CRAZE: Wordle Bewitches the World

Every day, millions around the world play the game Wordle. But since it only just exploded in popularity in late 2021, the game has taken the world by storm. After it was acquired by the New York Times earlier this year, the game has become even more popular.

The premise of the game is very simple. Players have six tries to guess any five-letter word, with no hints or guesses beyond a yellow letter indicating that the guessed letter is somewhere in the word, a green letter indicating it is the right letter in the correct place or a gray letter indicating an incorrect letter.

Wardle created the game during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Software engineer Josh Wardle originally created the game for his partner, but according to Time, he made the game public with no intentions to make money off of it. The original version of the game had no ads or additional fees, and the game never had an app and was only accessible on the website. The simplicity is part of the appeal, and it was something Wardle wanted to preserve. Once the game became too overwhelming to manage on its own, Wordle allowed for the New York Times to take over, with the stipulation that the game remains free and accessible, even to those who don’t subscribe to the newspaper’s Games section, which features other popular word games such as the crossword puzzle.

Another unique draw to the game is the fact that it can only be played once every day. A new Wordle is released every day at midnight, and unless playing a knock-off version of the game, there is only one available word to guess per day and it is universal. The universality of the word helps add to the game’s competitive edge, in addition to the easy accessibility to share your score with friends and family on text or social media after guessing the word or using all of the guesses. The game also keeps track of streaks on the game and how many days in a row the game has been played. Plenty of knock-off versions also exist, including ones with more words or where you can add your own words into the game for friends and family. 

Roommates Leah Renkema (left) and Liliana Olvera (right)

Hope College students have also gotten in on the competitive buzz surrounding the viral game. Roommates Lili Olvera and Leah Renkema have made the game a new lunchtime tradition. “We always play at lunch together. It doesn’t feel normal if we don’t play,” sophomore Olvera said. “It’s fun to be able to compare to people because everyone has to get the same word. So the competition is to try and get it in less tries,” sophomore Renkema said.

The game has also had a strong influence between generations. “Actually my grandma told me I should play it! A bunch of her friends were playing it and she was sending me hers,” Renkema said. The game brings people back day after day. “Once you get started, you just want to keep going because you get a streak, so then you want to keep it up.”

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