Wordle went viral this Christmas and no, it isn’t a new COVID-19 variant.
The online game is a daily brain teaser, challenging anyone and everyone to guess a five-letter word in six or less tries.
If you’re an active Twitter user, it’s very likely you’ve already seen Wordle’s heavy influence on the social media platform.
What is Wordle?
Wordle is a word-guessing game that is available for free online.
Its format works best on a smartphone.
Every day, you’re given six chances to guess a five-letter word. And there are no clues to start you off.
After each guess, the colour of the tiles will change to show you how close your guess was to the word.
A green tile means the letter is both correct and in the right spot, a yellow tile means the letter is correct but in the wrong spot and a grey tile means that letter isn’t in the word.
Wordle presents you with your statistics after each game, such as the amount of games you’ve played, your win percentage, your streak (how many days in a row you’ve played Wordle) and your maximum streak.
Only one Wordle puzzle is available each day, so you have to wait until the next day to guess again.
Why are so many people playing it?
We’re all trying to guess the same word.
And that can lead to a fun (and sometimes competitive) Wordle session between loved ones.
Word fiends can also easily share their results on Twitter to humbly brag, bemoan their results, or simply join in on the fun.
Wordle results are spoiler-free, so that’s why Twitter is full of green, yellow and grey tiles.
Who made it?
Wordle was created by Josh – wait for it – Wardle, a Reddit software engineer who is no stranger to viral internet creations.
Mr Wardle is the man behind Reddit’s The Button.
In 2015, a button and a countdown clock appeared on Reddit for a limited time.
Before the clock could reach zero, someone in the world always pressed it, sending the clock back to 60 seconds.
It was a pretty odd exercise, but The Button went viral.
The BBC even published an article about what The Button “tells us about mortality”.
It eventually shut down after it surpassed one million clicks.
Mr Wardle also created Place, the 2017 social experiment that allowed anyone on the internet to contribute to a shared online canvas.
Anyone could draw over somebody else’s contribution, so it really became quite the battlefield.
Wordle has been around since at least October – it featured in the New York Times in November – but really gained traction in December after Mr Wardle introduced the share button.
In a Reddit post, Mr Wardle likened the game to eating a croissant.
“Enjoyed occasionally they are a delightful snack. Enjoyed too often and they lose their charm,” he wrote.
“My explicit goal was to have Wordle fall more in the ‘delightful snack’ category.”
Wordle is available for free online and you can try it out here.