The internet loves an unlikely success story, and as we approached the new year, one came around the corner to delight us with a simple idea, and a short game to play it out: Wordle, where you guess a five-letter word in six tries, and then laugh and cry with others as you share your results and the grid charting your attempts.
It’s a breath of fresh air in the tech industry, as we discussed with the game’s creator, Josh Wardle: no mobile app. Only one word every 24 hours. No advertising. No registration required. And you can even play it if your internet connection drops.
The short version is that British-raised New York resident Josh Wardle, who used to work at Reddit and is now a software engineer at Brooklyn art collective Mschf, originally built Wordle last year for his partner, a word puzzle enthusiast, for them to play together.
Hosting it on a website he’s had for years as a home for his other creative efforts (powerlanguage.co.uk, back from his time in England), Wardle casually shared the game with family. Then he showed it to a few well-placed friends. But virality, as we know, doesn’t take much to get rolling when the stars are aligned. It was in the blink of an eye that all hell broke loose.