Twenty Questions

Twenty questions is what is called "a parlor game." They were very popular in the 19th century as after-dinner activities.

The traditional Victorian opening, as I understand it, which didn't count as a question, was "Animal, Mineral or Vegetable?" A hundred years later, that's not a very good opening. What we started using when I was in college and I've passed on to my kids as a better starting place is "Is it or was it ever alive?" That one counts as a question.

Another traditional question is "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"

The Wikipedia entry is well done and has references to the game appearing in A Christmas Carol by Dickens, in A Goofy Movie, on Family Guy and other places.

Twenty Questions Online

In the late 1960's or early 1970's, when computers still used punch cards, many computers had a Twenty Questions game that built itself bigger as new answers were provided by those who stumped the boolean logic already in there.

There are some online games of that nature now that people can play.

Akinator, the Web Genie!

The genie guesses characters from literature, movies, tv, or from real life)

There are options for sixteen or more languages, and they have a note asking for translators (had in 2024).

You can download an app or play it right there.

Optional specialty categories, with particular English games (Brit, Canadian, American) and instead of yes/no, you can choose ranges of "sometimes" and "rarely" sorts of answers.

If the game hasn't guessed by 20, it will keep going, but declare you the winner when it's done (because it took more than 20 questions). Then it will explain discrepancies, or clarify something, maybe. Feedback. Nice.

Zoo Keeper: The animal guessing game
"Think of an animal and I'll try to guess it in 20 questions or less."