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Steven Spielberg’s Forgotten Game

It’s hard to believe, but director Steven Spielberg once slapped his name on a project lamer than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The year: 1996. The project: a game –or a CD-Rom, rather–aptly titled Director’s Chair, developed by Knowledge Adventure, where YOU the player got to help write, produce, direct and edit a major motion picture starring Quentin Tarantino, in his bad acting heyday, and Jennifer Aniston, back when Friends was still new and fresh. This was supposed to be a tool for aspiring filmmakers. The problem was that the game had no stakes. Everything felt predetermined, as if you were watching a bad movie unfold on your desktop. The truth is, there is no equivalent to actually making a real movie. And if you are an aspiring filmmaker, why waste your time playing games?

Still, Director’s Chair was not as bad as another of Spielberg’s other failed games: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for Atari. Rushed into production after the phenomenal box office success of the movie, this game boasted horrible graphics, even for 1982 standards, and poor design. Kids were less than excited to play it after the holiday season, and all unsold cartridges were buried in a New Mexico landfill. I wonder what Knowledge Adventure did with the unsold Director’s Chair disks.

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