You can now leave comments on the articles that matter to you. Find out more here

The surprising secret behind Wordle’s popularity almost one year on from launch

Shania Wilson May 11, 2022
Wordle Smartphone Game
photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images


There’s no doubt that technology is more advanced than ever, especially when it comes to gaming and entertainment, yet the world still seems to be hooked on web-based word game, Wordle.

Wordle debuted late last year and, almost one year on from its launch, players are continuing to piece together a bizarre word (almost never in our vocabulary) each morning.

In fact, the simplicity of the game became so popular that a handful of spin-off versions have been developed as a result. Absurdle, Worldle, Nerdle, Sweardle – we can’t keep up!

Whether you’re a geography fanatic, music lover, or a movie buff, there’s certain to be a Wordle-like game out there for you.

We take a look at exactly why Wordle is still proving to hook users, and rounding up the Worlde-inspired spin-off games that you should try next.

  • CELEBRITY: Who is Luke Cave? Nick Cave’s son just 10 days younger than late brother Jethro
Photo by MICHAEL DRAPER/AFP via Getty Images

Wordle launched last year

In an age of instant gratification, it’s not unusual to move from one craze to another. Let’s face it, things get old. With that being said, word game Wordle seems to have stood the test of time.

Believe it or not, Wordle launched back in October last year, created and developed by software engineer Josh Wardle. The idea is to guess the ‘word of the day’ through a five-by-six grid. Each square represents a single letter.

“I wanted to try making a game that she and I would enjoy playing together, and Wordle was a result of that,” Wardle shared during an interview with Slate.

According to National World, Josh Wardle actually created a prototype of the game in 2013 but, as we know, it didn’t end up launching until 2021.

Things started off small for Wordle, seeing about 100 or so visitors in its early days. However, by January 2022, the word-guessing game had racked up over 300,000 users per day.

The New York Times ended up buying Wordle for a sum “in the low seven figures”, and added that the game would remain free for new and existing players.

  • CELEBRITY: Who are Melissa Gilbert’s children? Actress releases brand new memoir
Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Guessing game Wordle still has us hooked – what’s the secret?

Trends and fads come and go, but it looks as though Wordle is here to stay. Months from its launch, it’s definitely not a rarity to see those green squares crop up on your Twitter feed – why is it still so popular?

Well, Wordle’s simplicity and accessibility might have something to do with its staying power.

Technology can be pretty overwhelming and complex, and people aren’t likely to use a website if they can’t figure their way around it. Wordle, however, brought a straightforward, comprehensible formula to the table which makes the game accessible for, well, just about everyone. Plus, it’s free of charge to play!

Speaking to Insider, psychologist Lee Chambers also weighed in on Wordle’s popularity, claiming that the game “stimulate[s] both the language- and logic- processing centers of our brains.” Apparently, our bodies release dopamine during this process, meaning that we’ll want to go back and play again and again.

Lastly, as per ScreenRant, Wordle might be able to credit its popularity to the pandemic. The world was almost out of the thick of Covid-19 when the game launched, but so many people were still in quarantine and out of office, meaning that they had a lot more time on their hands.

Overall, Wordle is just a genuinely enjoyable game.

A round-up of Wordle spin-off games

If spelling isn’t your forte (but you still want to tweet those green squares), you can try your hand at the spin-off versions of Wordle. Trust us, there’s a lot.

Heardle is the musical version, having players guess the first second of a song using the same grid layout. With each wrong guess of the song title, you unlock a little more of the clip. Again, it’s a simple concept and can be accessed via a web browser. There’s also a musical version of the game for Harry Styles fans (Harry Styles Heardle) and Taylor Swift fans (Taylordle)

Worldle, exactly as it sounds, is the version to play if you’re a Geography fanatic. Essentially, you have to guess the country from its silhouette.

If you were better in Maths class than English growing up, have a go at Nerdle. Using the same layout as Wordle, players must “find a daily sum by creating a logical equation of multiplication, subtraction, division and/or addition in six or less attempts”. 

Moviedle is the version to play if you’re a movie buff. The Wordle-inspired guessing allows you to watch ‘a movie’ in one second before you have to guess the title.

Westworld | Season 4 Official Teaser | HBO

Westworld | Season 4 Official Teaser | HBO
Thoughts? Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment
Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Shania is a Magazine Journalism graduate from the University of Derby. Her main passion is rooted in print journalism, however, she also branches out towards social media and is also interested in public relations. Outside of writing, Shania enjoys using social media, reading, and drinking coffee.