2048 – Gamifying math

The video game 2048 has become a breakout star in the game world. Released by 19 year old developer Gabriele Cirulli as a web game on March 9th, 2014, the game received more than 4 million hits within a week. Not bad for a game Cirulli developed in a weekend, as a test of his programming ability no less!


The object of the game is simple: to get a 2048 tile by combining tiles of identical numbers. For example, if there was a 4 tile above another 4 tile, and I swiped down, the tiles would combine to form an 8 tile (the next power of two). Each time the user swipes, one new 2 tile is generated and placed randomly in one of the open spots on the game board.


The game has been described as extremely addictive, despite (or perhaps due to) its simplicity. It is easy enough to understand that anyone, from toddlers to the elderly, can play it.


The game has the side effect of teaching the powers of 2 – the number on each tile is a power of 2, and when two tiles are combined, the tile that forms is the next power of 2. This gamification of math is a powerful method for encouraging children to practice it.


It will be interesting to see whether or not the success of this game will encourage further gamification of math concepts, as well as other subjects.

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