While it’s no secret that Apple’s iPad is generally better for games than the Kindle (due to its color LCD screen), Amazon has recently released a number of Kindle Games & Apps and leveled the playing field a bit. The games I’ve tried have been surprisingly good — even limited by the slow refresh rate and black-and-white nature of the Kindle’s e-Ink screen — and have proven fun and surprisingly addictive!
So far, most of the Kindle games are word games or “thinking” games of some sort: Scrabble, Sudoku, and strategy games, for example. These games usually work on the Kindle 2, Kindle 3, or Kindle DX models — sorry, Kindle 1 users, it seems you’re out of luck here. Please do check the requirements before buying one of these games.
Amazon earlier this year announced an upcoming “App Store,” which would allow programmers and developers to create their own Kindle applications and games (similar to Apple’s App Store). So far, however, we’ve only seen a trickle of games released by Amazon itself or a couple of big names, like Electronic Arts. Presumably, sometime soon the floodgates will open and anyone can write an app for the Kindle — and not just games, but also perhaps productivity apps (calendars, to-do lists, etc.), RSS readers, custom screensavers, weather apps, etc.
The good news so far is that several of the already-released apps are completely free — and I’d recommend you give them a try. I’ve played Shuffled Row and Every Word — both Scrabble-like word games — and both are excellent. After a couple of games, they quickly became pretty addicting, as I tried to beat my high score. Playing them felt more “Kindle-like” than your average game: while they were both fun, they also have a solid educational, vocabulary-building element. And the performance on my K2 is great — there’s obviously no color, but the graphics are well-done and there aren’t any issues with the animation speed. The Kindle’s full physical keyboard comes in very handy here.
There are a few paid apps too, including Solitaire (a compilation of 12 solitaire card games), Scrabble, and Sudoku by Electronic Arts. Each of the Kindle games is highly placed on the Kindle best-seller lists: Solitaire is #1 on the list of paid Kindle books (yes, the apps are mixed in with e-books), and Mine Sweeper is #1 on the free list.
There should be something on this list for everyone:
- EA Solitaire (12 card games): $3.99, rated 4.5 stars on 11 reviews
- Triple Town by Spry Fox (a board/strategy game): $2.99, rated 5 stars on 13 reviews
- Panda Poet by Spry Fox (a word game): $2.99, no reviews yet
- Scrabble by EA (the word game): $4.99, rated 3.5 stars on 57 reviews
- EA Sudoku (grid numbers game): $3.99, rated 4 stars on 5 reviews
- Mine Sweeper (popular computer tile game): FREE, rated 3.5 stars on 7 reviews
- Every Word (letter-rearranging word game): FREE, rated 4 stars on 114 reviews
- Shuffled Row (fast-paced word game): FREE, rated 4 stars on 75 reviews
Good luck, I hope you find something on the list you enjoy. Just remember not to let these games distract you too much from reading! 🙂