Spielberg , Electronic Arts take aim with Boom Blox

Spielberg , Electronic Arts take aim with Boom Blox
FIRE ONE: Boom Blox is the first collaboration between the filmmaker and Electronic Arts. (Associated Press)
That Steven Spielberg guy knows a thing or two about family fun.

Boom Blox, the first collaboration between the famed filmmaker and video game powerhouse Electronic Arts, is almost laughably simple. But it's also remarkably entertaining. Inspect a stack of colorful blocks for the best target. Use the Wii remote to take aim. Flick your wrist to throw the ball.

That's basically it.

A perfect combination of puzzle solving, creativity and entertainment, Boom Blox never gets repetitive, even with a game built around such a simple premise. (After all, kids have been stacking and toppling blocks since the Stone Age.)

"I am a gamer myself, and I really wanted to create a video game that I could play with my kids," Spielberg said in the press notes.

Spielberg, inspired after playing the Wii for the first time, worked with the developers at EA's Playa Vista studio to conceptualize and create Blox (part of a three-game pact he signed in 2005). "From the initial concept to what the game is today," he said, "it's always been built around the innovations the Wii brings to playing games."

Think simple, easy-to-use controls, fun, family-friendly action and endless creative possibilities by making and sharing levels of your own. Like most of Spielberg's family-targeted films, this product too is a blockbuster.

Grade: A (a must-have)

Details: Nintendo Wii platform; $49.99; rated Everyone (cartoon violence, comic mischief)

The challengers go down

The first is still the best.

Although both Deca Sports and Summer Sports: Paradise Island boast a more diverse collection of games than Wii Sports, the shoddily simplistic controls and yawn-inducing play of each title only make us appreciate the original that much more.

Deca Sports' 10 games include some that are unusual for a video game (like curling and figure skating), but because the controls are so imprecise and the graphics so lame, Deca will frustrate even the young kids for whom the game is presumably intended.

The extra wrinkles in Summer Sports make it the better of the two, yet still not worth playing. The graphics and characters are better here (not like the imitation Miis that populate Deca), and the laid-back island vibe that permeates the game play is a plus (think tropical tikis and steel drums). But the seven sports included in this collection are plodding and share only four wretched control schemes (to play both badminton and volleyball, for example, gamers use the same horrible setup).

Eager for more sports games for your Wii? Save your money and just revisit the vastly superior Wii Sports.

Grades: Deca Sports D- (dribble); Summer Sports: Paradise Island, C- (cracked coconuts)

Details: Nintendo Wii platform; Deca Sports $29.99, Summer Sports $39.99; both rated Everyone