Thursday, August 5, 2010

Amazon offers 2 free games, for Kindle-2 and DX customers in the U.S. - UPDATE2

Amazon has announced in a few places that they are now offering two word puzzle games for Kindle -- Every Word and Shuffled Row.  Both are free and they encourage you to check them out.

Availability of the two downloadable games
 Unfortunately, the "you" does not include, at this time, Kindle owners outside the U.S., Kindle-1 owners, and those who might want to play these games on the various Kindle apps for other devices.

UPDATES at 3:09 PM and later to the original entry made early morning of Aug 4.
  Though some had been unable to use the Amazon Manage your Kindle page to send to other Non-Kindle-1 devices, tuxgirl, writing in the Comments area, and Kindle owners are reporting they can get copies of the games for their eligible devices (see below) by going to the Archived Items on their Kindles where either or both of the two free games will show up if you've downloaded them already to one of the devices on their account.
  For some reason, the ManageYourKindle page is not letting some move the games from that page.

  Those without Whispernet wireless access in their area can have the games (as with books) downloaded to their computer via the Manage Your Kindle page for one or more of the Kindles on their account and then just move the downloaded word game over to the "documents" folder of the computer.

People are reporting enjoying these very much with a bit of addiction also reported :-)
[End of Updates for 3:05 pm and later]

  A forum posting says that a Kindle customer representative said that the geo restriction is put there by the publishers of the games but that's not an official statement and I suspect it has more to do with Amazon policy for this phase of the apps development/release, which appears to be a sort of a try-out.

  I have no information on why other countries are not getting the games today, and these things can change.  I do wish there were a statement saying these are available only in the U.S. right now.

  It's entirely possible that they'll eventually add other countries since they've not added wording about it being available only in the U.S.

  So there has been disappointment expressed by those who can't access these currently when they follow the links announced.  I'm putting this caveat first, so that Kindle-1 owners, international Kindle owners, and Kindle-app users are aware of the current limitations before reading the invites to try these out.

The word games are listed as 'Kindle Active Content' and here are the descriptions Amazon gives:
Every Word
  If you like word scrambles, then Every Word is the game for you.  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.

Shuffled Row
  In Shuffled Row, 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.
These are both available for downloads in the Kindle Store, at the links given above.   "Kindle Active Content titles include free wireless delivery."

The Games are Available for these Devices:
Kindle (Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6")
  - (Kindle 3 with 3G/WiFi)
Kindle (Wi-Fi, 6") - (Kindle 3 with WiFi Only)
   These are the Latest Generation 6" Kindles not shipping until Aug 27 or so.

 ( I'll do, soon, an updated blog article on how WiFi and 3G wireless access differ
   Until then, please read the first half of E-Readers with Web Browsers, and WiFi vs 3G cellular access,
   which should give a basic idea of the situations in which each type of wireless is used and what's involved.)

Kindle (2nd Generation) International  and  Kindle (2nd Generation) U.S.  (These are Kindle-2  6"-screen models and the latest in-hand until Aug 27 or so.

Kindle DX (Free 3G, 9.7", Graphite) - the Kindle DX with higher contrast screen, latest generation,
   released after the next two devices just below, which are able to run the games as well.

Kindle DX (Free 3G, 9.7", White) International  and  Kindle DX (Free 3G, 9.7" White) U.S.

Side note:
Also available are other (mostly low-cost) word games for Kindle.

Check often:  Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. Hmm... Why is this US only?

  2. Magnus,
    No idea why it's US only so far. It's been widely reported, however, and apparently Kindle customer svc confirmed. Maybe they'll enable more countries as they go but the buttons are grayed for those in Canada and Australia and a couple of other countries so far.

    It may be because this is a sort of trial - the first 2 apps released in connection with the future apps store -- as this phase supposedly includes releasing only free ones rather than paid ones. At least that's what I've read.

    I don't know why digital media rights are so complex when it comes to country boundaries.

  3. Are you sure that they can only be on one device? I got one and sent it to my K3, but then it showed up on the archives on my K2 so I pulled it down to play with there. The MYK page says that it should show up in archives...

  4. tuxgirl,
    Not sure at all. At the time I wrote, the reports on the forum were that no one could use myk page to send it to a 2nd Kindle or Kindle-copatible device.

    Maybe they enabled it after. Thanks for the report! I'll update the blog entry after a bit. Just got back.

  5. Love 'em both, but Shuffled Row is my favorite. Simple design, perfect and addictive gameplay. I never thought I'd see an actual game on Kindle, let alone one of this quality...and free!!!

  6. Rich T.,
    From Astonished Walrus (Like your page), that's high praise.

    Every Word was an early favorite because Shuffled Row seemed a bit harder. This is good to hear that you consider it good quality. I'm still in the hotel and will give them a spin later tonight!

  7. When I tried to download these games for my Kindle, wouldn't let me. You see, I don't update wirelessly, because I have a US wireless K2, and I live in Korea. So...Amazon doesn't realize that I have the proper software updates. The website tells me that my Kindle(s) don't have the proper software...but they do.


  8. My Kindle was purchased in the US. However, I have been in Canada for the last few months. I just downloaded both the games in Toronto and they are working fine. I wonder how that works.

  9. John,
    When I went to my Amazon Manage Your Kindle page, there was a "+" in front of the game title and when I clicked on it, it offered to let me send it to the computer instead of directly to the Kindle.

    You could choose the computer, designate the Kindle device it would be *for* and it should be downloadable FOR your Kindle, but sent to your computer -- and then you should be able to move the file over from your computer to the Kindle's "documents" folder and it should then run when you click on it.

    Hope that works for you.

  10. Pankaj,
    As a U.S. resident and Kindle owner, you are able to use Whispernet outside the U.S. for downloads of books and small-sized games via Whispernet if the country has a wireless deal with Amazon, and Canada does.

    That's the beauty of the International model. Congrats on being able to try these.


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