Wordle Is The New “Lingo” Turning Fans Into Argumentative Strategy Nerds
Wordle Has Turned Fans of Word Games Into Argumentative Strategy Nerds. Wordle Is The New Lingo Turning Fans Into Argumentative Strategy Nerds
Hugely popular online game requires players to guess a new five-letter word each day; ‘His plotting frustrates me!’
Wordle, a once-a-day online word game, has taken the world by storm. Now its devotees are arguing about how best to play it.
Some rush to the website to play before others. Others have spent hours debating strategies with friends, family and strangers online. Some have gone to extreme lengths by building spreadsheets to analyze the best way to play.
Sam Sheridan plays Wordle the moment a new game drops, at midnight while he’s in bed, “which probably sounds kind of mad,” said the psychologist from London.
The game is simple. You have six chances to guess the day’s secret word, which has five letters. Type in a word as a guess, and the game tells you which letters are or aren’t in the word. The game is free and has no ads. The aim is to figure out the secret word with the fewest guesses.
Fans typically have a favorite first word they think gets them to the answer fastest. Two groups have emerged: those who type in vowel-heavy words first and those who go after common consonants.
Mr. Sheridan types in “arise” first, to eliminate three vowels at once. “I have not failed yet,” said the 30-year-old, who started playing a week ago. He likes to tease his girlfriend, Anna Taylor, who has no strategy at all. “I only find it fun if I can move instinctively and quickly,” said Ms. Taylor, 31, who works in clinical research. “His plotting frustrates me!”
Rebekka Power, 46, prefers more consonants in her first try and usually types in “stear.” She dismissed those who think a first guess should have more A’s, E’s, I’s, O’s or U’s.
“Words aren’t made of just vowels,” said the communications director from Melbourne, Australia.
Bertrand Fan, a software engineer in San Francisco, took a peek behind Wordle’s website to get a leg up.
He looked at the code used to build the site and found a list of words used in the game. But he didn’t use it to cheat. “It would ruin the game if I actually looked up the answer for each day,” he said. Instead, Mr. Fan used the list to find the most recurring letters in the words.
His analysis found that E, A, R, O, T, L, I and S were the most-used letters in the answers. He swapped out his previous favorite starting word “adieu” for “soare,” which means young hawk.
“I’ve never seen that word before,” said Mr. Fan, 41. He thinks it helps him win one try faster than “adieu.”
The game encourages people to share their results online, which helped it go viral. Jimmy Fallon, the host of “The Tonight Show,” tweeted his results to his 51.4 million followers last Tuesday. “Who else is playing #Wordle? Addicted,” he wrote. Three days later he posted an update. “Still hooked,” he said.
Players paste the Wordle game on social media, which has filled Facebook and Twitter timelines with a sea of green and yellow squares. In the game, when a guess is made, the color of tiles change to show you how close you are to the secret word.
If you guess “weary,” as the instructions say, and the “W” turns green, the secret word starts with a W. If the E turns yellow, the letter is in the word, but is in the wrong spot. Letters that turn gray aren’t in the word.
Stefan Geens, 52, started playing last week after seeing the green and yellow tweets. He discussed with friends the best first word and settled on a few: “ratio,” “toner,” “tears” and “irate,” because they contained the most commonly used letters in the English language.
Then he realized he could do better. He spent a Friday night and a Saturday morning creating a Google spreadsheet to figure out the best first word. Using an online list of 2,499 five-letter words, it showed the most common occurring letters were E, S, A, R and O. He has now changed his first word to “arose.”
“That’s clearly the best guess,” said Mr. Geens, a product designer in Stockholm.
London-based Starling Bank Ltd. turned the game into an ad. “Britain’s Best Bank?” it tweeted. The names of rivals were wrong answers, while the word “Starling” was in green. Workers are fans of the game, said Oliver Mott, the bank’s head of social media. “We couldn’t resist doing a mock-up,” he said.
JJ Edmondson started a Facebook group last week as a place where people can post their results. About 170 people share their Wordle scores, as well as hints, clues and tricks. There is one important rule:“DO NOT REVEAL THE ANSWER!,” wrote Ms. Edmondson, 53, a teacher from the Australian town of Korumburra.
One trick she shares is how to get around Wordle’s once-a-day game limit. She suggests using the Wayback Machine, an online internet archive where people can see Wordle’s website from past days and play old games.
Ira Lilien, a retiree from New York, wishes there was a timer with the game to see if someone spent hours figuring out the word. When he plays, he types in words that contain S, T, E or R, letters he uses often in another word game, Scrabble.
Josh Wardle, the man who invented Wordle, is a software engineer from New York. He created a prototype in 2013 and during the pandemic he dusted it off for his partner, who liked playing word games.
It started to take off in mid-November, Mr. Wardle said, when technologist Andy Baio put a link to the game in his blog. Then Mr. Wardle noticed fans in New Zealand were posting results with color boxes they drew themselves.
So Mr. Wardle made it easy to share results, and things went viral. He said 1.8 million people played last Friday, compared with 90 people on Nov. 1, 2021.
His email inbox has been filling up with people explaining their own strategies. He doesn’t know which one is best.
“You’re asking the wrong person,” he said. “I’m very bad at it.”
Wordle Is The New Lingo
With Wordle, Lingo has suddenly become a wildly popular game.
Five blank spaces, a keyboard, and six chances to guess: the word game wordle is very popular on the internet. Social media posts about the daily word puzzle are almost impossible to miss.
The formula is quite simple. Every day the website of wordle coming up with a five letter word. Every time you enter a word, the system checks how many letters of the correct word it contains, and whether they are already in the right place.
If a letter is correct, you will see a green square. If a correct letter is in the wrong place, the box turns yellow. All other letters turn gray. When you’re done, you can share your attempt on Twitter in the form of a series of yellow, green, and gray squares without revealing the solution.
Creator Josh Wardle made the game for his girlfriend, he recently told the New York Times. She loves word games. Together they sorted out about 2,500 five-letter words that people would probably be familiar with.
It turned out to be a success formula that is now played by hundreds of thousands of people every day. The squares are everywhere on social media: day in, day out, enthusiasts post their results.
‘I Have To Make Sure It Works Perfectly’
The popularity is hard on Wardle, he told The Guardian. He feels very responsible towards the fans of the game. “I have to make sure that everything continues to work perfectly,” he told the British newspaper.
Some app makers worked overtime to copy the game. They hoped – to the anger of the fans – to capitalize on Wordle’s popularity, because Wardle didn’t make an app himself. Apple didn’t seem impressed: The copies of the game were removed from the App Store without notice earlier this week.
Wordle Looks Like Lingo
In the Netherlands, something else stood out: the game resembles Lingo. In this popular quiz game, participants also have to guess words, and they are shown in turn how much their word resembles the correct answer.
“I had to think more about Mastermind myself. Lingo was too difficult for me when I was young,” says Jelle Besseling, creator of the Dutch variant Woordle. “But I think it’s funny that people on Twitter have positive associations with Lingo.”
Made For Alexander Klöpping
In the Netherlands we also started working hard with Wordle – and since last week with Woordle. “I decided to translate Wordle after Alexander Klöpping tweeted that there was no Dutch version yet.
I immediately got to work replacing the glossary and translating things. I have now continued working on my completely own version, which can also handle six letters.” For the enthusiasts, Besseling put his entire programming code online.
“Alexander Klopping retweeted me when it was finished,” says Besseling, “I immediately got a lot more people excited about it than I expected.” His family even created Whatsapp groups to organize Woordle results. “They are very proud.”
In the end, Wordle’s success is simple, he thinks: “You can pick it up easily, you’re done quickly, and it’s fun to share.” And, also very important: “Every day there is a new word, so if it is difficult once, just try it again the next day.”
Wordle Fans Are Mistakenly Downloading An App Created By A Teenager Five Years Ago
Popular Wordle game doesn’t have an app; other games with similar names are surging up the app-store charts instead.
Steven Cravotta noticed something strange earlier this week: A game he created five years ago as a teenager was suddenly being downloaded 40,000 times a day. Just a month ago, it was downloaded 10 times a day.
It took a Google search for him to figure out why.
His game, Wordle!, was being mistaken for another word game that recently became a world-wide phenomenon: Wordle, without the exclamation point.
“I didn’t know it was a craze,” Mr. Cravotta, now 24 years old, said in an interview. “I had no idea what was going on.”
The other Wordle has no app and can be played only once a day on a website. But those searching for Wordle in the App Store landed on Mr. Cravotta’s game.
At one point on Tuesday, five of the top 20 word games downloaded on Apple’s store had the word “Wordle” in their title, including Wordle! by Mr. Cravotta.
Some users realized they weren’t getting the Wordle they expected. Mr. Cravotta said his game has gotten a bunch of bad reviews. “People are just confused,” he said.
Mr. Cravotta, who works for an ad agency and lives in Santa Monica, Calif., makes apps on the side. His game is different from the more famous Wordle. In Wordle!, players have around 12 seconds to spell a word with four scrambled letters. The game is free, but for longer words, there is a 99-cent charge.
Wordle, on the other hand, is a guessing game that gives a person six chances to guess the day’s secret five-letter word. Type in a word as a guess, and the game tells you which letters are or aren’t in the word. The game is free and has no ads.
The creator of Wordle, software engineer Josh Wardle, said in an interview Saturday with The Wall Street Journal that he has been approached about turning the game into an app but currently has no plans to do so. He said Wordle doesn’t currently make money.
Mr. Wardle didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Wordle encourages people to share their results online, which helped it go viral. Jimmy Fallon, the host of “The Tonight Show,” has tweeted about Wordle to his 51.4 million followers three times in the past week.
Some have tried to cash in on Wordle’s fame by rushing out copycat apps that look like it. While many topped Apple’s App Store charts, Apple said Tuesday night that it had removed fake Wordle apps from its store without specifying how many.
One such app, What Word-Wordle, which launched last week, had 20,000 downloads between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7, according to App Annie, a mobile-app analytics firm. Efforts to reach that app’s developer were unsuccessful. By Tuesday night, it was no longer in the App Store.
Mr. Cravotta said the recent attention to Wordle!—which moved up four spots in the App Store on Tuesday night after the others were deleted—had brought in $1,000 from ads and in-app purchases. He said he plans to donate the money to charity.
He hasn’t promoted or updated Wordle! in years. Instead, he has been focusing on an app that aims to help people quit vaping, called Puff Count.
Mr. Cravotta said he might make tweaks to Wordle! based on the comments and suggestions he received. He doesn’t care that the more well-known Wordle uses the same name.
“It’s just a crazy circumstance and just a lucky place to be,” he said.
Twitter Suspends Wordle Account That Was Ruining the Game For Players
The account, @wordlinator, would automatically share next day’s answer; social-media company says it violated its rules.
Twitter Inc. said it suspended an account that tried to spoil the results for online word game Wordle by tweeting what it said were future answers to players.
The account was deactivated because it violated Twitter’s rules, the company said, which don’t allow sending bulk unsolicited replies, mentions or direct messages.
The bot account, @wordlinator, would automatically respond to players sharing their Wordle results on Twitter, tweeting them the next day’s answer.
“Guess what. People don’t care about your mediocre linguistic escapades,” the account would tweet, according to screen grabs. “To teach you a lesson, tomorrow’s word is…”
Wordle fans warned each other to block the account.
“Guys someone really hates joy,” tweeted one person. “Just what kind of sick, twisted person do you have to be to hate the sight of people enjoying a harmless activity.”
Wordle became a world-wide phenomenon this month, partly because people share their results on social-media platforms such as Twitter and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook.
The bot was likely able to find the answers because they are easy to find by reading the code used to build the Wordle site. One software engineer used the list of answers to get a leg up by finding the recurring letters in the words.
Wordle, which can only be played once a day, gives players six chances to guess a secret word. Players around the world get the same secret word to solve at midnight in their time zone.
The game has appeared in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, has been played by “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon and was turned into a cartoon by the New Yorker.
Wordle Has People Digging Out Old Games. Mastermind or Jotto, Anyone?
The viral online word game can be played only once a day, so players are searching for their fix in childhood games.
Last weekend, Josh Small did something he hasn’t done in nearly a decade: play Mastermind.
He was reminded of the board game after he discovered Wordle, the online word game that recently went viral. Mr. Small said Wordle is similar to Mastermind, and it had him itching for the game he played in the 1990s as a child.
He dug it out from the back of a closet. “Part of me thought it might not be in there anymore,” said Mr. Small, a 35-year-old financial analyst from Gig Harbor, Wash. “I was happy to see it was just sitting behind some boxes.”
An obsession with Wordle is pushing people to rediscover decades-old games they played as children. Some are searching their homes for forgotten board games or downloading apps based on them.
“It’s kind of like a Band-Aid to hold me over until there’s a new Wordle,” Megan LeBlanc said about Jotto, which she plays on an app. She downloaded it after seeing tweets that the game is similar to Wordle.
Rauno Järvinen, the founder of Oval Software, which developed the 8-year-old Jotto app, said it had 10 times as many downloads this month as in January last year. He attributes it to Wordle, which can be played only once a day.
“Its daily restriction has left many people hungry for more,” said Mr. Järvinen.
Ms. LeBlanc might also buy Mastermind, which she played as a child. “It’s definitely something I plan on playing again,” the 43-year-old substitute teacher from Wellesley, Mass., said. “My brother and I were just talking about it last week because of Wordle.”
Wordle became an online phenomenon this year, with 1.8 million people playing it earlier this month, up from the 90 who played it on Nov. 1. Josh Wardle, the software engineer who created Wordle, said he made a prototype in 2013 and dusted it off during the Covid-19 pandemic for his partner, who liked word games.
It went viral after Mr. Wardle made it easy to share results on Twitter and Facebook. People also started to tweet about the game’s similarities to Mastermind and Jotto. Mr. Wardle didn’t respond to a recent request for comment.
Wordle players have six chances to guess a secret five-letter word. Players of Mastermind, around since the 1970s, try to figure out a code made up of four colors.
Jotto, a pencil-and-paper game from the 1950s, requires players to guess a five-letter word that a second player came up with.
Rhonda Rosen has never played Wordle. But after reading about it in a newspaper, she turned to her partner and said: “‘This is Jotto. Don’t they know it’s Jotto?’”
Ms. Rosen, 65 years old, played Jotto as a child with her parents and sister while on family vacations. At the time, Jotto paper pads were sold in stores to jot down word guesses. She thought she still might have a Jotto pad, and went on a mission to unearth it. After cleaning out her office, she finally found it elsewhere.
“The basement bookshelf was the winner,” said Ms. Rosen, a chief financial officer for small companies.
Wordle sent Phil Darlington searching his daughter’s bedroom. He found three versions of Mastermind on the bottom of a pile of other board games, including the one he played with his grandmother in the 1970s. He thinks the games haven’t been touched in eight or nine years.
“We’re definitely going to play more often now,” said Mr. Darlington, 46, a computer programmer from Nottingham, England.
Pressman Toys, which makes Mastermind, said it is too early to tell if Wordle is affecting sales, since Wordle started going viral recently.
Maurice Kelly is playing Mastermind less. The 44-year-old software engineer from Dromara, Ireland, has always been a fan, even holding on to a mini-version of Mastermind that Singapore Airlines gave him when he to flew New Zealand as a child.
When Wordle went viral this month, he and his 11-year-old daughter got addicted to playing it daily instead of the Mastermind game she got for Christmas.
They did adopt a new habit. When they started playing Wordle, somebody mentioned a TV quiz show called “Lingo” that has word games similar to Wordle.
“Of course we started watching that as well,” he said.
Wordle Gets Purchased By New York Times
* Times Pays ‘Low-Seven Figures’ For Game By Brooklyn Developer * Publisher Seeks To Expand Games Business To Rely Less On News
The New York Times acquired Wordle, adding the popular daily word phenomenon to the newspaper company’s expanding portfolio of games and puzzles.
The price wasn’t disclosed, but the Times said it paid in “the low-seven figures.”
Wordle gives players six tries to guess a five-letter mystery word. It was created by Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn. Since its debut in October, it has caught fire, with users posting on social media how many guesses it took them to solve the word. The game has millions of daily players, according to the Times. It will initially remain free to new and existing players, the Times said, raising concerns it may eventually go behind a paywall.
The Times is focusing on games as a way to diversify its revenue sources. With Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency over, the newspaper has warned that subscriber growth won’t continue at the rate recorded in 2020.
In December, the Times crossed 1 million subscriptions to its games, which include “Spelling Bee” and crossword puzzles.