Wordle, the simple word game that took the world by storm, has people of all ages hooked, with over 1,000,000 daily players. Players have to guess a five-letter word and have 6 chances to do so, knowing which letters in their guess are correct in each turn. But unlike other popular games of this caliber, Wordle wasn’t developed by a large company, a small startup, or even a team of engineers. Instead, this entertaining puzzle was built by a singular software engineer from Brooklyn: Josh Wardle.
Wardle’s partner loved word games like the New York Times Spelling Bee and the Daily Crossword, so he “wanted to come up with a game that she would enjoy”. After working through Wordle puzzles for months, Wardle decided to release the game to his family’s WhatsApp group, which quickly became an obsession with his relatives. After the success of his game within his family circle, Wardle decided to introduce his puzzle to the rest of the world in October. On November 1st, 2021, 90 people played the game. Just 2 months later, over 300,000 people were playing Wordle daily. Despite this astronomical growth, Wordle had extremely humble beginnings. Wardle first created the prototype for Wordle in 2013, but he didn’t take the project forward since his friends were unimpressed. When his partner became bored of existing word games, Wardle brought the project back to fruition and turned the concept from 2013 into a full-fledged game.
According to Wardle, the key aspect of Wordle was limiting players to one game per day, which created a sense of scarcity, leaving people wanting more. Wordle lacks the “growth-hacking features” that many other word games have. While other games send notifications to remind players to play, Wordle doesn’t require this intense relationship. Instead, according to Wardle, “It’s something that encourages you to spend three minutes a day. And that’s it. Like, it doesn’t want any more of your time than that.”
Hi! My name is Vishnu Mano and I am an editor here at The City Voice. Apart from writing/editing articles, my hobbies include music, speech and debate, and coding.