Kindle Development Kit in Beta

For a while now, I have been the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle. My only complaint has been what a closed platform it is. Reading books is awesome, but there’s so much potential in this little device…

Just today I learned that the Amazon is accepting applications for KDK Developers. What’s that? We can write custom applications for the Kindle? Heck yes! Where’s my Frotz port?

Intial reactions on Kindle Active Content and the KDK itself seem to be very positive. It uses Java. Everyone knows Java. I’ve applied to the beta and hope to be prototyping Kindle games soon!

Book-Style Annotations in Microsoft Word 2007

I’ve been testing some games for the upcoming IFComp, and when I test I like to send an annotated transcript back to the author. I puzzled for a while over the best format to use, and decided that I wanted to imitate my favorite annotated classics with a kind of two-column layout. The original transcript would be a wide column on the left, and my annotations would be a narrow column on the right. I was frustrated to discover that neither Word nor support this kind of document!

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IFComp 2010 Coming Soon…

Last year I had great fun playing and reviewing all of the games entered in the annual Interactive Fiction competition. Well, judging for this year’s IFComp starts in about a month, and I highly recommend that you get on board. Register at the website as a judge, so you’re ready when the games come out!

If you really want to get involved, you can help authors test their work by registering at Or if you’re passionate about the comp itself, you can donate a prize for this year’s comp.

IFComp 2009

Judging for the 2009 Interactive Fiction Competition is underway. There are twenty-four entries this year, and twelve prizes. I think I’ll have to submit something next year.

Anyway, everyone’s a critic, and I’m judging games. You can too – anyone who plays at least five of the games can vote. My analysis is not deep – I’m just trying to expose myself to as much IF as I can, and let my natural like or dislike of each dictate my ratings. I’ll be posting impressions here, and updating this post as I play more.

EDIT: I have now played all 24 games in this year’s comp. I’ve given them relative grades past the break.

Ratings and spoilers follow…
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I recently heard about Gunchocomp through a blog post by Emily Short. Guncho is an extension of the Inform 7 interactive fiction platform that allows the user to create multiplayer/MUD experiences. Not much has been done with multi-user interactive fiction yet, so this competition sounds like a great opportunity to try something new.

I’ve never entered something into an interactive fiction competition before. I fiddled around with Inform 7 for a while and thoroughly enjoyed other people’s work, but I’ve never made anything substantial, myself. The more time I spend with the language, though, the more I admire it – natural language programming is an amazing experience.

So I think I’ll try and create an entry for GunchoComp this year. The deadline is August 6, 2009.