Wondering what the green and yellow boxes are all over your social media feeds? It’s Wordle, a new no-nonsense word game that has captured the Internet.
Think of it as Mastermind, but with words instead of colored pegs. Or a small crossword with no clues. You start by selecting any five-letter word and typing it into the grid. Any letters that are incorrect will pop up in gray. The correct letters will turn yellow, and if the letter is also in the correct position, it will turn green. The user has six attempts to guess the word – that’s all – the fewer attempts the better. Katherine loves to play golf.
In the midst of a chaotic, polarizing news cycle, a simple pun could be just what the Internet needs.
Even the story behind the game is fascinating. The New York Times reported it was created by a software engineer Josh Wardle is for his partner who loves word games. Wardle – yes, even the game’s name is a play on words – finally brought his side project to the public in October after it rose to fame on a family chatroom. Since growing from 90 players to 300,000 last Sunday.
“That’s what encourages you to take three minutes a day,” he said in an interview with the Times. “It doesn’t want any more of your time than that.”
Deepak Venkatasubramanian of Charlotte, NC, checks Wordle like the morning paper. It is refreshing to have a sense of routine in times of pandemic and in a society with excessive information saturation, he said. He played a similar word game on family road trips while growing up, and now he plays Wordle in a group chat with his friends to stay in touch. His group of recent college grads even made an Excel sheet to tally scores.
“We have a culture of being able to access everything at once,” says Venkatasubramanian. “It’s like waiting for an episode of your favorite TV show to drop.”
The game, a simple enough combination of logic and sheer luck, is going viral on social media and group chats, after Wardle created an easy way to share results by allowing users copy and paste their colored squares without giving away any words. Thousands of people post their scores every day on Twitter, revealing how much or how much, they tried to solve the puzzle and in what order.
For many people, it becomes part of their daily routine. Wardle posts a new game every 24 hours on the website he created. There is no style. Plus, no pop-up ads, no pesky logins, no cash.
“I don’t understand why something can’t just be fun. I don’t have to charge people for this and, ideally, I want to keep it that way,” Wardle said in an interview. on Wednesday with BBC Radio 4.