Ah, things used to be so simple. Back in the day, beating the NES version of Super Mario Brothers could almost be done in one's sleep. Wait, what? As it turns out, the game that stumped far too many children in the days of yesteryear is painfully easy to beat. The trick, however, is to not be human. Obviously, humans pay attention to certain things that are happening in games, whereas the ones and zeros within are walking a straighter and far more narrow path.
Tom Murphy, a programmer, has recently created and debuted a function that can effectively beat NES games by attempting to get levels, scores, lives, etc. to level-up. The program is described as a "technique for automating NES games," and while it can take on just about every title ever made for that console, it doesn't always win. Still, it wins a lot, and that's impressive.
Obviously, the mental work required to even understand this is notable, so have a look at the video above for a peek at how it handles Goombas.