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'2048' new gaming fad

By Helen Fu
On April 1, 2014

It happens every month or so-a new game emerges on the Internet and suddenly becomes the object of obsession for a couple of weeks before fading into obscurity. Earlier this year, it was "Flappy Bird" that captured the interest and subsequent frustration of millions, and now it's "2048", a free online game that debuted in early March.
"2048" and "Flappy Bird" share more similarities than simply being addictive games; both of them are also essentially clones of previous games. While "Flappy Bird" took its mechanics from standard "Helicopter" games, "2048" is essentially a copy of Veewo Studios' app "1024". Its developer, Gabriele Cirulli, had created the game as a weekend project, and was tremendously surprised when the game received over four million hits in less than a week.
The game works as a math puzzle and is played on a simple four by four square grid. Throughout the game, tiles of differing colors pop up on the grid after every turn, and the player must use the arrow keys to move the tiles left, right, up and down. If two tiles of the same value collide, they merge into a new tile that features the total value of the two tiles combined. A scoreboard on the upper-right tallies the ongoing score as tiles combine, and in typical arcade fashion, the player's best score is placed next to the current score.
Like the title of the game suggests, the object of the game is to achieve the 2048 tile, at which point the game will end unless the player opts to continue on in sandbox mode. The game can also end if there are no more empty grids and the player has no more legal moves.
Though the game has certainly eaten up the productivity of college students everywhere, it has also encouraged a tremendous amount of community participation. Because it was constructed using open source code, "2048" has become a veritable playing ground for programming enthusiasts around the world. Numerous spinoffs have been made, incorporating elements from popular shows like "Doctor Who" and the popular Doge meme. In a strange twist, there even exists a "Flappy Bird" version of "2048". Networking and collaboration has also led to the creation of a score leaderboard and improved touchscreen versions at the end.
Cirulli has encouraged this behavior, placing a link on the top of "2048"'s webpage that asks players to make their own version of "2048". He has also stated that he does not plan on using "2048" to make money, as it is a clone of a previous game. Though the game has been repeatedly compared to "Flappy Bird", its easy accessibility, straightforward rules, and status as a community project have set it apart. Eventually it will be supplanted by the next fad, but for now people are still flocking to "2048" and its variants, trying to reach that elusive final tile.
 


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