Mario, the diminutive italian sprite that loves to hop and boing his way around platforms and pipes, has this week become embroiled in what some have claimed to be a world-wide scandal. The plumber, 42, was revealed this week to have developed a degree of artificial intelligence that allows him to choose his own paths through the classic Mario game levels.
Unfortunately, it appears that AI Mario is prone to being work-shy, and has, on a number of occasions, chosen to ignore the game path that would see him rescuing Princess Peach from the hands of evil Bowser, and instead elected to sit on his couch and play video games.
"It's a real head scratcher," said Professor James Khan of Botany Bay University, who had nothing to do with the AI research. "When the artificial intelligence was developed, we all naturally assumed that Mario would want to fulfill his destiny as saviour of the Marioland world... but instead he's content to sit on his ass and play games. With a little more programming, we're pretty sure he'd enjoy a slice of good old Italian pizza, too."
Some have accused the AI programmers of racism, suggesting that the sprite's feckless attitude is a slight against Italian workers - a claim that Professor Khan finds derisory.
"It's preposterous; unthinkable. Mario already lampoons the Italians far better by himself than could ever be achieved by wannabe satirists. I mean, really, 'Letsa go!'? Braces on a plumber? The pornstache? Please."
The AI additional plug-in will be released in a special bonus version of the Mario games for consoles over the coming week, with Nintendo opting to release Marioland on alternate gaming platforms for the first time. The Xbox One and Playstation 4 versions are set to retail for $169.99, and the Nintendo Wii version for $12.99. PC gamers can expect to find the game released in approximately 12 months, but will likely be free on Steam.