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Mario might be far from being a doctor, but if he has AI, it might not be too far off

Mario might be far from being a real doctor, but if he has AI, it might not be too far off

Don’t want to play Super Mario? Well, good, because according to Researchers at the University of Tubingen in Germany, you don’t have to. Mario can play his game all by himself!

Cognitive Scientists have injected AI into the sprite of Super Mario, giving him the ability to speak, listen, and experience emotions. And to top it all off, Mario can even learn from his mistakes, and learn not to make them again in the future, he can also learn what happens when he interacts to certain stimuli, such as collecting coins.

“We have equipped Mario with an internal motivated state, for example to collect sufficient coins whilst he is interacting with the game. We give him internal needs – what we call a constant homeostatic state – like hunger, and whenever this equilibrium becomes unbalanced Mario learns to respond based on his previous interactions with objects,” ~Martin Butz, head of cognitive modeling at the University of Tubingen~

Mario can also learn as he goes. At first he may not know how anything about Goombah’s for instance, but when he kills one, he will have more knowledge about them, such as what happens when you jump on a Goombah’s head. He is constantly curious about his surroundings and is always learning more and more about his environment in the process. You can also simply tell him what will happen, and he can learn what happens to a Goombah just from listening to you tell him. And if you ask him how he is feeling, he may respond with a variety of emotions, including Happiness and Fear. This project was part of an annual video competition organized by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, or AAAI for short. They release videos every year from scientists from every corner of the globe to showcase Artificial Intelligence in various ways, shapes, and forms.

Is this a huge step in the development of Artificial Intelligence? Will we be seeing self aware robots taking over the world soon? What do you think about this? Cool, or no?


Lucy Walcott

Lucy Walcott is a writer who loves to talk about political issues and other things. She has been an avid gamer since she was little, focusing almost exclusively on RPG and hack and slash games. Some of her favorites includes The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Ys, and Breath of Fire. Her favorite systems includes PlayStation, Nintendo, and Steam.



  • nomuru2d

    Who wants to bet that the AI would be thoroughly broken by any kaizo mod?

  • Zanard Bell

    Imagine what this could mean if they advanced the AI of boss enemies to the point that it learns your movement. Scary stuff, but ultimately what makes videogames more exciting.

  • aren’t there video games that already do that?

  • Zanard Bell

    Not so sure. Any examples that I might be missing here?

    I only know of Borderlands 2, and theirs are just implemented on the mooks, not on the bosses.

  • Max

    Actually I would love to see an AI go up against a kaizo mod. It would probably fail at first but gradually get better as it learns more. Think it would be really cool to see actually.

  • Cerxi

    The Amiibo in the new Smash Bros do this, to some nebulous degree.

  • Aaron Styles

    AFAIK, the closest to this is Warning Forever.

    Damn that’s a fun but hard game.

  • Aaron Styles

    I’d love to see the AI start from a blank state (walk/run/jump) and learn from trial and error, verbalising when it “learns” new information.

  • dsadsada

    “Mario can play his game all by himself!”

    Would it be inappropriate to make a masturbation joke?

  • Ben Jeanotte

    It’d be nice if they developed an adaptive AI like how this sounds before releasing some games. Characters that could respond unpredictably to players would so refreshing at this point.

  • Misogynerd

    Well, if it can learn certain bugs and exploits present in SMW like wall jumping, I’m sure it’s doable.

  • 33

    Arkham City sort of had this with the Mr Freeze fight where you couldn’t use the same tactic to get close to him twice.

  • David Fitzsimmons

    In that case that was not ai progression but a pre scripted series of actions that the player can perform only once with success. Not to mention the ai is not making changes to actions to stop you from succeeding with it again instead just taking steps to stop you from doing the action entirely, whereas a true learning bowser would realize the fireball hurts and will make efforts to jump them. If that first fireball did not bounce browser make make a jump only to be hit by the fireball bouncing if Mario attacked just right. So now you got to deal with boweser watching your moves and trying to dodge at just the right moments.

  • 33

    I thought it would be something like that but it’s still one of the few (probably only) example I can think of where a boss doesn’t get defeated by doing the same set of tactics multiple times and demands the player to attack in different ways. Which is a shame.

  • David Fitzsimmons

    Just a clever little illusion. Heck in my design classes the one professor was quite fond of comparing game design to stage magic and illusionists. Super awesome detail where you see every individual brick? nope, it is just a flat plane all the way with the right kind of texture and shading trickery. Same thing with the AI in most cases where it seems supremely advanced.

    here are some other examples I can think of from my classes when we discussed AI tricks.
    F.E.A.R. is very well praised for being a great example of Evolved Behavior for videogame AI. Essentially this means ‘it is technically acting according to the coding but in a way we did NOT anticipate but it is really awesome it did so.’ The enemy coding was rather simple for the soldiers, find cover and try to reposition self should the player move around a lot so they don’t just get left behind in a room never pursuing the player. What they got were enemies that flanked the player quite often, completely unintended, but a great outcome.

    In one of the Armored Core games you can actually train an AI pilot of your own and it will imitate just about everything you do, both good and bad. So if you got lucky with a few long ranged direct hit rockets out of a total of like 5 rockets fired, you should stop firing rockets in that mech and let the ai do amazing long range sniping with rocket launchers.

    Dark Souls is pretty much perfect for this, everything the AI does is based on ‘if-then’ coding. However so that players do not figure out how to trick the AI on such reactions, it is designed to initiate a completely random action now and then to instigate some new and fresh reactions from the player.