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THREES Blog - The ripoffs and making our original game


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I still haven't seen a 6144. In fact I haven't yet seen a 768.

But why is Threes better? It’s better for us, for our goals. 2048 is a broken game. Something we noticed about this kind of system early on (that you'll see hidden in the emails below). We wanted players to be able to play Threes over many months, if not years. We both beat 2048 on our first tries. We’d wager most people that have been able to score a 768 or even a 384 in Threes would be able to do the same using the fabled “corner strategy”. You probably could too! Just try tapping “up” then “right” in alternating order until you can’t move. Then press left. You may not get to a 2048, but you might just see your highest score ever.

When an automated script that alternates pressing up and right and left every hundreth time can beat the game, then well, that's broken. Is Threes a better game? We think so. To this day, only about 6 people in the world have ever seen a 6144 and nobody in the world has yet to “beat” Threes. But that’s what’s better to us as game designers. 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”. That old chess-nut…

And it all happened so fast. Threes was cloned and beat to a different market within 6 days of release on iOS. 2048 isn’t that clone. But it’s sort of the Commander Keen to Super Mario Bros. situation. Imagine Tetris was released and then less than a month later (instead of years) Dr. Mario was released. Dr. Mario is a pretty great game by the way, so the comparison is a bit weird here. Hopefully you get the sentiment.

This sort of fast turnaround creates a lot of confusion and while it’s exciting and somewhat inevitable, it doesn’t make the aftermath easier to deal with as original creators. Maybe not a lot of people know Alexey Pajitnov made Tetris, but of those that care about that kind of thing, it’s fairly obvious to everyone that Tetris came first. If you’re aware of Dr. Mario, you’re almost certainly aware that Tetris exists.

The branching of all these ideas can happen so fast nowadays that it seems tiny games like Threes are destined to be lost in the underbrush of copycats, me-toos and iterators. This fast, speed-up of technological and creative advances is the lay of the land here. That’s life! That’s how we get to where we’re going. Standing on each others shoulders.

I do love Threes and I hope it is not lost to history. 

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