Puzzled by the Wordle craze? Here’s why everyone’s obsessed with the online word game


To deal with the challenges of his career as a Scarboroughs physician, Joshua Landy has discovered a new morning tradition.

It involves taking his phone and typing “Wordle” in his search bar. At about the same time, 30 squared boxes appear – five through and six on the floor. Then Landy, along with 2.7 million people worldwide, attempted to compare the words of the five letters of the alphabet in six experiments.

“I take a break every morning and play games using the most humorous words I can think of,” said an ICU doctor. “Then all my friends get burned up because they think about our social life.

“It’s best to do what sounds good for five minutes,” said Landy, who has played the game every morning for the past 10 days.

As the world struggles with another wave of COVID-19 powered by the Omicron brand, Wordle has been entrenched in the lives of nearly a million people overnight. The term sports, produced by Brooklyn-based programmer Josh Wardle as a gift to a colleague, was relatively unknown when it was launched in October. Now, it’s one of the most popular games today.

The game is simple: all players must guess the words that have five letters in six tests. After every thought, the tiles turn gray to show letters that are not in the words, yellow that the letters are in the words but incorrectly, and the green that the letters are in the right place. Players have one day to resolve the issue before the game is re-established with new terms.

Its meteoric rise is heavily dominated by social networking sites, where players have posted their labels like yellow, green and gray emojis. It has also become a thing of the past, just as the end of the plague draws near.

“It’s just quiet everywhere, and you know what you get,” said Crystal Sales, a Toronto marketing manager who has been working from home due to the epidemic. Sales said he plays Wordle every morning after drinking his coffee and helping his son get into real school.

“Instead of opening Apple News or opening Instagram, I just play Wordle, and nothing else can bother me.”

Like many of the characters in the game, Marketing learned about Wordle when it saw the boxes on all its Twitter feed. Now, even at work he has Slack’s way of volunteering to discuss daily words every morning. For sale, Wordle has also become a stress-free, fun way to chat with your friends across Canada while working from home.

Kathy McPherson, a Toronto woman who also works at home, said Wordle’s interest is that it’s hard to be hard, but easy not to be upset. “It gives you a little bit of it when you get it,” he said, adding that allowing you to play once a day makes it even more special.

“It’s a better thing to do than just look at doomscrolling (on Twitter) and see what’s wrong,” McPherson said. “It’s a fun way to start the day.”

It didn’t look like the hype around Wordle would be here. McPherson said that, for him, the game is similar to the previous episodes that went down with the flow of solitude, such as baking bread, watching “Tiger King” or treadmill art.

“There are a lot of things that people pick up to keep busy and not just think about bad news,” McPherson said.

Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University, said he was a fan of the game, but admitted he could only be a part of it.

“Once people feel the effects of the epidemic on their mental health, they can get relief from time to time,” Owen said. “We’ve all tried to have fun in different ways, and everything new and exciting attracts more attention than anything that has ever existed for a while.”

He added: “It is a beautiful storm. “It’s shorter, easier to do, and it uses the brain in a much clearer way than being in front of the TV, and it also has this character.”

Whether Wordle will continue to face other epidemics remains to be seen. But in the meantime, the game has brought a lot of joy at a time when many are missing.

“It’s refreshing and good, as it may sound,” Owen said. “It’s refreshing for people to have a good idea to post on Twitter in the morning.”

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