Editorial: A community just five letters away


Six letters (one word, two vowels) can be used to spell out one of the latest global phenomena this year. 

Here’s a hint: Do yellow, green and gray boxes ring a bell? Can you guess what it is?

OK, we’ll give it to you: WORDLE

Young or old, rich or poor, tall or short — no matter who you are, chances are you or someone you know has played the popular web-based word game at least once since its release in October 2021.

If you somehow haven’t heard of it, here’s how you play: Wordle is a word game which can only be played once a day. At the start of every day a new word is revealed and it’s up to you to figure out what it is. 

You get six chances to guess this five-letter word. Based on your guesses, correct letters in their correct positions are shown in green boxes, correct letters in incorrect positions are marked by yellow boxes and wholly incorrect letters are shown in gray boxes. Based on these hints and guesses, players need to correctly guess the word. 

Really simple, right? But, for some reason, it is also very compelling. To us, Wordle is organized in such a unique way; it can be thought of as an “anti-addiction game” — it’s impossible to devote a large amount of time to it because it can only be played once per day. You may want to, but you can’t. It’s a game that thrives on its simplicity while so many other games are comparatively and densely complex.

Although it can be challenging at times, Wordle is a generally mindless activity that involves just the right amount of brain power. It’s a fun way to stimulate your mind but doesn’t feel like work.

Sure, it is just a puzzle. But, for many, something so simple as this five-letter internet game has led to the creation of new friendships and the rekindling of old ones (or maybe even the end of some if you find yourself spoiling the answer!).

As silly as it may sound, Wordle is bringing people together.

In fact, that was developer Josh Wardle’s initial intent when he first created the guessing game for only him and his partner who loves word games.

After playing for months, Wardle rightfully thought he might be onto something and later shared the game with the rest of the world. 

On Nov. 1, 2021, 90 people played the game. Nearly two months later, 300,000 people played it. Now, the puzzle has millions of daily players.

Since its release, it’s taken the world by storm. Group chats have been made specifically for discussing the day’s puzzle, acting as a useful way to stay in touch with friends and begin new conversations with people seen less consistently. Individuals stay up in anticipation of the day’s new word. Spin-offs of the game have been posted online, such as rivals like Worldle or Heardle

On Jan. 31 of this year, The New York Times even announced its purchase of Wordle — a game with, we imagine, close to zero upkeep costs — for an undisclosed amount, close to seven figures

While many people go to The New York Times to read the news, with the game being free to visitors, it’s an interesting decision to have bought the ownership of such a puzzle — we guess it’s just that popular.

But that’s besides the point. 

Regardless of this, Wordle has become a prominent part of our lives these last couple months — it is a ritual that has forged itself into many of our daily routines. It’s strange to say, but undoubtedly true.

So, as we reflect on the warmth and fuzziness Wordle provides many of us, and the friendships it has either strengthened or led us to, there’s one last thing on all of our minds (and it’s very important): Have you done the Wordle today?

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