23 February 2015

An Old Favorite Toy

About 7 or 8 years ago, some friends gave my family this thing.

I don't know where they bought it, or if it's still made, but it's amazing.

This little dome of blue plastic and its computer brain has provided my family and all of my closest friends with endless hours of hilarity and fun.

What does it do? Simple--it plays 20 questions with you. The machine claims to be able to guess whatever you're thinking of after asking up to 20 yes-or-no questions.

And it's good, it's really good.

Some of our friends have developed the theory that the machine can hear, so in deciding on a word, they make sure to put the machine in a different room so that it can't eavesdrop on the discussion.

My siblings and I usually choose the strategy of choosing things that to us appear to be really random, obscure, and unconnected. In the past week we've tried: doormat, platypus, and faucet--it guessed them all.

One particularly hilarious evening, we thought we had hit upon the perfect word: angel. Not the one I'm married to, but the generic angel.  We giggled as we answered "Yes," "No," "Sometimes," or "Rarely." to questions like, "Can it be purchased?" "Does it bring joy?" and "Is it smaller than a microwave oven?"

(Does anyone have an estimate as to the size of an average angel?)

We were smugly convinced that the machine had no idea what we were thinking until after the 20th question, when the machine said, "You win! JUST KIDDING! Are you thinking of an angel?"

We are in awe of this machine.

Angel claims that he beat the machine with the word showerhead, but because he is Angel and because no one was with him when this supposed victory occurred, we suspect that he may have been a little purposefully vague in the way he answered the machine's questions, and in so doing, the results may not be reliable.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure it's safe to have such an intelligent toy in your house--but our home wouldn't feel quite the same without it.

Besides the 20Q's machine, I also feel great affection for Bop-it Extreme. My affection for other toys--Barbie, Lego, Play-Doh--did not extend beyond childhood.

What were the best toys you had when you were growing up?
Unknown said...

I LOVE 20Q!!!!
I got it as part of a product testing package in like 2006 or something, and it ALWAYS wins!!! The only time it didn't get it exactly right was when I was thinking of "children" and it guessed "child." But still super impressive!

Bekah Loves Blog said...

my brother had a smaller one of these when we were younger. We, too, were impressed. Though I never said the word out loud.

Julia said...

20Q! We used to love playing that, and it was scary how accurate it was!

Hayden said...

I had one of those things! It was amazing pretty amazing, although sadly mine broke a while back :(

Suzanne said...

This sounds like a fun machine. My husband would love it.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'd love to have one of these, to play it with my littles!

Moonofsilver said...

my favorite toys were the outdoors. and barbies. I had about 15 little barbies. not the adult kind, but the "little sister of barbie" kelly kind. I loved that they were kids like me!

Daisy @ Simplicity Relished said...

Wow, I would have so much fun with this thing!!! I usually hate games but this would totally be awesome.

Erica said...

That's soooo cool! Sounds like a load of fun!

Susannah said...

WHAT?!?!?!? I want this toy!!!! It sounds like so much fun!!!!

Bethany Carson said...

Ha! Oh wow! That sounds like it would be loads of fun! I enjoyed playing battleship, dolls, building blocks, and animals with a Noah's ark set when I was younger. I also learned chess at age 5 or 6--and love playing it more than ever. It's a great mental challenge.

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

I've seen these before but never knew what exactly it was! Almost like it can read your mind! Ha! Bop It was our jam for years! said...

haha I love it!
Melanie @

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness! That's crazy that it can guess so accurately with just 20 questions.

Tyler would absolutely love that toy! He forces me to play 20 questions with him all the time to figure out key aspects of our everyday conversations! I bet the machine could make my life so much easier....maybe I need one of these!

Rach said...

This is RIGHT up my alley! I love it! I Googled it and found that there's a website ( where you can play it! I have a feeling I'm about to waste a bit of time playing with this now, haha!

katie said...

My sister got something like this when I was in college. I remember playing with it one night, trying to outsmart it. I finally decided to use the word "boyfriend," and thought of my then-boyfriend-now-husband ("Does it climb trees?" Yes; "Does it have a tail?" No...). It made it through all twenty questions and I saw smugly, sure I had defeated it...did it guess "boyfriend?" Nope. It guessed "soulmate."

True story. =)