I've Fallen In Love With A Clone

It doesn't feel good. In fact, it feels bad. But I've fallen in love with a video game clone and playing the real thing doesn't feel like an option.

I should be playing Threes! but I'm playing 2048. Before I realise my faux pax it was already too late.

I simply didn't realise. I vaguely remembered some sort of controversy, I remembered a post written by Kotaku US about some sort of issue between two similar iOS games, but on the weekend a friend of mine showed me 2048, he asked if I could beat his score. I had a quick try. I've been playing this God forsaken game ever since.

I know it's wrong but I'm too far gone to stop. I'm already talking to my friend about 2048. I'm already Googling advice to increase my score, I'm already part of the conversation and, crucially, I'm already familiar and comfortable with the way 2048 plays, the way it feels to swish the numbers, the slight subtleties of its rule-set. I've already, in some weird way, built up some sort of muscle memory with the game and how I engage with it. It's too hard to go back. I don't want to go back. I am invested. I have a friend to compete with. I've fallen for a clone. It feels bad, but it also feels good.

Why did I fall for 2048 over Threes!? The real tragedy is it was nothing to do with the quality of the game, nothing to do with 2048 improving upon the formula of Threes!. If that were the case I would feel zero regret. Literally the only reason I'm playing 2048 is because a friend showed it to me. Most likely the only reason he was playing it was because someone else showed him the game, he most likely was playing the game because it was in the iOS top 10 or possibly because the game was free instead of $2.49.

The iOS marketplace is a strange place. Certain games crossover and others don't and there's little rhyme or reason to it. 2048 is a simpler game compared to Threes!, that could have been something to do with it. 2048 is free, that probably helped. Maybe it was an issue with the name? Maybe people like numbers to go in multiples of two and are comfortable with that symmetry, who knows. It's strange but the end result is this: I am playing a clone and I will most likely never play a game of Threes! in my life.

But I just did something a little strange. Bugger it, why not. I just tapped my way into the App Store. I typed 'Threes' into the search engine and I spent $2.49 buying an App I will never open, not even once.

I might never play a game of Threes! in my life, but I can do the developers the service of buying it. That's the least I can do.


    Great, now I have the damn Threes music stuck in my head again.

    A cloning story worthy of Star Trek! There's ethical dilemmas! A likable protagonist! Eugenics, possibly?

    Ignore me, Thinking of something else.

    Last edited 19/05/14 5:55 pm

      I'm not sure what you mean by sequential order? Both require the same amount of "math" work (match tiles of the same value), and require similar strategies. The difference seems to be that 2048 has gravity on tile movement (they keep going until they hit something, 3's allows tile-by-tile movement), and 3's has 2 starter tiles that aren't multiples of the game value (3).

        I was reading somewhere a few weeks ago, that 2048 is actually broken. Apparently in one out of every hundred games, you can solve it just by going up then left or right continuously. I can't recall the process exactly, but someone figured it out.

        Guess I'm thinking of something else. Ignore me.

      2+2=4, 4+4=8, 8+8=16....etc

      1+2=3, 3+3=6, 6+6=12, 12+12=24... and so on.

      Explain to me how 2048 is a different form of maths than Threes?

    They're slightly different. Enough that, while I played Threes first, I enjoy 2048 more.

    But Threes is so much more interesting, not just visually but tactically, the 1+2 starter gives it a greater amount of depth and the single movements of the tiles actually means there is a challenge to getting to the end. People have finished 2048, lots of people, last time I read anything NOBODY had finished Threes

      That's what I don't understand when people say 2048 is better, I think people just like it because the games last longer, whereas in 3's you can screw up a lot of games in quick succession (but the soothing upbeat music helps).

      I remember seeing an infographic somewhere about threes where they estimated that only 6 people legitimately got 6144

    I also prefer 2048. It's more faster. Threes is good but they should of made it free and make money from advertising. I'm pretty sure 2048 is making a lot more than Threes.

      I'd rather they kept it paid so I don't have to live with ads just because some people couldn't cough up a couple bucks. I'm in the Threes camp, because the 1 and 2 blocks complicate your grid and one motion only allows a single merger as opposed to a 'stack.' The whole game feels more tactical than 2048 as a result.

    just scored my first 2048 win about 2 minutes ago then come to kotaku and see a post about the game, who'd-a-thunk-it

    One other interesting thing is that 2048 is open source, leading to its own clones. My favourite is 2048 Numberwang:


    Occasionally it'll even rotate the board.

    When you say "friend of mine showed me 2048, he asked if I could beat his score" - you realise that lower the score, the better it is? It shows that you took the most efficient way to get to 2048, with the least amount of moves.

      That is, unless you keep on playing after you get 2048, in which case the higher the score the better.

    Move up, right, up, left and repeat. Congratulations! Now post it to Facebook. Delete app. Put down your phone and go outside.

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