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How an AI Learns to Play Super Mario World Better Than You

If you're like me then you can vaguely recall playing one of your first games as a kid and it was likely a Mario Bros. game. In fact, I can remember playing the original NES Mario Bros and frantically trying to figure out how to correctly jump in time with the spring before the timer ran out and I died on whichever early level that was. It was a rookie move but I think i was six and had picked up my first game controller maybe 20 minutes prior so go easy on me.

Now how long do you think it'd take a computer AI to learn how to play Super Mario World? Well check out this video of a custom AI someone built that's designed to run through the 1st Donut Plains level as it repeatedly dies but learns various things in each death that it passes along to the next life. 

It's a fascinating look at how learning is a sort of evolutionary process.

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