My New Kindle Word Game!

Throw in the Vowel 2

Guess what? I just released a new word game for the Kindle!

Check it out at
tinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel2

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.)

Screenshot of the Kindle game Throw in the Vowel 2

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
tinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel2

Throw in the Vowel 2

A Special Announcement for Kindle Paperwhite Owners

Kindle Paperwhite screenshot of Throw in the Vowel word game

The Kindle Paperwhite has only been available since early October, but there’s already a new game available for it — mine! Wednesday Amazon added our Kindle word game, “Throw in the Vowel,” to their list of games which are now also approved for the Kindle Paperwhite. I released the game with my business partner back in February, and it’s nice to see that our updates have finally paid off. There’s only 110 different games available now for the Kindle Paperwhite, but ours is one of them!

Check out the game at TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel

In two days, “Throw in the Vowel” has already become one of the Kindle Paperwhite’s top 30 best-selling games. (And of course, it’s also available for the Kindle Touch, the new Kindle, the older Kindle 2 and 3 “Kindle Keyboards, and even the Kindle DX.) But I’m excited for another reason. Some things really do look better on the Kindle Paperwhite’s glowing screen.

I’ve always said that one of my favorite things about our game was the way that it looked. Its background images show a magical mystery world where mists are shining, and there’s tantalizing words hovering just out of reach. There’s a glowing moon in the three-dimensional background, and a white light shining behind the name of the game. But now it’s a real glow — the light from the Kindle Paperwhite!

Kindle Paperwhite screenshot of Throw in the Vowel word game menu

We’d had to re-calculate the sizes of the letters too, so we ended up revealing even more of those pretty background images. I tell my friends that it’s almost a dream come true — literally! — since we’d imagined what that world was supposed to look like, and then made it shine out from the screen of the Kindle Paperwhite. Plus, the pixel count is higher on the Kindle Paperwhite, so you can see this little fantasy world in much greater detail. Now there’s even greater clarity for that light that’s shining on the columns, and the shimmering clouds in the sky.

When we released the game last February, we had no idea that Amazon would be releasing even more versions of the Kindle, but I feel like the Kindle Paperwhite is a perfect fit for “Throw in the Vowel”. To be fair, other games also look nicer on the Paperwhite’s glowing screen — and of course, they’re all much easier to play with a touchscreen interface. Our game is available on six different Kindles now — but I honestly feel that this is the best version yet.

It may just be a happy coincidence, but on the Kindle Paperwhite, “Throw in the Vowel” looks fantastic!

Visit the game’s page on Amazon at TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel

A 50% Discount on “Throw in the Vowel”!

Throw in the Vowel - a Kindle word game

It’s just 99 cents now to purchase the new Kindle word game, “Throw in the Vowel.” (I know, because I’m the game’s co-creator!) :) Take a look at this URL…

http://www.tinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel

But I was really excited to see new five-star reviews piling up for the game. It’s gotten 16 of them so far, from all around the country — from Alabama, Florida, California, Kentucky, Oregon… Those five-star reviews have helped to make it one of Amazon’s top-rated Kindle games — we’re actually two ranks above Yahtzee — and it’s always a thrill for me to read what other people are saying.

“I find myself unable to put it down…” wrote the reviewer in Louisville.

“This game is one of the neatest and most different I have ever done… Definitely a great word game if you are not into crosswords and get tired of word search.

Here’s a screenshot showing how the game actually looks. (I almost cried when I saw how beautiful the background image was, thanks to our very talented graphic designer…)

Throw in the Vowel Kindle game screenshot

I spent over a year creating this game with my business partner, Dr. Jeffrey Prince, so it was really rewarding to finally see actually people playing with what we’d built – and enjoying it! “If you love word games, you’ll love this!” wrote a reviewer in Pennsylvania, who said it became “one of my favorite Kindle games.” And Len Edgerly, the podcaster behind the popular “Kindle Chronicles” online broadcasts, described it as “Invigorating fun with words.”

“Throw in the Vowel is made to order for taking a break that refreshes and entertains. Highly recommended!”

We just launched the game this spring, but we didn’t release the Kindle Touch version until just this June! And right now our game is still one of Amazon’s top-50 best-selling Kindle games! (In fact, it’s now the #5,097 best-selling item in the entire Kindle Store!) I’m actually not sure how many days this special 99-cent offer is going to last, so this is your best opportunity to see what everyone’s getting so excited about it. As we ask on the game’s web page at Amazon…

Can you “Throw in the Vowel”? :D


Check out the game and its five-star reviews at
http://www.tinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel

Big News for Kindle Touch owners!

Throw in the Vowel - a Kindle word game

If you own a Kindle Touch, here’s two very important announcements.

First, Amazon’s Kindle Store finally got a Kindle Touch version of a new word game this week. It’s called “Throw in the Vowel” — I’m the game’s co-author — and it was released in February for all the other Kindle models. But this Kindle Touch version is even easier to play, since you just tap your finger to make choices on the screen. And unlike some games, you don’t even have to type in the letters in the words to submit your guesses!

You can find a copy at tinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel , and the game represents a real milestone. For the last four months, we’ve been fine-tuning this touchscreen version, so it was a real thrill to finally see all the letters jumping happily around the screen in response to my fingertip! And while we were preparing this game, we also learned a lot about the Kindle Touch. For example, we’ve already adapted our game for the next generation of Amazon’s Kindle Touch software!

That software is already “available” for Kindle Touch owners, but right now you have to install it yourself. Eight weeks ago, Amazon’s created a special web page where you can download the new software, along with some easy instructions for how to perform that upgrade. (Just point your web browser to tinyurl.com/KindleTouchUpgrade ). I imagine that Amazon will eventually send this software out automatically over the wireless connection, and they’ll start including it with the Kindle Touches that they’re selling in stores. But after working with it for a few weeks, I learned that this new software includes some really cool features!

For example, it allows you to translate any word in any book into another language, just by pressing your fingertip onto the word (and then selecting “Translation” from the menu that pops up.) You can even customize the Kindle itself, so all of its menus appear in one of six foreign languages. (Besides English, there’s German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese.) And you can also read ebooks in “landscape mode” as well as portrait (a feature which wasn’t available on earlier versions of the device.) Best of all, whenever you’re searching for something, the new software tries to guess what you’re typing! That way, you can just select from one of its on-screen choices rather than having to finish typing out all of the words yourself!

Anyways, these two announcements have a common theme: there’s now new ways to enjoy your Kindle Touch! And I hope you’ll try out “Throw in the Vowel.” We spent over a year identifying 750 challenging words for our game, and polishing up the game’s “look and feel” just for the Kindle.

Now that it’s finally available for the Kindle Touch, it’s your chance to join in the fun!

Throw in the Vowel - a Kindle word game