A screenshot of the victory screen of 2048

2048 is a small puzzle game that ended up taking the world by storm in a very unexpected way.

In this game, you move tiles on a 4x4 board. When two tiles with the same number touch, they merge and their value doubles. To win, you need to reach the coveted “2048” tile.

I built 2048 as a weekend project to practice my programming skills. I had become obsessed with a similar game, called 1024, itself a clone of Threes, and I wanted to build my own version of this concept to express how I thought it should look and feel.

2048 was published as open-source on GitHub. I had no intention to publicise it, but the game unexpectedly took off when it got posted on Hacker News.

During the following days, hundreds of thousands of people played the game, turning it into a sudden internet sensation at first and pouring it into mainstream culture soon after.

The subsequent weeks turned into a crazy roller-coaster of excitement, stress, unexpected attention and reflection.

A screenshot of the victory screen of 2048

Being heavily inspired by existing games, 2048’s success has been seen as unfair and attracted some controversy.

I explained my point of view and the actions I took in response to the criticism in an article called “2048, success and me”, which I wrote a few months after releasing 2048 and I reposted on Medium.

The amount of support and positivity I received from friends, family and the players has been one of the most fulfilling parts of this experience. To this day, I still see 2048 casually mentioned on the internet, or notice it in the hands of a passer-by. Oh, and 2048 got its own Wikipedia page and even an xkcd strip (which feels like an even bigger honor than a Wikipedia page!)

Play 2048!