When I released Colonize on Google Play in November, I sent out about 50 requests to websites that review android apps and games. In the end, three sites were kind enough to review the game, and I was grateful for their help in getting the word out. I would have loved to do the same thing for the Nook version of Colonize, but there was just one problem: there are no review sites (or no good, active ones) that review specifically apps that are on the Barnes and Noble Nook.
I have spent some time looking for places to get my own games reviewed. The first source, and probably the most useful, would be Barnes and Noble itself. So, what kind of publicity does BN offer? Well, in the app store on the device, there are listings of the “best new” apps in several categories (such as games). But, on my Nook Color, that list did not update for more than six months, and it was not really clear how apps were selected for the list, so that did not seem to be a useful channel to me.
There is also the App Buzz, where the Nook Blog occasionally posts on new Nook apps. However, these are usually major releases, or apps that will be popular even without Barnes and Noble’s help. Since October, App Buzz has incluced: Fruit Ninja, Pac-man, Angry Birds Star Wars, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots, and Where’s My Perry? Most of these need little introduction, and the main focus of the App Buzz seems to be to tell Nook users that they will have access to the most popular apps on other (Android) devices.
In my (Google) research for this post, I also came across Nook App Review, which describes itself as “a blog that reviews Nook Apps, analyzes them to death, resuscitates them with suggestions and ideas, and tries its best to be entertaining and useful.” A survey of old posts made on the blog revealed that while some of the blog’s original posts did actually review apps, it appears to have moved to simply listing each week’s app releases, then stopping altogether. Recently, the blog has started posting again, but mostly the content is promotional in nature, talking up the new Nook products. The last review that I found was from July of 2011 for kid’s puzzle games.
One other site that I found (which may still be functional) that was focused on Nook apps (Best App Review 247), but so far as I could tell, it has no real reviews, and just reposts material from Barnes and Noble website (though it does have an option of leaving your own review and rating for an app). From what I could tell, not all Nook apps are even listed on the site, so at the moment I don’t recommend using it to find interesting games for the Nook. I also came across references to Nook review sites, or Facebook pages that posted Nook app reviews (and if I’ve missed any good ones, please let me know), but I did not find any site that looked active, and easy to find.
Why are there no good review sites for Nook apps? I can think of a couple of reasons (which may both be involved). First, it may be that the Nook app store has few exclusive apps, so if an app is interesting, it is likely you can find a review somewhere else (of the Google Play or iOS version). Or, it could be that Nook users do not look to review sites as often as other Android users, and instead browse apps mostly on their device or Barnes and Nobles website.
Either or both of these points may be true, but in my opinion it would be valuable (both to Nook users and to developers looking to be seen on the Nook) to provide Nook users with more information about apps (and specifically games). And especially about games they have not heard of already (re: Angry Birds, Where’s my Water? etc.). The Nook store is getting more crowded every day, and most of the interesting Nook games are paid (since Barnes and Noble does not allow in-app purchases or advertising, paid apps are the only way for developers to earn money on the platform). While Nook users can more often get a demo (free trial) of a game today than a year ago, many Nook apps still lack a free trial. So, Nook users are presented with more and more options, but perhaps less information about those options than they would have on other platforms (where more apps are free, or more lite versions are available).
So, this week I’m going to start looking though games on the Nook (using my old, trusty Nook Color) and use this space on behaviorgames.com to tell you a bit about them. Expect short reviews of new and unknown games on the Nook, and specifically ones that you won’t find reviews of elsewhere. I’m going to call these posts the Game Nook, and if you have a game that you think I should try out, you can send me a tip at support AT behaviorgames.com.