On Monday, Jan. 31st, the New York Times announced their purchase of the popular game Wordle that has been sweeping the nation. The game was released by creator Josh Wardle in the early days of Nov. 2021, and originally started with 90 players. According to Time Magazine, the game hit 300,000 players by the end of December of that year. By the end of January, Wordle reached over ten million players.
The newly popular game is a daily word puzzle that can be played through an online website or an app. Every day the website generates a five letter word for players to guess. Each player gets the same exact word and six chances to guess. No hints or time limits are given, and it is up to the player as to how they want to play through the game to guess the word.
The game is played by typing in a five letter word of one’s choosing. This, however, is not as easy a task as it sounds. The first chosen word can offer hints and clues for the next guess and eventually the final answer. When a word is guessed, the box the letters are in turn different colors to provide hints regarding the final word. If the box turns green, the selected letter is in the final word and in the correct spot. When the box is yellow, the letter is correct, but the placement is not. If the box is gray, the letter is not a part of the final word. These colors correspond to colors on the keyboard to help the player remember which letters have been used.
The rules further highlight how much the first word could help one’s chances. Words like “roast,” “media,” and “radio” are helpful because they all use several vowels and popular letters like “M,” “D,” and “R.” For example, if the word was “moist” and one’s first guess was “media,” the letter “M” box would turn green which indicates that “M” will be in the final word and that it is in the correct place. “I” will turn yellow because it will be in the final word but the letter is not in the correct place yet. “E,” “D,” and “A” will all turn gray because none of those letters will be in the final word.
Josh Wardle’s initial intention for the game was not for a profit.
“That was never the goal, really, to make money,” Wardle said to Time. “People ask me all the time about the monetization stuff. Like, ‘You could put ads on it, You could do premium.’ And I don’t know, maybe I’m an idiot. None of that really appeals to me. I think because I started with the intention of not doing it, it’s been easy to say no.”
There have been several theories on what makes this single player game so addicting. Other than its lack of advertisements, players feel like part of a community when they participate. As it gains more and more players, many people feel like they want in on this new game. Everyone in this game is equal. With Wordle there is no “premium” or hints, everyone starts off on a level playing field.
Every player gets the same word and there is only one game a day which adds a feeling of wanting to play.
Wordle is a great daily word puzzle that can be made competitive or simply a fun, daily exercise. It is really easy to share scores with friends and can be a great thing to do throughout the day.