2048 (Free) has been storming up the charts on the App Store since its release and it seems like everybody’s talking about the game. It’s particularly disheartening when you know that Threes ($5.99) was released a couple of weeks prior to that. In both games you slide tiles on a board until either you win (for 2048) or you lose (for Threes). Even though 1024, another clone of Threes, was released first, it was 2048 that gained a huge following. There’s been no shortage of drama around it since the original creator of 2048 mentioned on Hacker News that he hadn’t even heard about Threes before making his game. As things evolved, his website has been updated and now states that it is “conceptually similar to Threes by Asher Vollmer”.
Sirvo has been fairly quiet about it up until now. Today they’ve released a huge article on the development of Threes featuring the 570 emails that the team sent to each other during that process. They explain how the concept was done quite fast but how they struggled with the mechanics, and much, much more. From a monster that was eating the tiles to the now popular “doubling” gameplay that was added 7 months after they started making it, you’ll be able to have an in-depth look at how they made Threes and at how difficult it is to make a game that feels so simple. I really recommend that you do read it, because it’s fascinating.
In any case, 2048 (and 1024 before it) perfectly illustrate how quickly clones can take over the App Store. Or, as the Threes developers put it, “We do believe imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but ideally the imitation happens after we’ve had time to descend slowly from the peak — not the moment we plant the flag."