Surely, you’ve come across green, yellow, and black boxes on your timeline the past weeks and wondered what it meant. The online word puzzle, Wordle, has gained traction over the holidays and grew from 90 daily players to millions worldwide. It’s free to play, has no ads, and encourages folks to get their thinking hats on.
From Pastime to Viral
Josh Wardle, the software engineer who created the game for his puzzle-loving partner, didn’t expect this to blow up as it did. “I wanted to try making a game that she and I would enjoy playing together, and Wordle was a result of that,” he told Slate.
What started as a simple yet challenging puzzle that they would solve on their sofa as a pastime has taken social media by storm, and more players have since joined in on the fun. He drew inspiration from the New York Times crossword, combined it with his wife’s fondness of Spelling Bee, and made the prototype in 2013.
Why Players are Hooked
The objective of Wordle is to guess a new five-letter word each day. Players get six chances to correctly guess the word of the day and share their results using a grid that displays their results. But what sets this ingenious game from others is the lack of endless play. You only get to solve one puzzle a day since the website only gets refreshed when midnight strikes.
“Even though I play it every day, I still feel a sense of accomplishment when I do it: it makes me feel smart, and people like that,” Wardle shared. According to Morning Consult, 43% of players heard about Wordle through social media, while others found out about it through word of mouth and the news.
As excited as he is that other people get to bond over Wordle during the pandemic, he also revealed that the game’s popularity has caused him anxiety. “I feel a sense of responsibility for the players. I feel I really owe it to them to keep things running and make sure everything’s working correctly,” he added. Nevertheless, Wardle takes solace in knowing his game has amused others.