The 2048 Puzzle

Posted on March 30, 2014

The other day, one of DXY’s project managers put the following out on our IRC channel:

For those of you who want to waste a little time:

I dutifully clicked on the link. Once I figured out how to manipulate it (the instructions are underneath the puzzle, and I’m not the only one who first arrived and just tried to click my way through) I was off. I tried pushing everything to one side, rolling the “number ball” in various directions, and even made it to 512 on that first day.

Meanwhile, no code was getting written (or at least not fast enough that I felt productive).

The next day I had solved it. The day after, I had achieved 4096 (which netted me a score of 56,488); a number I don’t think the author ever intended to be reached (it was just black). I systematically began to improve my strategy until I was able to beat it more often than otherwise.

I’m no stranger to addiction. I know that my life disappears when I discover a new game. But at the same time, guilt is a powerful driver. I was overcome with guilt for abandoning the world in order to shuffle tiles around on a board. Somehow, during this time, I managed to clean my office, spend time with my family, and get (some) work done. I’ll never know how.

The sense of accomplishment was not in proportion to the amount of actual creation I had done, however. I needed to get off the 2048 horse and do something that might someday mean something.