- [So sure, we already did the countdown thing, but Game Developer magazine senior editor and Insert Credit blogger Brandon Sheffield didn't have a chance - so we grabbed him in the office yesterday and made him cough up his picks.]

I decided to make my own Top 10 games list for 2007, just for fun. It differed slightly from the general Gamasutra list, which I didn't have time to be on, due to finishing the January issue of Game Developer magazine.

So here you are, my games of 2007 (note: these are the top 10 games I actually played. There are some nice ones out there that I just didn't get to). Get ready to be EXCITED and AMAZED by another list!

10. Halo 3 (Bungie, Xbox 360)

To be honest, I haven't even played the single player campaign for more than an hour. I played a bit on Legendary with a friend in co-op, and that's it. This game is on the list for its robust multiplayer and system link capabilities. Having 8 friends in a room, two online in various parts of the U.S., split across two teams, fighting with strangers in 16-player battles is really something that could only happen efficiently these days, and it's really quite invigorating.

Adding in the replays and screenshot-ability means the next day, hilarious images of you getting launched into the air by your pal will grace your favorite forums. To me, it's an awesome realization of the online environment, which I never thought I would enjoy participating in.

9. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (Infinite Interactive + friends, PSP, DS, Xbox 360)

Take a derivative puzzle game, add battle features, and a derivative story – what do you get? A game I played for almost 30 hours. The fact is, Bejeweled is nice, but I didn't have a lot of incentive to keep going. In Puzzle Quest, the limited tactics of battle are enjoyable, and even though I didn't care about the story in the slightest, the small tasks it gave me were enough incentive to keep me moving around the map. Plus, the battles and quests are bite-sized, making it great to play on the train, which is where I do a lot of my gaming. Unfortunately, the level cap (50) and the lack of things to do after you beat the game kind of left me hanging.

8. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD (Backbone/Capcom, Xbox Live Arcade/PSN)

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo for Matching Service never came out on the U.S. Dreamcast, and this is basically that game, plus achievements, plus rebalanced AI, and new graphics for the gems, backgrounds, and explosions. Sure, the characters look horrible now, with their 'super eagle'-style filter, but a good game is a good game.

7. Wartech: Senko no Ronde (G.Rev, Xbox 360)

Virtual On meets curtain-fire shooter, with very nice arcade-style gameplay. A lot of people hate on this game, and it's easy to see why – it's simple, it's not amazingly fun without friends (what arcade games are?), and has a relatively new gameplay system. But if you sit down and get into it, there's a lot to offer, I find.

6. Arcana Heart (Examu, PlayStation 2)

Arcana Heart was released on PS2 this year (in Japan – there's a rumor it might be coming to the U.S. though!), and is an excellent take on the 2D gals fighting genre, which had been pretty stagnant since Asuka 120% Limited. Yes, I do like the gals fighting genre, and yes, I am being serious. These games tend to be faster, have lots of air dashes, and double jumps, and simple recoveries, and in general are not as overpowering in their character designs.

The 'arcanas' in this game each have a specific power that any character can use, but each character has a special affinity for a certain one. Each character plays differently enough as it is, and the addition of these arcanas only serve to refine the characters to suit your play style. That said, I do suck at it terribly, and each character design is more or less based on an anime fetish, but if that doesn't bother you, it's really quite a fun game.

5. KOF XI (SNK Playmore, PlayStation 2)

I have a long history with the King of Fighters series, so it pains me to put this at number 5 on the list, when it's clearly the best KOF in many years. My personal favorite is 2001 (Dreamcast version, with puzzle mode), but I didn't like the evolution of the Strikers system that much – strikers are gone now, and proper VS-style character swapping is in – and it's really well done, too, with different swaps for mid-combo, guarding, and normal changeups.

This means several gauges to watch, but it's not really too much to manage. Unfortunately, for me KOF was very much about the characters, and as much as I appreciate the addition of characters like Hotaru from MotW, Silber from Buriki One, and other rather obscure fighters, a lot of my very favorites are gone: Joe, Angel, May Lee, Yashiro, Chris, etc. Story-wise some of those should be gone, but I don't care. I want them back.

4. BioShock (2K Boston/Australia, Xbox 360/PC)

I've written plenty about this game elsewhere, but the way the story is implemented through choice in-game 'moments', as well as the recordings of the ruined utopia's rapidly deteriorating residents is just awesome. The gameplay is fun enough, but that's not why I'll remember the game. It's got such an appealing and well-realized universe that I just want to spend time there. That, and the music is awesome. Considering the time period it's supposed to take place in, there's no real reason for Django Reinhardt, The Andrews Sisters, and Billie Holiday to be in there, but hey. I'm sure glad they are.

3. Jeanne d'Arc (Level 5, PlayStation Portable)

I originally had this further down the list, but I had to bump it up. If I'm willing to play through a 40+ hour SRPG, there's got to be a reason. And there is! To me, if you're playing an SRPG the main thing you're doing is managing units, making choices, and executing them. Essentially, what you're 'doing' all the time is messing with the user interface. Jeanne D'arc has streamlined this to an amazing degree, heretofore unparalleled in the genre. It does things like reminding you that if you save before a battle, you can't back out to a town, so might want to make a separate save.

Crafting skill stones has you combine stones you have to create new ones – but if you've already created something, it auto-fills the recipe, so you don't have to remember it. It automatically tells you the stats of a new item for each character. It's just taken away or streamlined all the obnoxious things you always had to back in and out of menus for, and for that, it deserves praise. The story is boring, one chapter is ridiculously obnoxious, but the solid UI, combined with a variety of character types and skills, as well as a non-magic-reliant game system, makes me a happy camper. There's a lot more I could say about this game, but I'll leave that for a later date.

2. Call of Duty 4 (Infinity Ward, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Anyone who knows me will be horrified that I've got three shooters on my list so far, but this one has the best, most opaque writing I've seen in a game, and is so well designed that I never felt like screwing around. I was always engrossed and felt like completing the task at hand. That never happens! The scenarios were excellent, the scripted gameplay moments were exciting, and the dialog it proposes regarding war was rather mature I thought. You've got your 'being a soldier is power!' bits, but you also play through the horrible death of one of your main characters. Quite gripping.

1. Portal (Valve, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Under two hours of the best-integrated narrative and gamplay I've seen in a long time. I'm hitting similar notes with picks 1, 2, and 4, but that's where my interest lies right now. Portal allows you to discover everything about the world without any exposition. It's all implied, but is only there if you want it. Additionally, the first 17 stages of the game feel like a test environment – because they are. But the final stage sees you break out of that environment and you're given control of your powers within the "real world," and the game actually makes you feel that way. So, here's my effusive praise for this game to lump in with everyone else's.

Honorable mentions (for games unplayed or just outside the Top 10):

Rock Band (Harmonix, PS3, Xbox 360, PS2)

Being able to sing while my friends play is simply awesome. I also enjoy that Expert (for vocals) is the most accurate, and thus easiest to sing if you know the song well. Huzzah!

Death Smiles (Cave, arcade)

I'm relatively certain this 2D horizontally scrolling shooter from Cave would've been in my proper list if I'd actually played it. It's only in arcades in Japan now, but has excellent music, a very good Cave-like system, and stunning 2D parallax scrolling. Hope it gets a port.

Neo Geo Battle Coliseum (SNK Playmore, PlayStation 2, arcade)

Maybe this should've been in my list, but I've kind of played it to death and so it didn't feel very 'best of 2007' to me. It is, however, great, and has tons of characters from all over the SNK universe in a relatively well-balanced fighter. And everyone should buy it.

Odin Sphere (Vanillaware, PlayStation 2)

Awesome graphics. Simply amazing. But given that I played its spiritual predecessor, Princess Crown, for all of an hour and a half before becoming incredibly bored, I've yet to actually touch this game. I've heard it's more of the same as far as that goes. If they could find a game designer to match their story, music, and visuals, Vanillaware would take over the niche gaming world.