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Conference Call Anatomy™
2048 catastrophe.jpeg

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A concentration aid for all-hands conference calls. A game where the objective, by sliding squares around a grid and doubling them, is to get a square to total 2048. Or more.

You have a grid of 16, 25, 36, 49 or 64 squares (you choose!) Tiles numbered with a 2 or a 4 are auto-generated on a couple of squares; the rest are empty. You have two controls — affordances — swipe up/down, and swipe left/right. Swiping does two things: it moves all the tiles as far as they can go in the direction you have swiped them, and auto-generates a new tile in a random empty square. When two tiles with the same number touch, they merge into one and the number doubles. Best practice, is to always swipe in the same two directions (say, left and down) unless, humanly, you can’t avoid it. This should push your biggest numbers into one corner

Getting to 2048 is hard in a 4x4 grid, but a cinch in an 8x8 grid. The process of sliding squares around and making them double is curiously, mindlessly, satisfying, requiring just enough attention to stop you being distracted by something else, but no more.

This means you can - should the mood take you - apply your full attention to the content of your conference call, without being tempted to go on Twitter, Google holidays in Tanzania, or find listicles about wardrobe malfunctions.

Between September 2018 and March 2022, the JC kept the same game going for 42 months, amassing 17,005,748 points and with a top tile of 524288, only lost it due to five minutes of madness on a particularly dreary conference call in the middle of the Russia crisis. There is now a gaping void in his life.

See also