Perhaps you’ve seen the tweets with a confusing array of gray, yellow, and green blocks. Maybe you’ve seen posts online about how the word of the day was too hard to guess, and that the game itself was skewed against the players. If you’ve been online at all in the past few months, chances are you’ve played, seen, or at least heard of the hit game Wordle.
Wordle is a guessing game where players must guess the unidentified five-letter word using clues. Players input a word, and depending on the placement of the letters in the word, the players receive clues. If the letter is not in the target word, it glows gray; if it is in the word but not in the right place, it glows yellow; if it is in the word and in the right place, it glows green.
Wordle was conceived by a Welsh software developer named Josh Wardle as a gift to his word-loving partner, Palak Shah. Inspired by many word games he played during quarantine, Wardle made the game specifically for her, though it quickly took off. Spreading through social media, Wordle became a craze unto itself with players all over the world.
Even though I play it every day, I still feel a sense of accomplishment when I do it: it makes me feel smart, and people like that, said Wardle in an interview.
For those worried, it’s not stopping anytime soon. In 2022, the New York Times acquired Wordle for a price in “the low seven figures” from Wardle.