Radica 20Q Challenge
- Does a good job of guessing, fun to use, cool design.
- Questions take too long to appear, time between questions is too long
The 20Q Challenge is a fun toy for kids and grown-ups alike and will provide hours of entertainment, disappointment, elation and an ego stroking sense of superiority.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
It is an obvious fact that a machine cannot be as smart as a human being, yet we derive great pleasure from perpetually proving our superiority over technology and now there is a 20 Questions game to further our quest.
The Radica 20Q Challenge is an attractive mysterious looking device designed to outsmart its human opponent by knowing what's on their mind. You are asked to choose an object and then answer a series of questions with "Yes", "No", "Rarely" and "Sometimes." Based on your answers the game attempts to guess what your object is. Most of the time it does a reasonable job but there are simple objects like "cake" and "toothpaste" that it has issues with. Also since the whole series of questions begins with the question "Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?", anything that doesn't quite fit that mould makes the poor game get confused and answer incorrectly time and time again. A Football is made of both animal and mineral components but doesn't fit in any one category, so whichever you choose; the game can't work it out.
The 20Q also taunts the player via the display when it thinks it's on the right track. The display is a spinning set of red LED lights which uses a persistence of vision optical illusion to create text floating inside the blue dome on the top of the device.
For the most part, the game does a great job of finding out your item, PC World writer Damien Donnolly attempted to thwart it by making his object an Xbox, and in the end the 20Q guessed "Playstation" which we thought was close enough to be considered right. When we used a "dog" as the object, we were feeling pretty confident that we had beaten it until question 20 when the game asked "Is it a Dog?" We were destroyed and heartbroken.
The game is powered by 3 C-sized batteries and is easily turned on via a switch on the underbelly of the device, located next to the reset button. The 20Q is fairly durable and well constructed and would make a fun toy for kids. Adults tend to try and out think the machine, and it's not too hard to do, so long as you make the object obscure or overly complicated. Most kids will probably think in fairly simple terms and so the device should prove a challenge for them and provide mum and dad hours of peace and quiet.
The only real complaint we have with the Radica 20Q Challenge is that the questions take too long to appear and there is too much time and superfluous fanfare between each question. Also, the display technology is a very cool idea but does tend to flicker quite a bit which is not exactly easy on the eyes.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
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