I’d never heard of the game until reading today’s Wall Street Journal.
The name of the game is Wordle, and it was created by John Wardle (seems like he was meant to create such a game).
Wordle is a word guessing game that tasks the player with correctly identifying a random five-letter word.
You only get six tries to guess the word, but the game will give you hints along the way.
You’ll start out by randomly guessing any valid five-letter word. From there, the game will tell you if each letter you guess is either in the word and in the correct place (green), in the word but not in the correct place (yellow), or not in the word at all (gray).
Here is an example:
The game player first typed in the guess VAGUE.
The gray color of the letters V and G indicates those two letters are not in the word. The yellow color of the letters A and U indicates that those two letters are in the word, but not in those positions. The green color of the letter E indicates it is in the word and in the correct position.
The player then typed in the word AMUSE, and continued from there until they correctly guessed the word ACUTE.
Wardle, the man who invented Wordle, is a software engineer from New York. He created a prototype in 2013 and during the pandemic he dusted it off for his partner, who liked playing word games.
It started to take off in mid-November, Mr. Wardle said, when technologist Andy Baio put a link to the game in his blog. Then Mr. Wardle noticed fans in New Zealand were posting results with color boxes they drew themselves. So Mr. Wardle made it easy to share results, and things went viral. He said 1.8 million people played last Friday, compared with 90 people on Nov. 1, 2021.
Talk about exponential growth.
There is only one new word released per day. The site is very simple, with no log-in required and there are no ads. If you want to try it, here is a link: https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/
As you might imagine when something goes viral like this, there are some people who become obsessed.
The WSJ article talks about people developing spreadsheets to try and come up with the best starting word, and there are online forums where people debate whether it is better to start with a word that has lots of vowels or consonants.
I just played it for the first time, and I have to admit I used one of the words mentioned in the article as a good starting word. It seemed to work for me, at least on today’s puzzle. I’ll see how it works tomorrow.
I don’t see myself becoming obsessed, but it seems like it’s a fun game that might take 5-10 minutes out of your day.