Steven Spielberg Fails to Make Video Games Popular Again

Photo: EA, Getty Images

You know about Steven Spielberg's summer hit, right? It's the one with the crystal skulls. What you may not know is that his other just-released project hasn't fared quite as well. As Silicon Alley Insider notes today, the video game he helped design, Boom Blox for the Wii, has done decidedly non-blockbuster business. It was only the ninth-most-popular Wii game in May, selling a paltry 60,000 copies. Peanuts, right? Liberty City has more hookers than that! Indeed, it's hard to draw firm conclusions about a month that was so strongly dominated by Grand Theft Auto IV and the arrival of the Wii Fit, but even accounting for the impact of distractions, this can't be the performance anyone was looking for.

The game's fundamentals don't seem to be the problem — it got good reviews, with a Metascore of 85. It's got a solid, non-gimmicky concept — building a tower and knocking it over — that toddlers have loved forever and that, as the continuing popularity of building implosions on YouTube will attest, still has legs. Perhaps Spielberg simply underestimated the competing demand for complex narratives and yoga poses. Or perhaps he should have gone with the rumored original concept, in which the objective was to knock over Shia LaBeouf by pelting him with empty cans. —Linda Holmes