Alright, I suppose technically this is more of an entertainment app than a game, strictly speaking. This hasn't stopped me from trying to stump it (and having a great time doing it) for the past hour. Akinator [$1.99] and Akinator HD [$1.99] ask you to think of a person or character, then asks you a number of questions. These questions can be answered by buttons for "yes" or "no", as well as "I don't know," "probably," and "probably not" in case you're not sure. The Akinator will start asking you incredibly vague questions such as whether your character is male or female, or whether they even really exists. A few questions in and it will start asking you more and more specific things, right down to the color of their hair.

The sheer amount of stuff the Akinator is capable of guessing is just incredible. It's been able to come up with Mr. Pink from "Reservoir Dogs," Alex Trebek from "Jeopardy," Sebastian from "Little Mermaid," and George Washington. It even can do comic book characters:

This is definitely a novelty app, especially considering you can play with the Akinator online for free, but as mentioned previously-- I've been having a ton of fun with it. Also, answering the questions truthfully, I've yet to be able to think of something it doesn't know. Something to keep in mind, the Akinator requires an internet connection... an unfortunate side effect of being able to guess every person ever.

  • http://twitter.com/ostroffj Jonah Ostroff

    I imagine it requires internet access to run? Otherwise, that's a TON of data for a program to have to download.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Ah yes it does require an internet connection. Added that to the post. ;)

  • http://lajcik.org/ Lajcik

    I can guess it's a fun implementation of a neural network :) It's been around for a long while :)

    • Bobby

      Actually, if this is what it sounds like, I had a version of this program I remember playing with as a kid - except that one was called "Animal" where you tried to guess the animal it was thinking of. It was one of those games you type in from a book of BASIC programs, back in the day. It was fun to play with the source code. (That's how I learned programming, which is my career now.)

      It isn't a neural network. It's a simple binary tree. Each node in the tree is a question with two children - one for the "Yes" answer and one for the "No" answer. At the bottom of the tree, the leaf nodes are all answers.

      The way the Animal game learned was, when it got down to a leaf node, if you told it you were thinking of a different animal than its guess, it asked you (1) what it was, and then (2) to type in a question that would distinguish its answer from your answer.Then it inserts your question into the tree, with two children - your answer and its answer, as leaf nodes below it.

      Simple - but very, very cool. I've run across several implementations on the internet. What's cool about those of course is they can incorporate a very large tree. And if they support "learning" you get input from lots and lots of users. (Which can sometimes lead to interesting garbage.)

      Anyhow - fun stuff. I'll play with it later. :)

      • http://lajcik.org/ Lajcik

        Maybe you're right. On the other hand - a b-tree is a simple process of following a set path of left/right nodes and akinator seems to be smarter than that (I'm talking about the online version - akinator.com). It doesn't always start with the same question, proposes different answers when you point out the answer it came up with is wrong and takes probabilities into account (the 'maybe' answers) . Also it seems to account for people feeding it lies, meaning you can't easily fool it to present elmo instead of bruce willis ;)

        I guess it could be done with a b-tree just as well, just that the NN would be a more elegant and smarter way to get there, not to mention more fun to code :)

        I guess only the original author could say what's under the hood.

  • http://lajcik.org/ Lajcik

    I can guess it's a fun implementation of a neural network :) It's been around for a long while :)

  • TheTheory

    It guessed Ford Prefect (from Hitchhiker's Guide) and Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie detective), but I stumped it on Terry Gilliam (Monty Python / director). Though I'm pretty sure I didn't have enough information for Gilliam.

  • Bramsey89

    It guessed "Toan" from Dark Cloud.

    GG.

  • Anonymous

    It's the same game you can find on the Tiger Electronics isle in Target for years - just with graphics :D

    • Adams Immersive

      True. (And a bigger dataset!)

  • http://www.1mediere.ro Mediere

    It's a great game, and now i can play it on my iPhone!

  • JeffVader

    Did the online version; stumped it on Maurice Boucher, even though it had him in its dataset (when it asked me to identify who I was thinking of, it had him in the list of suggestions.) It got into a weird, American-centric loop where it had identified who I was thinking of as Canadian, yet kept asking if he was from Latin America or the U.S., even though I had already said he was Canadian. Maybe French-Canadian drives it nuts. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/DaveMc99TA Dave Mc

    test

  • Lanstar

    Wow i was sure i could stump it in one try but it seemingly miraculously guessed exactly the right person! I had in mind japanese singer Utada Hikaru and i don't know how it did it since its questions were still so general... there are plenty of female japanese singers who meet the qualifications of the questions asked (i think)? I will try again with a more rare character if i can think one up! Tons of fun!

  • someone

    its really cool, but half the people i pick are not guessed :/

  • Massl

    App isn't New in Germany. Old App

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      It was released on August 14th, 2009. This doesn't make it any less fun, does it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cat-Astrophy/100000838113704 Cat Astrophy

      It does make it outdated. There are plenty of newer apps to cover. I don't think come here looking for you to dig into the vault.

  • Mythir

    This thing is incredible! It guessed:
    Kurt Cobain Chris Cornell
    Mark Rutte (prime minister of The Netherlands) Eric Cartman
    Dave Grohl Tim McIlrath
    Taylor Hawkins Rivers Cuomo
    Krist Novoselic Josh Homme
    Eddie Vedder
    Matt Cameron

    It didn't guess:
    Nate Mendel

    But this program is still incredible!

  • Tower Defender

    Oh my god this game has to get out of my head. It guessed everything from popular politicians, my local mayor, a specific character from a cartoon, down to one of my very own relatives....

    The only thing it got wrong was that the game mistook Liza Minnelli for Cher... but with a few more inserts, it guessed correctly :).

  • Jas

    Seriously mindblowing ability to guess historical figures I was certain it would never get. Very very impressed.

  • Anonymous

    Still doesn't know Hepzibah from Starjammers even after I've introduced it 3 times in the past year.

  • Gert

    This is a lot of fun.

    And it's probably generating some very interesting database.

  • Funksoulxl

    Guessed Gordon Freeman, didn't guess Zak McKracken (although it had him in the database). I guess Zak is too ordinary for the recongition algorhitm to pick him up? :)

  • Raistlinthewhite

    My parents were able to stump it with a few characters from novels, but i've only stumped it once with an anime character, but the character was in their database, so i don't know who described them wrong.

  • Adam K. K. Figueira

    Just triedd Akinator. Stumped it first character. Didn't lie about anything. Woo!