One of the recent new additions to the Kindle game collection is Inheritance from Gang of Penguins.  Cool name! The cool part about this game, is that it is a text based adventure game. The bestselling e-reader began exclusively as a reading device, and is designed for text. So, Inheritance fits into the flow of what the Kindle was originally designed for.

Text adventure games have been around for years, this is just a new means of playing them. The gist of Inheritance is: you are locked into your recently deceased uncle’s house. You unlock clues through letters so get your inheritance. It is a short, but somewhat challenging game fit for all ages. One of the reviewers noted how they found the clues humorous, making the game more enjoyable.

Another tidbit from a reviewer that I particularly liked was that Inheritance got a child who does not like to read, to enjoy this game. So, Inheritance and other interactive games for the Kindle can reach out to readers and nonreaders alike.

L. Logan

“It was a simple game, but it was quite a lot of fun.
The game is purely text-based. There are no pictures, but the descriptions are more than adequate. The hints are obvious. The hardest part is remembering where one saw which item and how to get there. The text is also very humorous, which, in my opinion, makes the game more enjoyable.”

Overall, good reviews. There were some complaints about getting stuck. But, for me at least, getting stuck makes me work that much harder to solve the problem. Which in turn makes it much more satisfying when I find that answer.

I can see a whole set of text adventure games come out of this one.  Many others would agree with me on that. It leaves room for variety and more complex adventures to satisfy everyone.

Kindle Games: $0.99 Sale and Thoughts

Today it appears that Amazon has decided that we need even more reasons to waste time in a given way.  I would be upset, but I’ve been too busy playing games to find the time.  Between now and March 27th, there’s a sale going on wherein twelve of the most popular Kindle games to date are available for a mere $0.99.  This is a pretty good list and I’m finding the games quite well thought out and fun to play across the board so far.  Included in this sale are: Scrabble, Solitaire, Mahjong, Chess, Hangman 4 Kids, Triple Town, Texas Hold ’em Poker, Sudoku Unbound, and four New York Times Crossword Puzzle Packs (2 Challenging, 2 Easy).

For those willing to give it a chance, and you can’t really go wrong at the price, chances are good that you’ll find the implementations far cleaner than anticipated.  Mahjong, Sudoku, and Triple Town in partcular, in my opinion, stand out as making the best possible use of the display and demonstrate a fair awareness of the capabilities of the Kindle.  There’s no denying that this is a simplistic collection of games that, for the most part, everybody will be familiar with, but that’s not a bad thing.  If you’re like me and carry your Kindle around with you almost all the time anyway, it never hurts to have a few more things to pick up when you’ve got nothing better to do but not enough time to really get into a book.  Can’t always get on the internet, right?

Now, Kindle games are obviously a different animal than you expect to find on most other portable devices.  The emphasis is, of necessity, on games that play with word concepts, number puzzles, and other graphically low-impact implementations.  While this is a shortcoming, as obviously this was not a device for which gaming was considered a necessary concern, it has had a couple interesting effects that I think add interesting options.

The obvious benefit for me is the revival of the text-based adventure game.  This is manifested in both a re-emergence of the old Choose Your Own Adventure type of concept and in interactive adventures like the browser based Zork implementation that made a big splash a while back.  Surprisingly, these have been the least common things to find as well implemented offerings in the Kindle store.  There are definitely quite a few of the former posted that, while fun, are a bit short-lived and seem to not quite meet expectations at the price point.  The latter are, as yet, seemingly non-existent unless you want to go to the effort of either compiling your own Interactive Fiction games and inserting them into your Kindle via a jailbreak or run one of the very rare instances available through a browser.

This seems to me like an opportunity to resurrect some old classic game design principles from the days when graphics were rarely able to provide much more than a vague approximation of what they were meant to represent.  Maybe I’m just pointlessly nostalgic, but I hope we see more of that before eInk style screens catch up to modern AV standards.