A game made for love: Wordle and its origins


Two weeks away from a day that celebrates love and sees couples scrambling to find the perfect gift, none will match Josh Wardle’s gift-making ability.

Wardle, famous for Wordle, created the now popular game for his partner Palak Shah, who loves word games. A play on his nickname, the game was limited to doubles for the first few months in 2020. Then it became a family obsession in a WhatsApp group. It was then that Wardle realized it might have struck gold and released it globally in October. On 1 November, only 90 people played. Three months later, the game has over 3 million players globally.

This is not the first time that Wardle’s works have drawn wide attention. The software engineer previously worked for Reddit, where he created two collaborative social media experiments: The Button and Place. Both gained popularity around the world. Unlike working at Reddit, Wardle didn’t have a team of engineers to support him with his word game, though. It was just he and Shah who were finding ways to pass the time during the pandemic.

Wardle initially toyed with the idea in 2013. He built a prototype but his friends were not impressed. And that was it. In 2020, however, the couple joined the New York Times Spelling Bee and the daily Crossword. It was then that Wardle decided to go back to his seven-year-old prototype to make a game his teammates could enjoy. The key to success, Wardle told the NYT earlier this month, was to limit players to one game per day. The strategy, partly inspired by the spelling bee, leaves people wanting more.

Since the game was only for doubles, its design is very novice and omits the features expected of today’s games. For example, it does not send out notifications asking players to return to the game for the day. Wardle designed it to take up no more than three minutes out of your day, and he wants it to last. They’ve added a sharing feature for players to share their results in a spoiler-free manner, but at the root of it, the game remains the same. This is one to enjoy once a day while providing some exercise for your gray cells.

Although Wordle is now a global phenomenon, Shah said he appreciated that it was originally meant for him. “It’s really cute, it definitely shows Josh his love,” she told the NYT. And therein lies its beauty; A game designed for love receiving love around the world.

The post Game Made for Love: Wordle and Its Origins first appeared on BGR India.

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