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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 08/ 3/2010

Summer time waster: Stumping the Akinator

By Jen Chaney

Ali Fedotowsky: The Akinator knows her...(ABC)

... and it also knows Jack Shephard, Landry Clarke and even Millie from "Freaks and Geeks."(ABC)

It's a Tuesday in the middle of August. Things are slow on both the Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson fronts. You've already dissected "Inception" at least seven times and viewed numerous related mash-ups on YouTube. You need something to pass the time.

Enter the Akinator, an online game with a "Web genius" that looks like the distant cousin of Aladdin and swears "he" can guess any real or fictional character currently occupying your thoughts. This addictive online challenge isn't exactly new, but Celebritologists who have never discovered its inquisitive charms should check it out ... then plan to watch most of their mornings spiral down the drain.

The less-than-sophisticated Web design may scare you into thinking that by clicking anywhere on the page, your mortgage will somehow be automatically refinanced. Don't worry. Everything will be fine.

HIt the play button, enter a user name, age and gender, then -- once you have a celebrity or character in mind -- start answering a series of questions about them.

Personally, I thought for sure the Akinator would never guess that I was thinking of Jack Shephard from "Lost" ... until it asked if my character appeared on a TV show that takes place on a beach, and then if he was a doctor.

Crud. He got me.

But surely he won't get Lloyd Dobler ... wow, figured out that one in fewer than 20 questions, too.

That's when I went a little more obscure.

Martin Keamy from "Lost": Akinator got that in 19 questions.

"Bachelorette" Ali Fedotowsky: That one was harder. After 20 questions, Akinator initially guessed Gretchen Rossi from "Real Housewives of Orange County." But five or six questions later, he had Ali.

Landry Clarke from "Friday Night Lights": Amazingly, landed that one after 17 questions.

Millie Kentner from "Freaks and Geeks": This was by far the hardest character for the Akinator to determine. After the first round of 20 questions, it guessed Topanga Lawrence from "Boy Meets World." Ten more questions led it to Lindsay Weir from "Freaks and Geeks" -- right show, wrong Mathlete. But after 40 questions total, this unbelievable Internet guessing machine spit out Millie, although it couldn't deliver a photo of actress Sarah Hagan.

Finally, I decided to stump it with a character from a novel: Ignatius J. Reilly from "A Confederacy of Dunces." No chance, right? Looked that way when, after 20 inquiries, the answer it came up with was the Marvel character Darkhawk. But just five questions later and, yes, the Akinator knew that my predictable little mind was thinking of the protagonist of John Kennedy Toole's novel.

Seriously, it blows the mind. If you've got a few minutes -- or hours -- to spare, try stumping this thing and letting us know in the comments section which characters or celebs trip up the "Web genius" known as ... the Akinator.

By Jen Chaney  | August 3, 2010; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Pop Culture  
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I was convinced I'd fooled Akinator with my cleverness, but neither Parker Posey nor Papa Smurf took the full 20 questions!

Posted by: thriftygrrrl | August 3, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Ok, it correctly guessed i was thinking about Gizmoduck and Star Sapphire. The Akinator is good.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 3, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Guessed Temeraire and Ted Kord in 25 questions or less. Damn.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 3, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

It took 4 rounds for Akinator to guess Barbie. Come on that should have been EASY!

Posted by: kbockl | August 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Bawlmer, nice Blue Beetle reference.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 3, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Love me some Blue Beetle, Dorkus. /nerd fistbump

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 3, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

It just got Greedo and Miles O'Brien. I don't like losing to a computer.....

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 3, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, it was able to guess Vince Vaughn, but I was actually thinking of his character from Swingers, Trent. Just going by the DVDs i have sitting near the computer.

Posted by: candle96 | August 3, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Ha, got him! (Kincaid from The Dresden Files novels. Obscure, but this was getting serious.)


Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 3, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I managed to stump it with Will Tippin, Bradly Cooper's character on Alias. I don't know why I'm proud of that.

Posted by: emc77 | August 3, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Stumped it first try with Eddie Arlette from Keen Eddie--gotta love Mark Valley!

Posted by: JCR7 | August 3, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Stumped him with a character from my book who really lived!

Posted by: laurajones1 | August 3, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

It got Rosemary Woodhouse (Rosemary's Baby), and Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) in 20 questions. Finally stumped it with Chris MacNeil (the mom from The Exorcist) and Al Giardello (Homicide: Life on the Street).

Posted by: bellanika | August 3, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Akinator was way easier to stump back when it first started, but that was years ago.

That said, I just stumped it on Nils Lofgren.

Posted by: dkp01 | August 3, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Stumped it with somewhat obscure: Isabel Lukens (Kimberly Williams) from 1996 series Relativity.

Posted by: jljardon2 | August 3, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Schnookered him with Richard Lewis's old character "Marty Gold" from "Anything but Love".

Posted by: GladysKravitz | August 3, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

stumped it with Gorden Urquhart,a character from the movie "Local Hero." Had to add him to Akinator's database; it had never heard of him.

Posted by: PQSully | August 3, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

He guessed Dr Buckaroo Banzai, but I stumped him with Tralala from Last Exit to Brooklyn.

Posted by: MyPostEgo | August 3, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey DorkusMaximus1--
Which O'Brien: CNN or Star Trek?

Posted by: MyPostEgo | August 3, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

MyPost, Chief O'Brien naturally.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 3, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone else remember the old game (and quiz show) "20 Questions"? This is just the computerized version.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 3, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, but does anyone have an idea of what may be behind the Akinator's curtain?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | August 3, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

finaly! stumped him with Richard Gere's "Julian" from American Gigolo

Posted by: toneye | August 3, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

26 for Ernie B in "McHale's Navy" and 34 for the woman who plays Parker on "Leverage"

Posted by: osh123 | August 3, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

holy cow, the Akinator got "Sledge Hammer" the short-lived 1980s cop show. Scary part--129 other people remember Sledge Hammer...

Posted by: wondering123 | August 3, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I finally stumped him! With Mike O'Rourke, Michael Keaton's character from the short-lived sitcom Working Stiffs. I may not have answered everything right, though - I haven't seen that show in a long time...

Posted by: blahblah6b | August 3, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Former Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine.

But it was one of the options, I think he stumped himself by asking "Is your character governor" Well, no. Not anymore! In your face!

Posted by: Juli-uh | August 4, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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