Who invented the 2048 game?

An Italian teenager named Gabriele Cirulli who also happens to be a web developer and UI designer invented the game on a whim. He wanted to see if he could code a game from scratch one weekend and the result was 2048.

Much to his pleasant surprise, the game launched 100,000 tweets and countless knock-offs have been seen ever since the game was launched. What makes 2048 stand out from the rest? How can something so simple catch a lot of people’s attention?

2048 is a popular game for single players both on the Web and on mobile. Classified as a “sliding block puzzle”, was designed after Threes or Klotski. Like Sudoku, the game also involves some math and its objective is to combine the numbers displayed on the tiles until reaching 2048.

Cirulli described the game as a clone of 1024. 1024 itself was a clone of the game Threes. In April 2014, Pocket Gamer reported that there were more than a dozen clones of Threes released daily in the App Store.

When he was asked if he would end up as pressured as the creator of Flappy Bird, Cirulli mentioned that he isn’t facing the same problem and that after he decided to stop monetizing his game, he didn’t feel awkward anymore.

He’s adamantly stated that the game will always be free and he doesn’t intend to make money off it. He does admit that he’s made a few hundred dollars from donations and he is satisfied with it. Cirulli currently working as a freelance web developer and he intends to focus all his energy on the many doors that his simple game has opened for him.


Just after a few weeks after the game’s release, over 10 million people from different countries have tried the game. Daily installs of the game are estimated as much as 80,000. Cirulli says that most players are from English-speaking countries but China also accounts for a lot of the players.

The Wall Street Journal describes the game as “Candy Crush for math geeks”, and plenty of people would agree with this. However, the game’s appeal doesn’t end with people who like crunching numbers. It goes beyond that. Business Insider calls the game “Threes on steroids.”

The game’s phenomenon has been compared to that of Flappy Bird because both games enjoyed success despite their simplicity. There’s also the fact that several variations of the game have come out and both are just simply addictive.

Game History

The game was launched in 2014 and was originally written in CSS and JavaScript over one weekend. It was released as free and open-source software that’s subject to MIT License. In may 2014, versions of the game for iOS and Android were also released.

The game’s simple controls enabled it to be used for a promo video for an armband product. The code’s availability also made it a teaching aid for programming classes. It gained so much popularity that Matlab Central Exchange’s second-place winner for coding was an AI system that can play 2048 on its own.

Other people have written additions to the game, improve touchscreen playability, added a score leaderboard, and undid features, thanks to the available source code. All of these changes and additions are available to the public too.

© 2048 Game. Information about the game and the source code are taken from open sources.