A new study led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that playing Super Mario Bros. is as difficult as solving complex mathematical problems. According to the study, it is “possible to construct P-SPACE-hard levels from the raw materials of the ‘Super Mario’ world,” meaning that solving a level is as difficult as factoring large numbers or solving the infamous Travelling Salesman problem.
The team behind the paper said that it “doesn’t attempt to establish that any of the levels in commercial versions of Super Mario Brothers are that hard, only that it’s possible to construct PSPACE-hard levels from the raw materials of the Super Mario world.” Essentially, the game is scientifically difficult, but not necessarily difficult for all potential players. Previous research by the team has shown that SMB is “at least as hard as the hardest problem in NP” but were unable to determine whether it was any harder.
Additionally, the study indicates that computational models and video games can be used to influence each other. The team said that “mathematically, video games are not very different from computational models of real-world physical systems, and the tools used to prove complexity results in one could be adapted to the other.”
Source: Miss Open