With just the swipe of an arrow key, all the numbers on your board slide up, down, to the right or to the left. The twos combine to make fours, the fours become eights and, if you’re truly lucky, the 1024s become the magical and coveted 2048.
2048 is a new Internet game created by Gabriele Cirulli that has captured the attention of UC Berkeley students. The entire game is on a four-by-four board, starting with two numbers. With each swipe of the board, another number is added, but you can combine like numbers. Eventually, the goal is to get to 2048. However, if the board fills up with numbers and you can’t combine like numbers that are next to each other, it’s game over.
People spend hours on it for days in a row to achieve 2048. The Clog sat down with Jake Egbert and Cosmo Kelly, two sophomores both majoring in economics who recently achieved the elusive 2048. Egbert heard about the game from a friend, and he told Kelly about the game. Soon, they became obsessed until they could get 2048.
“When I didn’t beat it the first time, I was like, no, I’m smart enough to beat this game,” Kelly said. “And I was awake in my bed until 6 a.m., and I almost threw my phone at the wall. I beat it the next morning.”
It took Kelly two days to beat 2048, and for Egbert, it took three days.
But 2048 isn’t just about randomly moving the numbers around the board. Egbert and Kelly both used the same strategy.
“You put your biggest number in the corner,” Kelly said. “I prefer the bottom right.”
“I like the top left,” Egbert said.
“And make sure you don’t move it,” Kelly said.
According to Egbert and Kelly, that’s the only strategy you need to win 2048. After they finally beat the game, however, the appeal of playing it was slightly lost. For Egbert, the main reason he started playing was because he knew he could beat it, but once he did, he returned to playing Minesweeper. Kelly, however, still plays the game.
“I play it occasionally when I’m bored,” Kelly said. “I like to play it because when I play, I don’t really have to think.”
And for UC Berkeley students who are forced to think critically in most of their classes all day, being able to relax and play a mindless game like 2048 is fairly appealing.
With 2048’s growing popularity, spinoffs similar to 2048 have been created, such as DOGE2048, which is like 2048 but with dogs instead of numbers.