Mario Lives AI
Mario exhibits self-awareness and concern for Goombas in Mario Lives. University of Tubingen


  • Users able to talk with and teach gaming icon
  • Platforming plumber ponders life's meaning

Students at Germany's University of Tubingen have created a programme that gives Nintendo's iconic mascot Mario artificial intelligence (AI) which allows it to learn.

The project, called Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent, allows players to communicate with and teach Mario about the familiar game he inhabits – recreated by the researchers.

"Mario, how do you feel," asks one student in the example video below. "I feel very good," replies the plumber. Later the AI is asked what he knows about enemy Goombas. "I don't know anything about it," he responds before being told to find and kill one. He does so, then is asked what he knows about Goombas. "If I jump on Goomba, then it maybe dies," he says.

The character can also be curious about exploring his environment and learning more about the power-ups he has yet to use. He also plans ahead to complete the level.

Mario Lives was created as an entry for the annual AI Video Competition. The AI Mario can also react to people toying with, or trying to influence his emotions. For example a human can lower his "hunger" value, and in response Mario will "eat" coins to rectify it.

The project was created by Stephan Ehrenfeld, Fabian Schrodt, & Professor Dr. Martin V. Butz.