Amazon Releases A New Game About Books

Alice in Wonderland screenshot from Amazon Living Classics Facebook game

Last year I co-authored a game for Amazon’s Kindle. So imagine my surprise when I learned that Amazon had written a new game of their own. Plus, this game was about books — a chance to enter into the world of all your favorite storybook characters. But what’s even more interesting is that Amazon has just launched their own fancy game-creating studio!

“We’re so happy to finally be able to reveal the social game we’ve been hard at work on,” Amazon posted at Games.Amazon.com. It’s called “Living Classics,” and it’s a lavish production, with soaring classical music playing in the background, along with full-color pictures illustrating scenes from the books. It’s a “social game,” which means it’s currently available through Facebook at apps.facebook.com/LivingClassics, and Amazon’s encouraging you to play it with your friends. “We know that many Amazon customers enjoy playing games – including free-to-play social games,” they write, “and thanks to Amazon’s know-how, we believe we can deliver a great, accessible gaming experience that gamers and our customers can play any time.”

It seems possible that Amazon might eventually release a version for their Kindle Fire tablets. This spring they announced an upgrade to the features they were making available to Kindle Fire developers. It included the ability to make purchases from inside a Kindle Fire app — which is also something you can do in this new Facebook game, Living Classics. For $1.00, Amazon will sell you $5 of “virtual” cash that you can spend inside their game!

The web page explains that Amazon Game Studios “is exactly what it sounds like: a new team at Amazon that’s focused on creating innovative, fun and well-crafted games.” And I can’t wait to see what they come up with in future releases, and I’m really impressed by the quality of Living Classics…

So how does the game work? Amazon’s game presents you with a picture of a scene from a famous storybook. (For example, the first scene shows Alice in Wonderland receiving advice from that giant caterpillar…) They’re detailed scenes, but if you look closely, you’ll see that some of the characters are actually moving! The object of the game is to click on every one of the moving items — and to do it as quickly as possible!

Each time you succeed, you’re rewarded with a cartoon fox. (Your ultimate goal is to re-unite all the foxes who’ve gone missing from their family, and one fox returns for each picture that you successfully complete.) They’ve wandered into all kinds of different storybooks, including The Wizard of Oz, King Arthur, and even some Wild West Tales. “The foxes I drew with my magic ink have come to life,” explains an introductory letter on the game’s first page, “and gotten lost in their favorite books.

“Only someone with a good heart can find my foxes again, someone like you.”

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