Super Mario Brothers Can Be As Hard As Complex Math According To New MIT Study

Ah, that familiar sound... To children of the 80s, it was the sound of death, the sound of disappointment, the sound of game over. Like anything, there were prodigies that didn't hear the sound very often, and some that can even play through the game without hearing it once. But for most players, they heard it, repeatedly, and likely for years.

Well, as it turns out, MIT's Computer Science and Artifical Intelligence Lab, in association with University of Ottawa and Bard College, has found that Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo is "as hard as the hardest problem in the 'complexity class' PSPACE." That means beating a level of Super Mario Bros. is equivalent or harder than factoring large numbers or doing math problems that would be considered difficult for a human to solve without the assistance of a computer. That doesn't mean "any of the levels in the commercial versions" are that hard, but that it is possible to create within the world of the game.


So if your parents told you that you were wasting time playing this particular videogame, you can point them to this study. With a game like Super Mario Maker out there on the Wii U now, there have almost certainly been levels created that reach this difficulty level. Solve those levels, and you just might be ready for some advanced mathematics.