A lot has been written about the history of 2048. However, everything started (or more precisely - “exploded”) on March 10, 2014. It was a post on Hacker News that sparked the fire - simply named “2048”. The author, Gabriele Cirulli, shared that it was weekend project and that the game was inspired by an iPhone game - “1024”. Gabrriele claimed that he hadn’t known about the other similar game, “Threes”, before the aforementioned post on HN.
The general feedback was extraordinary good for the highly critical mass on HN. What is more, the publication received almost 3,000 votes which is quite rare by itself. People were getting hooked immediately.
Of course, at that point, there were a few bugs and not support of the swipe gesture. Yet, as the game was released as open-source. All the bugs and minor improvements were carried out in just a few days, if not hours.
A few people suggested that the domain name wasn’t very easy to remember - gabrielecirulli.github.io. That’s when a number of alternative domain names were registered to facilitate easier access to play the game online. For instance - 2048.mx, 2048game.com, 2048game.net. In the end, the most popular name for playing 2048 was 2048game.com.
Here are some of the initial impressions:
- Holy *hit I just lost like 45 minutes to this.
- I’ve been playing this all day today. I basically created my own demise.
- Creating a game that you, the creator, can’t stop playing is the sign of a pretty good game.
- Won a few times and still keep picking it up. Now the Tetris dreams are starting; must stop.
- This is one of those games that I do best on my first try when I have no idea what I’m doing, and then do worse and worse the more I think I have a strategy.Fun though!
Fast forward a few days, and the game become a total Internet meme. People were playing it everywhere - on the train, on the bus … even during flying.
Why did it become so popular? I think there are multiple factors, yet the most important ones are:
- being open source
- super easy to play
- a gradual learning curve