Blindfold TV Game Shows

One of the difficulties in a building TV Game Show game based on trivia  (such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire) is finding trivia questions.  There are commercial vendors who sell questions, but they cost about $1 per question (about $1000 for 1000 questions).  For games that are used by sighted people, recouping that investment is probably easy.  However, Blindfold Games appeal only to people with visual impairments, so the audience is much smaller, and recouping several thousand dollars to pay for the games is almost impossible.

Instead, I rely on “open source” questions – trivia questions that are in the “public domain” and are free to use.  Unfortunately, these questions comes with the correct answer, but not a set of related wrong answers.

That means you would have to type, or dictate, the correct answer, and you would have to spell it perfectly.  Consider the question “Who sketched a design for a helicopter hundreds of years ago”.   You might answer “Leonardo de Vinci” or “Leanardo de Vinci” or “Lenardo Vince”.  Most people aren’t perfect spellers, so the game needs a way to know if something is slightly misspelled.

This problem was solved by Vladmir Levenshtein in 1965, who came up with a formula to compute the distance between two words.  The distance scores for the above three answers are 1, 2 and 5 respectively.  Any distance under 8 is usually considered a close enough answer.

The problem gets a little more complex if the answer has more than one word.  In this example, while you would be correct if you said “da Vinci” or “Leonardo”, the distance score is in the range of 15 to 20, which would make your wrong.

To solve that problem, some of the Blindfold TV Game Show games will tell you how many letters or words are in the answer.  Knowing there are three words in the answer, some variant of “Leonardo da Vinci” would be correct.  Giving an answer such as “Christopher de Columbus”, which also has three words, scores 19, making it wrong.

Now that this problem is solvable, I can begin building more TV Game Show games.

To get Blindfold Trivia Match, similar to Jeopardy, click here:










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