already appeared. Witcher 3 and Doom will definitely be top 10. Probably top 5, both are very popular around here.

      • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
        December 20, 2019 7:42 AM

        Skyrim is 10-1

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      December 19, 2019 3:33 PM


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      December 19, 2019 3:39 PM

      How many submissions were there?

      • reply
        December 19, 2019 3:52 PM

        Yesterday Ozzie said there were around 100 submissions

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      December 19, 2019 7:52 PM

      Super happy to see Diablo 3 at #11. I feel that is a good place for it.

      Also kind of stoked to now have 2 quotes for games =D

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        December 19, 2019 9:45 PM

        I was pumped I got one. Forgot what I put for my others but I was happy with the way that one came out.

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        December 20, 2019 7:48 AM

        That's another game that I hated on launch, but it made massive improvements. It's definitely in my top ten games in the last decade by playtime. I still come back to it every season, or if I'm just in the mood for some loot grind.

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      December 19, 2019 8:07 PM

      Lol shirif.

      • reply
        December 19, 2019 8:08 PM

        I was quoted?! I should have put more text dangit!

    • reply
      December 20, 2019 7:12 AM

      Sc2 at 30! Solid.

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      December 20, 2019 7:29 AM

      Great list so far.

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      December 20, 2019 7:38 AM

      I guess I should play Hollow Knight.

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        December 20, 2019 7:43 AM

        if you like metroidvania's its the best one every made, for sure. I loved it. Its now one my favorite games ever.

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      December 20, 2019 7:46 AM

      Life is Strange is a funny one to me. It was absolutely not what I expected, "So you play a teenage hipster at a fancy art school who can manipulate time...this feels like a bad YA novel." and to be fair, it definitely was, in a lot of ways, but it ended up being one of my favorite gaming experiences and stories in the last ten years for sure.

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      December 20, 2019 7:49 AM

      Wow, The Last of Us didn't make top ten. That is a bit surprising.

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      December 20, 2019 7:51 AM

      Surprised Hollow Knight didn't crack the top 10. That's a solid list though, wish I could remember what I voted for.

      • reply
        December 20, 2019 10:24 AM

        Yeah, surprised here too, it was my #2 behind Witcher 3.

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