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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Top Rated Kindle Games Now Available on Kindle Touch

It took awhile to make any of the Kindle games available for the Kindle Touch, but now, many of the most popular ones are compatible with it.  I am excited about not having worry about overusing the toggle button to navigate the games.  For more detailed, first hand reviews on Kindle games, check out the Kindle Apps Review blog.  There are a few that I really like that I think are worth downloading.

Jewels is a gem matching game that is popular on many mobile devices.  It goes well wtih the Kindle Touch because all you have to do is drag the shapes to the matching ones.  I admit that it can be more challenging to play on a black and white screen, but the shapes have patterns that help distinguish them from each other.

Battleship was one of my favorite childhood games.  The Kindle edition includes several versions of the hit game.  I like the portable nature of it because you don’t have to worry about pieces.  You can play with either the Kindle or another human player.  The basic object of Battleship remains the same: blow up your opponent’s ships before they blow up yours.

Mahjong Solitaire includes a stack of tiles.  You have to remove the top layer of tiles before you can use the tiles underneath.  There are a number of types of tile sets to choose from.  The tiles are kind of small, but I feel like the graphics work well with the size screen that the game has to work with.

The Electronic Arts games are the most complex Kindle games as far as design goes, and Solitaire is no exception.  Learn how to play different versions of Solitaire, or pass the time with the old traditional version that everyone seems to know how to play.

Bubble Pop is one of the newest Kindle games, and to me, is one of the best ones designed for the Kindle Touch.  All you have to do is pop matching bubbles.  It is a really mindless, but addicting game.

To win Slingo, the ultimate goal is to eliminate all of the numbers on the board.  The board is set up like Bingo, with reels at the bottom.  With each spin, you try to match up a number from the reel with one on the board.  It is a fun game, and the Kindle version is a real hit.

In order to find out whether your favorite game is compatible with the Kindle Touch, take a look at the link under the game’s price that says “Available for these devices.”  If it is available for the Kindle Touch, it will be listed on there.  Games are being updated constantly, so check back often if you don’t see it on the list right away.

Best of 2011 Editors’ Picks for Kindle Games

2011 is drawing to a close, and it certainly has been a great year for Kindle games and applications.  To celebrate the success of top rated Kindle games, there is a $.99 sale going on under the name Best of 2011 Editors Picks.  In the list of 25 games, the ones that were picked mostly didn’t come as a surprise, however there were some not on there that I thought should be.

Electronic Arts games such as Scrabble, Sudoku, and Monopoly are usually around $4 or $5, so this is a pretty steep discount for them.  All of these games are adaptations of the traditional board games and puzzles.  You should catch on to the way they work pretty easily if you are familiar with how to navigate Kindle games in general.

Other hit games up for grabs at a discounted price are Jewels, Slingo and Strimko.  All of these have great reviews and are easy to learn.  Jewels is a Kindle version of the popular game Bejeweled. All you have to do is match up different shaped jewels before the time runs out or before you run out of matches.  Slingo is a combination of Bingo and Slots.  Strimko is Sudoku with an added element called streams.

The list of Kindle games for kids has grown tremendously this year, and a couple of the best ones are Hangman 4 Kids and Spongebob’s Treasure Quest.  There are a number of games and interactive fiction for kids that are good, but they are not on the list.  Interactive fiction is a genre that is continuing to grow, and includes books that are great for both kids and adults.

In addition to games, there are also applications that can aid in productivity like Notepad, Calendar, and Easy Calculator.  These aren’t really much of a sale because they are usually around $.99 anyway, but they serve their purpose well.

Lastly, for those who are looking for an inexpensive exercise program, check out My Yoga Studio.  It includes several yoga routines that cover most parts of the body.

I was really surprised that Futoshiki and Blossom were not on the list.  Those two games have shown some of the best reviews of all of the Kindle games.  Futoshiki is Sudoku with < and > signs mixed in, and Blossom is a pipe irrigation puzzle game.

For more detailed reviews on each of these games and apps, visit the Kindle-Apps review blog.  Again, as far as the sale goes, I think it that this is the best time to get the more expensive EA games.  They are good quality, and are all games that have been around for a long time in some form or another.

Most games are compatible with Kindles up to the 4th generation. There are not many games for the Kindle Touch yet, just because the interface is so different.  But, with time, that will change.

Amazon Confirms Apps For Hulu Plus, ESPN, and More!

Clearly the Kindle Fire is creating some buzz in the tablet community, and among people who just generally like these sort of gadgets in general.  With the announcement of the new Nook Tablet, though, some people had started looking more closely into potential shortcomings for the Amazon offering and quite possibly the biggest one was the external services tie ins.

While the Nook Tablet is completely giving up on offering its own unique video service in favor of letting customers find their own way among companies like Hulu, Netflix, Rhapsody, etc., Amazon kept touting their own library selection and the advantages inherent in the integration with this library.  Surely, the thinking goes, Amazon would be pointing out that they were allowing seemingly competing companies a place on their new device if such were the case.  I’ve often seen this cited as a reason for the Nook Tablet’s superiority since that device was announced, in fact.

Naturally this relies on incomplete information.  As I have mentioned previously, companies like Netflix and Pandora were among the few to have preview copies of the new Kindle Fire before it was officially announced and blocking access to the services these companies offer was never indicated in any way.  To head off these rumors, Amazon issued a press release this week emphasizing the large selection of media based apps that we can expect to see ready for their new tablet.

In the week to come, Hulu Plus and ESPN ScoreCenter apps can be expected to appear in the marketplace.  A Netflix app is confirmed as well.  There will be games from popular developers like PopCap, Zynga, and EA.  A number of music streaming apps from companies like Pandora will be around as well.  Across the board every effort has been made to draw in app developers who might bring customers what they want on the new device regardless of how that might cause increased competition for Amazon’s own products in the long term.  Pretty much the only apps you are unlikely to see on the Kindle Fire are those from more direct competitors like Apple and Barnes & Noble.

It also demonstrates Amazon’s fairly impressive confidence in their own offerings, when taken with everything together.  As a digital retailer, Amazon serves up games, movies, music, and eBooks to Kindle Fire users.  The fact that they still anticipate making money off of the device, which they are selling at or near the cost of manufacture, indicates faith that customers will find value in what is being offered.  I would say that this has to be based on more than simply the convenience of one-click buying integration throughout the interface.

Amazon will continue to inspect all of their App Store submissions before releasing them for the Kindle Fire, but clearly this will not be to weed out the competition.  Users will enjoy the full benefits that a tablet like this has to offer, which should reassure some people who have been hesitant to join up with a platform that may have seemed at first glance to be considering emulating the Apple model.  No more reason to hesitate over this matter.

Kindle Fire to Offer Apps for Pandora, Netflix, and More

As many of you know, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has its own Android based app store that offers a free app every day.  The Kindle Fire is set to release on November 15 with a huge selection of popular apps including Pandora, Netflix, Facebook, and games from top gaming companies including Electronic Arts, PopCap and more.

Amazon is set to go with everyone’s favorite apps right out of the gate.  That’s pretty impressive considering how long it took the iPad to get a Facebook app.  But, in Amazon’s case, a precedent has been set in the android market. Whereas the iPad was the first to enter the tablet market, and is the only tablet using Apple’s app store.

EA and PopCap are known for high quality games.  A few favorites include Scrabble, Tetris, and Peggle.  Tetris has been a huge hit since the beginning of gaming systems.  Rovio is also on board, and they’re the makers of the hit game Angry Birds.  What is a tablet without Angry Birds?

Netflix and Pandora are other top apps that are available across tablet and smartphone platforms, so they are a natural addition to the Kindle Fire collection. Amazon also has its own video streaming library for Amazon Prime members set to rival Netflix.  Pandora and Rhapsody are the major players in music apps.

As far as apps go, one niche that Apple has a good hold on is Accessibility.  There are apps for the iPad that serve as decent and much cheaper alternatives to assistive technology.  I just downloaded a magnfying glass and a recorder recently. There are also caption services, and so much more.  I haven’t seen as much of this on Android systems, or on the Kindle in general.  It would be great to see apps that help people with vision, hearing, mobility, and learning disabilities.  Just another way to heat up the competition against Apple.

For more information on what popular apps will be available on the Kindle Fire, check out the latest Amazon press release.

 

 

Sudoku for Kindle

The Kindle and Kindle DX have had a version of Sudoku available for awhile, but the game just got much better with the recent release of EA’s version of the Sudoku.  EA has a great reputation for Kindle games if their great success with Scrabble is any indication.

Sudoku is a challenging puzzle game that consists of a 9 by 9 grid that is sectioned off into 3 by 3 subgrids.  Each subgrid must contain the digits 1-9.  Each grid is partially filled in the beginning with various combinations of numbers.  Sudoku comes with thousands of game variations.  You can also access Sudoku puzzles from popular newspapers.

EA does an excellent job of recreating the feel of pen and paper.  The Kindle has a well defined legend that matches the letters on the keyboard to the numbers in the game.  You can make notes in each cell to figure out where you want to place the numbers.  If the game gets too difficult, the “autofill” or “hint” features are there to help you out.

I think the reviewers do a great job of capturing the nature of Sudoku for the Kindle:

Praises

Bonnie J. Stearns:

“This game is user friendly, the graphics are clear….and yes there are varying levels that I have already found challenging. I think it is quite well done. There are also some helpful features such as optional error checking, number highlighting, hints, and the ability to play a random puzzle or program one in from a newspaper or book. I used to travel sudoku books with me. It’s nice to know that it will all be in my Kindle now.”

Ellen Bridges:

“The one option I really like is the ability to input puzzles from newspapers, magazines, etc. Although this game has thousands of puzzles, it’s nice knowing that I can get out some of my magazines and put some of my tougher puzzles in the game to solve. All the normal features are available when solving a puzzle that you put in the game yourself. You can even have the game instantly solve your puzzle for you if you so desire.”

Nicholas Sabalos Jr.:

“Easy navigation around the Sudoku board….clear, concise instructions….”Notes” feature is easy to use and, of course, integral to Sudoku….display is clear, pleasant and just plain fun to use….”Statistics” are well thought-out and great for tracking one’s progress at solving puzzles….levels of difficulty feel appropriate, in my humble opinion. Overall….one well-done, well-thought-out game that is a joy to play on the Kindle. It seems to be a perfect match for the Kindle.”

Constructive Criticism

Barbara:

I’m a Sudoku addict and was thrilled to find it available for the Kindle. This is a really good application — navigation, etc. is fine; however, I got a headache from squinting trying to see the numbers I entered. Seems like there should be a way to make them more visible yet still differentiated from the pre-entered numbers. Couldn’t see the difference between threes & eights among other things (and this was with the help of reading glasses). I gave up after doing one puzzle.

Conclusion

So, there you have it.  This is a game that is easy to navigate, provides helpful strategy hints, includes Sudoku puzzles from your favorite magazines and newspapers and simulates the feel of pen and paper.  You can’t get much better than that.

Solitaire – Kindle Edition

Solitaire, the game we all love to play when we’re bored is now available on Kindle and Kindle DX for about 4 bucks.  The quality of the game is definitely worth the money.

The game includes twelve versions. Klondike is the most well known. It also includes Pyramid, Yukon, Golf, Freecell, Wasp, Peaks, Canfield, Spiderette, Eliminator, Easthaven, and Baker’s Dozen.  So, there is a great variety to choose from.  I personally favor Freecell.  That game never gets old no matter how many times you play it.

A Couple of Neat Features to Take Note of:

Tutorial Mode – If you aren’t familiar with any of the different versions of Solitaire, you can put them in Tutorial Mode.  This mode teaches you the basics of each game.  If you prefer not to use the tutorial, the “Tips” feature can help you with specific moves or rules while you play an actual game..

Auto Move – This “cheat sheet” helps you out if you’re stuck and can’t figure out what to do next.  Oh, what would we do about our electronics and their built in “helpers”?

My biggest question about the this game on the Kindle is reflected in one reviewer’s comment: “The ONLY thing I wish they could improve on is that it’s somewhat difficult (due to the black and white e-ink display) to discern which cards are “red” or “white”.”  Assuming they mean “black” instead of “white,” this reviewer has a good point.  It appears that the shape on the card (diamond, club, etc) are the key factors in the game rather than the color.  I wonder if future games will rely more on color, and if that would be enough to prompt Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to create a color e-reader?

Based on the reviews, EA has done an excellent job creating Solitaire for the Kindle platform.  It works well for the small Kindle’s display, as well as for the larger screen on the Kindle DX.  The cards are easy to move with the 5-way toggle or with keyboard shortcuts.

Scrabble for Kindle Released

Recently we have seen the release of the first third party game to actually be sold for the Kindle.  Scrabble, an Electronic Arts release, is available to US customers on their Kindle 2 or Kindle 3 for $4.99 through the Kindle store.  This is not the first game to become available for the popular eReader, of course, but it is the first major production from a big name publisher.

Those who have been following these sorts of things, or who simply like word games and Kindles, will likely remember the release of two free games(Every Word and Shuffled Row) a couple months ago that were quite well executed and demonstrated the potential for development that was present in spite of the lack of a rapidly refreshing screen.  This version of Scrabble operates similarly.  It can be played alone in a solitaire mode for fun and practice, against the Kindle when you want a bit more of a direct challenge, and in a head-to-head competitive mode that involves passing the Kindle around. Sadly, there is no capacity for multiplayer interaction between devices.  While it is understandable that the hardware limitations of the device might make such things difficult, it is certainly a disappointing and difficult to accept shortcoming that will be a major factor in many players’ purchase decisions. Overall, however, it looks at least somewhat promising if you don’t mind that.

These days there are quite a few different activities to be found in the Kindle store, from Crosswords to Sudoku, but this is pretty much the first polished experience to be found since Amazon’s initial offerings.  Reviews so far are favorable in the extreme.  People are finding it to be a fun game, fairly intuitive, and easy to get addicted to.  As always, however, there are going to be problems and it is best to bring them out into the open.

The most common complaints so far are:

Some customers have taken issue with the way shading is used in this application.  Words occasionally become hard to discern due to overly bold board markings(double word/letter scores, etc.) confusing the play area.  There are also passing comments made that there is no major distinction made on the board between a space occupied by no tiles and and a filled one.  Empty spaces and blank tiles are effectively identical, apparently.

While many reviews state that controls were obvious and easy to understand, there are some gamers who wish that the Kindle‘s 5-way controller was more intuitive to use.  Most of those who made these complaints also went out of their way to mention that it was soon something they grew accustomed to as well.  Possibly simply a matter of users trying something besides reading on their Kindle for the first time, but it would be impossible to dismiss this out of hand without more information.

There isn’t much elaboration that can be made on this.  More people claimed that the interface was perfect than complained about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s fine for everybody.  May well be related to the control issue I mentioned above.

One disappointed Canadian user stated that as of this moment the game is not available internationally.  Definitely something to be aware of for many users.

Owners of multiple eReaders sharing one account, and therefore libraries, throughout their household may be disappointed at first here as well.  One reviewer points out for us that it seems to not be possible to share the application among multiple devices as one might expect.  Further reading and comments, however, lead me to believe that this reviewer simply didn’t know what he was doing, as follow-up comments indicate licensing for up to six Kindles.  It might just be a bit more of a pain to manage than usual.

As of the writing of this article, the favorable reviews of this application outweigh the unfavorable by more than two to one(17=4-star+, 8=3-star-), even leaving in those reviews by people misusing the space on the product page to ask questions, complain about unavailability, and generally contribute little to the understanding of the product.

It simply looks like a good deal right now, if you’re like me and enjoy word games.  It’s a gross generalization, but I’d say that likely encompasses the majority of Kindle owners.  Definitely a smart move on the parts of Amazon and EA.  Personally, I’m really looking forward to getting this thing on my DX when I get home.  Any version is likely great, but this just cries out for a larger, crisper screen to me.  If anything happens to alter my favorable outlook on all this, I’ll let you guys know.  Can’t wait to see what apps hit the store in the next few months now that there’s a precedent to work with.