2048 (video game)

2048 is a single-player sliding block puzzle game designed by the Italian web developer Gabriele Cirulli. The game's objective is to slide numbered tiles on a grid to combine them to create a tile with the number 2048. However, one can continue to play the game after reaching the goal, creating tiles with larger numbers.[2]

2048 logo.svg
2048 mobile app icon
Developer(s)Gabriele Cirulli
Publisher(s)Solebon LLC
Platform(s)Browser, iOS, Nintendo 3DS, Android, Apple TV, KaiOS, Teslatari
ReleaseWeb: 9 March 2014[1]

2048 was originally written in JavaScript and CSS during a weekend, and released on 9 March 2014, as free and open-source software subject to the MIT license. Clones written in C++ and Vala are available.[3][4] There is also a version for the Linux terminal.[5]

2048 has been described as very similar to the Threes app released a month earlier.[6][7] Cirulli himself described 2048 as a clone of Veewo Studios' app 1024.


19-year-old Cirulli created the game in a single weekend[8][9] as a test to see if he could program a game from scratch;[9] he was surprised when his game received over 4 million visitors in less than a week,[9] especially since it was just a weekend project.[10] "It was a way to pass the time", he said.[11] The game is free to play, Cirulli having said that he was unwilling to make money from "something that [he] didn’t invent".[12] He released a free app version of the game for iOS and Android in May 2014.[13]

2048 became a viral hit.[14][15] The game has been described by the Wall Street Journal as "almost like Candy Crush for math geeks",[16] and Business Insider called it "Threes on steroids".[1]

As the source code is available, many additions to the original game, including a score leaderboard, an undo feature, and improved touchscreen playability, have been written by other people and subsequently made available to the public.[9][17] Spinoffs have been released online, as apps and for the Nintendo 3DS,[18] and include versions with elements from Doge, Doctor Who, Flappy Bird and Tetris; there has also been a 3D version[7] and ones with bigger or smaller grids.[19] Cirulli sees these as "part of the beauty of open source software"[16] and does not object to them "as long as they add new, creative modifications to the game".[20] In 2014, an unofficial clone of the game was published in the iOS app store by Ketchapp, monetized with advertising.[21] It has also been included as an Easter egg in the search engine DuckDuckGo, accessible by typing '2048' or 'Play 2048'.[22]


A completed game of 2048. The 2048 tile can be seen in the bottom-right corner.

2048 is played on a gray 4×4 grid, with numbered tiles that slide smoothly when a player moves them using the four arrow keys.[9] Every turn, a new tile will randomly appear in an empty spot on the board with a value of either 2 or 4.[2] Tiles slide as far as possible in the chosen direction until they are stopped by either another tile or the edge of the grid. If two tiles of the same number collide while moving, they will merge into a tile with the total value of the two tiles that collided.[16][19] The resulting tile cannot merge with another tile again in the same move. Higher-scoring tiles emit a soft glow.[2]

If a move causes three consecutive tiles of the same value to slide together, only the two tiles farthest along the direction of motion will combine. If all four spaces in a row or column are filled with tiles of the same value, a move parallel to that row/column will combine the first two and last two.

A scoreboard on the upper-right keeps track of the user's score. The user's score starts at zero, and is increased whenever two tiles combine, by the value of the new tile.[2] As with many arcade games, the user's best score is shown alongside the current score.

A game of 2048 in progress

The game is won when a tile with a value of 2048 appears on the board, hence the name of the game. After reaching the 2048 tile, players can continue to play (beyond the 2048 tile) to reach higher scores.[6][23] When the player has no legal moves (there are no empty spaces and no adjacent tiles with the same value), the game ends. The game can only last a finite amount of moves, and the theoretical limit for the highest tile on a standard 4x4 board is 131,072 (2^17).

The simple gameplay mechanics (just four directions) allowed it to be used in a promo video for the Myo gesture control armband,[24] the availability of the code underneath allowed it to be used as a teaching aid for programming,[17] and the second-place winner of a coding contest at Matlab Central Exchange was an AI system that would play 2048 on its own.[25]

Comparisons to Flappy BirdEdit

2048 has been compared to Flappy Bird by several commentators. Both games' success led to clones being created, and both games have been described as viral and addictive.[7][11][14][15][26] JayIsGames compared it to Flappy Bird "but without the infuriating mindlessness".[27] When asked if he was concerned that his situation would end up as stressed as that of Nguyễn Hà Đông, the creator of Flappy Bird, Cirulli said that he had "already gone through that phase" on a smaller scale, and that once he had decided against monetizing 2048, he "stopped feeling awkward."[28]


  1. ^ a b Dickey, Megan Rose (23 March 2014). "Puzzle Game 2048 Will Make You Forget Flappy Bird Ever Existed". Business Insider. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Wells, V. S. (18 March 2014). "Game Review: 2048". Nouse. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  3. ^ "2048-qt in Debian".
  4. ^ "2048 in GNOME wiki".
  5. ^ "2048-cli". Github.
  6. ^ a b Tim (11 March 2014). "Free Game Pick: 2048 (Gabriele Cirulli)". UBM Tech. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Perez, Sarah (24 March 2014). "Clones, Clones Everywhere – '1024,' "2048' and Other Copies of Popular Paid Game 'Threes' Fill The App Stores". Techcrunch. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Salvador (27 March 2014). "2048: The new app everyone's talking about". LA times. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e Spence, Peter (17 March 2014). "How One 19 Year Old Won the Internet with Addictive Puzzler 2048". City A.M.
  10. ^ Rodriguez, Salvador (27 March 2014). "Maker of Hit Puzzle Game '2048' Says He Created It over a Weekend". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  11. ^ a b Kharpal, Arjun (26 March 2014). "19-Year-Old Makes Viral Game Hit in a Weekend". CNBC. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  12. ^ Stieber, Zachary (18 March 2014). "2048 Game the Next Flappy Bird? Addictive Game Skyrockets in Popularity". Epoch Times.
  13. ^ "2048, success and me — Gabriele Cirulli". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  14. ^ a b Hwei, Liang (21 March 2014). "2048, and What Makes a Viral Game". Vulcan Post. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  15. ^ a b Rodriguez, Salvador (24 March 2014). "Move over Flappy Bird: The latest gaming craze is 2048". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b c Ballard, Ed (18 March 2014). "Want to Stay Anonymous? Don't Make a Hit Computer Game". The Wall Street Journal.
  17. ^ a b Brown, Andy & Spikes, Sarah. "Make Your Own 2048". Udacity. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  18. ^ Schreier, Jason (19 June 2014). "Clone of Clone of Clone Now on 3DS eShop". Kotaku. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  19. ^ a b Jon Chang (24 March 2014). "'2048' Is the Next Mobile Game to Eat Up Your Time". ABC News. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  20. ^ Graham, Jefferson (28 March 2014). "2048: The new app everyone's talking about". USA Today. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  21. ^ Patrick Klepek. "The Messy Story Behind A Game Clone". kotaku.com.au.
  22. ^ "2048 (Game)". Duck.co.
  23. ^ Pramono, Eric (8 April 2014). "2048: Game Strategy and Playing Tips". Archived from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  24. ^ Etherington, Darrell (24 March 2014). "Watch The Myo Armband Make One 2048 Addict Feel like He's 'A Part' of The Game". AOL. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  25. ^ "2048 Game Solver". The MathWorks, Inc. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  26. ^ Hernandez, Vittorio (31 March 2014). "Is the Viral Game 2048 Created by a 19-Year-Old the Next Flappy Bird?". International Business Times. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  27. ^ "2048 Game". JayIsGames.com. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  28. ^ Stieber, Zachary (27 March 2014). "2048 Game Addiction: People Have Already Played the Equivalent of 521 Years". Epoch Times. Retrieved 28 March 2014.

External linksEdit