It’s the new year and a lot of new Alexa users are joining the community. I noticed that there are a lot of questions about Alexa, but there is no extensive resource for the various good skills that you can find and use. I made one in the hope that this list/guide will be helpful for the people in this subreddit.
A quick disclaimer – I work for the company where we create Alexa skills amongst other stuff. During my time here I’ve tried a lot of skills and here are my thoughts. I tried to include some of the best and underrated (in my opinion) skills, not just the ones that are on the front page with 1000’s of reviews (nor just pushing the ones we made).
Anyway, here is a list of the skills I think are worth your time, will be fun to try out and hopefully add value to the community (let me know if there are more that I should add).
Earplay - Immersive stories that you can control. It has professional voice-over, which makes the story that much more interesting. Easy to control, it’s very comprehensive and best of all, it makes you feel that you are really part of it.
Short Bedtime Story - A cool skill if you have children as it tells a different bedtime story while using their name, so it’s personalised. I’ve tried it a couple of times and got a story with minions for example.
Chineasy - A surprising skill that I randomly stumbled upon. Goes together with their app, but you can learn chinese, listen to stories about the language. Not quite sure why, but it left a good impression on me, maybe the stories were of really high quality.
Curiosity - Gives pretty cool facts about the world where you can learn a lot of new stuff.
On This Day - A skill that tells you facts about what happened on this day in the past. We curate the facts daily, and it takes ±1 minute to listen through them all. History, inventions, famous people, etc. We created this thinking that it would be interesting for many of you out here.
I know that there are a lot of other “cat facts”, etc. skills as they’re the simplest to make, but I’m sure you can find any one of them by just searching using simple keywords e.g. Rick and Morty Facts.
Games (Single Player)
Jeopardy - Great trivia game with excerpts from the show, which makes it feel that you're participating in it. The questions are clear and there are six of them daily (has a paid version now with extra 6 question). I’m sure this is one of the first game that everyone plays once they get their echo device.
True or False? - We made a very simple game with the concept of True or False, where you get given questions such as common misconceptions or things that you thought were obviously true (spoiler alert, you’re wrong). It’s got clear and straightforward gameplay (all you need to do is say True or False), understands you all the time and probably best of all, the explanations given are detailed and teach you even more. Also, there’s a multiplayer mode, but more about that later. It's also available in german!
Yes Sire - A pretty good game where you as a knight balance between protecting your kingdom, not dying and not being executed by the king for having too much influence or money. Many storylines, distinct experience, can keep on playing for quite a while.
The Fake News Game - Listen to real news headlines and decipher whether they're fake or news. We made this game to help people think more critically about the news. All the stories were actually published. Some of them are Fake (factually incorrect) and some of them are News (factually correct).
Deal or no Deal - Be part of the famous game show with your Alexa. Choose your briefcase and try to beat the banker to get your million dollars. Interestingly it’s rather immense.
Holiday Song Quiz - Must be my favourite music quiz game. A song is played and you have to say what song it is. Really one of the better use cases of Alexa skills. Compete against other people somewhere in the world and beat them.
Millionaire Quiz Game - Here it feels as if you're playing in the real game in the studio, especially if you’ve got good speakers or using headphones. Great experience and the extra functions such as call a friend worked pretty well. Not sure how they did it exactly.
Six Swords - Quite an extensive game where you can walk around and fight monsters, build your team, collect items, xp, gold. Quite clear instructions what to do, and if you’re a dungeons and dragons (D&D) this may be the game for you.
Word of the Day Quiz - A lovely and lively game where you learn new words. It has recorded audio, so not Alexa voice, which is a refresher. Was a bit torn whether to put this in knowledge or in games, but I think it’s more of a game. Gives you ±4 questions at the end which you answer with yes/no and generally, it’s a pretty good experience.
BOSCH: A Detective's Case - One of those games, where you think: “wow the production on this is pretty darn good”. An immersive experience where you're in the game and you’re the character. The only thing missing is VR.
Rogue's Choice - Live a medieval life and make your choices as you try to survive through this journey. The descriptions are always very long and informative, if you’re into that - this is for you.
showbox.bio/ tutuapp.uno/ vidmate.vet/
Escape the Room - Interesting game where you try to escape some sort of a scenario, a room. In almost every scene there is something you can do. I loved it that it warned you in the very beginning that it is not an easy game, so that you don’t give up straight away.
Magic Door - A fun game, especially for children where they explore different sceneries, different pathways of the story. The sound effects really help with the gameplay.
Would you rather(s) - There are quite a few games for would you rather in the skill store where you choose whether you would do one thing or the other. The most famous one is Would you rather for family which is great for children. There are a couple of other versions, one example is a version we created: Would You Rather?. It has a lot of content and much faster gameplay. Also, we released it in Germany too.
Multiplayer (without buttons)
When I was playing and trying out various skills I failed to come across any skills that were properly multiplayer (excluding the new Amazon buttons games that just came out that is). As a response to that we created one where you can compete against others, your friends or your family playing on the same echo device.
That game is True or False. You can either play single player or up to 20 people and the game adapts. Available in german as well!
Please let me know if there any other such games where you can play multiplayer on the same device! (excluding buttons… sorry I’m not a big fan of them yet)
Big Sky - A cool weather app using hyperlocal weather information (from Dark Sky API) and it genuinely works pretty well. Imho better than the original Alexa weather option.
5-Minute Plank Workout - Does what it is supposed to do. Get motivated to do a plank workout and get your abs summer-ready (if you’re into that).
Night Light - We made a simple skill, which is useful at night, where the top of your echo device lights up, slightly helping you navigate in the dark, without telling you a thing.
Ask my buddy - For the mobility impaired or just to make sure that your family can always respond if something happens. It’s pretty darn useful as it allows you to connect to your personal alert network and individuals can alert the close ones (hands free) if something happens.
Anypod - A functional podcast playing skill, that has thousands of them and keeps adding them. Easy to get started and use.
The Bartender - If you need a cocktail this is the skill to go to. One issue that I have is that it’d be great to have metric measurements!
My Valet - Tesla Controller (Unofficial) - I personally don’t own a Tesla (I wish), but I think it’s pretty darn cool to be able to control it from your Echo device…
Daily Kindness - Listen to one nice thing you can do each day. If you carry on with it, you’ll be a much more wholesome person at the end of it.
Ditty - Say a phrase and Ditty will make it into a song for you (yup, literally.) The only thing is that sharing is darn difficult.
Bible - If you need a bible app to get up to speed with it, or explore it, this may just be the skill for you.
Zen Sounds - Healing Sounds - There are a lot of sound skills and I thought this one was really cool and I guess it wasn’t as popular as the other big ones, so I chose it (but of course there are loads and loads of other ones).
I hope you found this useful I’ll keep updating this little guide, so add your comments and I’ll try to add more good skills. This is all just personal opinion, so it’s completely cool if you disagree with it. Also, credit and thanks to wopdop for the inspiration of this guide.
Alexa Skills 101: A List of the Best Experiences for the Amazon Echo
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