Tech

An iA breaks the NES Tetris at level 237

Do you have the final Tetris?

Everything pointed to no, since in the almost 40 years What has happened since Alexey Pazhitnov programmed it, no one seems to have found it.

But of course, you tell an AI that Tetris has no end. Who is a human to screw up his only purpose in this life? The normal thing is that it bursts the buttons of the console to demonstrate the opposite. Well, something like this is what happened to StackRabbit, an artificial intelligence created by Greg Cannon, a software programmer.

Normally, the artificial intelligences that play video games are made solely by discovering the limits of a video game. See how much more the machine can achieve compared to the human. And in two-player games like chess, the usual thing is to face two different AIs and enjoy watching them create their strategies, as well as making their own mistakes.

StackRabbit, break the Tetris

The world record current Tetris (in NTSC system) is held by Joseph Saele, who on December 28, 2019 reached nothing more and nothing less than 1,357,428 points. StackRabbit beat that record without messing up a little before the 7th minute of video. Still, it is estimated that a human could make up to 1.5 million points at most.

However, when Alekséi Pazhitnov wrote his lines of code, he did not think of any ending for the video game. He didn’t even know that his game was going to get so popular. What he did program was a increasing rise in difficulty, which is why no human has ever surpassed the 1.5 million point barrier.

What happens beyond this border? Well, if the level 29, the display will revert to “Level 00”. But no, the difficulty will not be reduced. Quite the opposite. The pieces begin to fall at such an exaggerated speed that no human would be able to react in time.

In the lower right corner of the image you can see the preview of the RAM memory during the game.

What comes next is fun, as the numbers on the screen start to buggy. The count will become hexadecimal, so level 105 will become “Level BD”. Line 1000 is counted as A01, and the point count will also begin to be offset using letters. Soon after, the game will start glitch, since every certain level change, the Tetris pieces change color. As there is no programming of this level as such, the game begins to read the random information from RAM and interpret it in your style. StackRabbit’s own programmer shows a visual representation of the RAM in the video so that we can see where the game is interpreting the data from.

Finally, when the AI ​​reaches approximately 101 million points, things get ugly. The long piece practically disappears from the game, totally destroying StackRabbit’s strategy. The AI ​​recomposes itself, gets out of the way, and as soon as the long piece comes out, the game freezes. Thanks to this, we can get an idea that the end of Tetris is approximately at level 237, after 3,112 lines and more than 102 million points.

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