You'd think that publishers would take the first weeks of the year off when it comes to new releases, so that people don't forget about things during Best of the Year time, but there is a theory in the psychology world that people tend to think best of two different things: stuff from early in the year and stuff from later. It's the crap in the middle that gets lost. Which is okay, since most summer media is total crap. So, really, think of this list as future "best of" content, especially the Patton Oswalt book, which is just as funny as you'd imagine it would be -- maybe even more so.
5. Alt-Play: Jason Rohrer Anthology (DSi) DSiWare is an oft-overlooked place to pick up new releases. The problem is twofold: First off, the store is slow as crap; and second, it's proprietary to the DSi, a system that we're guessing most casual people don't own. If you do, though, you really owe it to yourself to pick up the Jason Rohrer Anthology. For 200 points ($2), you'll get three games: Passage, Gravitation and Between, games that blur the line between art and game like nothing else. Passage has won a slew of awards over the years and is often pointed at as being one of gaming's few remarkably poignant, arty and, to some people, moving works.
4. Howl (DVD, Blu-Ray) Howl is kind of a weird mishmash of different things: Part documentary, part biography, part animated film, it chronicles several key moments in both Allen Ginsberg's life and the life of his famous poem "Howl." It's broken into several sections, the most humorous being the obscenity trial, which features Jon Hamm, among others, re-creating the trial word for word from the official transcripts. If obscenity trials are good for one thing, it's comic relief.
3. Catfish (DVD, Blu-Ray) You'll probably remember this best as the movie that was called "the other Facebook movie" while it was in theaters. It's a curious movie that lives on two shelves at the video store, depending on who is checking it in. It might be in the documentary section, but it might also be sitting in the thriller section. It's been called bullshit by a lot of people, but that doesn't change the fact it's a weird, suspenseful movie that could only be told in the strange little technological era we're living in today.
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2. ilomilo (Xbox Live) ilomilo has been secretly available for a few weeks now, if you happen to be in the know on what to do to snag it up, but tomorrow marks the official release. It's a puzzle game with a healthy dosing of adorability, where you're tasked to play as one of two friends, ilo or milo, to solve a collection of environmental puzzles. It's got a great look to it, but don't let the cutesy graphics throw you off: Some of these puzzles can be tough to crack. They start easy enough -- move a block here, cross a path there, change characters, repeat -- but they quickly get more complicated, elaborate and challenging.
1. Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: A Book by Patton Oswalt Zombie Spaceship Wasteland is exactly the type of book you'd expect from Patton Oswalt. There is hardly a cohesive strand that connects the chapters, but inside you'll find a gateway into Oswalt's brain that no real memoir could ever provide. You'll get a few traditional memoir-ish moments, but more interesting are the short stories, comic strips, lists and other random inclusions that make this a hilarious mash-up of different things.