If you’re at all involved in the gaming news world, be it as a writer, correspondent, PR rep, game enthusiast, gaming veteran, dude who only gets on to see if Call of Duty’s out yet, or simply the mom checking Walmart listings to see what games are “hip” with kids these days, you’re probably familiar with the fact that game releases really start to ramp up as the Fall season sets in.

It’s no secret that games release closer and closer to the holiday season year after year for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which being Black Friday and Christmas/Kwanza/Hannukah/WhateverYouCelebrate shopping.

And as a not-so-dapper fellow who’s a long-time game player, lover of many genres, game journos and college student in his last year of studies in computer science, I can tell you out of pure honesty that I’m flabbergasted pondering the sheer amount of games coming out — not to mention the quality.

Quantity and Quality, you say? Yes — and though it’s blatantly stated every single year, there really has never been a better time to be playing games. I mean that, and I’m confident that anyone with a care in this industry would agree.

That said, here are the games I’m most looking forward to this year, followed by a straightforward explanation as to why.

From redefining the way shooters are played on a console, to providing a universe that has expanded into a well-crafted franchise, Halo has been a precedent setting series in many ways. It’s been an almost career-defining game for me, as it’s one of the platforms that helped make my interest in the creation of video game machinima into a reality, and what eventually led me to where I am today. I’m extremely excited for reasons I can’t all compile, but I’ll do my best when I get the game in my hands.

It’s more Assassin’s Creed 3. It’s more of what I enjoy, but it’s quite a bit more. Over the past few years, I’ve seen this series blossom from a somewhat broken promise to a showcasing of what a dynamic, explorable game environment should be. Revelations was a story in a box and (as expected due to its short dev cycle) underwhelming both narratively and mechanically compared to its predecessors. AC3 is shaping up to be the definitive Assassin’s experience. Plus, battleships.

Dishonored is trying something new, but doing so by combining elements of games that are not considerably new. Bioshock. Assassin’s Creed. It’s a showcasing of the talent that resides at Arkane and Bethesda, and it’s so far left me (and many of the grand people I work with) excited and impressed.

I just love Pikmin. I’m not sure what draws me – the charm, the universe, or the almost-primitive, always quirky gameplay – maybe all of it. Here’s to hoping it’s as great as fun as their E3 demo, and not just a play on Pikmin-lovers nostalgia. Then again, this is one of Miyamoto’s many children, so the proper expectations have been set.

Considering the way games as a medium are expanding upon society as entertainment that’s receiving more mainstream respect than in the past, the future is looking bright.

But freaking goodness are we swamped with video games. And I ask this in the most genuine, curious, inquisitive fashion… what are you looking forward to buying?