Monday, February 14, 2011

Gaming on the Kindle? Who would have thought it?

You wouldn’t think the Kindle was the ideal platform for gaming, but there is one niche genre where it should excel.

Black and white illustrations - classic RPG at its finest

 That genre is the “choose your own adventure,” genre of books, or (even better) the famous Fighting Fantasy series.

Originally print paperbacks by industry legends, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, Fighting Fantasy gamebooks had all the trappings of a dungeon hack RPG – dice were rolled, monsters killed, treasure chests looted. At the end of each passage of writing (typically a couple of paragraphs long), you’d be presented with a couple of options to advance. Each option would have you flicking to a random page in the book, where more danger and rewards awaited.

Lovin' the map art
The genre is seeing a bit of a resurgence. Long out of print, the books are again available, and video games (such as The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on the DS), and iPad editions of the books are now also available.

We’re promised one new book a month (given there are 60 in the series, that’s a lot of Kindle gaming). The Kindle will handle the dice rolls, scoring and inventory.

The combat screen. Simple, but strangely compelling

Given the only games Kindle owners could previously access basically amounted to Sudoku, this will come as pleasant news. The Kindle by nature excels at print, too, so the Kindle edition of Fighting Fantasy might well top the somewhat-cheap iPad editions.

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