Mark my Wordle: There’s a new kid on the block

There are no clues to kick-start your word, unlike your average daily crossword. And there’s no secret key to clue you in with hints through some kind of elimination spree.
Representative Image
Representative Image

Chennai

There’s a gaming phenomenon that has swept Twitter in an unprecedented frenzy over the past few weeks. No, we’re not talking about a high-octane round of PUB-G where the motive is to shoot everyone and everything in sight. We’re also not referring to knock-offs of Candy Crush, Break-out, Farmville and all such time-wasters under the sun. What’s gotten everyone’s fingers busy as a bee is an innocuous little word game that goes by the name Wordle. Yes, it’s that viral sensation that’s been trending on Twitter in more ways than one since Twitterati started wondering what indeed were those little blocks of green and yellow and white squares that thousands of users have been boasting about for some time now.
The premise couldn’t be simpler: You’re presented with an array of six rows with five empty spaces in each row that make up a five letter word - a word that changes every day and is the same for every player.. The goal: Guess the word in six tries or lesser. The catch: There are no clues to kick-start your word, unlike your average daily crossword. And there’s no secret key to clue you in with hints through some kind of elimination spree. It’s like Jumble, but without the letters. What you can rely on, is the power of your vocabulary, for starters, and to an extent, pure luck. Of course, the game does tell you if you have gotten at least one of the alphabets right, when it marks that box in yellow. A green box tells you got the right alphabet in the right place. And a gray box, well, that mean’s the alphabet is not in the word.
The no-frills, borderline austere interface of the ‘free to play’ game leaves no room for distraction as cracking a round of Wordle needs you to be in that Zen mode. Interestingly, the game started off as a labour of love, when Brooklyn-based techie Josh Wardle (see what he did there?) decided to create a guessing game for his partner Palak Shah, who happened to be a major fan of word games, just as a respite to kill time during the pandemic. The couple played it for a couple of months, and they knew they had something special on their hands when it became nothing short of an obsession on their family WhatsApp group. On Nov 1, 90 people played the game, now more than 2.5 mn people are hooked to the game every single day.
Don’t take our word for it. Ask Chennai-based artist Parvathi Nayar, who, ‘pardon our French’ swears by how wholesome and addictive the game is. She tells us, “I discovered the game quite recently, when I was down with the virus. I have always loved word games, and at a time, when I couldn’t really stress myself over any activity, Wordle came to my rescue. The thing that I love about Wordle is the fact that the words are never too hard, and they’re never too easy either. My mom and I, who have enjoyed playing crossword have taken to it almost religiously. Think about it this way, if you’ve grown up playing Scrabble, Boggle or even Hangman, consider Wordle as an excuse to upskill your word power.”
Upskilling one’s vocabulary might be considered a fringe benefit. For many others, the game has literally served as a welcome deviation from the rut of social media induced fatigue, which is something of a problem for all of us now.
Geographic boundaries be darned, Wordle is a worldwide sensation, and everyone who plays it is hooked for life. Or until, they find the next best thing since Wordle, which might be a long time in the coming.

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