As we're nearing the year-end lull, new releases are getting few and far between. That doesn't mean we didn't track down some awesome stuff this week, though -- in fact, if you've got a love for all things Disney, you're in for one hell of a treat, and if you've ever pretended to like physics but didn't know how to explain things, we've got some help for you there, too. Hell, there's even a totally badass Viking movie being released this week, which, unfortunately, isn't something we get to say very often.
5. The Instant Physicist, by Richard Muller and Joey Manfre Hey, physics isn't for everyone, which is why we simpletons need a little help sometimes, preferably in the form of pictures. Thankfully, the science community is so desperate to make idiots like us understand concepts that there are plenty of videos and books available. The Instant Physicist is one such book, filled with illustrations and real-world examples to help us all understand. Bonus: Unlike that weird collection of napkin drawings you have bound together with a staple, this one is written by someone with a Ph.D.
4. My New New York Diary by Julie Doucet and Michel Gondry A couple of years ago, Michel Gondry talked to Julie Doucet about doing a film together. What wasn't proposed was the reality comic that would follow. This new deluxe version of My New New York Diary contains drawings for the comic itself and the film, which is only being released with this edition. It's a remarkable collaboration that fans of both Doucet and Gondry can appreciate.
3. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (Nintendo DS) If you played the original Golden Sun on the Gameboy Advance, this one is pretty much a no-brainer. Even if you didn't, though, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn offers tons of gameplay for your buck, ensuring that RPG fans with just a little bit of cash this holiday will have plenty of questing to do for a long while. Plus, it has one of the best combat systems on the planet, so there's always that.
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2. Valhalla Rising (DVD) Vikings! Killing stuff! Oh, is that not enough for you? Well, it's violent, too, if that helps. The story is pretty simple: A chained prisoner escapes his captors, stumbles upon a group of warriors heading out to the Crusades, then heads out to the New World, where savages stalk him and his pals one by one in incredibly violent ways. Did we mention there are Vikings, fighting, blood? It's like a foreign version of Rambo in which Rambo doesn't have guns, but chops people up with swords. And violence. And blood. We did mention blood, right?
1. Epic Mickey (Wii) Mickey Mouse doesn't have the best history with video games, but Epic Mickey takes that history and pushes it through an awesome-grinder. It lives up to its name, meaning players will get a beautiful, interesting and, ahem, epic tale. Surprisingly, it has an in-depth moral narrative system, complex puzzles and a great mix of platforming and adventuring. It's one of very few Wii titles that will appeal to both the young and the old. You'll probably pick this up for your kids for the holidays, but don't be surprised if it consumes you, too.