Suck It Math! New Study Finds Playing Difficult ‘Super Mario Bros’ Levels Is As Complicated As Learning Calculus


Super Mario Bros

I never learned Calculus. That wasn’t for a lacking of trying. My junior year, I took Trigonometry, and then senior year I took Calculus BC. Those were the two most advanced math classes you take at my school.

But I didn’t synthesize dick. Show me a fucking cosine equation today and I’ll physically fart my brain out my ass before I solve it.

However, you put me in front of an NES console and I will beat Super Mario Bros every time.

Which is the more mentally stressing task? You would think Calculus, but nah uh, says a new study. Via Digital Trends:

According to MissOpen, a team of artificial intelligence and computer science researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently published a study showing that beating a level in Nintendo’s seminal platformer is “as hard as the hardest problem in the ‘complexity class’ PSPACE.”

PSPACE refers to problems where there is a polynomial relationship between the number of elements involved in the problem and the amount of space required to compute a solution (i.e., how much memory the computer needs). Looping back to where we started, the researchers showed that Super Mario Bros. levels can be among the most difficult to solve of the PSPACE problems.

“The paper doesn’t attempt to establish that any of the levels in commercial versions of Super Mario Brothers are that hard,” the team pointed out, “only that it’s possible to construct PSPACE-hard levels from the raw materials of the Super Mario world.” Anyone familiar with the fan-made levels from Super Mario Maker can attest to the fact that the upper limit for complexity in levels made from the elemental Mario components is extremely high.

I could maybe explain better what that means, but I got a one on my Calc BC exam so actually no, I couldn’t not.

If you wanna try and decipher it, give it a read here.

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