For those unfamiliar with it, 2048 is a game in which you are given 2 and 4 tiles, and have to combine like numbers to increment up through the powers of 2 until you reach 2048. It can be tricky as the numbers get higher and the board becomes more crowded (you move them around by swiping or using your keyboard arrows, this is also how you combine them).
Naturally, when a 2048 daily create was posted (using this tool), I was very excited. There are so many possibilities for having a narrative emerge as you combine the tiles. At first I experimented with text, but it wasn’t as exciting. I settled on using a Vonnegut quote and it was interesting to have the words slowly appear, but wasn’t as satisfying because you have to actually get to 2048 to read the full quote, the extra “Practicing”s and “an”s floating around were distracting, and it just didn’t quite work.
So then I thought about the narrative of 2048. With words and numbers, you “join” them to combine and have something new emerge. But what about pictures? What would emerge if you swipe together two objects? Or two people? And in thinking about this, it occurred to me that in using people it was actually a little violent. Like you were throwing them together. (Somehow this dark interpretation never occurred to me in all my hours of playing Doge 2048. I blame all of the “much gaming”s and “such scoring”s flashing across the screen.)
And what happens when you physically throw people together? Well, they get annoyed. And then as they become more hurt, they start to cry. And that’s when I realized I could create a 2048 that builds up to Dawson:
In playing it, it really is interesting to see the actors’ facial expressions become more and more upset. Dark. But interesting. There is a particularly striking contrast in that if you are playing it to win, i.e. with actual strategy, there becomes a gradient of emotion: