Six chances, five letters, one word: Wordle rises, and so does its fan base


Abby Lincks

Available solely on The New York Times website, Wordle gives players a daily chance to take the win.

Abby Lincks, Editor

Six chances, five letters, one word. 

The massively successful word game Wordle, was created by software engineer Josh Wardle in October of 2021. Players have six chances to guess the correct five letter word of the day. After a letter is submitted, gray indicates a wrong letter choice, yellow the correct letter but wrong position and green, perfect. 

“It’s basically a game that tests your vocabulary,” junior Cole Hayhurst said. “I think one of the reasons it’s so big right now is because everyone in the world gets the same Wordle each day.”

With only one word a day, there is a single play limit, prompting students to compete for their continued winning streak. 

“It’s a good way of forming a friendly competition,” senior John-elie Merriman said. “I would recommend it to anyone who’s willing to take some hate for not getting it on the fourth try.”

But, for game fanatics, the one play a day limit is just not enough. So, new variations of the game have been introduced on other sites. Nerdle and Primel, both number based games contain a series of numbers needed to meet specific instructions whilst fitting in the grid. Or, Taylordle, a Wordle replica that only contains words related to Taylor Swift. 

“I always do the Taylordle because one of my friends is a really big Taylor Swift fan and I just think it’s funny to send it to her,” junior Autumn Yeats said. “It’s also fun to do the variations because it makes it even more difficult because you’re thinking of things that only relate to the topic, so it makes it more fun.”

Trending on Twitter and other social media platforms like Instagram and Tiktok, it’s clear that the game is a great time killer amongst family and friends. 

“I do it in the morning all the time, like when I’m just eating breakfast or something,” Hayhurst said. “It’s something I can multitask while doing.” 

Purchased by The New York Times in early January of 2022 for somewhere ‘in the low seven figures,’ the original game is currently solely on their site, for free. But, discussion by fans present before the ownership transition claim that The New York Times has unnecessarily, from time to time, made certain words too difficult.  

“It’s a struggle to get it sometimes and I feel like it didn’t used to be like that,” Hayhurst said. “It used to be it was hard, but once you found out what the word was, you were like, ‘Oh, of course, it’s obvious that it was that word.’”

But, with most trends, there is a quick start and a slow downfall. Like many conversation topics, they can become mundane, leaving people restless for a new distraction. To this, both Hayhurst and Merriman propose a solution: change the strictly five letter word to a variety of differing letters per word.

“There are some programs that are eighteen letters or two letters,” Merriman said. “So, if they could expand that a little.”

As more people play, the popularity only rises. So maybe, in this rare case, consider brushing up on your vocabulary. 

“It’s super fun and I think people should try it out,” Hayhurst said. “It’s unique and there’s no other game like it, where everyone gets the same thing every day.”