Recently, the Wordle puzzle has become popular on Twitter. Users actively publish strange block schemes of yellow, green and gray squares, signing them only with the name of the game and a pair of numbers. We are talking about the phenomenon of the project, which was able to increase the audience by more than three thousand times in two months.

What is Wordle

This is a word game in which the gamer has to guess the word of the day from five letters. He has six attempts in total. The gamer must write guesses in special lines, after entering a word, each letter will be colored in a certain color. In green — if the letter from the proposed variant is in the word of the day and is placed in the same place. In yellow — if there is a letter in the word, but it should be in a different place. In gray — if the letter is not in the word.

You can only play Wordle once a day. At the same time, all users of the title, in fact, solve the same puzzle. In order not to spoil the hidden word of the day to other players, users share an “encrypted” version of their answers on Twitter. Instead of words, colored squares corresponding to letters are visible in it. The numbers in the captions usually mean the sequence number of the puzzle and the number of attempts that the gamer needed.

It looks like this:

At the moment, there are 2500 words in the Wordle dictionary. Everything is in English.

How the game was created

Wordle was developed by American programmer Josh Wardle. He said in an interview with The New York Times that he created a prototype back in 2013, but then the idea did not impress Wardle’s friends, and he abandoned the idea.

The programmer returned to Wordle in 2020 during the pandemic. According to Wardle, he wanted to come up with a game that his girlfriend would like. She was fond of crosswords and The Spelling Bee word puzzle from The New York Times, so the idea of making her word game again seemed attractive to Wardle.

The title had to be modified more than once. For example, at first there were about 12,000 words in it, many of which are almost impossible to guess. At first, Wordle was played only by Wardle himself and a girl, but later he also told his relatives about the game. The developer’s family liked the puzzle so much that they discussed it on WhatsApp for months. This convinced Wardle to open Wordle to the whole world.

Wordle was released in October 2021. By November 1, its audience reached 90 people, and by January 2, 2022, it exceeded 300,000 people.

Reasons for success

As Wardle admits, the project was able to achieve popularity partly due to the simplicity of the design and the fact that there is no advertising in it. The game is launched on a minimalistic website without a hint of bright banners.

“I think people appreciate that it’s just a fun online game. She is not trying to do something questionable with your data and does not hurt your eyes,” Wardle said.

Also, according to the programmer, the fact that you can play Wordle only once a day made a contribution. People don’t have enough content, so they log into Wordle every day for a new portion. As a result, engagement is growing.

One of the most significant factors was how specifically Wordle users share their successes online. Until mid-December, the game did not have a feature that allows you to share the results. But Wardle noticed that gamers found a way to talk about their achievements without spoilers — they published a kind of “grid” of green, yellow and black emoticons. The programmer was inspired by this idea and added a similar function to the title. As Wardle explained, just the sight of a strange scheme on Twitter attracts the attention of users and brings a new audience into the game.

К слову, на счету Уордла помимо Wordle еще два вирусных проекта. Первый из них это After a minute, it should disappear from the site, unless one of the users clicks on the button. She lasted on Reddit for more than two months.

Another project was called Place. This is an online space where every user could draw one pixel every 5-20 minutes. The place worked for 72 hours, during which time a million people managed to draw in it.