20 Questions



Here’s a snapshot of a day in my life:

“Mom, where’s my coat?”

“Honey, am I supposed to pick up the dry cleaning?”

“Have you read my memo on search engine optimization?”

“Mom, why do I have to shower EVERY day?”

So you might wonder if I’m insane or just conditioned to play a game of 20 Questions.  I like to think it’s the latter, but several friends, at least one family member, and a licensed member of the state medical board say it’s the former.   And not just for playing 20 questions.  But, as usual, I digress.

20 Questions is a cute little game from inZania, the same folks that brought us Study Arcade and Mad Libs, both of which I find a ton of fun.  And 20 Questions is fun too.  I don’t have to explain how the game is played…do I?  Really?  Fine – it’s the same game you’ve played in the car with your parents on road trips, and the little electronic version that you may have seen.  You think of something, and the game tries to read your mind, and has 20 questions to ask before guessing the answer.

This game asks all the questions you’d expect (like, is it animal, vegetable, or mineral as question 1), and continues to ask questions until it has to guess.  If the game guesses at question 20 and gets it wrong, it gives the player the option to continue for another 5-10 questions to try and guess and learn.  If the game guesses wrong, it asks you to type in the correct answer so it can learn from its mistakes.  The game needs an internet connection because it uses a “brain” on the ‘net to not only figure out what the next question should be, but also to learn what the right answer should have been.

The graphics of the little Magic 8 Ball (that’s what I call him) are clever, and change expression along with his guesses and the game results.  For a simple game, it is engaging, and I think the Magic 8 Ball guy they created helped to draw me in and keep me entertained.  I played for 30 minutes straight yesterday while waiting for and appointment with the vet, and my kids played it last night and thought it was a fun way to pass the time. 

I will say that it only guessed right about 40% of the time, but this is a new game, and if it is truly learning, then I expect the accuracy rating to go up.  The $2.99 pricetag may be a little steep for a game that is so simplistic, but it’s a game that doesn’t have levels that you conquer and then get bored with, and it’s a different game every time you play it, assuming you don’t always think of the same object.  With as much time as I spend waiting for delayed airplanes, I think 20 Questions will help make that time more bearable.

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