We previously reported on two games becoming available for the Kindle: Every Word and Shuffled Row. At the time I wasn't very impressed with the quality of the games, but it was the first iteration of games coming from the Kindle Development Kit.
Well, it's now more than a month later and I'm happy to announce that the game experience is much improved. First off, EA has joined the fun and created a version of SCRABBLE for the Kindle. The game itself plays out like you would expect, but since there's no touch screen, the developer had to incorporate ALT + [key] keystrokes for navigation purposes. As for gameplay, you can play against the computer or pass it to the other player when it's their turn. The game itself is a little slow to refresh, but that has more to do with the e-ink than the game.
While the game itself is better than the other two being offered (SCRABBLE is currently $4.99, while the other two games are free), the big news here isn't the gameplay but more the fact that a device originally designed for reading is now being retrofitted for gaming. The gaming experience is definitely not on par with the one found on the iPad, iPhone, or other portable devices, but it's good enough for the casual player, and for that reason could be a game changer, since the Kindle is an e-Reader first, and now a multi-function device second.
The first thing I thought of when I started playing SCRABBLE on my Kindle was how many hours I logged playing a Frogger knockoff on my original Blackberry, not to mention the hours wasted on the Blackberry's version of Breakout. I can imagine that people with the Kindle will now be doing the same thing. After all, what's better than a game to break up some hard core reading time?
When the KDK was first announced I was eager to see what the independent developers may create for the Kindle. Instead it looks like the big boys are getting a shot first, and gaming is on the menu. Hopefully we'll still see the KDK released to the wild, and then we'll start enjoying some killer apps, made by some previously unknown developers.