A developer who has already set up two immensely successful projects for Reddit has again succeeded in Internet hit with the little word game Wordle: According to the New York Times, the simple game is now played by hundreds of thousands every day. Originally developed as a gift for his partner that only the two of them played, the success story began after Josh Wardle put the game on the Internet and added a simple way to make your own success public in a way that was typical of the game and thus somewhat puzzling. The game runs in the browser, both mobile and on the desktop.
Three minutes a day, nothing more
In Wordle is about guessing a five-letter word from the English language. You have six attempts to do this, each of which must consist of an existing English word. After every wrong attempt, it is shown which letters appear in the answer word – in different colors depending on whether they are in the right place – and which are not. In addition, there is always only one word to guess per day. Wardle says it is precisely this restriction to the essentials that is decisive for the company’s global success. Most recently, he fixed a bug that made playing in distant time zones difficult, primarily in New Zealand and Australia.
Wardle developed a first prototype of the game back in 2013, he now told the New York Times. But he did not inspire anyone. It wasn’t until 2020 that he got back to the project and created the game during the pandemic. His partner, for whom he programmed the game, also contributed to the success: She selected around 2500 from a list of all 12,000 five-letter English terms that she knows. Wordle should be able to get by with this for a few more years.
For Wardle, Wordle isn’t the first project to gain viral attention. While at Reddit, he has both “The Button” as well as “PlaceThe former consisted of a button that each user of Reddit could press once. This set a 60-second countdown. It was only after more than two months – and over a million clicks – that the button was used for the first time not pressed so long that it reached zero. Place followed two years later and consisted of a drawing area of one million pixels: Here you could place a colored pixel anywhere and would then be blocked for several minutes. It ended after two days Experiment with collaboratively painted pictures.