doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Them’s fighting words

Warning – time sinkhole ahead.  A really fun and challenging one though.

From Google Research comes Semantris.

It’s a pair of word games driven by machine learning.

You have a choice of playing for speed or for accuracy.

I prefer to play for accuracy so head to the Blocks option.


This is where the machine learning kicks in.

The concept here is to stop the bricks from reaching the top of the screen by trying to describe one of the words in a box.

It’s easy to play and describing how to play is actually pretty easy.  But, it’s not easy to beat and eventually, I lose.  But, in a good way.  Trying to figure out what’s going on is fascinating to me.

The other game is the Arcade and you’re playing for speed there.  It’s fun but I’m drawn back to the Blocks just because I like to feel like I’m watching my computer think.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!


3 responses to “Them’s fighting words”

  1. I like playing with words. I may need to check this one out. Thanks Doug!



  2. Andrew Forgrave Avatar
    Andrew Forgrave

    Hmmmm. I wonder.

    At your recommendation, I tried the Blocks game. First on my iPad (which requires the pop-up keyboard, hiding most of the blocks while you type), and then at the computer. My thinking and typing seem to be faster than the machine. It doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with me, and so I wonder if its thinking speed is the limiting factor?

    In trying to think strategically to remove as many blocks as possible, I find there are times when the game makes unpredictable or “worse” choices than I would expect it to.

    Case in point — I was trying to remove “vegetable” — and so I typed “animal mineral.” It selected something else (not sure what, I was watching for vegetable to go, and it didn’t.) So I then did “tomato,” and it removed “vegetable.” As everyone knows, a tomato is a fruit. (LOL.)

    However, it is a nice Saturday morning diversion. I don’t know whether it will hold my attention if I continue to believe that it doesn’t think quickly enough. Is it the game, or is it me? Guess I better play a bit more to find out.


  3. I think I’ll share this with my class for a quick diversion. It’s a great literacy tool!


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