I recently downloaded the hit iPhone game “2048,” which has consumed all of my free time. It’s so addicting that I once narrowly avoided walking into a parked car while gazing at the magic on my phone.
“2048” has taken Occidental by storm. Many students play it while waiting in lines for food or can be heard sharing their high scores in between classes. “2048” isn’t perfect, but it keeps players hooked.
The concept behind “2048” is simple: Swipe the numbers in any direction in a 4-by-4 grid. Like-numbers will combine when swiped into one another. Every time a player swipes in any direction, another two or four tile pops up in a random spot on the grid. You lose when you can no longer make any moves, and you win when you combine enough like-numbers to get the tile that reads 2048.
Speeding through the beginning is easy, but crucial moments of either mathematical genius or luck are required to win. As of right now I haven’t seen the beautiful 2048 tile in all of its glory, but it has been magical for the few who have done so. On the App Store reviews, user KyStride describes it as “My Greatest Achievement!” while lulu247’s review is titled “Life Itself.”
However, like Squidward from “Spongebob Squarepants” doing his favorite things in Tentacle Acres, the satisfaction of repeated victories in games like this are less amazing the more they happen. In addition, some players dispute the app’s legitimate puzzle quality, claiming that there is too much luck involved and not enough strategy. There are strategies (for example, keep high numbers in one corner as best you can) but they only grants higher scores, rather than ensuring more victories.
The app’s developer, Ketchapp, does not seem to mind some of these issues, as they are riding high on their amazing success. The addicting game’s success rivals that of sole programmer Dong Nguyen’s,”Flappy Bird.” “Flappy Bird” is an unforgiving game in which the player must tap the screen at exactly the right time to make a bird travel through a small hole between two pipes. The score increases with each pipe you pass, but make any wrong moves and the game is over.
Both Flappybird and 2048 have topped the charts, spawning hilarious variations on the popular apps. “Doge2048” replaces the numbers in 2048 with the internet’s hit meme Doge, while “Flappy 2048” combines the touch-to-flap gameplay of “Flappy Bird” with the look of “2048.”
All of the different iterations of these apps demonstrate how we are all gamers in one way or another. They are so much more than just tiny video games on our phones; these games are cultural phenomena. If VH1 did a segment of “I Love 2014” I am positive that Flappy Bird, 2048 or any of their culturally significant games would top their list.
In the meantime I can be content in knowing that one day I too will see the 2048 tile. Like solving my first Rubik’s Cube, I will enjoy, Marvel and call my mom.