Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi is a national journalist who has been covering the video game business for more than a decade. In addition to covering the game industry for WRAL Local Tech Wire and blogging for WRAL.com, he also writes about gaming for Wired Magazine, The Washington Post, Xbox.com and Yahoo! Games.

CARY – By now, you’ve either received the games you wanted under the Christmas tree or in your stocking or have cash to buy some new games. Here are 10 that you have to have for your collection. They’re the best games of 2007, in no particular order.

And let me just say that this year has been a stellar year for games. There’s a reason 2007 will go down in history as the most successful in history. Make sure you have these in your console library.

Mass Effect (BioWare, Xbox 360)–BioWare is one of the rare development studios that has never misfired on an RPG, which is one reason Electronic Arts bought them this year. This is the best console RPG ever made. Fans of sci-fi, action and strong story-telling are guaranteed an epic adventure.

Halo 3 (Bungie Studios, Xbox 360)–The wait was long, but the third time was more of a charm than the second Halo. Fans of shooters still can’t find a better online console experience than Halo 3 when it comes to large groups of players battling it out. This one’s a rare sequel that lived up to the hype.

BioShock (Irrational Games, Xbox 360)–The studio behind System Shock has redefined the shooter story-telling experience with this truly unique underwater world. This game is unlike anything you’ve ever played before (or seen through Hollywood) and it’s blend of strategy and story keeps you riveted until the very end.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (Insomniac Studios, PS3)–Insomniac has delivered its second must-have PS3 game for Sony in as many years. Ratchet & Clank never looked so good and this game’s customizable options allow anyone to play through with the weapons and gadgets they prefer. It’s like playing through a very long Pixar movie.

Unreal Tournament 3 (Epic, PS3)–Local game developer Epic has crafted the first console game that allows PC mods to be downloaded for a never-ending onslaught of new experiences. While the single-player story line was a nice effort, it’s the online multiplayer battlefields with vehicles and weapons that will keep gamers coming back for more.

Rock Band (Harmonix, PS3, Xbox 360, PS2)–Sure, some of the cool Stratocaster guitars didn’t work (10 percent of them), but that’s a minor hiccup in what is arguably the best mass market music experience ever made. It’s like Guitar Hero on acid and it’s just the beginning of a new wave of music gaming. This is the most fun four players can have around a game console.

The Orange Box (Valve, Xbox 360, PS3)–Valve has delivered five excellent game experiences in one box. Portal is a fan favorite and could easily have cost $60 on its own. There’s no better deal in gaming than this compilation of single-player and online shooting action.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat (Infinity Ward, Xbox 360, PS3)–Leaving World War II behind, Infinity Ward has crafted its own virtual take on modern combat–redefining the shooter experience on next gen consoles. While the single-player experience is engaging, it’s the multiplayer that keeps this game fresh.

Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo, Wii)–As great as the Nintendo Wii is, most people stick with Wii Sports. But the Italian plumber’s third appearance on the console (Super Paper Mario and Mario Party 8 are also solid games) gives gamers of all ages a fun experience that plays differently than any other Mario game. It’s exactly what the growing number of Wii gamers needed.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Nintendo, Wii)–Nintendo has made the best first-person shooter for the Wii by updating Samus for the motion-sensor controllers. This game is a brilliant and challenging blend of classic Metroid gaming with innovative new controls that work. the targeting’s spot-on.