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The Phenomenon of Wordle

Updated: Feb 16


You’ve probably heard of the global phenomenon that is Wordle.

Even if you haven’t heard of the game or played it, you’ve definitely seen memes of the gray, yellow, and green bricks all over social media. But what is it? Where did it come from?

Wordle is a popular online vocabulary game created by software engineer, Josh Wardle, developed in October 2021.

Apparently, Wardle created the game for his partner, Palak Shah, who has a love for word games. The two came up with over 2,500 words, enough words to keep the game going for at least six years!

When Wardle released the game to the public there were less than 100 players, a stark contrast to the now believed 2 million users playing daily. This spike in popularity is definitely caused by millions of people posting memes about the game on Twitter or discussing particularly difficult words on Tik Tok.

This overwhelming popularity drew attention from major companies, especially the New York Times who purchased the app in January, buying Wordle from its creator for a whopping seven figures.

“The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English-speaking person seeking to understand and engage with the world,” a company statement said. “New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy.”

How do you play Wordle, you ask? It’s simple! You’re given six chances to guess a five letter word. As you continue to guess letters, they become a series of colors, depending on if the letter is in the word of the day.

Dark gray means the letter is not in the word, yellow means it is in the word, just not in the space you placed it in, and green means the letter is in the word and in the correct space. That’s right, it’s that easy—so you might think.

Now that you know how to play the game, why should you play? First-year student Jake Robertson shared his feelings on the game, “I like to play Wordle because I like puzzles and brain teasers. Wordle always makes me struggle to think of words that I’ve probably only heard once or twice in my life and I find that very fun!”

Due to the popularity of the game, Wordle fans have started strategizing their first guess. They’ll use five letter words with no repeating letters and as many vowels as possible. Some of these words include: “raise,” “cloud,” or “adieu.”

Since being bought by the New York Times, Wordle has some new features which allow you to share your results with friends and view your statistics in the game, which include: how many games you’ve played, the percentage of how much you’ve won, your current winning streak, and your maximum winning streak. You can also enable hard mode, which makes the player use hints that are given and prevent guessing words at random.

The coolest thing about Wordle? No matter where you are in the world, everyone gets the same word (or Wordle) everyday. It makes sense as to why the game is so popular.

First-year Ashley Belmessieri gave her opinion as to why the game is so popular, “it doesn’t take too much time to and it’s free for everyone to play. It’s an interesting format I haven’t seen in any other game like it, plus it’s free!”

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