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As the first stop on your trip away from productivity, I bring with me Weird Versions of 2048. Don’t lie and say you haven’t played it yet, because even if you haven’t yet tried to smash together brightly colored, numbered tiles in pursuit of that elusive “2048” tile (or, if you’re a seasoned pro like myself, maybe even “4096”) you soon will be. But just as a start, you can find the original—built by Gabriele Cirulli—on GitHub and the Apple and Android stores—swipe up, down, right, and left to smash together tiles of the same number, double them, and move up exponentially until you reach your goal! (Pro tip: figure out a way to keep your largest block in one corner and keep it there as if your life depended on it!) Now that you’re acquainted, let’s get weird.
The Real Originals
2048, believe it or not, didn’t come from nowhere, and the title of “original” is a bit dubious. Cirulli built his version off of the iPhone game 1024, and conceptually both are similar to the game Threes, which was ported to the web here. Unlike 2048, your doubling goals are multiples of three, swiping or moving to the side in Threes only takes blocks over one row, and there are a bunch of blue “1” and “2” tiles that just get in the way. I’m not particularly good at it.
Math majors—just pretend like you’re studying for finals! With this game of 2584, you start with 1, smash it into another 1, smash that two into another one to get three, that three into a two to get five… and so on.
If every 2 were a 2048, every 4 a 1024, and so on, then you would get this basic reversed version of 2048 where the goal is to get all the way down to 2. Why you would play this instead of the original is beyond me.
Arguably the best version of 2048 out there, not only is every tile and number replaced with a Doge face (derpy, rainbow, crazy-eyed, there are just so many different combinations!) but the website (and app, hopefully!) give you helpful encouragement like “such natural!” and “very scores” and “points” as you build your way up the Doge chain. No lie—I’m better at this than the original.
Once you get passed even “4092,” where even to go? There are a variety of larger game boards that break beyond the normal 4×4 square, and this one, which must have been built by like MIT because it’s such a technological advancement, is an 8×8 square—which means that it’s, like, exponentially larger than 2048. It doesn’t even fit in my browser. The instructions don’t actually say if anyone’s ever spent enough time to get to 90071992540992, but, I mean, I guess it must theoretically possible. If you start now, and don’t do any of your finals, then you have a decent chance. Godspeed.
Like 2048, but more bizarre and with wings! I never played Flappy Bird, because I’m lazy and I think birds should do their own flapping (the entitled poultry!) but I imagine it was somewhat similar to this complete reinterpretation of both games. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to keep the winged block up in the air and have it connect with the same-level block in a series of walls. Because you very quickly advance beyond 2048, there’s an opportunity to hit blocks like “32,768,” and while the wall itself is moving.
It’s been great, guys, but I really gotta get back to my industrial revolution essays. So I will leave you with this final option where you can create your own version of 2048, but either adding in text or images—write a message for a friend, or maybe even put in someone’s face, send it to them, and have them decode it! Or, you know, Roth. Did I spend a half hour making a ROTH VERSION OF 2048? I will neither confirm nor deny such a thing.