If you are looking for a fun gadget or gift that won’t break the bank look no further than the Radica 20 Questions. I received one of these over the holidays and at first glance it did not look like much. Very simply, it is the popular game of 20 Questions in electronic format. We’ve all played this game with friends, but how about with artificial intelligence? You would think it would be easy to stump a little plastic ball that fits in the palm of your hand, but you’d be wrong.
The game is incredibly simple. It has an LED screen for text and four main buttons: Yes, No, Sometimes and Unknown. When the ball asks you a question you simply answer with one of the four options. After 20 questions it guesses what you are thinking of, and it is usually right! If it does not guess your item after 20 questions it will ask five more and attempt to guess again. If it is still incorrect after that you win.
To test this I started off fairly simple and the first thing I saw on my desk was a pen. Sure enough, the game knew what I was thinking of. So, I stepped it up a notch and was thinking of a stereo. Again, the game knew it. How about a coffee mug? Spot on. A magazine? Ahh, I stumped it! Or so I thought. The game thought I was picking a book, but after asking a few more questions it knew it was a magazine. Quite impressive for a little colorful ball. I was able to stump it when I picked very obscure things or specific models, but for virtually every type of thing you can think of, it will guess correctly.
So if you are looking for cheap entertainment or something for your friends to play with when they come over, this could be a neat toy. It also makes great gifts for kids as they will be amazed at how it can read their mind. While I see most places online sell the game for just under $15 I noticed the price tag on the one I received was for $9.99.
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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.
It is pretty fun, I'm glad I received it now. It comes in handy at the office when you have a few minutes of downtime.
Isn't that thing great? We got one last year as a gift and we still use it all the time, it amazes me every single time we play with it.
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I played with one of these for a while in a Brookstone when I was stuck in the Atlanta airport for some 12-hours. Pretty fun.
You can play online for free though at http://www.20q.net/