High score competitions can be quite frantic with old-schoolers these days. Just ask anyone who’s taken part in The King of Kong or many of its competitions. But now a new competitor has stepped onto the scene, and they’re threatening to take high scores to the next level – a robot.
Nope, it’s true. According to Tech Insider, Microsoft has put together a new AI system that is toppling the Ms. Pac-Man high scoring records. The system managed to attain a “perfect” score on the Atari 2600 version of the game – and you can see video above of the accomplishment being done.
The score was also reported by Highscore.com, which keeps track of high scores across a number of classic game titles. The system had no trouble cleaning house on the previous high score of this version of Ms. Pac-Man, which was previously 266,330 by a Brazilian player.
The system that was used is called Maluuba, which was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year. As to why this version of the game was used for it (instead of the original arcade version), a spokesperson explained that researchers had utilized Atari 2600 coding, for better research results and methods.
The tech behind Maluuba will reportedly be used to help robots make split-second decisions, and Ms. Pac-Man is the kind of game that thrives on said decisions, based on the movements of the ghosts in the maze, as well as any remaining dots that need to be eaten up by the player.
It's a bit of a turn-around for a company like Microsoft. A while back, the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella noted that Google was making AI systems to win at games like Go and StarCraft II, whereas Microsoft was trying to accomplish different goals with building its own. And yet here it is, dominating Ms. Pac-Man like a boss.
The team didn’t note which game it would be tackling next, but it almost seems like something simple, like Space Invaders or even Pitfall!, would be the next logical step. For now, enjoy the dominant video above, and wonder…what could Maluuba conquer next?