Wordle: Game, Trend, and Addiction

todayFebruary 27, 2022 118

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By Allison Schroeder
Web Content Assistant Manager

We’ve all seen the random squares of yellow, green and white on social media, have we not?

When I first saw these squares, I thought, “oh joy, people are getting hacked on a massive scale.” For real, I had no idea what Wordle even was until a month ago when my roommate introduced the game to me, and I realized what all those squares represented on social media.

Now, once my roommate told me what the game was, I was intrigued, but did not think I would hop onto the trend, or worse, addicted. Safe to say, I am not addicted to Wordle where I must play every day, but I do find it fun to play when I am reminded to.

For those still wondering “what is Wordle” or “what squares,” let me help inform you.

Wordle is a free, once a day, daily word game created by Josh Wardle, but recently bought by The New York Times. The game allows players to challenge their minds to think of as many five-lettered words as possible, but you only get up to six attempts to guess the correct word.

The way these guesses work is that letters that remain grey are not in the word at all, yellow letters are letters that are in the word, but not correctly placed, and green letters are letters that are correctly placed.  

Now seeing how I hopped on the trendy game late, what is keeping those who started playing when it came out around? Why is the game so addictive to people of all different ages?

On a podcast called “This is Your Brain on Wordle,” on Science Friday, social psychologist Dr. Matthew Baldwin suggests as to why so many are getting addicted to Wordle.

He explains that Wordle is a shared experience with our friends and family, which creates a meaningful connection between the player and their loved one, “and we know, from psychology research, that shared experiences are really meaningful to us, that shared experiences are amplified” Dr. Baldwin said.

This connection certainly keeps many of us willing to keep returning to the game. I know when I started playing, it was nice to kind of have a thing that my roommate and I do separately, but also together. Then, my brother hopped on and has been talking to me daily about the game. It seems to be a reason to keep in touch while I’m away at college and he is at home with our parents.  

Another reason Dr. Baldwin explains is the challenging aspect of thinking of all the words that could be played this time. The challenge also leads to a reward of guessing the word correctly, whether that be on the first, second, or even sixth try. The repetition of sharing moments and the challenging and rewarding aspect keeps us, the players, engaged.  

Now, if I miss a day, I think a bit of curiosity would strike me as to what the word of the day was. It could be as simple as the word “teach,” and I would be intrigued.  

As someone who usually loves a good crossword and word search, Wordle is right up my alley. And I will have to say, you should give the game a try. Yes, the New York Times can give you some strange words, like “swill,” when was the last time I’ve ever heard or seen that word? Who knows? But there are plenty more words to be heard, or reminded of, to come!

Featured Image by Allison Schroeder.

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