2048. If you have a smartphone, you’ve either heard of this addicting puzzle game or you’re already addicted. This game has so many of my Apple touting friends hooked, trying to get the 2048 and 4096 tiles. However, this free game is a rip-off of Sirvo LLC’s game Threes, which was launched about a month before the release of 2048. Sirvo LLC, whose previous efforts included Puzzlejuice and Semi-Automatic, spent 14 months working on their newest game, and the developers are a bit sad that clones are taking people away from a better game. Asher and Greg, the pair behind Sirvo LLC, explain how 2048 is a broken game compared to their simplistic and awesome puzzle game in an open letter on their blog to all the clones, the knock-offs, and the rip-offs: “We wanted players to be able to play Threes over many months, if not years. We both beat 2048 on our first tries. We’d wager most people that have been able to score a 768 or even a 384 in Threes would be able to do the same using the fabled “corner strategy”. You probably could too! Just try tapping “up” then “right” in alternating order until you can’t move. Then press left. You may not get to a 2048, but you might just see your highest score ever.”
While I was eating lunch with some of my friends, three of them were playing 2048. I asked them what their highest tile was. Most of them already got 2048 tile in the few days they’ve been playing. Junior Bennett Wade said that he knew someone who had beaten the game. “The screen said: Congratulations! You’ve beaten 2048. Want to keep playing?” Senior Brody Wacker responded, “I’m really addicted to this game, but when I beat it, I’ll be done with it.” “That’s exactly how I feel,” senior Will Whetzel concurred, “there has never been an iPhone game that can hold my attention for more than a week or two. That’s just how iPhone games are.” That reaction is something that Asher and Greg were specifically trying to address when they created Threes. “We worked really hard to create a simple game system with interesting complexity that you can play forever,” they said on their blog. They wanted a game that was “simple to learn, impossible to master.”
Threes has done just that. In the two months of the game’s existence, only six people in the world have reached a 6144 card (my highest card is only 384) and no one has beaten their game. At $1.99 in both the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store, Threes seems like a hard sell, especially since all of the clones are free. However, the work they put shines through in the game’s aesthetics, soundtrack, sound effects, and physics. Honestly, I’m a happy customer. Threes has the right balance of difficulty and light-heartedness that subdues my urge to throw my phone against the wall when I loose. The game does this with its upbeat and casual score . Also, the cards will randomly say things like, “I’m bored,” “Hi,” and “Hey there good looking.” I don’t want to ruin the surprises, since different number cards say different things, but their words never cease to make me chuckle.
In an effort to highlight how much time and energy went into developing Threes, Asher and Greg have released texts, emails, and screenshots from the 14 month period they worked on the project that reveal how it evolved into the game we can play today. After looking through a bit of the correspondence, I learned that it took them several months to come up with the most fluid and simplistic way for two cards to merge. Not only does this provide an intriguing look into the creative process of game development, it also allows fans of the game to explore what the game could have looked and felt like. It could have featured a lot more argyle and monsters, which they dubbed Argoyles.