Wordle: What Is the New Internet Sensation? Does It Live up to the Hype?

by Megan Molseed

What is Wordle, exactly? Is it even a word? Well, if it wasn’t before, it is now – and it’s taking the country by storm. So much so that the New York Times has just purchased it for seven figures.

If you’ve been on social media at all since we entered 2022, you’ve certainly caught a glimpse of the new internet sensation, Wordle. It’s addictive, it’s a blast… and it can drive you crazy.

The popular online game gives players six chances to guess a five-letter word. Players also get clues as they go, pinpointing correct letters with each attempt to figure out that elusive mystery word.

Do We Know What a Wordle Is Yet?

Wordle is played on a grid of squares set up in a six-by-five pattern, with a keyboard of letters underneath. Players type a five letter word into the first row of squares, hoping to solve the mystery word chosen for the day. If one of the letters in the chosen word fits the mystery word – but it sits in the wrong spot – that square will turn yellow. When the player’s chosen word includes a letter from the mystery word that is in the correct spot, the square turns green. Sounds simple, right? You’d think it was, but I assure you it’s not as simple as it seems – most days. I’ve been Wordle obsessed for just two weeks now, and the number of fifth and sixth word solves I’ve wracked up so far is embarrassingly high.

To give this wildly popular word game an extra little twist, the creators share just one daily puzzle. Just one chance to solve the mystery word in a 24-hour time period. And, each daily puzzle is the same for everyone. So, if you are new to the world of Wordle but want to get hooked, be warned…there are spoilers everywhere.

After completing the puzzle, many Wordle players like to share their final scores online. But, so one doesn’t unintentionally spoil the mystery for other players, this notification is shared as a grid of letter-less yellow and green squares, noting how many tries it took a player to solve for the mystery word.

From Under A Hundred Players To Millions of Wordle Fans

According to data collected about the Wordle app and website, just 90 people were playing the game last fall. By January, however, this number shot up in meteoric fashion to 300,000 users. And, the numbers keep getting bigger. Just last week the Wordle app and website recorded two million players. Even Jimmy Fallon is obsessed.

The popular game was created in 2021 by Josh Wardle who initially created the game for his partner, Palak Shah for something to do during the pandemic. However, Wordle has now been purchased by the New York Times.

Tips and Tricks Are Always A Plus

So, how does one tackle this game? With so many people playing each day, there are a lot of “tips and tricks” for solving the puzzles out there. And, all have their pluses.

The most common tip floating around out there is the importance of having a strong starter word. This is key. How do you decide on a starter word? Well, one suggestion leads us to a popular games show, Wheel of Fortune. During the Wheel of Fortune’s final puzzle, the game gives contestants the same letters each time to start out the puzzle. RSTLNE. According to experts, these are the English alphabet’s most commonly used letters. So, it’s important to consider this when establishing your starter words.

However, other tips we have seen suggest something entirely different. Some Wordle fans suggest choosing a starter word that does not contain any of the above-mentioned letters.

Instead, this tip suggests a player select a strong starter word that uses less common vowels. The reason behind this is to give us an opportunity to sus out what vowels will be in the word. Words like AUDIO, or WOULD are perfect in this scenario. However, whatever route a player chooses to take, the importance of a good starter word cannot be stressed enough. Seriously. I had a friend solve a Wordle in one guess. Yes. One. Guess. I guess Wordle was just a fan of his lucky starter word! It was Wordle puzzle 224, by the way…if anyone wants to guess what the lucky word was.