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What Does Wordle Have to Do With Doing Good?
Not Much But I Want to Thank Josh Wardle for Wordle
In December, Josh Wardle turned loose a little game he created for his girlfriend to play. Within days, user numbers jumped from tens to tens of thousands. By mid-January, millions of people were playing Wordle. On January 31st, Josh announced he’d sold the game to the New York Times for $1 million.
He says the Times has committed to making the game free for everyone, unlike the crossword, which isn’t even open to paying online news subscribers—a special “Games” subscription is required.
If you’re among the few who haven’t tried the game, I encourage you to give it a go. For people with serious work to do, as in saving lives or the planet, like readers of Superpowers for Good, it may just be the perfect game.
Perfect could be a little strong, but Wordle, unlike some other games, is delightfully self-limiting. It is perhaps its best feature. There is one word everyone in the world tries to guess every day. Once you’ve played, you have to wait until tomorrow to play again. You have to get back to work saving lives or the planet or whatever.
Of course, the rules are simple. You get six attempts to guess the five-letter word of the day. After each guess, Wordle indicates by changing color for each letter you entered whether the letter is in the word (yellow), in the correct order (green) or not in the word at all (gray).
The screenshot above is my effort at last Saturday’s word. Note that it is bad form to share the answer to a Wordle while it can still be played. If you want to lose friends and anger people on social media, go ahead and try it. Twitter even deleted the account of a bot that shared the daily answer.
Josh has noted that he has a list of 2,500 five-letter words. If the Times uses his word list, that represents almost seven years for us to figure out what’s next.
Will Wordle change the world? Not much. But a game that gives us five minutes of individual yet collective play each day is a joy.