A word guessing game taking the world by storm was created by a British software engineer for his partner.
Josh Wardle, who lives in Brooklyn and graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2006, created the game Wordle to play with partner Palak Shah.
Having first played the game with Ms Shah, Mr Wardle then shared it with his family on WhatsApp, where it proved so popular that he opened it up to the world.
On November 1, Wordle had 90 players. Last Sunday, more than 300,000 people took part in the daily challenge.
Once a day, the game invites players to guess a five-letter word and, upon submitting their guess, Wordle tells you whether any of your letters are in the secret word and whether they are in the correct place.
Players are then given six attempts to guess what the secret word is.
Josh Wardle, who lives in Brooklyn and graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2006, created the game Wordle to play with partner Palak Shah
Having first played the game with Ms Shah, Mr Wardle then shared it with his family on WhatsApp, where it proved so popular that he opened it up to the world
Wordle is a daily word game puzzle where users have six attempts to guess the 5 letter word
Mr Wardle, a former software engineer for Reddit, created a similar prototype in 2013 but abandoned it after friends were unimpressed.
However, during the pandemic, he revisited the game, after he and his partner ‘got really into’ the New York Times spelling bee and daily crossword.
How does Wordle work?
- Players visit the Wordle website everyday to try and guess that day’s five letter word.
- You are given six turns to guess the word.
- After each guess, correct letters in the right place turn green, while correct letters in the wrong place turn yellow.
- Any letters that turn grey can be ignored as they are not in the word.
- Players are able to share their attempts on social media in the form of coloured grids.
- There is just one Wordle per day.
It is not the first time that Mr Wardle has created something that has caused a storm online.
In 2015, he created Reddit’s The Button, a bizarre game where a button appeared on a website with a 60-second countdown.
Every time someone pressed the button the clock would reset, but each person could only press it once. Despite there being no prize for clicking it, the simple reward of being able to press it saw millions of people click it.
He is also the creator of Place, a collaborative social experiment that caused waves in April 2017.
Place was a shared online space that allowed users to fight over what was drawn there.
It resulted in huge, sprawling communities battling over space on an online canvas.
Now based in New York, Mr Wardle says he enjoys ‘building unique products that focus on human interaction’.
Ms Shah says she now wakes up every day to play Wordle. Though it is now shared with the world, she said she appreciated that Mr Wardle originally created it for her.
‘It’s really sweet,’ she said. ‘This is definitely how Josh shows his love.’
Mr Wardle graduated Royal Holloway, University of London in 2006 after studying Media Arts. He then studied Digital Arts at the University of Oregon.
His education was followed by two years as an artist for Reddit, before becoming a senior product manager and later an adviser for the company.
Mr Wardle spent nearly two years as a software engineer for Pinterest before returning to Reddit in the same role in January 2020.
Discussing the success of Worlde, Mr Wardle, told The New York Times: ‘I think people kind of appreciate that there’s this thing online that’s just fun. It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs.’
Hundreds of thousands of fans are playing Wordle – in which the aim is to guess a single five-letter word known as the ‘Wordle’ within six attempts
Today’s Wordle, ATTEMPT ONE: For the first effort, we tried the word SHORT, discovering that S was the first letter of the Wordle
ATTEMPT TWO: We tried the word SMALL, only to discover that none of the other letters were in the word
ATTEMPT THREE: The word SIZED told us that I was the second letter of the Wordle and that it also had an E
ATTEMPT FOUR: Trying the word SINCE didn’t unveil any new letters – but it did tell us that the Wordle ended with an E
ATTEMPT 5: Knowing it began with an S and I, ended with an E and with several other words ‘greyed out’ and removed, on the fifth try, our guess of SIEGE proved to be correct
He added that the game also attracts players because it takes up just three minutes a day.
Mr Wardle said: ‘It’s something that encourages you to spend three minutes a day. And that’s it. It doesn’t want any more of your time than that.’
His partner was the first player to play the game and played a key role in getting it ready for the world
Wordle’s initial list of all of the five-letter words in the English language – about 12,000 – contained obscure words the couple thought would have been near impossible to guess.
Mr Wardle eventually narrowed the list of Wordle words to about 2,500, which should last for a few years.
However, fans have already complained about some words, saying that the words REBUS and TAPIR were not familiar enough.