Editor's note: Video game and technology expert John Gaudiosi is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Gamerlive.tv video syndication network. He's covered video games for upwards of 400 outlets over the past 20 years, from Forbes to The Hollywood Reporter, and produces 3-D television and online content for outlets like DirecTV and NVIDIA 3D Vision Live.
Cologne, Germany (CNN) -- Gamescom is probably the biggest video game show you've never heard of.
Over a quarter of a million people have flocked to Germany this week to get exclusive hands-on gameplay with some of the biggest games of this year (Activision's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" and Sony's "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception") and next (Sega's "Aliens: Colonial Marines" and Electronic Arts' "Mass Effect 3").
Unlike Los Angeles' E3 trade show, which is open only to media and game industry insiders, Gamescom is a public show that draws youths from across Europe.
Many camp out around the massive convention center that sits just across the Rhine River from Cologne's famous gothic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Mary.
In only its third year, the gaming convention has quickly grabbed the attention of the global video game industry. Many game publishers now use Gamescom to debut brand new titles to the thousands of attending international media.
Here are five new games that debuted at the show that you'll want to keep an eye out for next year.
"Dishonored" (publisher: Bethesda Softworks; developer: Arkane Studios; Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, 2012)
From the creators of "Thief" and "Deus Ex" comes a brand new open-world adventure game. Players assume the role of the empress's bodyguard, Corvo, who's been falsely accused of murdering her.
The game is set within the steampunk city of Dunwall, which is fully populated with virtual characters (both good and bad) that gamers can interact with in unique ways.
Unlike many games, every NPC (nonplayable character) in this world has its own agenda. This opens up interesting interactions.
The first-person shooter action game allows gamers to use guns and gadgets, as well as stealth and supernatural powers, to progress on a journey that will be unique for each player.
"WildStar" (publisher: NcSoft; developer: Carbine Studios; PC, 2012)
The massively multiplayer online (MMO) space has a new entry from one of the leading publishers. "WildStar" offers a stylized, cartoonish world that looks right out of a Ratchet & Clank console game.
The science fiction game should appeal to fans of Joss Whedon's "Firefly" as well as reigning MMO king "World of Warcraft." It's set on a mysterious planet at the edge of space, and players can navigate this world as an explorer, soldier, scientist or settler as they battle aliens and interact with other gamers in a vibrant fantasy setting.
"Escape Plan" (publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment; developer: Fun Bits Interactive; PS Vita, 2012)
With the U.S. launch of Sony's new portable gaming system, PS Vita, slated for early 2012, there were plenty of playable titles at Gamescom. "Escape Plan" stood out from the crowd -- and not just of PS Vita games.
This black-and-white puzzle game introduces a pair of humorous characters -- the skinny Lil, who can inflate to float through levels, and the rotund Laarg, who can break through walls. Players are tasked with guiding this duo through more than 50 puzzle-filled levels.
Keeping its tongue firmly planted in cheek, the developer celebrates every misstep with over-the-top deaths that will put a smile on your face. And the intuitive touch-screen gameplay should keep you coming back for more.
"World of Warplanes" (publisher/developer: Wargaming.net; PC, 2012)
When it comes to MMO games, free-to-play is fast becoming the standard over subscription-based offerings. Millions of gamers are currently fighting online in World War II-era tanks in Wargaming.net's MMO, "World of Tanks."
Come next year, the game maker will introduce a second game to the fray. "World of Warplanes" will feature more than 60 German, British, American and Russian planes, from pre-WW II biplanes of the 1930s to Korean War jet fighters.
Up to 16 players can take to the skies and engage in dogfights in one of three classes of planes: elusive single-engine light fighters, heavy fighters and strafing aircraft. Players will contend with ground forces as well as the unfriendly skies in this free-to-play MMO, which generates revenue through microtransactions to upgrade your planes for combat.
"Lollipop Chainsaw" (publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; developer: Grasshopper Manufacturer; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 2012)
The acclaimed Japanese developer behind Electronic Arts' recently released first-person shooter, "Shadows of the Damned," is blending cheerleaders with zombies in a truly different third-person action game.
"Lollipop Chainsaw" puts players behind the pompoms of cheerleader Juliet Starling, who's trying to survive in a high school overrun by the undead. Armed with athleticism (Starling has a full range of cheerleader attacks) and a chainsaw, players will hack and slash their way through zombies and assorted monsters -- most of whom used to be classmates or teachers.
The blood flows freely in this over-the-top action game, which comes from the minds who created games like "Killer 7" and "Silent Hill." Hollywood writer-director James Gunn ("Slither") is helping with the story line, which already serves up plenty of Mature-rated humor.