The Internet’s Newest Sensation

Wordle has been on the rise since December of 2021 and is now one of the most widely played online games.


Photo by Business Today

An image of Wordle.

It’s the biggest digital phenomenon. It’s captivated the attention of millions. It consists of one word, each day. It’s called Wordle, and it’s sweeping America.

Wordle has its roots stretching back to almost a decade ago. In 2013, digital engineer Josh Wardle began working on an early prototype of the now famous Wordle game. He chose the name as a play off of his own last name. However, Wordle back in 2013 was very different from the game that users know and love today.

In December, 2021, the game began to take stage on the Internet, and by January, 2022, it took off and hasn’t looked back since. It was reported in early January that around 300,000 people globally played Wordle every day. That number has now skyrocketed into the millions and continues to increase. 

In fact, the popularity of the game caught the attention of the New York Times and, in February, the nationally-renowned newspaper purchased the game from Josh Wardle for a price that was listed in the low seven figures. 

The New York Times made this purchase in an effort to reach 10 million digital subscriptions by 2025, but so far the game remains free on the website to all users. 

So what exactly is Wordle? Most people recognize the green, yellow, and gray boxes on the phone and computer screens, as Wordle has now become an aspect of daily life. 

It’s a very simple game. In fact, it may be the simplicity that infatuates so many people. Whatever the case may be, it’s popular, and that popularity isn’t going away any time soon.

The game consists of one five letter word each day. Players get six opportunities to guess that five-letter word, and with each guess, they receive clues as to what the mystery word is. 

If a letter is highlighted in green, the player is in luck, as they know that letter is in the correct spot. If it is highlighted in yellow, that letter is in the five-letter word, but in the wrong spot. And finally, if the letter is in gray, then that letter is not in the word. Players use these clues to narrow down their options.

An example of a daily Wordle game. (Photo by The Guardian)

The creators of Wordle paired the game with a dictionary of 2,500 five-letter English words, enough to last over seven years before repeating. Even then, there are thousands more five-letter English words not in that dictionary. 

In fact, the game has been so popular that several other games have stemmed from it. One of the most popular has been a game called Worldle, which is a geography form of Wordle in which players have six opportunities to guess a given country based on its outline. 

Another popular game, called Crosswordle, is essentially the opposite of Wordle in which players work backwards. 

Weddle is an NFL-based game in which users get eight guesses to guess a daily football player. 

These games, along with many more, have been drawn from the game of Wordle itself.

There is significant strategy involved in the game. Many players start with the same word each day, trying to eliminate certain letters as best as they can. 

“I usually start with a word that has a couple vowels and popular consonants,” sophomore Colin Nowaczyk said. The use of selecting words with common vowels and consonants early on is an effective strategy in Wordle. Some of these include “Crane”, “Irate”, “Adieu”, and “Steak”.

“When I pull up the website, I ask myself if today is a vibes day or a default day,” Newspaper Adviser Chloe Healy said. “If it’s a default day, I start with “teary”, because I need to know if there’s a “y”. But, if it’s a vibes day, I just go with how I feel.”

“I typically do Wordle in the morning and start with a new word every day,” sophomore Luke Butler said. Some people stick with the same word every day, while others like to change it up and try something new every now and then. 

Doing Wordle in the morning is something many users try to do in order to avoid the word of the day getting spoiled later on.

“Midnight, because I’m usually awake with the baby,” Healy said when asked when she does her Wordle. 

Wordle is a game that has spiked to incredible heights over the past few months, and certainly does not see an end in sight. With the amount of users and the way the game is designed to keep players coming back, plus the sheer amount of five-letter words in the English dictionary, Wordle should be a popular game for a very long time.