Wordle Gives Game Making Programmers a Shot in the Arm

“Oh the games people play, now…” — Joe South

Ed Newman
3 min readMar 11, 2022


My Wordle from yesterday.

If you already play, then you know what it is. It’s an online word game in which you try to guess the word of the day within six tries. With each guess, you can learn something. A letter tile will be grey when it is not in the word, orange when it is in the word but not the right location, and green when it appears in its correct spot.

Most game makers try to create games so addictive that you can’t stop playing them. Wordle is indeed addictive, but different. You can only play once a day. And it probably drives some Wordle players crazy to have to wait till the next day before they can play. In fact, the game actually has a little timer that lets you know how long you’ll have to wait. To me, that’s brilliant.

The creator of the game was a Brit named Josh Wardle. Before creating Wordle he was into New York Times crossword puzzles (and may have worked on some of my daughter’s crosswords there ) and the Spelling Bee. Evidently he was a programmer and he created a game for he and his partner to play. After perfecting it, they shared it with friends and relatives. In October 2021 the decided, because they saw how much everyone enjoyed it, to make it available to anyone and everyone.

At the beginning of November only 90 people were playing. On January 2, 2022, 300,000 people played Wordle. One week later, two million people were playing. Now THAT is what “going viral” means.

These things don’t go unnoticed. Today the New York Times owns the game, and John Wardle has pocketed a cool nine million dollars.

The New York Times logo for Wordle.

The web page where it resides is clean and uncluttered, fast loading and responsive. Many players are incentivized by the fact that it requires brain work, but is not impossible. Other players are motivated by competition. For this reason, the “Share” button was a brilliant addition.

One day in February I guessed the word of the day on the First Guess. Had I understood that I could share my triumph I would have…



Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon