My favorite games aren't necessarily the best games and conversely the best games aren't necessarily my favorites. Might seem a bit odd, to say a game is a favorite but admit it isn't perfect and even stranger to consider it one of the best ever, but not list it as one of my chosen ones.

I look at some of my favorite games of all time and I will willingly concede they're not perfect. Ranking at the top of list - Halo. I love the Halo series and have even before its release...even before it became a launch title for the original Xbox...even before most people ever even heard of it, back when it was being developed for the PC. Halo is not perfect...far from it. There are plenty of gamers who don't like it. Some are critical of Masterchief's personality (or lack of) and others criticize the story. I don't care...I love the game. All of them. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend them to just anybody...and I can empathize with those who don't like them. I understand their grievances.

Another example, Medal of Honor and Medal of Honor: Warfighter. These games were thrashed pretty hard by practically every professional video game media outlet, but I loved them and thought they were some of the best military First Person Shooter games ever released. It doesn't mean I think they're perfect -they're not. But they rank up there in terms of my favorite games, especially in that particular genre. Yet, you probably won't hear most gamers pick them as favorites.

Then there are games that I think are all but perfect...practically flawless. Games I have played and thoroughly enjoyed, but I wouldn't call them favorites. The most recent is The Last of US. Easily one of the best games I have ever played. Nearly perfect. I'd recommend it unconditionally...well except maybe for those who don't like excessive and/or graphic violence. It's a rare gem most gamers should experience.

Another example, the Dead Space series (especially 1 and 2, I haven't finished 3 yet). I suppose you could classify Dead Space as science fiction horror game or genre, and in that regard, they are brilliant games - they have stunning graphics, amazing audio and sound effects, and captivating stories. I went in to the first one with my mind made up I was going to hate it, and actually came closer to giving that game a perfect score more than any other game I've played. I couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. Well maybe one or two very minor complaints, but I was really digging trying to come up with something. Yes, the Dead Space games are exceptional games...but not my favorites.

Then...every now and then...a game comes along that IS near perfect and DOES make it on my mental list of favorite games. When I think of games that fall into this category, the list is actually rather short. I think of games like Limbo and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Games that are brilliant in design and construction and somehow draw you in and seduce you.

So what's the difference between a perfect game and a favorite game?

Well, I think we all know what components make up a perfect game - good graphics and audio, great characters and story, entertaining game play...blah blah blah.

But what makes a game a favorite?

Of course there is no easy or right answer...

Maybe it's a game you enjoy so much you revisit it from time to time...or you play it for hours and hours at a time when it feels like it's only been minutes... maybe you write about it or talk about it or think about it or dream about it.

Maybe it's all of these things.

When I think about what makes a game a favorite, I find it's often the inability to explain why it's a favorite that makes it a favorite. I mean, look at games like Minecraft or Team Fortress 2...two games I have sunk more hours into than I care to admit, but I can't really explain why. I certainly don't expect others to have that same sort of fascination with those two particular games, especially when I can't even explain the attraction. But the truth is they are two of my favorites.

The good news is we can all have our favorites...we don't even have to be able to explain to others why they are favorites and technically we don't even have to understand it ourselves. We just know that they are.

Thanks to firedude3663 for inspiring this blog. Would love to hear what others think are the best games compared to their favorite games, especially when they're not the same.