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An AI that “solves” Super Mario Bros.

Picture: Nintendo, Flickr user labnol (CC)

Super Mario Bros. has been around for 28 years, and is an important part of not only gaming history but international popular culture, and has spawned untold bundles of merchandise, fan films, street art, and even ghost stories. The ways that people are engaging with the iconic sprites from our childhood are seemingly unending; they engineer numerous mods, remixes, and even path-finding algorithms that allow bots to play for our amusement (appropriately called ‘Infinite Mario‘).

Moving this last concept towards its ultimate end, computer scientist Tom Murphy has now designed a program that can “solve” NES games like other mathematical problems.

via  Nobel Intent (WIRED UK):

At SigBovik 2013, [Tom Murphy] presented a program that “solves” how to play Super Mario Bros., or any other NES game, like it’s just another kind of mathematical problem. And for those who know that SigBovik is an annual computer science conference dedicated to spoof research, hosted on April 1 every year, Murphy stresses that this is “100 percent real.”

He outlines his method in a paper, “The First Level of Super Mario Bros.

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