What is Wordle?


Wordle game after New York Times bought it

Graham Murphy, Reporter

Recently a new game became popular here with the students at West, Wordle.

Wordle is a game where there is a 5 letter mystery word you have to guess in 6 tries or less. When you guess a word every letter in the word turns a certain color corresponding with whether it is in the mystery word. Grey/Black = letter is not in mystery word at all, Orange/Yellow = letter is in word but not in the right place, Green = letter is in the word and in right place. The game is very similar to the popular board game Mastermind.

West students have been playing this game for a couple of weeks now and tons of people play every day. But every good game comes with some problems. The problem here at West is that people spoil the word. Since everyone has the same word every day, someone may get the word before someone else. They might accidentally (or on purpose) say it out loud and ruin the fun for their classmates.

Wordle was started by Josh Wardle as a fun game for just his wife because he knew she enjoyed word games like Spelling Bee (a New York Times game). He named it Wordle as a play on his last name. Josh and his wife (Palak Shah) introduced it to their relatives and they loved it, encouraging them to make it a public game. On November 1, they did, with 90 total people playing the game. Two months later, it had more than 300,000 players. Josh says one of the reasons he thinks it is so popular is because of the limited amount of times you can play it. Since it is once a day, you are less likely to get sick of it and want to keep coming back for more.

On January 31, 2022, Wordle was bought by the New York Times in the “low seven figures.” Since then there have been lots of complaints about the Times purchase of the game. Some say the words have gotten harder ever since it was bought and that the Times will soon require a subscription to play. Cameron Adamski, a 7th-grader who plays Wordle daily says the change in ownership does not really affect him.

Whether or not you solve the Wordle sometimes depends on the word you start with. Many people start with the same word every day and chose words with lots of vowels (piano, audio) or words with common letters (crane, tread). “I start [Wordle] every day with mouse or house,” says Cameron.

Many others have tried to capitalize on the success of the game with tons of knock-offs. Some are just a straight copy of the game, but others get more creative. One example of this is Nerdle, which is essentially Wordle but with math equations instead of words.