2048 Is a "Broken Rip-Off," Says Threes Team

Cognimancer

Imperial Intelligence
Jun 13, 2012
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2048 Is a "Broken Rip-Off," Says Threes Team



The creators of Threes, the number-merging game that started it all, aren't happy about the inferior clones that have stolen their thunder.

If you haven't seen 2048 yet, it's a fairly simple number-matching game that's been all the rage lately. However, it's more than a little "inspired" by Threes, which was released about a month earlier. Cloning has always been a big problem for these types of games, and it's always hard on the original developers. The designers of Threes have posted a lengthy open letter to 2048 and other "rip-offs" of their game, and they're not mincing words; they're upset that their carefully-crafted game is getting overshadowed by a poorly-designed copycat.

"2048 is a broken game," write Threes creators Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend. "We wanted players to be able to play Threes over many months, if not years. We both beat 2048 on our first tries." The main difference between the games is that Threes shifts your numbers by one row or column per move, while 2048 slides them as far as possible. It's a small change, but it completely disrupts the balance that Asher and Greg spent a year and a half refining. "We worked really hard to create a simple game system with interesting complexity that you can play forever. You know, simple to learn, impossible to master."

The critical flaw the team sees in 2048 is that, because of the change in movement, it's very easy to figure out. One simple strategy that many have discovered makes it trivial to get a huge score without even looking at the numbers on the board - something that isn't possible in Threes. And yet 2048 has seen an explosion of popularity, while many aren't even aware of its progenitor.

"We do believe imitation is the greatest form of flattery," Asher and Greg write, "but ideally the imitation happens after we've had time to descend slowly from the peak - not the moment we plant the flag."

Source: Threes [http://asherv.com/threes/threemails/#letter]

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EndlessSporadic

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May 20, 2009
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On the extremely rare occasion I buy a mobile game I always do research to make sure it isn't a shameless clone. That market is bullshit and everyone smart enough to care knows it.

Humanity really is a sad thing.
 

DasDestroyer

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Apr 3, 2010
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Isn't the only browser-based version of the game an unofficial port? Maybe if they had made it available on more than iOS for $2 they could have been the game that people are talking about that you can just open in your browser and play instantly. But they didn't, and 2048, while perhaps not as interesting in the long run if you take what they're saying at face value, lets you get to big numbers more easily, and getting bigger number makes people feel like they are doing better, hence they play again and again, and I'm convinced that they changed it the way they did because of that.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

Henchgoat Emperor
May 15, 2010
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Mobile gaming is so damn cutthroat. Might as well make a horribly broken clone app myself and upload it... not that I'd do that for profit or anything... I've got something to do now, later!
 

Tanis

The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
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The mobile market REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY needs better quality control.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
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Point of order: Angry Birds is ripped off of games that clever flash-makers created for FREE, for FUN, and put online because they wanted to. This is a similar problem. Of course, knock-off products have been an issue in business since...I dunno...the development of products? Always messy business. It's competition, I guess. The point about Angry Birds, of course, is that you shouldn't be able to make huge amounts of profit from something people can do for free.
 

Dooly95

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Jun 13, 2009
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FalloutJack said:
Point of order: Angry Birds is ripped off of games that clever flash-makers created for FREE, for FUN, and put online because they wanted to. This is a similar problem. Of course, knock-off products have been an issue in business since...I dunno...the development of products? Always messy business. It's competition, I guess. The point about Angry Birds, of course, is that you shouldn't be able to make huge amounts of profit from something people can do for free.
This is slightly different, as the situation is reversed.

Threes is an iOS game available for $2 [https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/threes!/id779157948?mt=8]
2048 is a free game available online. [http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/]
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
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Dooly95 said:
FalloutJack said:
Point of order: Angry Birds is ripped off of games that clever flash-makers created for FREE, for FUN, and put online because they wanted to. This is a similar problem. Of course, knock-off products have been an issue in business since...I dunno...the development of products? Always messy business. It's competition, I guess. The point about Angry Birds, of course, is that you shouldn't be able to make huge amounts of profit from something people can do for free.
This is slightly different, as the situation is reversed.

Threes is an iOS game available for $2 [https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/threes!/id779157948?mt=8]
2048 is a free game available online. [http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/]
Wow, almost like revenge, except with a different pair of games.
 

MeChaNiZ3D

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Aug 30, 2011
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EndlessSporadic said:
On the extremely rare occasion I buy a mobile game I always do research to make sure it isn't a shameless clone. That market is bullshit and everyone smart enough to care knows it.

Humanity really is a sad thing.
It's free and browser-based.

OT: If you have two games that are incredibly similar but one small change significantly alters the gameplay, is it a rip-off? I don't actually think so. Unimaginative perhaps, but if you couldn't make slightly different games, you wouldn't have Battlefield and CoD either.
 

NightHawk21

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Dec 8, 2010
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step1999 said:
Wasn't there a free flash game called 10 before either of these?
Probably. Honestly all there is to see here is some developers with a stick up there ass that are angry people are playing a similar game and not theirs. Honestly, that kind of how the game industry works. People have an idea, others go that's a good idea, and try to copy it/improve it a little. Those that do it best or are better at communicating it get the benefits.
 

LittleMikey

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Aug 31, 2009
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I noticed that currently in the #9 slot of Google's "Top New Paid games" is a Flappy Birds clone with the bird replaced by a bit of poo. The irony makes me happy.
 

Smooth Operator

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Oct 5, 2010
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Well buddy you are complaining about a not so good free web game, someone's weekend project to see if they can make a game like you did.

I'd give you a valid point if this was a competing product but it's not even remotely, so are just in it for the petty squabbling.
 

metagaia

Random small pink blob
Jul 23, 2008
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FalloutJack said:
Point of order: Angry Birds is ripped off of games that clever flash-makers created for FREE, for FUN, and put online because they wanted to. This is a similar problem. Of course, knock-off products have been an issue in business since...I dunno...the development of products? Always messy business. It's competition, I guess. The point about Angry Birds, of course, is that you shouldn't be able to make huge amounts of profit from something people can do for free.
Point of order: That is a point of information, not a point if order. ;-)

Given I find neither game more than an amusing 15 minute distraction, the teams outrage falls a liitle deaf. It certainly doesn't feel like months and years of work.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
15,489
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metagaia said:
FalloutJack said:
Point of order: Angry Birds is ripped off of games that clever flash-makers created for FREE, for FUN, and put online because they wanted to. This is a similar problem. Of course, knock-off products have been an issue in business since...I dunno...the development of products? Always messy business. It's competition, I guess. The point about Angry Birds, of course, is that you shouldn't be able to make huge amounts of profit from something people can do for free.
Point of order: That is a point of information, not a point if order. ;-)

Given I find neither game more than an amusing 15 minute distraction, the teams outrage falls a liitle deaf. It certainly doesn't feel like months and years of work.
Hey, you draw attention your way and I'll do it mine. And with the exception of the flash games I was referring to, I don't play these either, so I'm not exactly invested either. This was merely my two cents to share.
 

Adeptus Aspartem

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Jul 25, 2011
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I don't get the mobile market anyway. Most of the popular games are available for free by other teams anyway *shrug*
I've usually around a dozen of diffrent games on my phone and i've not payed a single dime for them yet.
 

Scrythe

Premium Gasoline
Jun 23, 2009
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Hey, Threes devs, I'm clearing some stuff from my fridge and I was wondering if you could help me out.

Try these grapes, do they taste sour to you?
 

Andy of Comix Inc

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Apr 2, 2010
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I do like the idea that they don't care that people ripped off their game, but they really do wish they'd rip it off well. It's an interesting point of contention. It's like, if you're going to make a clone of a game, might as well go the whole nine yards with it. Slight changes that alter the formula negatively seem to be the real villain in the app store market as far as creativity is concerned; as opposed to the mainstream console market, where great ideas are often reiterated upon and refined, as well as just regurgitated.