The Guess Your Number game: how it works

This explains a web page blather that asks you to pick a number and then click various selections, from which the program works out which you selected (based on assuming you reply truthfully, of course).

Game link

The web page that does this is here:

I was sent a link to this page by a family member in an email that said, in huge type:

OK ! You probably think you are intelligent,
but try and beat this one !

(Yes, it was in Comic Sans MS italic too.)

About the game

It is a fairly pointless “game” unless the reason for doing it is to see if you can establish just how the program uses the answers you give to the questions it asks to determine the number you chose at the beginning. And yet, members of my family — people to whom this was sent when I also received it — all clicked the link, went to the page and tried out the program by picking a number colour and then the house in the last question, but later — when I asked them whether they had identified just how the program worked and told them the answer (which number they had chosen) — they claimed that they had no interest in that. They seemed incapable of grasping that the only possible purpose of clicking the link at all, of taking up the challenge in that screaming come-on line about them “ thinking they are intelligent”, must be to note what the program displays and then asks, and to identify, and be able to explain if asked to do so, precisely how the trivial little program answers the question it poses, namely:

Now, if you want to try the game (if one can call it that), click the above link to the swf, which will open the game in a new window. It asks you to pick a number from a table; they are integers 1 to 25, displayed in five different colours. Then it apparently guesses which you chose based on two questions that are apparently (perhaps, to some folk anyway) insufficient to decide what you picked, but in fact quite enough. The first page has this:

Now if we simply analyse this in terms of which numbers are which colour, we get this:

Fairly random; no particular pattern except for numbers 1, 2 and 3 being from left to right (and with 1 and 2 being in the first two columns as defined by the buttons in the program), when in the columns under their colours following the coloured buttons as displayed, and by what I have imposed by putting each column in ascending number order of those shown in that colour. Now look at this in terms of the order of colours in ascending numerical order:

The same. What else? Well, the saying out loud (whether two times or any other number of times) is pure buffoonery.

Next the program tells you to do this:

This is another pure distraction; this colour choice is obviously irrelevant and not used. It then says:

This is the devious bit, but it is still pretty infantile:

If we change the colours of the numbers in the houses to what they were before (and make the numbers above 25 yellow, which was not among the original five colours) we see this:

Aha! Now, every house has just one number in each colour! I wonder why!

Yes, you guessed it (I hope): once you have told the program which colour and which house your number is in, it knows your chosen number!

Then, whichever door you pick, it puts your number behind that door then displays the effect of opening that door. The idea that the number it knows was your choice is in any way behind any particular door before you click that door is of course a false assumption based on TV shows that had doors to be opened, supposedly with already chosen items behind them in a set-up in a studio or theatre somewhere. But that is part of an illusion; it simply is not the case.

Any questions?