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Akinator

Akinator judges you

(Click the image above for the larger version.)

I probably stumbled upon the Akinator Web game around 2008. I cannot remember anymore if I learned of it while browsing 4chan's /b/ board one day during the late 2000s and seeing a thread discussing the game (in which, as I can still recall somewhat clearly, nearly all of the participants frequently expressed their amazement that Akinator was able to correctly guess their character every time!), or if I learned of it some other way. Regardless, I can still remember playing those initial games, and being very impressed and amazed myself that he had each time correctly determined the character I was thinking of, sometimes doing so in fewer than 10 questions.

Like many other online games, Akinator has changed over time. Though I have sporadically returned to playing it for a perhaps a day or two over the years, and I have witnessed the game's design and Web site evolve over that time, my strongest impression of the game was formed when I first discovered and then played it back in circa 2008. At that time, the drawing of Akinator was placed over a simple dark blue background, with an Arabian-style lamp with purple glass to his left, and with each of the five possible answers to his questions having an animated smiley next to it—this is the version of the game which I remember the most. I also recall that back in the late 2000s, as well as a bit into the early 2010s, the first round of questioning ended at 20 questions, rather than the current 25; Akinator was also quite often able to determine my character within 20 questions, rather than today, where it is not uncommon for him to require a second or even third round of additional questioning in order to determine all but the most well-known characters. This is, of course, the inevitable result of the tremendous increase in the game's pool of stored characters due to its immense growth in popularity over the years—but, even so, it seemed more impressive a decade ago, when he was often able to correctly figure out nearly all of the characters I was thinking of using far fewer questions than he requires today.

Akinator is not really the type of game you can play for days or weeks at a time: pretty soon the novelty wears off, especially if, even after the initial 20 or 25 questions, he is still unable to successfully guess your character. The most fun, I think, comes from having him attempt to guess a character who is neither too well-known (e.g. Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, the current U.S. president) nor too obscure. If, for example, you were considering characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, you might select a recurring character like Larry the Lobster, rather than SpongeBob (who is very famous) or the forest ranger fish who appears at the end of the episode Club SpongeBob (who is very obscure, as he appears only briefly in that episode and no others), in order to produce an interesting game. Still, though, it's an amusing game, and an impressive piece of artificial intelligence.


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This page last modified on 7 February 2020.