Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday January 29, 2022
What in the Wordle? The New Viral Word Game Dividing the Internet
In the past few weeks a new phenomenon has emerged on Twitter feeds around the world: a mysterious grid – five squares across, six down – littered with green, yellow and black tiles.
Sometimes it’s uploaded as a boast, sometimes a lament. Either way the grids are a something of a scorecard for the internet’s latest obsession and battleground, Wordle – a no-frills, daily online word puzzle that gives users just one chance, in six attempts, to solve the five-letter word of the day. And it’s proving to be as addictive as it is simple.
“Exponential growth cannot be denied. Maths cannot be shrugged away,” one Twitter user warned this week. “If you can’t see the terrifying truth of what is happening you are a denialist and a fool: Twitter will be 98.7% Wordle by Tuesday.”
While things may not get that out of hand, there’s no denying its dramatic ascent into the public consciousness with reports it’s gone from 90 players a day in November to more than two million last weekend.
If you’re one of the as-yet-uninitiated, the premise of Wordle is simple: guess the five-letter word through a process of elimination, Mastermind style. If you’ve correctly guessed a letter that’s in the word, the square will turn yellow. If it’s in the right spot, it’ll turn green. Once all six attempts have been used – regardless of whether you’ve revealed the answer – the game is over.
A countdown timer then appears, showing how long it is until the next daily puzzle is dropped.
One chance, once a day, that’s it – imbuing the riddle with a built-in scarcity seldom seen in an attention economy that’s typically hellbent on holding us hostage for as long as possible.
The spartan landing page has no ads, and won’t require you to sign up, nor receive pesky notifications or repeated pleas to invite your friends. Rather, it’s just a grid and a gratifying soupçon of distraction-free brain teasing in a chaotic world. Little wonder it’s caught on.
Detractors have branded the game as everything from FarmVille for Twitter to the banana bread of Omicron. But not everyone is so cynical. “I love seeing your Wordle tweets. Please continue to share them,” one user wrote. “Puzzles are fun and connecting with your friends over word games is way better than anything else we’re doing on Twitter.” (Broadsheet)
Meanwhile, the “freedom convoy” of truckers and their supporters are protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Parliament Hill on Saturday. Follow along for live updates from CTV reporters on the ground in Ottawa. (CTV News)