Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blackjack for Kindle (free) and other recently released Kindle games


I was so caught up in the Books in Browsers announcements yesterday, I missed the alert from Golf11, who usually sees these things earlier than most.  Blackjack!  Of course, the display won't be in color but the Kindle-book covers are shown in color too.  This is playable on all Kindle 2, 3, and DX models.  As far as I know, Kindle  (UK: K3) games are not yet available outside the U.S., but the plan is that they will be eventually.  Here's Amazon's description:
' The Kindle version features all of the most common aspects of the game including splits, double down, surrender and insurance, as well as multiple options for customization that allow you to play the style of Blackjack that you want to play.  For example, you can configure the game to match specific structures like 'Dealer must hit soft 17' - a common rule variation in many Las Vegas casinos.

The built-in advice feature, which you can turn on and off at any time, applies basic strategy and will recommend the best course of action to maximize your chances of winning. '

I try not to think about Kindle games lately (they've been releasing quite a few) because I became a bit addicted to the first two games (Every Word and Shuffled Row) and wasn't reading anymore, so I went cold turkey after reporting on Electronic Arts's Scrabble game.

Since then, Amazon has released other games, the most recent one being Mahjong Solitaire

This is also available for all Kindle 2, DX and Kindle 3 models.  Amazon's statements about shipping outside the U.S. eventually are quoted in the linked "Every Word" page above.

  The product page for Mahjong Solitaire shows it is "sold by Mobigloo" and that "This price [$3.99] was set by the publisher."

  Amazon's description:
' In Mahjong Solitaire, you match pairs of identical tiles in order to remove them from the board. Only free tiles can be matched. Tiles are considered free if they do not have other tiles to either the left or right of them, or on top of them. The objective of the game is to clear all the tiles from the board. The game ends when all tiles have been removed or when there are no more free tiles left to match.

Mahjong Solitaire tracks the number of pairs of free tiles available to be matched for you. In addition, the game allows for unlimited undos, and contains a Hint feature that will give you suggestions for your next move, as well a Shuffle feature that will rearrange the tiles when you get stuck.

Mahjong Solitaire provides 10 different game board layouts to choose from. The game maintains game statistics that track your best time for each layout finished. '

On December 3, two other games were released.
  These are actually two versions of the popular word scramble game Jumble for Kindle: Jumble 10 which contains 10 Jumble puzzles ($.99), and Jumble 50 which contains 50 Jumble puzzles ($3.99).

You can read about how these work, at the linked pages.  Amazon says that Jumble "is one of the longest continuously running word games in the world. More than 60 million people in over 600 newspapers, in books and magazines, on dozens of websites and on mobile apps enjoy Jumble every day. Try out Jumble on Kindle today and find out why."

I must admit I've never heard of it.  Pricing above can be changed at anytime, and these are shown just to give you an idea.  The Kindle forums have positive word on most of these.

ALSO relatively new: Hangman for Kids and EA Sudoku.
  You'll see various other Kindle games recommended too on those pages.  While the Kindle Apps store is not "launched" yet, it seems to be churning out games and there are customer ratings for them.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. Games, games, games.... What if we don't like games? When is Amazon going to release an app that actually does something useful?

    I'm reminded of the railroad industry after WWII. It thought it was in the rail business. It didn't realize it was in the transportation business and got stomped by trucking (for freight) and the airlines (for passengers).

    Amazon sees the Kindle as part of its book business. It bends a bit to allow in games, but no more. It forgets that the Kindle isn't an ebook reader. It's a handheld computer with Internet access that happens to be limited by a slow, greyscale display. There's a lot it could do that it isn't doing.

  2. Mike,
    I've no doubt it'll be fairly soon that we see the Apps store and other types of apps. I do know of a couple of people who have worked on some things but they have NDA's.

  3. Let's just hope Amazon doesn't get caught up in the whole "apps" hype and turns Kindle into a tablet to compete with the Nookcolour, iPad and Galaxy...
    Jeff may have said there are no plans, but plans can change quickly and Amazon isn't in the process of announcing anything until it's ready to ship so "no plan" could just mean they're not yet ready to ship.

  4. After some initial interest (and purchases), I've stopped paying attention to Kindle games. I have an iPod touch for that sort of thing, after all. But the games seem to be selling well, so I'm obviously wrong about their appeal in general.

    As for other types of apps, again, I'm skeptical that any will be of interest to me, but as a good skeptic, I am prepared to be wrong about that.

  5. j,
    Why wouldn't they eventually have a *supplmentary* model that does other things while the Kindle remains the basic reader?

    TechCrunch already reported confirmation from their sources at Amazon that they're working on a tablet.

  6. I like the idea of games and apps. The end of the day, this is not just an e-reader. If it was, it wouldn't have a browser/mp3/text to speech features. The more features you can tack onto it, without losing sight of the main function (reading), the better.

    The only sad bit for me, is that the screen and keyboard does not facilitate note taking.

  7. I seriously doubt Amazon is going to build 2 devices with basically the same functionality but completely different technology.
    So that tablet will replace the Kindle, not supplement it, in their product lineup, just as I think the Nookcolour will replace the Nook in B&Ns lineup (or maybe both will be discontinued if the stories about Borders buying B&N are true).

    It doesn't make economic sense to do anything else. The only reason there's a Kindle and a DX is that they're essentially the same device in a different form factor. Extra cost (development, manufacturing, support) to run both in parallel is rather low.

    So what we're I think going to see is a 9" Amazon tablet replacing the DX, followed shortly after with a 7" tablet replacing the K3.
    Or maybe Amazon just licenses Samsung's Galaxy and helps finance a 9" version of that one, but that would require the price of the Galaxy to drop by some 80% for it to match the current price of the K3.

  8. Does anybody think the current Kindle could ever stream audio, like a radio station, from the browser? The tools all seem to be there; a browser, speakers an mp3 player. Maybe a radio app?


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