Guess-the-verb, or guess-the-noun, is a problem sometimes encountered in
text adventureor interactive fiction computer games which have a strict or lacking command set. Usually a game has two or more verbs for an action involving a special object to allow the player to easily go or get ahead. One may, for example, enter LIFT CUSHION, OPEN CUSHION, or GET CUSHION to get the same effect. If the game does not have enough command aliases or object aliases (as for a "guess-the-noun" problem), especially for a critical step, the game may appear unwinnableand the player would be stuck until the right target is guessed or one is supplied by a walkthrough.
People whose native language is not English are particularly affected by the "guess-the-verb" problem.
TADSgames supply a fair list of verbs commonly used in their documentation; if the game designer uses new actions not covered in this list, and which cannot easily be inferred by the purpose and context of the object, the player will probably encounter this problem.
A similar problem can occur when attempting to accomplish a game goal using a certain combination of actions, locations and objects, which may appear rational and legitimate to the player, and are accepted by the game, only to be incorrectly handled and resulting in a gameplay error or game crash.
An equivalent problem in graphical adventure games is a "
The "guess the verb" problem can occur with syntax as well as with words. An infamous example of such a case was the ending of "
Leisure Suit Larry 2", where Larry had to put a bag into a bottle to make an improvised bomb. The parser had no problem with minimal phrases and understood LOOK WOMAN equally well as the proper LOOK AT THE WOMAN (and players would usually type simple phrases, since Sierra's parser isn't anywhere near as versatile as Zork'sfact|date=September 2007). In the ending, however, simple phrases like PUT BAG IN BOTTLE, the first ideas of many players, failed because the parser interpreted BAG as a verb. The only way the parser understood the phrase was by putting THE before BAG, or by referencing an alias such as AIRSICK BAG. Frustrated players tried other verbs, synonyms and conjunctions like INTO, INSIDE, etc. without knowing that only THE was needed.
Another example is in
Infocom's "Enchanter", where in order to reach into a hole, a player has to type REACH INTO HOLE, while more common and expected phrases such as LOOK IN HOLE or FEEL INSIDE HOLE do not even recognize that there's a hole in the room.
Atari 8-bittext adventure game Cloak Of Deathboasts something like "understands 32 verbs" in the cassette sleeve. However, the verbs "KICK", "MAKE" and "EXORCISE" are each required to complete the game. Each is valid only in a single place and there is no clue in the cassette or game text that these actions are possible. Cloak of death requires a simulataneous game of guess the verb and guess the noun, as seen in the following sequence: GET WIRE. GET SAW. GET BAR. CUT BAR. MAKE CRUCIFIX.
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guess´er — guess «gehs», verb, noun. –v.t. 1. to form an opinion of without really knowing; conjecture; estimate: »to guess the height of a tree, guess what will happen next. 2. to get right by guessing: »Can you guess the answer to that riddle? 3. to think … Useful english dictionary
guess — I verb assume, augurari, be of the opinion, believe, conjecture, deem, divinare, divine, estimate, forejudge, form an estimation, gather, have a hunch, hypothesize, imagine, infer, judge, judge at random, judge with uncertainty, opinari, opine,… … Law dictionary
guess — guess1 [ ges ] verb intransitive or transitive *** to say or decide what you think is true, without being certain about it: a contest to guess the weight of the pig guess what/who/how etc.: Would anyone like to guess what this object is? guess at … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
guess — I UK [ɡes] / US verb [intransitive/transitive] Word forms guess : present tense I/you/we/they guess he/she/it guesses present participle guessing past tense guessed past participle guessed *** a) to say or decide what you think is true, without… … English dictionary
guess — 1 /ges/ verb 1 WITHOUT BEING SURE (I, T) to try to answer a question or make a judgment about something without having all the necessary facts, so that you are not sure whether you are correct: I d say he s around 50, but I m only guessing. |… … Longman dictionary of contemporary English
guess*/*/ — [ges] verb [I/T] I 1) to say or decide what you think is true, without being certain about it a competition to guess the weight of the pig[/ex] Whoever guesses correctly will win two tickets to the show.[/ex] Would anyone like to guess what this… … Dictionary for writing and speaking English
guess — /gɛs / (say ges) verb (t) 1. to form an opinion of at random or from evidence admittedly uncertain: to guess the age of a woman. 2. to estimate or conjecture correctly: to guess a riddle. 3. to think, believe, or suppose: I guess I can get there… … Australian English dictionary
guess — I. verb Etymology: Middle English gessen, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian & Swedish gissa to guess, Middle Dutch gissen, gessen, Old Norse geta to get, guess more at get Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. to form an opinion… … New Collegiate Dictionary
guess — /ges/ noun a calculation made without any real information ● The forecast of sales is only a guess. ♦ an informed guess a guess which is based on some information ♦ it is anyone’s guess no one really knows what is the right answer ■ verb ♦ to… … Dictionary of banking and finance
guess —  In the earliest records we have of the verb guess, it is used for ‘take aim’. The modern sense ‘estimate’ did not emerge until the mid 14th century. It seems to be of Scandinavian origin, and probably comes ultimately from the same base as… … The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins