The world needs the Wordle fandom
Be a 🟩 in a sea of ⬜.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who almost lost today’s Wordle. —Kate
It says … something about the human race that this time last year my Twitter feed was filled with live updates on the insurrection at the nation’s capital, but today is full of people feverishly tweeting their scores from Wordle. Wordle, created during the pandemic by Josh Wardle for his partner Palak Shah, is an old-internet-style game in which users have six chances to guess a simple five-letter word. Once complete, you have to wait until tomorrow to play again. That’s it.
According to The New York Times, when Wardle first released Wordle to the public in October, it was reaching around 90 players a day. This past Sunday, it hit 300,000—a number that’s likely grown even more significantly thanks to the Times feature itself.
“I think people kind of appreciate that there’s this thing online that’s just fun,” Wardle told the outlet. “It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs. It’s just a game that’s fun.”
The easiest way to spot a Wordle user is by their tweets, which will likely include a grid of yellow, gray, and green square emojis. In the game, when a player guesses a word, each letter turns a color that shows whether it's the right letter in the right spot, the right letter in the wrong spot, or a letter that’s not in the word at all. This is how you narrow down your guesses to the correct word. Once you’ve done so, you’re given the option to tweet an emoji version of your guesses. Here’s mine from today:
It’s hard to overstate just how tickled people are by Wordle. It has, of course, inspired memes.
Some fans cannot live on one daily game alone. User @faiako shared that their household has gone analog, playing a pencil-and-paper version of Wordle.
For the digitally addicted, @chordbug made a clone of the game called Hello Wordl, that’s “infinitely replayable” online.
But like most things that are good on the internet, Wordle fandom is great not because it’s uniquely digital, but comfortingly human. My parents and I have started reporting back over group text after the day’s puzzle, and I feel connected with other players in a way that makes me nostalgic for a past web.
Will the Wordle fever last forever? No, I don’t think so. I already can see its spot on a 2022 year-in-review listicle, which people will read, laughing about the game they forgot.
“Remember that time when we were all obsessed with Wordle?” they’ll joke, labeling it the way we do seemingly everything from the past: “Simpler times.”
Let’s enjoy the times while we’re in them.