Online word game inspires community among players

Isabelle Paley | The Chronicle

Whether young or old, Wordle is proving to puzzle everyone.

Wordle is an online game in which players have six attempts to guess a five-letter word once every day. With each new guess, the game informs the player as to whether or not their guesses are accurate in terms of letters and placement, utilizing green, yellow, and gray blocks. For example, if the goal word was “SWEET,” a guess with the word “SLATE” would be backlit with a green box, then gray, gray, yellow and yellow.

Similar to how many other trends have started, students at Mason High School (MHS) began playing Wordle after seeing others play the game on various social media sites. Sophomore Mathew Waechter said that he started to play the game due to its increasing popularity on TikTok. 

“I started to see TikToks about the [game],” Waechter said. “All of my friends were playing it and I didn’t want to be out of the loop.”  

Wanting to understand the appeal of a current trend and understand what people are talking about is one of the main reasons students hop on the bandwagon of upcoming trends. Sophomore Sarah Lupenetti was curious about what her friends were talking about and wanted to join in. 

“I wanted to know what the hype was about, so I started playing one day and got addicted,” Lupenetti said. “I played one game and now have a 58-day winning streak that I am trying to uphold.”  

Conversations through social media and friends have kick-started Wordle’s popularity with new players increasing daily. According to The Guardian, Wordle had only 90 daily players in November 2021. After a few months, that number rose exponentially, growing to over two million. 

With the increase in players, connectedness can be felt amongst friends and family. Wordle’s “share your score” feature allows players to text others how many attempts it took them to discover the daily word, usually fostering healthy competition.

Freshman Mallory Maechum said that her texts are consumed with green and yellow squares sent by family and friends. The simple word game has created a positive impact in Maechum’s life due to an increase in communication.

“I used to rarely talk to my family but Wordle gives me a reason to engage more in our group chat,” Maechum said.

Maechum is not the only student who has formed a newfound comradery while playing Wordle. Lupinetti and her family have started a family-wide competition to see who can get the word in the least amount of attempts. 

“My family has a facebook group with all of our families that we share our scores on,” Lupenneti said. “We are able to share how we did that day. It’s really fun to see everyone engaging with each other in a new way.”   

The increase in communication is not the only benefit evident in Wordle’s sudden rise to popularity. With a new game daily, players often may find themselves learning new words and definitions. 

“[Wordle] is an easy way to feel like I’m enriching my brain,” Meachum said. “Some Days I will look at the word and ask myself “what does that even mean?” so I Google the definition and get to learn a new word that day.”

As much of entertainment in recent years has focused on violence or action-packed sequences, whether in video games or cinema, Wordle’s popularity has offered a more educational outlet for relaxation and fun.

The popularity of the game has led other game developers to craft their own versions of the game. Whether players prefer a more math-oriented game such as Nerdle (similar to Wordle, but involving math and equations) or a geography-filled game like Worldle (guessing a country based on an outline of its shape), the spin-off games provide the same Wordle entertainment for a more specific group. Meachum enjoys the different versions of Wordle because she can find games more tailored to her interests. 

“I play ‘Taylordle’, which is the Taylor Swift version of Wordle,” Meachum said. “I enjoy that there is a version where I get to guess words relating to Taylor Swift, since I’m better at that than the regular version.”  

A simple word game has created a community of over two million people. While being a fun conversation starter, Wordle’s popularity goes beyond just words by allowing players to get excited to learn new words each day. 

“[Wordle] gets me excited to learn,” Lupinetti said. “I get to learn new words and definitions while having fun. And that is a rare combination to find.” 

Illustration by Nishka Mishra