An Ode to Wordle

An Ode to Wordle

Libby Kurt

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the game Wordle, or at least seen its gray, yellow, and green boxes on the internet. Invented by British software engineer Josh Wardle (do you see where the name comes from?), this word game has filled the hearts of over 300,000 adoring fans.

It’s a simple game, really. First, you start with a blind guess — a shot in the dark for your first attempt. The letters then change color based on how close you were to the word of the day. If a letter turns gray, it means it doesn’t appear anywhere in the magic word. If it turns yellow, it means it’s in the word; it just isn’t in the right place. If the letter turns green, however, not only is the letter in the word; it’s also in the perfect spot. With only six guesses total, each time you guess, you experience a thrill of fear. If you guess the word correctly, you get the effervescent feeling of success. The simplicity of the game and its rapid gain in following has surprised many people. I play Wordle nearly every day. However, because it’s such a simple game, its massive spike in plays over the past two months has surprised me. I wanted to figure out what makes Wordle so appealing to its thousands of cult-like followers.

One of the many things that makes Wordle so special is the fact that you only get to play once a day, providing a new level of fear and excitement. You know that if you don’t solve the puzzle within your allotted six guesses, you don’t get to play again. A lot of video games have one goal: to keep you playing for as long as possible. Wordle takes that idea and throws it out the window. You only get to play once per day. If you win, that’s great! You get the whole day to brag to your friends about solving it in so many guesses. If you lose, you must wait until midnight to try your luck again. In an age where social media and games try to lure you into spending hours on a platform, Wordle is a nice breath of fresh air.

Wordle allows you to connect with players all around the world. How? Your secret word of the day is the same as everyone else’s, no matter where you play. When you hear someone talking about how difficult the day’s Wordle was, you know the exact word they are talking about. When you see the social media posts filled with colored squares, you can relate, as you had to go through the same struggle to find the hidden word. Wordle provides a sense of connection. You know that everyone else who has played had to go through the same battle to get to the end. One thing that has boosted this is how easy Wordle makes it to share your results. Because everyone has the same word, if you were to post on social media about how hard the word was, you would be breaking the sanctity of Wordle ( This is a call out to FHN News, the broadcasting class of Forest Hills Northern, who announced the Wordle on air for all of the school to hear. #BoycottFHNNews). Instead, if you hit the share button, you get a beautiful grid of colored squares to show off to your friends.  

In a world where it seems everything has to be complicated in some way or another, Wordle stands out; it’s simple, it’s clean, it’s beautiful. When you open the website, you are greeted with a modest user interface. No pop-up ads, no annoying messages. Just easy, fun, Wordle. Compare it to other online games, and you begin to see where Wordle truly shines. You aren’t bombarded by advertisements, and no paywalls to prevent you from playing. Wordle truly is simplicity at its finest. 

I ended my research by asking a few of my fellow Wordle-playing classmates why they thought Wordle was so popular. Caroline Richard told me, “I have no idea. Everyone is talking about and saying ‘I did really well today’, which causes other people to want to play. It’s like a nice little daily treat.” Another student replied, “It’s satisfying when you get the right answer.” Other students found that Wordle was relaxing and fun. 

So it seems that there is no one reason why Wordle is so popular. This simple yet complicated game has brought joy into the lives of many people, including myself. If you haven’t taken the time to try Wordle yet, I recommend you try it at least once. At its core, I think that Wordle is just a fun, calming game that helps to counteract the stress and confusion of daily life.