I forget how I came across this article on building AI programs to beat Super Mario Bros, Pitfall, and other games, but it is a damn thought provoking read.
Forget about beating human chess grandmasters. Now computer scientists have challenged the best AI programs to beat Nintendo’s “Super Mario Bros.,” and perhaps evolve along the way.
The new competition would pit different AI design approaches against one another, such as programs based on evolutionary learning techniques versus completely hand-coded programs. It uses a heavily modified, Java-based version of “Super Mario Bros.” as a virtual playground for the AIs, with the added challenge of endless random level generation.
Even a little success will offer up better variants of sports games, drones in various games, random level generators, and so forth. If I were a younger man I would love to be involved in this type of project.