Self-Aware Mario: More Super Than Ever

By Phill Powell

Mario has gone through a lot of changes over the decades. Now comes the video game superstar’s biggest change yet; researchers at the University of Tubingen in Germany are using artificial intelligence (AI) to create a “self-aware” version of Super Mario.

super-marioMario doesn’t just play. Now he learns, too.

How self-aware is Mario? Well, self-aware enough to answer verbal commands, and navigate the side-scrolling worlds of Super Mario all by himself. Researchers from the Cognitive Modeling department created the Mario Lives project as part of a competition sponsored by the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAI) and the results are super impressive.

Proof of Learning
For anyone doubting that Mario has been enhanced through AI, they need only ask the tiny plumber about his video game nemesis. Previously, if Mario was asked what he knew about Goomba, he would say that he knew nothing about it.

Now, if asked, “What do you know about Goomba?” Mario will say something like, “If I jump on Goomba, then it certainly dies,” indicating that the self-aware Mario is making the connection his actions have some very real (albeit silicon) consequences. It’s another step toward computers becoming more human-like.

Game On!
Do you love video games? Want to get under the hood and modify them like the researchers that created the self-aware Mario? Then check out Digital Media Academy’s kids tech camps and teen summer camp courses. Techies who love video games will get the chance to make their own and modify video games at Digital Media Academy tech camp locations across the U.S. and Canada. What are you waiting for? This is your golden opportunity to experience the game industry from the inside out!