Here we are, the final Member Herding of the year and featuring a valued member of the community. I couldn't possibly begin to list all the reasons why this person was selected for this feature, but I'm sure he probably could. He's arguably one of the most prolific bloggers from the community, who led the way as the number one blogger to be featured in Blog Herding for the first 50 episodes since its return. In addition to being a fine blogger, he has cemented his place among the community as the master of the top ten lists and is of course none other than...

GIO Name: thegodofwine7

GIO Rank: Power Member - Level 8

Gaming Experience (Years playing): I think Dr. Mario was my first game at 4, so 23 years.  Holy crap!

Last Game Completed: Fez

Currently Playing: Darksiders II, Minecraft, The Witcher 2, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals

Origin of GIO Profile Name: My Xbox gamertag is thegodofwine, which comes from a Third Eye Blind song, but the first time I tried to create a GIO profile with that name I used the wrong e-mail, so I had to add the 7 the next time.  I actually don't like it there, lol.

Five Randomly Generated Questions + Four Bonus questions + One Special question

1. You recently completed the daunting task of listing your top 50 games of all time. Your top ten broke out like this:

1. Final Fantasy VI

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

3. Super Mario World

4. Tetris

5. Halo

6. Super Metroid

7. Shadow of the Colossus

8. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

10. Resident Evil 4

 How difficult was it compiling this list and do you still agree with it? You're a gifted writer with a degree in creative writing - how about providing a "one word" review of each game. Do you ever replay any of these games? If so, do you feel your impression of the game weakens or strengthens with each play thru? If you had to choose between sacrificing one game to save the rest OR saving one game and sacrificing all of the others, which would you choose and what game would you save or sacrifice? You are quoted as saying, "The best part of video games is being able to put yourself in situations you could never experience in real life."  Are there any scenarios you haven't experienced in a game that you would like to?

It was tough, for sure.  I agonized over that list for weeks, sometimes dramatically redoing it multiple times a day.  Looking back, I still mostly agree with it, I think.  I would probably move San Andreas up the list, or either replace it with GTA III, or just add that in altogether.  I tried to combine multiple entries that were functionally similar (which is why Brotherhood is on there instead of AC II, another dubious decision), but GTA III is so revolutionary.  It deserved its own spot.  One thing I was surprised at was the almost universal acceptance of my number one.  I felt 100% sure about it, but I didn't expect so much of the community to agree with me.  One word reviews, huh?  I'll give it a shot:

Final Fantasy VI = Perfection

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past = Complete

Super Mario World = Textbook

Tetris = Appealing

Halo = Legendary

Super Metroid = Trendsetting

Shadow of the Colossus = Art

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night = Fun

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time = Magical

Resident Evil 4 = Intense

In the last year, I have replayed through FF VI, Link to the Past, SOTN and Resident Evil 4, and put quite a few hours into Ocarina (a game I never really got to play as a kid).  I own a lot of old consoles, and playing through my old favorites never loses its allure for me.  I'm playing through Lufia now, an old SNES RPG that is one of my favorite games ever.  Maybe it's because of my love for nostalgia, but I just appreciate these games even more every time I play them, instead of finding that they are relics of the past.  Maybe the original Halo hasn't help up as well as some of the other games on the list, but I wouldn't necessarily say that that weakens my impression of the game.  I remember how incredible Halo was when it first came out.  I suppose if I had to get rid of one game, it would be that.  I've played through it enough I think, and it's just too hard for an FPS to retain relevance these days.  Honestly, I hate Tetris, but I guess I could always learn to get better.  I'm awful at it.

Yes, actually.  Besides hoping for a quality Game of Thrones game, or even better, A Dark Tower game, I've always wanted to see a good narrative-based casino game.  There are some fun quality casino sims out there, but nothing that even comes close to what I think can be offered.  I imagine something like 21, something that captures both the beauty and the grime of Las Vegas.  It may sound crazy, but I totally think that it could be done.

[SAINT: The problem with asking a question that is really many questions is I don't know where to begin responding to your answers heh heh. So many things I want to say. I guess I'll start with something completely off the wall, but your response reminds me I was at this old school video game store less than a mile from my home a few days ago - and they have this "new" console that plays NES, SNES and SEGA, all on one console. It has joystick ports for each system and a selector knob. Anyway, heh heh. I loved this response and the background it provided on your top 50 list. I also think it's cool you can go back and play old games over again - that's not something I ever really do. Your casino game idea reminds me that Telltame Games has a poker game called Poker Night at the Inventory, and features some great video game characters. Have you heard of it?]

2. You've blogged about Telltale Games' The Walking Dead. Can a game like this, developed by an independent developer, compete with the major studios and publishers? How do think the game being released in episodes worked out and did you like this delivery method or not? Did you play them each time they released or after they were all out? Do you think we'll see more games follow this mechanic or not? The game did a remarkable job forcing you to make some difficult choices - without spoiling the story, were there any choices you regretted as soon as you made them? Describe the thought process that goes into making difficult decisions in a video game.

Yeah, I'm not going to lie, I am so in love with The Walking Dead game.  With Telltale pulling in the Spike VGA GOTY award, which I thought Mass Effect 3 was a lock for, I think it's obvious an independent game can stand with the big boys.  I look at other success like Braid, Castle Crashers and obviously Minecraft, games that didn't necessarily have the biggest budget but still managed to become success stories.  What I think is interesting about independent games is that there is an almost direct correlation between the quality of the game and the sales of a game.  That isn't exactly true with AA releases: does it really matter exactly how good the next Call of Duty is?  As long as the effort is there (and it will be) it's going to sell, period.  With these smaller games, they have to be good.  If they are good, then people will buy them.  I think that's awesome, and I think the Walking Dead is a very good game.  If they put an extended budget into Season 2, look out, we could be in for a masterpiece.  I think people like it because, better than anything else, it captures the essence of the Walking Dead property perfectly.  There are no happy endings, only fleeting happy moments.  That aura of hopelessness translates well to the video game arena, and obviously resonated with gamers in a big way.  I wasn't such a big fan of the episodic structure, however, as I don't think it worked ideally for either the consumer or the developer.  On our end, we had to wait months at a time for the next episode.  I know part of the appeal of The Walking Dead is the cliffhangers it creates, but that's a long time to be hanging off a cliff, you know?  On Telltale's perspective, they charged $5 an episode for five episodes, at a total of $25.  At the very least, The Walking Dead is something I would gladly pay $40 for, and is maybe even deserving of a full $60.  Not that I'm complaining about cheap games, but I played through the entirely of the Walking Dead recently, and that is the way to do it.  I don't think episodic gaming is the future like some do, I think it's the past.  We live in an impatient age, why should our video games be any different?

In retrospect, I actually felt like I made the perfect decisions throughout, I don't think I would have changed anything.  Of course I wanted to see the alternate routes, but I was very happy with my first play through.  That RV ride from Episode 3 was a real killer though.  Carly was my girl.  What I like about games with tough choices (The Walking Dead, Mass Effect, Bastion, Singularity etc.), is that your decisions often transcend the game, and leave an impression that you will be thinking about for a while to come.  A great headshot has only so much lasting appeal.  Agonizing over the fate of the universe (or a scared little girl) are much more powerful experiences.

[SAINT: I just finished episode 2 tonight and I'm taking lots of notes so I can blog about the game - not the game so much as the approach. Such a brilliant design. I do agree with your comment about living in an impatient age and the drawback to episodic gaming. I've always been interested in indie games, but I have to tell you...I've been playing more and more of them lately and they are very entertaining and of the highest caliber. Hard to believe they aren't big budget games produced by the big dogs in the industry. I definitely think they can compete, at least from an entertainment value perspective. So good, so cheap. How can you go wrong with that?]

3. Social media has exploded in popularity and availability. Nearly every industry is employing social media in some capacity, including the video game industry. We already have a handful of apps, but how do you think social media will be used in games or on consoles in the future? Is being able to access portions of a game on your portable device just a gimmick or is it worthwhile (like the Mobile Armory app for World of Warcraft)? Is having more access to industry professionals (developers, publishers, journalists, etc.) and reading the personal perspectives they share good or bad?

Yeah, the integration of social media is only going to continue to rise.  As we all become more and more connected to the hive, it's only logical to assume that will spill over in the same manner with our growing enamoration with gaming.  To me, video game is an anachronistic term.  When you think of "video games" you think traditional consoles, but the truth is that everybody games.  The fact that more and more people are doing it electronically, which is all a video game technically is, doesn't seem to matter to anybody fundamentally opposed to video games.  As we all become more adapted to it, it will totally become the norm.  By the time the next Xbox and PlayStations drop, I'll be shocked if every game doesn't have some sort of social app or "little brother" interaction tied to it on your mobile device.  SmartGlass is a prominent step forward in that regard I think; even though it's obvious we're still probably trying too hard to make it work.  It'll happen regardless, just give it time.

With such easy access to developers personal words these days, through Twitter and numerous personal blogs, I can't see a single problem concerning the back and forth between me the consumer and the gaming industry.  Obviously as a budding games journalist, I love the fact that it is easier than ever to communicate to industry people.  Instead of being seen as these unapproachable figures, which is certainly how I saw them while browsing through my Game Informers as a teen, it's easy to see that they are people just like us.  And, I've found this is true of most "gamers" for whatever reason, they are usually pretty cool people.  This drawing together of the industry and its fans is only going to continue to grow, and I think it's great.

[SAINT: Well, we definitely agree it's going to continue to grow and evolve - whether that's for better or worse, that remains to be seen. As far as the accessibility to the professionals, I guess my concern is a few of the dust ups that have occurred where someone posts something with the disclaimer "this is my personal account and these are my personal views and not representative of my company" - yet the comment really makes you wonder about the person. Obviously as a fan and follower, sometimes it isn't as easy to separate a person from the company they work for. For example, I used to follow someone on Twitter who works in the video game industry who frequently made what I felt were inappropriate comments. I quit following this person, but really it kind of tarnished my image of the person and the company they work for. I didn't really judge the person, but I also didn't want to associate or be exposed to their negativity. These are mostly isolated cases and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I just wonder if this is the future, will it then be abused like the mic spam we hear on Call of Duty (I just use that as an example).

4. Your profile indicates you play (or used to play) World of Warcraft. The game was released in 2004, do you think WoW will ever shut down and go away? How did WoW succeed when so many other MMORPGs failed? I don't know a lot about WoW, but I do hear a lot about going on raids - pick five personalities from GIO to accompany you on a raid, and then tell us what race and class these people are playing based on what you know or think of them; and describe the raid your party is going on? Have you ever yelled "LeeRoy Jenkins" in a real world scenario?

Yeah, I should probably take that off there lol.  I played through a string of free trials, but it's not something I would ever pay for.  My gaming ADD is way too bad to stick with a game like that for too long, but I did enjoy my time with it.  I think that it is pretty clear that WoW's reign at the top is starting to come to an end, but that is only because some of the other MMOs have finally started to catch up.  It really was that good.  More than anything, I think you can attribute WoW's success to two things: its incredible polish, and the fact that it facilitates an online community unlike any game before it.

OK, my GIO raiding party.  This is tough.

Saint, you are obviously the dungeon guide.  Your willingness to help out anybody who needs it doesn't go unnoticed, and I can't think of anyone better to run the show.  You would be a Tauren Priest.  You are wise, benevolent and totally attuned to your surroundings, and it seems like you enjoy helping (aka healing) others as much, if not more so, than you enjoy helping yourself.  That's an easy choice.

For my tank, I'm going to have to go with mojomonkey.  A tank needs to be aware of everything going around him, and mojo seems to know at least a little bit about EVERYTHING.  He's also an awesome guy, and would totally be capable of handling the role of tank.  I'm going to make him a dwarf (old and balding joke FTW!), and he's going to be a Paladin.  Like mojo, they can do a bit of everything.

I'm definitely taking Ghost with me.  If there is a nicer guy out there, I haven't found him, and that could really help the team chemistry.  Based on his talents at writing and immense gaming knowledge, I'm willing to bet he would be able to contribute greatly.  His diversity shows through in his class as a Shaman, and being a Worgen gives him the ability to turn into the fearsome Cowbear.

JC is coming along for sure.  When I did my Top 50, he (quite easily, I might add) deduced what the number one game was going to be, so it stands to reason that his deductive reasoning would come in handy analyzing enemy weaknesses.  He's a tremendously good writer (almost HALF of his blogs have been featured in the newsletter!!!) so his obvious intellect, and skill at Pokémon lands him a spot as a Warlock.  Minion, I choose you!

Lastly, I want Commander Shepard on my team, for obvious reasons.  Shepard is obviously a Human, but I'm going to break the rules a little here and allow him to be a Jedi Knight.  I think everybody is happy that way.

[SAINT: Sounds awesome! I like it (though admittedly I had to go look up what a Tauren was). I think I'd make a fine dungeon guide. I used to be the mapper in my old D&D and AD&D days, so I have  experience. I'm bewildered how and why World of Warcraft has maintained and sustained for so long. Don't get me wrong, I think it's amazing (obviously) at what it has achieved, but with the shelf life of so many games getting shorter, it's been around for so long with only a handful of expansion packs, yet it still boasts millions of subscribers. That's quite a feat and something no other game has ever really mastered. I can't explain it, but I do like thinking about it.]

5. You have made a name for yourself at Game Informer Online with your list blogs. Which of your list blogs is your favorite? Are there any you wished you didn't publish? Do you find you make lists in real life? If so, describe one of your "real" lists. What is the best piece of blogging advice you can offer the community? Any blogging or blogger pet peeves? Let's test and see just how good your list making skills are...list your top three most embarrassing in game moments?

Well thanks.  I'm not sure how much of a name I've made, but I know no other place has made me feel like part of a community the way GIO has, and I couldn't be more thankful.  As far as my favorite lists go, I would probably have to put the 10 Gaming Commandments right up there.  That was one of the first ones that really got a huge response from the community, and I still love the feature image that I did for it.  I definitely try to inject some humor into all my writings, and that one was one of the best comically speaking.  I don't think I would remove any of them though, even if there are some ones that I felt was sub-par.  Maybe the Top 10 Fighting Games...I had to struggle to come up with 10 quality fighting games, much less talk about them.

It's interesting that my lists have become popular, because I am such a disorganized person.  Maybe I should make more lists in real life, but the only ones I do are prototypes for my blogs.  Literally everyone starts with a bunch of ideas jotted on paper, and then I go from there.  The best piece of advice I could offer someone is to just keep writing.  It sounds obvious, but some people try their hand at it, see that they don't exactly get popular overnight, and then give up.  It takes a lot of writing to really find your voice as a writer, but if you have the commitment, passion and a little skill, you will break through eventually.  One pet peeve I have is people taking half-conceived opinions or ideas they have heard from elsewhere, and repeating it as absolute truth.  I am as big a skeptic as you will find, so I've got into more than few arguments about the legitimacy of one claim or another.  I don't claim to be an expert source on anything, video games included.  I'm just a guy with opinions, the same as most everybody.  I recognize that, but sometimes I wish that other people would too.

Embarrassing moments...embarrassment isn't an emotion I feel often (I don't really give enough of a crap to feel embarrassed), but I have some stupid moments for sure:

#3.  When I first got into Minecraft, I was playing down in a mine far away from home and came upon this awesome waterfall.  While I was admiring its awesomeness, I head a familiar hissing sound, and before I knew it I was blown off the cliff and landed in the water with one heart left.  While trying to find my way out, I came upon a single torch that  know I hadn't put there, and before I knew it I was exploring this obviously already-explored area, and it was just blowing my mind.  I seriously thought that I had just discovered Minecraft's greatest secret or something (I was still new!), when I see a player character right up ahead.  It was my roommate, who had been playing the entire time just a few yards away.  I literally climbed his mineshaft and emerged roughly 3 blocks from home.  I'm glad I didn't share my "epic" journey with him.

#2.  I put a lot of hours into Skyrim, and since I am something of a micromanager, I was always swapping out suits of armor and weapons to get even a slight edge, at the cost of all the hours it took me to do so.  Then my friend showed me this little secret called "the favorites" menu that saved me roughly 200 hours from that point on.  It may seem minor, but I felt like the biggest tard for not noticing that crucial feature sooner.  I still get mad thinking about that.

#1.  This one is bad.  I got Rock Band around the time it first came out, and poured roughly 90% of my time in it.  Well, I wanted to try to sing and play at the same time, and since I didn't have a mic stand, I constructed this elaborate mechanism that hung the mic from the ceiling fan while I played guitar standing up.  So I'm playing and singing through this absurd set-up when my girlfriend, who had gotten off work early, surprised me with a visit.  Looking like a complete idiot, I disentangle myself from the game, and promptly walk over and turn the light on...which of course activated the ceiling fan, which had the mic still wrapped tightly around it.  I'll let you imagine the rest.

[SAINT: "Oh, you've made a name for yourself alright, and you're definitely an important member of the community. I think you've earned your spot at the round table, heh heh. YES! That 10 Gaming Commandments was pure gold. I love that one, and you may recall...I listed it first in my Top 10 thegodofwine7 Top 10 Blogs blog. I don't really recall the fighting game one, but that's not very surprising since I'm not really into the fighting games. I think that's good you don't really regret any of them. I usually don't either, but there are some where I wish I might've worded things a little differently. I hate when I get burned for not doing sufficient fact checking or trust a source that proves to be wrong. Hah, I've been known to jot down some ideas on paper from time to time too.

Definitely valuable advice - keep on keeping on. In the military we call it sustained superior performance. One or two or three great blogs are not going to make you famous. It really does require a long term investment to build up regular readers...and you certainly get better the more you do it. That's an interesting pet peeve, heh heh. I can kind of see that, although it doesn't bother me like it must you. Speaking of opinions, I do find a little humor with it when people criticize somebody else's perspective when clearly it is just their opinion. I will never forget shortly after I started blogging here a couple people shredded a few blogs I wrote that were clearly my own personal thoughts. I really kind of took it personally, but now I look back on it and can laugh about it.

Those are some hilarious stories that I thank you for sharing (though I'm surprised you did). As a fellow Minecrafter, I can relate to embarrassing moments in that game, but the ceiling fan story made me literally laugh out loud and is definitely one you will tell years from now - "Remember that time when..."

I guess it's only fair I share a story too...and even though this is a story I've told before and wasn't really my fault, I was kind of embarrassed (and mad as all get out) when it happened. It was in Battlefield 2 on the Wake Island map. Part of my team and I boarded a Blackhawk helo that took off from the carrier and headed up the eastern shore towards a flag point. We started taking heavy fire from an enemy jet, the helo is smoking and the warning alarm is blaring. Well, all of my teammates, including the pilot bail out, which automatically promoted me to the pilot chair. And in the split second this all took place and everyone is bailing out, the helo erupted in a huge fire ball that killed five of my teammates and me, but credited me, the pilot, with five team kills since they were technically airborne and the helicopter being piloted by me was what killed them. Well, the server had a rule set up to kick (and ban) team killers, so I was booted (and banned) from the server for something I had no control over. Your character profile tracked the number of times you were booted and banned, and yes...the Saint has a big "1" in his banned column. That always annoyed me.

Don't even get me started on the time I mapped the kill command (basically commit suicide) to my primary fire button in Counterstrike because I listened to somebody and thought it would get me headshots every time I fired. Facepalm."]

Bonus Question #1: Orochisama LEVON, Spectre asks, "Recently, several high profile titles have had major patches due to a plethora of glitches. How do you feel about this practice? Which genre do you think deserves the most criticism when compared to others?"


[SAINT: Well, either you didn't answer this question or I missed the response. Don't worry though, I'll take it from here and you can comment your answer in, LOL. Really, it doesn't bother me. Every game I have bought seems to do it...the Wii U I just got for Christmas did it...the PS3 seems to do it every time I fire it up, so maybe I'm just used to it or maybe I'm thankful we get patches much more frequently than we used to - (especially since we used to not get patches at all or years later). I'm fond of First Person Shooters and they are rather popular AND there are a ton of them, so I think they probably deserve the most criticism.]

 Bonus Question #2: Orochisama LEVON, Spectre asks, "How do you measure difficulty in videogames? Are there any games that are too challenging for you? Should they have an "easy mode" for other players, or does this ruin the gaming experience?"

I look at difficulty in the most simplest of ways.  How hard is it to get to the end?  Take the Walking Dead.  You have to make some super-difficult decisions throughout, but I wouldn't call the game itself "difficult" by any stretch of the imagination.  It's fairly easy to beat.  And yeah, I've been defeated a few times.  I'm still (passively, now) trying to make it through Sen's Fortress on Dark Souls, but I feel pretty good about even getting that far.  Fez is a game that stands out to me as difficult.  Some of the more abstract puzzles in that game are ridiculous.  I don't see how anybody could legitimately 100% that game.  It's ridiculous.  As far as Easy mode goes, I don't think it ruins the game.  Whatever helps the most people enjoy a game, I'm down for.  If a developer purposely cuts an awesome element simply because it may be too difficult, that is a gray area I'm not exactly sure about.

[SAINT: "I couldn't agree more. I view difficulty as the complexity associated with the puzzles or the challenge of performing certain actions, like Quick Time Events or those moments in games like Dragon's Lair. I also agree with your comments on having an easy mode available so the game will appeal to a broader audience. If a game offers multiple difficulty levels (which most seem to) I never play on the easiest level, nor do I play on the hardest difficulty level. There are some games I don't want to be overly challenging, especially when I am engrossed in the story.  Games like Mass Effect and Bioshock were fairly easy. Sure, I could've played them on a harder level, but I don't think I would have enjoyed them as much. I don't want to be encumbered by bad guys who are tougher than I am...I want to feel like the hero I'm supposed to be. What I don't like is when different difficulty levels change the content and flow of the game. You can add or subtract the number and/or skill of a bad guy, but don't change what I get to see."]

Bonus Question #3: Saint asks, "Many are suggesting that December 21, 2012 will be the end of civilization as we know it. If a doomsday event were to occur, would you want to know or not know when it was going to happen?

Yeah, definitely, I would want to know if and when the apocalypse is going to happen.  However, I would not want to know the day of my own personal death.  If everybody is going to die, I want to know so I can live it up.  What's it going to matter, everybody is gone!  If I'm the only one dying though, that's a different story.  I can't exactly go crazy (I've got to think about my future memorial of course), so that would be terrible.

[SAINT: "Well, the good news is December 21st was a non-event (obviously), so we're still here to discuss your future. The bad news is NASA has a project called the Near Earth Object program with a Sentry Risk Table that tracks asteroids that could potentially impact the earth...but don't worry, most of them are small and not expected to cause an Extinction Level Event. We hope."]

Bonus Question #4: Saint asks, "If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? What is a "must see" attraction near a place you have lived or are currently living? "

Well, I live in rural Arkansas, so there isn't much in the way of "must see" attractions here.  I have a tree in my backyard that is shaped kind of cool, but that's about it.  If I could go anywhere though, I would probably go to some foreign beautiful island where American currency is ridiculous valuable and all the girls think that my Southern accent is the sexiest thing ever.  That place exists right?

[SAINT: "Hah Hah, yeah...I think it's called Fantasy Island. A tree, eh? Not the birthplace of President William Jefferson Clinton or the Daisy Airgun Museum...but a tree in your backyard? Must be a really interesting shaped tree, LOL."]

Ask Me A Question And I Might Just Answer It.

Thegodofwine7 asks, "Step into my shoes for a second.  Rank these games from best to worst:

Portal 2

Uncharted 2

Halo 4

Super Mario 3


Half-Life 2


Final Fantasy VI


Rock Band"

[SAINT: "Me Oh My...that is a conundrum. I'll even go a bit further and share my logic for ranking them too. Well, last place is easy...since I've never been a big fan of Final Fantasy it will be last on the list. And while I think Skyrim is an amazing game that accomplishes a lot, I'm also not a big fan of the game, so it will go next to last. I really really really like Rock Band, but I like the rest of the games on the list a bit more, so RB comes home in the 8th position. The rest are extremely close how they break out and I could change the order around any number of times and be happy with it. Um, I do so love the Uncharted series, but 3 is my favorite and 2 is my second I will put it in the 7th spot. Super Mario 3 is an epic game and one of my favorite Mario games, but the games remaining to pick from edge it out ever so slightly so it will go 6th.

Hmm...getting a little tougher now.

My love of Valve and all of their games is no secret, and if you had said Half Life (the original) I doubt I would rank it here, but Half Life 2 is a continuation of an epic game whereas some of the others are original titles, so I'd reluctantly rank Half Life 2 as number five. I cannot explain my infatuation with Minecraft. I don't understand why I love it as much as I do...I certainly don't want to love it as much as I do. But the truth is I think Minecraft is a game changer - one of those games that only comes along every once in a while and changes everything; a game that will help shape the future generation of gaming. I look at Minecraft and see so much potential and how it unlocks the creative genius inside of us all. I'll rank it fourth for now, but only because the top three games also possess certain features and qualities that elevate them above Minecraft. I wasn't a big fan of Bioshock when it released, and there are still elements of the game I don't really care for. But I am fascinated with the story and setting behind Bioshock, and I am amazed with the fact that even though I thought I knew what was going to happen, I was still shocked with the ending and how emotionally draining the game was.

Two left? Sigh.

The original Halo: Combat Evolved is perhaps my favorite game of any I have ever played in the history of my long and illustrious gaming career. I've played all of the Halo games, and if I was going to pick my second favorite Halo game I think it would be Halo 4. I didn't completely understand the larger story, but the more important story element delving into the relationship between Masterchief and Cortana culminating in that legendary finale was a defining moment in the history of the Halo franchise.

Portal 2 in and of itself might not deserve to rank at the top of this list. To truly understand and appreciate Portal 2, you have to embrace all of the magic that comes with the game - the history of how the original came into existence; the (potential) connection to Half Life; the hidden Easter Eggs and bonus content; the way Valve has marketed the game through the comics and propaganda; the game changing features like the cross-platforming compatibility, the exceptional co-op game play and the very powerful but simple map making utility. The game is beautiful, the voice acting and dialogue perfect and the experience wonderful. The video game industry seemed to really embrace Portal 2, but I don't think a majority of gamers truly realize how special Portal 2 really is. It's a gem. Besides, it's made by Valve, so it gets bonus points from me for that.

I guess that means my list looks something like this. Great question. You got me to do something I really don't enjoy doing, heh heh. Now leave me alone while I make a few slight modifications to my list...hmm, this one goes here, that one goes there.

1. Portal 2

2. Halo 4

3. Bioshock

4. Minecraft

5. Half-Life 2

6. Super Mario 3

7. Uncharted 2

8. Rock Band

9. Skyrim

10. Final Fantasy VI."]

A special thanks to thegodofwine7 for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about his gaming personality. To read more about thegodofwine7, view his GIO profile here.