Evolution of 2048
Most people think that 2048 came out of nowhere, but there is actually some backstory to the sudden success. Let’s take a look at the evolution of 2048 and all the similar games that have come from it.
It started with a little game called Threes — lovingly branded as “a tiny puzzle that grows on you.” It was created by Asher Vollmer with art by Greg Wohlwend and sound by Jimmy Hinson. Threes was released on the App Store on February 6, but it was the product of more than a year’s work and countless exchanged words.
The gameplay is simple yet addictive, which makes it that much more enticing for people to pay a few bucks. Using tiles that appear after each swipe, you can combine a 1 and 2 to get 3s. Then, combine two 3s to get 6s, two 6s to get 12s, and so on. Each new tile you meet has a name and a personality, and it’s incredibly difficult to get highest numbered tile — the fabled 6144.
The popularity of Threes spurred many copies looking to profit from the gameplay Threes introduced. The first was 1024, released by Jason Saxon just a few weeks after Threes. The gameplay is almost exactly similar, but rather than counting in threes, the tiles multiply in twos. Also, swiping in a direction doesn’t simply move all tiles one space. Instead, it moves them as many spaces as possible, potentially combining all similar tiles in the same plane.
While 1024 was free and emulated the addiction of Threes, it was quickly overshadowed by Gabriele Cirullu’s 2048, which quickly took off on mobile and browser. The gameplay is quick, fast-faced, and gives you a tantalizing goal — get the 2048 tile, and you win the game. It sounds so easy and the tiles move like butter. However, they quickly stack and make maneuvering pretty difficult. 2408 is also very accessible — you can play 2048 on your phone, tablet, or internet browser.
From the viral craze of 2048 came more knock-offs and variations. Today, it is not the same game it was when it was first created. While the original game is still the most popular, there are countless other versions out there. From a version including the popular meme Doge to a variant that combines 2048 with the game Flappy Bird. It’s impossible to go down the street and not see someone playing this game on their phone. Thanks to these coders and game makers, it seems like the game is going to be around for a long time. As long as their are differences in the game type it keeps the game fresh and more approachable. Angry Birds is still being played because there are new levels and things to do. With 2048, there are no new levels to beat. The goal of the game is simple, so it is up to coders to help keep the game relevant.
Each new variation of the game that comes out is immediately popular. While some don’t even look like the original game, Flappy 2048 being the best example of that, the evolution of 2048 keeps it popular. With each new variation, comes new challenges. Some have different rules challenges for victory. This requires you to be aware that these differences are what make each version fun and exciting. For example, the regular version of 2048 has no time and you can take however long you want to make a move.
However, in Flappy 2048 you are at the game’s mercy. As you increase in score and get higher tiles, the harder the game gets. But Flappy 2048 was only the start of the evolution of 2048. Take a look at Anti-2048. This variation works in the complete opposite manner of the original 2048. Here you will actually need to fill up the 4×4 board to win, which is much more difficult than it looks. Then there is 2048 Plus Challenge Edition, which puts your through objective themed levels of the game with game blockers. Heck, even Star Wars has gotten the 2048, complete with Darth Vader and Boba Fett tiles.
There’s no telling how much longer the phenomenon of 2048 will last or even what direction the game will take. However, there is no denying that the game’s simplistic gameplay has changed the way game developer will model future apps. Whether it’s added board space or themes, it’ll be quite interesting to see just what’s in store for the future of 2048 going forward.
Tell us what you think might be next in the evolution of 2048!