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Games are Ideal for AI Training, and This is Why

Last updated: March 12, 2024 20 min read
Games are Ideal for AI Training, and This is Why

AI has impacted every field where humans once had the advantage. Now, you can see AI helping artists, developers, and other professionals in their jobs. The same is the case with Gamers. Where AI stepped into other fields, it revolutionized gaming as well. This article explains how AI and gaming go together to improve each other like never before. We will also explain how you can enhance your gaming experience using a VPN.

Since the early days of AI, games have been the perfect testing ground to push its limits. But as Kenneth Stanley explains, games can also help train AI systems that may one day drive our cars or run our companies. We learn how modern games are advancing the field of AI – teaching systems everything from navigation to resource management skills.


While AI struggles to beat skilled human players today, the experience accrued in games accelerates real-world progress. So, the next time you boot up your PS5 or PC for fun, consider the vital role 21st-century games play as AI’s educational playground. Also, ensure you have a top-notch gaming VPN first to maximize performance. Because lag is one human advantage, even the most intelligent AI can’t beat it!

Remember when Deep Blue first beat chess grandmasters back in the 90s? Or how about Watson crushing human Jeopardy contestants in 2011? Wild feats for AI, no doubt. But as AI pioneer Kenneth Stanley lays out, today’s games are doing more than putting machines to the test. These super-realistic, fast-paced titles are vital training grounds, teaching AI vital skills like lightning-fast critical thinking and strategic resource management through good old-fashioned gameplay.

Sure, for now, you can still catch AI drivers adorably spinning out on curves or bots bungling build orders. But make no mistake, all that virtual experience is accelerating real-world potential. So, while you gear up for gaming night with your tried and proper VPN protection against lag, know that those same games drive our AI future!

And if you are a keen gamer, improve your playing level as best as possible before AI catches up to the level of the best human gamesters. Protect your connection with a high-quality gaming VPN like ExtremeVPN to prevent lag. Because while AI can handle complex decision-making, no algorithm can compensate for delay disruption.

AI and Gaming: A Short History

Before anyone could imagine a world of VR gaming, brilliant mathematician Alan Turing dreamed up a simple test in 1950 to ask, “Hey, can machines really think?” His so-called “imitation game” would have a human judge chat it up through plain old text with a volunteer and a computer. The idea was that if the judge couldn’t reliably tell which was the Human and which was the machine based on the convo, that computer achieved human-level intelligence! 

Turing’s neat thought experiment was groundbreaking in challenging us to evaluate what separates human cognition from machine capabilities. 

His test really shaped the mission of early AI scientists who sought to model human reasoning in computer programs. Of course, those early efforts in the 50s and 60s fell well short as the first chatbot, ELIZA, famously fooled nobody. Yet pioneering projects like the General Problem Solver hinted at future potential, even as computers still relied on punch cards back then!

Fast forward to today, and while no machine has definitively passed the legendary Turing Test just yet, AI conversational ability has blown up thanks to modern computing power. And it’s the immersive domain of video games that use AI in areas like spatial navigation, split-second decision-making, and more. So even though a computer can’t perfectly impersonate a human player or gamer in free dialogue, its specialized intelligence forged in games steadily marches towards that lofty bar Turing set long ago.

The groundwork for AI in gaming was laid in 1959 when computer scientist Arthur Samuel coined the term “machine learning.” His creation? A checkers-playing program that could actually improve by learning from its mistakes.

But an AI that plays checkers is no Call of Duty; we hear you scream! Yes, we know. But this system broke new ground, showing the way for a new world of things computers could do. This new toy allowed itself to follow the rules in the program. It could develop a brand new, unprogrammed strategy based on previous experience. Every mistake made it wiser.

And the milestones kept rolling in! Who can forget Deep Blue defeating Garry Kasparov, considered the best chess player in history? That was in 1997! This was a fateful day when humans had to accept and understand that computers could finally rival them at some tasks.

Those early gaming AI agents blazing the trail set the stage for the killer apps we marvel at today.

From AlphaGo schooling the world’s top Go players to the elite NPCs that still mock our skills in the latest photorealistic video game worlds, artificial intelligence in gaming has come a long way from Samuel’s once-humble checkers application. And as games continue to provide testing grounds for innovative machine learning, Human versus AI showdowns will not go away!

Games: The Perfect AI Sandbox

Games: The Perfect AI Sandbox

From DeepMind to OpenAI, all the hotshots in artificial intelligence research are using games these days to school their intelligent programs. Kenneth Stanley should know. As the former leader of OpenAI’s Open-Ended Learning Team, he pioneered NEAT – a slick “genetic algorithm” that mutates and crosses over bot behaviors the way evolution works on us humans.

Researchers now plug NEAT into all kinds of titles, letting it whip up neural networks on the fly as the game unfolds. So like in Super Mario Bros, NEAT can start crappy, dying from every pit. But through constant in-game trial-and-error, it teaches itself to run, jump and stomp Goombas like a pro! That is what Stanley finds so attractive: games with AI systems provide a place to play where they can learn and do new things without risks.

From chess hustling Deep Blue to Jeopardy wizard Watson, games have always let AI strut. But as Kenneth Stanley from OpenAI points out, today’s photorealistic titles like Gran Turismo and boundless sandbox Minecraft do more than showcase computing power. They provide vital training grounds where algorithms can fail safely yet learn skills transferable to the real world!

Games blend just enough rules to focus the challenge with expansive freedom to practice crisis decision-making. Take GT Sophy – that slick AI driver developed by Sony. It gained its asphalt instincts from countless hours tearing up Gran Turismo tracks using reinforcement learning before it could go bumper-to-bumper with the pros. And just like Sophy inches us closer to real self-driving cars, Microsoft mines Minecraft gameplay to make AI builders that could eliminate accessibility barriers to video games.

Because at the heart of all that gaming experience lie the foundations for managing complex real-world tasks! Conquering multiplayer StarCraft requires balancing resource strategy, unit coordination, and split-second choices that overwhelm most humans. So, algorithms that master such in-game scenarios exhibit training for dynamic inventory planning or crisis response! By predicting match outcomes based on team composition in Pokemon Showdown, the battle bot, Lenka, displays logic that the military hopes to employ to manage unpredictable environments.

For the reasons above, Mr. Stanley considers games the most advanced simulators you can get. They allow for a narrow focus on the challenge while allowing an endless stream of learning situations.

So keep the high scores and bragging from impressing you too much. Remember that AI developers aim to turn gaming expertise into real-world functionality and usefulness, and they still have a long way to go.

So Why Can Humans Still Defeat AI Players?

So Why Can Humans Still Defeat AI Players?

Sure, at this point, DeepMind and OpenAI have conquered most conventional games – from Jeopardy to StarCraft and beyond. But as Kenneth Stanley points out, a few titles still trouble algorithms. Humans remain kings and queens of open-ended worlds like Settlers of Catan, verbal sparring in Cards Against Humanity, and collaborative storytelling journeys like Dungeons & Dragons.

Why do these games flummox AI when a bot can smash chess grandmasters or grind for glory in the GT Pro League? Stanley explains that we must first examine what constitutes a “game.” When rules give way to real-life complexity – like designing functional buildings or coordinating disaster response – current AI still struggles. Simply too many variables and unpredictable factors for algorithms lacking human intuition and flexibility. 

But the quest is to develop Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – AI that can match humans across tasks instead of just dominating isolated domains like board game strategy. The problem is that we still don’t understand our broader cognitive abilities, creativity, and “instincts” enough to teach them. And amassing the near infinite datasets such versatile, self-learning AI would need poses epic data storage challenges!

Yet clues to achieving AGI may have been hiding in D&D game nights all along! See that collaborative storytelling calls for chronological reasoning, non-verbal cues, and interpersonal dynamics that today’s AI can’t fully grasp. Some researchers propose we add “The Elf Ranger Test” alongside the Turing Test. If an algorithm can jump right into the next D&D campaign as a Game Master or player, directing open-ended action and reacting to others’ cues, we might achieve artificial general intelligence! 

While AI still fails most human behavior tests miserably today, perhaps mastering the limitless possibilities of games like D & D provides the key. Then algorithms can finally join our next quest to storm the dragon’s castle armed with lightning reflexes, creative strategies no human would conceive, and even instinct! An AI can dream, right?

The Future of AI in Gaming and Everything Else


Think AI in games has come far already? Well, you have yet to see anything! Beyond breeding increasingly cunning Mario Kart drivers and Halo gunslingers, companies are baking social and educational algorithms straight into the game experience. If Fortnite didn’t match players according to skill, the newbies would never even get a chance to get started. To give you a famous and unmistakable example.

However, beating the Turing test is not why the AI big boys are playing the game. Take the Starcraft resource balancing algorithm. It could translate into an excellent optimization technology for health resources. Also, progress in games like Minecraft may create new insights into conservation and ecosystem balance that no human could ever spot.

In this environment, things are moving forward quickly. So even leaders such as Kenneth Stanley are keen on promoting oversight over mass hysteria. While he knows that the technology comes with risks (disinformation, social disruption), he also thinks it can amplify human potential instead of replacing it. The critical piece is to respect human creativity in all its sanctity and individuality as the true heart of human purpose.

The virtual throne could belong to gaming AI one day in the future for sure. In the meantime, the people behind it must remain transparent and carefully balance their wish for success against unforeseen risks, creating ethical limits so the fruits of their labor benefit everybody.

The gaming world will remain vigorously advancing with or without AI. But let us not be naive: AI is here to stay in gaming and other fields. Is it going to make the world better for us? That is the question.

Improve Your Gaming Experience


As you prepare for epic battles and create your new fantasy worlds, the best friend you will have to make the most of your gaming experience is a VPN!

ExtremeVPN is your best bet available. We offer apps for every primary gaming rig from PlayStation to Nintendo Switch that smooth out your connection, crush lag, and defend against network attacks that disrupt the fun. Plus, there is a tricked-out router app available, too, blanketing consoles like Xbox that don’t even support VPNs normally, so everyone is covered!

ExtremeVPN is your digital bodyguard. No more ISP throttles or DDoS attacks. Get consistent speeds, stable connections, and a great gaming experience. And remember that masking your IP address will unlock the whole world for you to play!

What is a Gaming VPN?

AI and Gaming: It’s Not All Peachy

The picture we’ve painted so far could make you believe everything is hunky dory with AI and games, right. However, it is wrong. Things are cooking even here, and we should remain aware of them:

  • Control: For AI systems, controlling situations requiring intuition and improvisation is difficult. While the principles remain evident in the developer’s mind, reality thoroughly complicates everything. And then, all hell breaks loose.
  • Creativity: It is easy for a company to rely too much on procedures to get things done at a grand scale, but this ruins a game’s appeal and functionality. A great game always feels epic and unique; that takes a human touch.

And some problems come with adapting such an advanced and untested technology to any task. It needs great computing power for a start. That makes it expensive, and as costs and complexity increase, other things tend to break down, too. That is where you see crashes, unexpected interactions prompt crazy answers from the system, or the performance overloads the hardware. Bringing AI into any task is no piece of cake.

Is there an AI Dungeons & Dragons Game?

Pick the Time and Place to Watch the Games

You bet your +3 longsword there is! Say hello to AI Dungeon – a 100% text-based fantasy quest generated just for you by algorithmic dungeon masters! Dive right in by picking your noble barbarian’s race, class, mystical origins, and more. Then watch as this creative AI weaves stories, villages, monsters, and loot piles from your choices on the fly!

This computer storyteller can sometimes trip up on plot or pacing compared to master flesh-and-blood DMs. For freeform adventuring minus the prep or cleanup of true tabletop, AI Dungeon delivers! Just BYOD (bring your own dice) in case you wanna add some random elements. Have a look at the following AI tools for Dungeons and Dragons:

  1. Dungeon Alchemist gives you innovative map generation tools to visualize fantasy realms, sites, and structures in minutes without artist skills. Watch as it creates a beautiful brand new world for you!
  2. Dungeon Master’s Assistant runs the sessions, so you don’t have to.
  3. Dungeon Scrawls start with a hand-drawn map and make it come to life by dragging and dropping!

So don’t look back (or forward) in anger! AI has plenty of cool things for you to make the most of your D&D obsession and keep enjoying it until the dragons come home!

Are there Any Games about AI?

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There are many such games, indeed! And you will be happy to know that they come in all kinds of flavors, from corporate blockbusters to indie jewels!

Halo 4 is already making us fight the corruption created by formerly nice AI tools. Detroit: Become Human is all about androids awakening to overthrow human rule. And in SOMA? Just staying alive on an underwater base has gone haywire from murderous algorithms!

For less apocalyptic fare, Portal 2 and The Talos Principle let players collaborate with thinking machines to solve reality-bending puzzles. But not all on-screen AI alignments are so cheerful. Horizon Zero Dawn tracks humans reclaiming Earth from rogue AI centuries later. At the same time, System Shock traps us on a space station besieged by them! 

Has AI Gone too far?

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There’s one concern – We don’t know whether AI has broken the acceptable bounds or if the best is yet to come. And we have experts supporting both positions. Like in most things, we have champions and skeptics.

In the camp of the skeptics, the concern is that AI is already far ahead of human intelligence in some fields. This is a trigger for them as they bring their attention to automated weapons, social upheaval, and economic usurpation. For the skeptics, AI is the new apocalyptic threat that will harm us all, even if it is developed with the best intentions.

But not everybody is all about doom and gloom. Other observers point out that AI’s current success is very narrow and limited to highly specific situations, so nothing can threaten broad dominance or a “Terminator” scenario for the future. For the champions, the potential AI has to cure diseases, eliminate struggle, and other benefits are key to consider. They think these things are all within our grasp, given ethical implementation.

Consensus is far away from us for now. We lack the conceptual framework in many fields (legal, ethical, intellectual) to deal with this issue because AI is unprecedented in the human experience, and we are just starting. And this is why your voice counts right now more than ever!

Should AI have Rights?

This is also a controversial topic in which two sides are arguing passionately. The controversy comes from a set of ideas from each side rooted in beliefs and visions of the future rather than actual facts.

Is AI nothing but a bunch of code running on hardware? Many think so. As such, the chances it can develop human sentience are negligible. Therefore, they do not need the protections we reserve for living beings.

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On the other hand, some say that a measure of protection will prevent exploitation. They also think about a day in the future when AI will show us it can have awareness and emotions. In that future context, they say, it would be wrong to deny them their rights.

The central problem is that we don’t have a definition of “machine consciousness,” and we are not likely to get one until it’s too late, if ever. In the meantime, we risk seeing humanity where there is none or not seeing something different than electric circuits when it’s there.

We need clear answers to many urgent questions about AI before making an informed decision.

How Can I Build an AI System Capable of Playing Games?

Compatibility with Gaming Devices

So you want your AI to play games, embarrass newbies, and become the next Deep Blue? Well, the good news is that you can have it if you pay attention to the basic methods. Let’s have a look at them:

  • Reinforcement learning – It’s all about trial, error, and learning from mistakes. Your programs need to know what success is and how to identify it. Then they start messing around with the game and doing everything wrong… until they get it right.
  • Rule-based AI – This approach has devs hand-coding gameplay strategies based on game mechanics and principles. Simple to deploy but can fall short when important edge cases or dynamic situations are overlooked! 
  • Monte Carlo tree search – This is not exactly new technology. It’s an advanced decision tree. It maps all the possible futures ahead and the choices they will entail.
  • Evolutionary algorithms – A page out of Darwin’s book. Trial and error tell you what traits are better to keep so that you increase your chances of winning.

Those are the ingredients you need to create your AI gaming salad! So now, you can choose those you like best and start cooking! 

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Can AI Make Games?

You bet! There are now lots of ways artificial intelligence gets put to work cooking up actual video games:

  1. Content generation – AI can whip up game elements like levels, characters, and dialogue using machine learning and natural language processing. Crazy stuff! This game engine called Dreaming procedurally creates assets while even designing core mechanics.
  2. Mechanics design – Bring evolutionary algorithms with reinforcement learning, and you get something unexpected! This is how Gauntlet creates personalized quests for players.
  3. Testing – AI is patient and meticulous, so it can thoroughly test things in ways that notice problems that would escape the human developer.
  4. Personalization – Yes, things can get personal. That is the point. AI can customize things to please you to the last detail! 

It can help developers get the job done or even come up with its own stuff. However you want to look at it, AI is the new gaming’s best friend.


As we have explored, artificial intelligence and gaming share an intricate relationship, one pushing the frontiers of the other in a virtuous cycle of progress.

Both fields benefit from their mutual interactions. It started with checkers, and it went wild with chess. Now, it’s with us in our immersive virtual 3D worlds, and the progress is ever faster.

But there is plenty for us to learn from the experience so far. First, how the encapsulated environments of games breed specialized artificial intelligence. Then, as you free that new intelligence can bring it into a new environment, the chances for general growth show up. This is possible because of the simulation in a closed sandbox that gaming makes possible.

But we must remain prudent, and oversight is mandatory. We should always aim to increase human well-being instead of seeking innovation for its own sake. Ethics must come into the field, governance too. AI will need transparency to earn the public’s trust.

It was unlikely that gaming and AI would become such fruitful partners, but they are. Much progress remains to be seen brought about by both. But remember, the future is ours, and this is when we have to take it into our hands! Always use a quality VPN service like ExtremeVPN to take your gaming experience to the next level.


AI or human game: Will AI ever surpass top human gamers? Up
AI has already exceeded the best human players in games with clear rules, like chess and Go. But in complex multiplayer games, human creativity, intuition, and instincts still rule – for now! Yet machine learning algorithms continue gaining ground through endless simulated practice, so expect epic showdowns ahead.
Do developers use AI to build better games?  Up
Today’s games leverage machine learning called “procedural content generation” to construct expansive worlds automatically. These challenges adapt to player skill and even plots tailored to choices. AI playtesting also squashes bugs before release. The results? More dynamic and personalized gaming!
Can AI design entirely new games on its own? Up
Increasingly so! Game engines like Angelina procedurally generate arcade-style games according to parameters. At the same time, tools like Game-o-Matic create playable prototypes from textual descriptions for developers to refine. The breakthroughs keep coming in AI game creation!
Will intelligent game bots ruin multiplayer experiences? Up
Not necessarily – well-balanced AI opponents can make games more rewarding and customize experiences for all skill levels. However, improperly calibrated algorithmic players risk frustration, so developers focus on playtesting for fun above all. And you can permanently disable AI components if desired!
What real-world applications emerge from gaming AI? Up
The skills learned in conquering games transfer surprisingly well! Navigating virtual worlds yields self-driving car brains, managing virtual economies optimizes business logistics, and coordinating digital characters inspires team management software. Unlocking achievements today paves the way for real problem-solving ROI tomorrow! 

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Ellie George is an IT expert passionate about finding, utilizing, and managing software solutions fo...
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