Explained: What is Wordle?

For the past few weeks, Twitter has been filled with green, yellow and black squares. You wouldn’t be too far off if you mistakenly thought South Africa’s ruling party were out doing some strange campaigning. However, that is not the case. Instead, the internet has been taken by storm with a new game called Wordle. This is what you need to know. 

What is Wordle?

It is a free vocabulary game that can only be played through its website. There is no app to play the game. Every day, players get exactly six tries to guess the word of the day. All players get the same word and the game can technically only be played once a day. (we tried using different browsers to see if that’s true) 

Once players have reached their six tries or if they’ve guessed the word correctly, they can share the results on social media. Players aren’t required to sign into the game and there are no advertisements and pop-ups. 

Who is responsible for the game?

The game was started by software engineer at Brooklyn art collective Mschf, Josh Wardle, for his friends and family. Wordle now boasts approximately two million players. The game launched last spring and had around 90 daily players in November. From the beginning of this year, the game had 300 000 at the beginning of January up to the two million last weekend. 

The inspiration for the game? Wardle developed it for his partner who loves puzzles. According to the Guardian, the game’s popularity partly stems from the fact that it was “deliberately built to be played once a day, and without features designed to promote its growth such as push notifications and email sign ups.” 

Another reason for the game’s popularity is that you can’t spend so much time on it. Unlike other social media applications or internet sites, there is limited availability. You won’t be able to spend hours on it. The most time you can spend on the game is a few minutes. Wardle told the New York Times: “It’s something that encourages you to spend three minutes a day. And that’s it. Like, it doesn’t want any more of your time than that.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Wardle, a software engineer based in Brooklyn who is originally from Wales, said the response to the game is overwhelming. “It going viral doesn’t feel great to be honest. 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.”

How do you play it? 

So as mentioned above, you have six tries to get the daily five letter word. The game comes in the form of a grid. You need to enter five letter words. Once you enter the word, the letters will be coloured coded. A green coded letter means you got the word right. A black coded letter means you got it wrong and a yellow letter means you are correct but in the wrong position. It sounds pretty simple but if you don’t get it in six tries, you lose. You also can’t start the game again as it’s one try per day. 

What else you need to know

Well with anything that is being used and played by thousands/millions of people on the internet, there is bound to be some issues. For the January 12 word, speakers of British English were left confused with the game as it used an American spelling for a commonly used word. Many users could not figure out the word with all six guesses being used up. It was then revealed that the real answer was the word “favor”. 

A number of “copycat” apps have also started appearing on the iOS App Store. The App Store has since then reportedly deleted most of those apps but there is likely to be more clones that come up. Also technically, the concept behind the game is not technically original as the same basic gameplay was popularised by Lingo, a game show that dates back to the ’80s. There have also been other variations over the years. That’s why according to arsrtechnica, the same the same copyright laws that protect Wordle itself help protect anyone who wants to make their own version of the same basic idea. 

Have you been playing Wordle or are you just confused about all the color squares popping up? Let us know @thedailyvox 

Featured image via Wordle