Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Why Wordle

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I have been contemplating the rapidly expanding popularity of the online word game, Wordle, and wondering what it is about it that appeals so. Since you can only play one word per day, that seems like it would be a detriment to the ever-expanding popularity. At the same time, it just might be one of the plusses.

The urge to play another round cannot be easily satisfied, so the attraction is maintained?

It seems to me, although individual interpretation will certainly vary widely, the game is rather simple without being too easy. The obvious target audience would be people who are fond of words and playing with words and solving puzzles.

The clues provided and the limitation of 5-letter words offer just enough support to keep the solution within reach of the six guesses available.

The randomness of letter options chosen for each turn creates an exciting mystery that determines the odds for solving on subsequent turns.

What a wonderful surprise it must be for the founder, John Wardle, to see how popular his creation has become.

Something about this game has triggered memories of an old favorite word game our family played in the car when trying to kill time during our frequent 3-hour drives to the lake place when the kids were young. Each player can select a word to be guessed and the first word Julian selected became the name of our made-up game ever after: “labelye” (La [soft A] • bull • yee).

What made the game difficult was that it was played completely in our minds. We had to visualize the letters in our heads to scramble and descramble them. Julian chose the word eyeball and had to scramble them into a pronounceable word clue for us to work with.

We could ask him to spell it, so we had the right letters to decode, but sounding out the scrambled word was one way to keep all the letters in our minds while trying to rearrange them into a solution. It was a trick to do without writing anything down and that probably made it too hard to catch on as a game that we kept playing as time went by, but it worked pretty slick for a while to occupy our attention and distract each of us from the doldrums of being trapped in a vehicle for longer than desired.

None of us were able to solve Julian’s scramble, so he won the round by stumping us and that helped nudge his word to become the name of the game from then on.

I suppose it wouldn’t be too complicated for a skilled game developer to build an app for that old car game so word puzzlers will have something new to play with after Wordle has faded out of the viral game-of-the-moment moment.

“Hey, Alexa! Give me a Labelye word to descramble while I wait for tomorrow’s next Wordle game.”

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Written by johnwhays

January 17, 2022 at 7:00 am

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