I'm only including future titles in this little rundown here, because I think we all are aware of the recent games that have made us very proud to be gamers. Titles like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots , Gears of War , LittleBigPlanet and many others have really given us the urge to drag random people in off the street, point to the screen and say triumphantly, "look at that !"

Well, here are five games that should have this very effect on us, and represent both the grown-up nature of video games today and the technical and artistic quality that make them special.

Heavy Rain

We've been excited about this one for almost a year now, and every time we see new media and information, our excitement level goes up yet another notch. This past week, we saw the latest "For Love" trailer and our jaws dropped yet again; we gave you both the video and commentary directly after the show, and most of you agree: this one is gonna be impressive. We've also pondered the possibility of a whole new genre for this title; something we'd like to call the "intellectual genre." It should represent another step forward in storytelling and CGI, and we're already proud of Quantic Dream based on what we've seen.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Everyone knows this game will be great, but the important thing to realize is that this really represents one of the first true cross-overs between movies and games. We have the professional voice acting that we need, we have the requisite action, but perhaps more importantly, we have the little things that might fool the uninitiated into thinking this is a theatrical movie. Here's a good example: check out this Chloe Trailer that popped up at GamesCom 2009, and watch Chloe's face from about halfway through; it's the facial reactions of a real woman with real emotions. We see that in Drake in other videos as well (watch the other Fortune Favors trailer ) and this is only one "for-instance" of how far games have come…

Brutal Legend

Tim Schafer can do no wrong. That's all you need to know. He will invariably deliver a unique, entertaining experience that really can't be compared to any other title on store shelves. Brutal Legend will be yet another example of amusing originality that you won't find anywhere else; all you metalheads out there really ought to be intrigued. And even if you're not a fan of that music genre, you should still be respectful and appreciative of the idea and premise. It's something new and a damn good reason to be proud to be a gamer. For more info, feel free to check out the latest Developer Commentary and just try not to smile. The more we see projects like this, the more interested we are in looking down the road and into the future.

Gran Turismo 5

When it comes to realism and authenticity, there really is no equal. Forza 3 can try and I wish it the best of luck (I love great simulators), but I'm fairly confident it simply won't be on the same level as Polyphony's masterpiece. This is one game that will drop your jaw and make your palms sweat, both at the same time; it's all about becoming immersed in an interactive event that feels amazingly real. If it manages to come out this year, it'll give a guaranteed boost to the PS3 (although I'm not sure it needs it now) and make our eyes gleam with excitement. There's a reason why amateur and professional drivers use iterations of GT to train in the off-season and why there's simply no better option for car enthusiasts and gearheads everywhere.

The Last Guardian

There is a small but very vocal group of gamers who continually ask for more titles like ICO and Shadow of the Colossus . Well, they're finally going to get their wish next year, when we'll receive The Last Guardian , which looks downright fantastic from every angle. You can check out the latest trailer and how it stacks up to the early vid that got leaked; it's clear that some work has been done to the boy. This is going to be another singular experience; it's drenched with artistic beauty and it should feature what we'll assume is an engaging form of gameplay. It might even remind us of the good ol' days of Adventure games, as the aforementioned titles from Team ICO managed to do… Gotta love this.

The 6th Man Award: Whatever thatgamecompany's new project is

We don't yet know what Jenova Chen and the rest of the thatgamecompany team is working on, but we will bet our very last dollar that it'll be both innovative and oddly attractive in a variety of ways. After flOw and Flower , we've been sufficiently impressed with Chen and Co., and we've heard that this new project is "something we've never seen before." …how come we're not surprised? Whatever this is, we'll be one of the first to buy it 'cuz we're absolutely convinced it'll be worth our time and money.

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