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Amazon’s Kindle As A Gaming Platform?

Thanks to a story posted on ZDNet, it appears that Amazon has released a Kindle Development Kit that allows 3rd party vendors to create content for the mobile reading device. Recently, two applications were made available on Amazon’s website to download to a Kindle device.  Both applications are games and are at this time free.

The first game, Every Word, is a  word scrambles game. Test your vocabulary as you try to find as many words from the scrambled letters in this fun and fast-paced word game.

Here’s how it works. You are given six or seven scrambled letters with the goal of finding as many words as you can. You score points by filling out the words in each empty spot on the board using only the letters that appear at the top of the game board. Keep at it until time runs out or until you fill up the board. The more words you make, the higher your score!

Your score is comprised of two components: first make a lot of words, second try to make the longest word possible in each scramble. The best way to increase your score is to do both, but it’s a huge bonus to find the longest word possible. Why? Because when you do, you earn the right to play a completely new level with a brand new set of letters. As long as you keep finding the longest word, you can move on to a new level with a new jumble of letters and push your score higher and higher.

The second game, Shuffled Row, is a game in which you see how many words you can make from 60 lettered tiles.

The tiles are added to your row one at a time so you’ll constantly be working with a new set of letters. After you submit a word, the letters you used will be removed and new ones will be added. Increase your score by using less common letters. Create longer words and increase your score even more.

If you don’t use the letters fast enough, they’ll disappear and new ones will take their place, so you’ll have to decide if you want to play it safe and use short words or try to wait for more letters to form longer words.

A letter from the Kindle folks also states that the company is still planning on opening the program to more developers:

“We continue to work with limited-beta developers who have been given early access to the KDK and appreciate your patience while we work towards opening up the program to more developers. Stay tuned.”

With the Kindle screen being only monochrome e-ink, I have to wonder just what types of applications will be made for it in the future.  I am not sure of how many games could be created for the Kindle as the limitation of black ink makes it hard to create a graphically intensive game.  However, if there are more word games, Sudoku, or crossword type games released, I think those will have more of a shot at becoming popular.  They would certainly make the Kindle feel like reading an actual newspaper and then completing the daily crossword puzzle.

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