I recently (and by that I mean yesterday) chanced upon a simple but surprisingly addictive game named 2048. It is apparently a spin-off of Threes!, which I haven’t heard of. This game can be played on the computer and on the phone, and one can easily spend minutes or hours figuring out the solution to this game.

The game is in the form of a 4×4 grid, and I consider it akin to the idea of pinball. It starts off with 2 random grids taken up by the number “2”. By pressing the left, right, up and down keys, you get to move the numbers (sorta like blocks) to move them around. If 1 number hits an identical number, they fuse to form the sum of the 2 numbers. So if 2 “2” blocks are side by side and you press the left or right key, they’ll form a single block, “4”, on either the space taken by the left or right number, depending. And you will try to hit this “4” with another “4” to form “8”. Of course, as with pinball, note that moving 1 pair of numbers ends up moving all other numbers as well, so a lot of foresight is required.

With every move, a new random number will pop up on one of the blank spaces. Most of the time it is a “2”, but I have seen “4” pop up before as well. The objective of this game is to have a 2048 block appear on the screen. This means hitting all the 2’s, 4’s, 8’s etcetera accordingly till you get 2048. Needless to say, this is a challenge!

This game is one of the milestones of good game design. It’s simple, but challenges a lot of skills, such as spatial ability, and each number has a colour which makes it easy to differentiate. There is a scoreboard at the top and my highest score is “6948”, though this is really only my second game. I’m not really sure how the score was derived, but I believe it has something to do with how high the numbers are?

In any case, this game is a good mix of skill and randomness, and I’m sure a lot of gamers will revel in discovering the “correct” way to play to get to the result. I must say that having played things like Magic and Hearthstone, I’ve figured out how to calculate moves 1 or 2 steps ahead, but I probably must think even further than that to achieve the elusive objective! It’s like a Rubik’s cube, which I’m even worse at for the simple reason that I don’t have enough strength to turn the things.

Would you play such a game for a long time? How does this compare to other number-related games like Sudoku? I probably wouldn’t really get addicted to this game, because I’ll likely be stuck at the same level for a long time, not knowing the formula to victory. It’s still a good way to pass the time, though. Try it and tell me what you think!



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