"In 1988, Inventor Robin Burgener taught his computer twenty facts about his cat. Little did he know he created a monster, capable of learning and processing thousands of words by challenging humans to the classic game Twenty Questions. Named 20Q, it exploded online and became one of Mattel's most popular toys. The Supercomputer known as Mr Q. (Mr Q.: Hello, Humans!) has beaten millions worldwide while processing billions of questions, can anyone stop this machine? It's time to play...20Q!"
The electronic game by Mattel is now a TV game show.
The game is divided into four parts.
The first part involves members of a randomly selected row of the studio audience. Mr. Q gives a category, and clues to the identity are revealed one at a time. The first contestant to come up with the correct answer qualifies to play the main game. Three qualifiers are determined in each preliminary round.
The three players then play the main game head-to-head. The computer gives a category, and then are given a choice of two questions. For example, if the category is Food and Drink, the questions would be "Is it caffeinated?" or "Is it served for breakfast?" A player in control asks either of the two questions, and if the answer is yes, that player retains control of the board; otherwise, s/he loses control. On each turn, after a question has been asked, the player can either choose a question that hasn't been played yet, ask for a new pair of questions, or attempt to come up with the correct answer. If correct, the player wins the game, $5,000, and a chance to play the semifinal round against the winner of the second main game; a wrong answer loses control.
In the semifinal round, the players compete one at a time in the same category, with one player (via coin toss) on stage and the other player offstage in a soundproof isolation booth. The first player is given a category, and then must guess the category answer in a number of clues. The other player must play the same category, and must give the answer in fewer clues or else the first player wins a prize and goes to the end game.
In the end game, the player is given a selection of two categories, and the computer must play the game as the contestant asks questions from a list. While the computer can attempt to answer at any time, the contestant is only given one chance to guess the answer. At a critical point in the game, the computer goes into "sleep mode" and the host asks him/her if s/he has any idea what the answer is, after which Mr. Q awakens from his "nap". If the player buzzes in with the right answer before the computer does, s/he wins $20,000; if the computer is wrong, the human contestant gets one chance to win; should s/he be incorrect or the computer comes up with the right answer first, nothing additional is won.
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