Wordle, a popular word game, was created and developed by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle. It takes inspiration from the classic Mastermind games, where players are tasked to guess a five-letter word within six attempts. Each guess garners feedback, represented by colored tiles that indicate when letters either match or occupy the correct position in the target word.
Wardle initially developed Wordle as a pastime for him and his partner. The game was made public in October 2021 and gained traction in December 2021 after Wardle added a feature that allowed players to share their daily results as emoji squares, leading to widespread sharing on Twitter. The New York Times Company purchased the game in January 2022 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum and moved it to its website in February 2022. Despite this, the game remains free for all players.
How to play:
The daily Wordle puzzle changes at 12 am CST every day. The target word for the day is the same for everyone, creating a shared challenge for players worldwide. A unique feature of Wordle is its color-coded feedback system. After each guess, letters are marked as either green, yellow, or gray. A green marking indicates that a letter is correct and in the correct position, yellow signifies that the letter is in the answer but not in the right spot, and gray reveals that the letter is not in the answer at all.
Interestingly, each daily game uses a word from a randomly ordered list of 2,309 words, which is a subset of approximately 13,000 five-letter words in the English language. Wordle uses American spelling, which has led to some non-American players suggesting an unfair advantage for American players.
The popularity of Wordle saw a dramatic surge from late 2021 to early 2022. The player count increased from around 90 on November 1st, 2021, to around 300,000 on January 2nd, 2022, eventually reaching over 2 million players a week later. However, by January 2023, the average monthly players dropped to around 900, possibly due to the New York Times takeover3.
Despite its widespread popularity, tracking Wordle’s player activity remains a challenge due to its non-commercial nature, and the actual player counts may be much higher than the reported figures. Nevertheless, Wordle remains a beloved game for many, bridging the gap between language and logic in a simple yet compelling format3.