Guess what? I just released a new word game for the Kindle!
It’s called “Throw in the Vowel 2”, and it’s available on all of Amazon’s e-ink Kindles. (Even the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX as well as the Kindle Touch, the Kindle Paperwhite, the new Kindle and the Kindle 3…) It’s a big moment, and as corny as it sounds, I really want to share the excitement. And you can be one of the very first people to play “Throw in the Vowel 2” if you download the game this week from Amazon’s Kindle Store!
Or, as it we put it in the game’s product description at Amazon, “Return to the land where words can be created by combining the correct sets of letters.” (I still get a thrill every time I see that magical three-dimensional fantasy-land that our graphic designer created for the game’s background.) And I really love the way those mists almost seem glow for real whenever you pull the game up on a Kindle Paperwhite. With the newer Kindles, you can create words just by touching the “clue boxes” on the screen!
But no matter which Kindle you’re using, there’s never any typing involved, and you don’t even need to re-arrange any of the letters, since they’re all already in the order that they’ll appear in the final word. You just need to “throw in the vowel” in your head — figure out which box of vowels will match with a box of consonants to form a commonly-used English word. (For example, the box with OIOU matches with the box BVS, since the letters can combine to form the word OBVIOUS.)
My girlfriend complained that in the first version of our game, some of the words were too hard to find — so this time we started the game off with a couple of easier puzzles. But there’s still 750 “devilishly clever” words, as my friend Len Edgerly once described it. (“It’s a very simple game in concept,” he announced on his Kindle Chronicles podcast this weekend, “but devilishly hard to work through, so it’s satisfying when you have some success with it!”)
I was delighted that he noticed the game’s built-in hints, and called its other navigation features “quite elegantly done.” And he seemed to have a message for Kindle owners who are looking for a fun alternative to ebooks. “If you like word games, you should try it out. And if you bought the original version of the game, I’m sure you’re going to be glad to see there’s a whole new set of another 750 words….”
But the person’s who’s most excited about this new game is probably my business partner, Dr. Jeffrey Prince, who came up with the idea for these games several years ago. We first met at a start-up biotechnology company more than 20 years ago, and even back then he told me he’d always wanted to write a new brain-teaser game. Now Jeffrey’s in his sixties, but in 2005 he’d suggested that we finally make this dream come true. So I’d mocked up a prototype of the game, and for the next few years, we kept trying to improve it…
Actually, we spent a lot of the next five years cheerfully trying to stump each other with new variations on our puzzles, but now it all seems worthwhile. We’ve now not only released Throw in the Vowel on the Kindle, but also a second wonderful game in the same series. And when Throw in the Vowel 2 finally launched in Amazon’s Kindle Store, I asked Jeffrey how he was feeling — and promised that I’d let him have the last word when we first announced our game. And it turns out he was just as excited as I was, and said “We’ve been thrilled by the overwhelming positive reaction to our game.
“And we’ve worked hard to make the sequel just as much fun to play!”
Check it out at