A team of researchers at a German university have programmed complex AI into a Mario game of their own making, using stolen graphics from Super Mario All-Stars. Instead of guiding Mario with a controller, the player talks to him and tells him where to go and when to jump.
The real twist in this is that Mario will do things on his own, without any commands, based on how he’s feeling. If he’s hungry, he might seek out coins. if he’s curious he might explore a series of platforms by himself. I hope this doesn’t mean he can feel pain, because with the sheer number of spikes, plummets, and monsters deadly to the touch, that would be a sick thing to do.
You might be saying, “hasn’t this game been invented already? This was how you played Pac Man 2: The New Adventures.” And if that’s what you’re saying, you’ve never tried to play Pac-Man 2. Or Hey You Pikachu, or “Lifeline,” the PS2 game where you had to yell at a stewardess to keep her from killing herself. It’s been done, but so far it’s barely worked. This Mario experiment is a little more advanced than that. The plumber won’t keep making the same mistakes: if he runs into a Goomba, he won’t try that again.
He even talks to you. In the video a woman speaks into the mike, “Hello, Mario.” “HELLO,” says a gruff voice that sounds nothing like Charles Martinet or even like Captain Lou Albano. You can affect his moods this way: just say “Mario, don’t be so happy,” and his attitude drops. You can teach him: after being verbally instructed by the woman on how to defeat his enemies, Mario repeats “IF I JUMP ON GOOMBA, THEN IT CERTAINLY DIES.”
See the full video for how the AI works and what its full capabilities are. It’s a good thing Germany lost World War II; we sure wouldn’t want tech like this in Hitler’s hands.