I can’t remember the last time I played Hangman, but I know I there was a time when I just couldn’t stop. It’s such a simple game, but it never failed to bring out the competitive streak in me. That being said, I never thought I’d come across it again.
As you probably know, in Hangman, it is usually a human being (you!) who guesses the word. A couple of years ago, however, Jon McLoone created a program wherein the human would be the one to come up with the word and the computer would be the guesser. How cool is that? (Note: Prior to this version, he created a more conventional version of the game, wherein the computer comes up with the word and a human player guesses.)
So anyway, he recently wrote about how he developed the games over at Wolfram Blog. My brain’s capacity is way too limited to understand the details in his post, but what caught my interest is his answer to his daughter’s question: “What are the hardest words I can choose, so that I can beat it?” She was obviously referring to the second version, wherein you have to come up with the words.
I will not dare to go into how he figured the answer out, but he came up with 25 words that are supposed to be the hardest to guess. Here they are (drumroll).
If you want the details as to how he figured this out, visit the link in the second paragraph. Also, you can download the game from Wolfram Demonstrations Project.