Why Artificial Intelligence Researchers Love ‘Super Mario Bros.’

Super Mario Bros. is without question one of the finest video games of all time. Its game mechanics, physics, and challenges all form a cohesive experience that has kept gamers smashing goombas for decades. It’s damn near perfect. But in recent years, the plump plumber has found a new purpose beyond pure entertainment; for some, it is also a test bed for artificial intelligence research. The game has been used to develop AI that can learn the nuances of Super Mario Bros. well enough to beat the game, and intelligently build its own playable levels. An annual Mario AI competition even ran from 2009 to 2012. And just this week, University of Manchester computer scientists Ke Chen and Peizi Shi posted a paper to the ArXiv preprint server describing how…


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