Denver is finally starting to show signs of spring, which means one thing: We need a variety of media that simulates real outdoor activities so we don't actually have to leave the house at any point. Thankfully, Tiger Woods is still somehow a spokesman for a golf game, some new books are coming out, and that artsty-fartsy movie Black Swan you told all your friends you saw even though you never bothered are all being released this week to prevent you from getting out and contracting some fatal disease.
5. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) It should come as no surprise that the Tiger Woods series of video games are lacking a particular person on the cover this year. Namely, uh, Tiger Woods, whom people are apparently still not that into after he turned out to be a regular dude and not a superhuman. Still, EA Sports is sort of standing behind him, even if his name is kind of small on this year's box. Regardless of how you feel about TW, if you're into golf, this is pretty much the best experience you're going to get, regardless of which console you purchase it for. It doesn't really matter in the end if Woods is on the box; it's not like he actually did anything to make the game better.
4. Independently Animated by Bill Plympton Bill Plympton is the only animator in history to draw a feature film himself, and he's also one of the craziest, strangest and most original animators out there. This book collects a ton of his work (which has appeared in The Village Voice, the New York Times and several other highly esteemed places) and offers some insight into how he ended up skipping over the corporate animation world and forging a path all his own. It's an insightful, curious and surprising story.
3. Shift 2 (Xbox 360, PS3) There are a lot of racing games out there, each of them specializing in one of two different modes, arcade and simulation. Shift 2 is a sequel in the Need for Speed franchise, but it dropped the name because it's aiming to leave the arcade fun of the series and instead concentrate on a realistic racing experience. For some, this sounds boring, tedious and absolutely crazy, but for racing fans who may have been disappointed with a few of the recent attempts at simulators, it might just hit the nail on the head.
2. Klondike, by Zach Worton Considering it's an integral part of our history, it's a bit surprising we haven't seen more stories about the Klondike gold rush. Perhaps that's because people just don't realize how insane Gold-Rushers to the great Yukon were -- but think about it for a second: They had to be insane; they traveled into the unmapped North and looked for gold inside rivers. Klondike looks to tell some of these tales, with prospectors, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the wilderness itself all playing their roles. Sure, it might not seem as exciting as the Wild West, but these are tales worth telling.
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1. Black Swan (Blu-Ray, DVD) Darren Aronofsky is pretty well known for making movies people pretend to like. Of course, there are probably a few people out there who do really like his movies, and for them, Black Swan should provide perfect afternoon viewing. For the rest of us, we'll just pretend like we understand this story about a ballerina who takes part in an uncomfortable sex scene, dances around and then makes us feel uncomfortable again by the end.