Forget about Fortnite… the new gaming craze is a daily word puzzle

Forget about Fortnite… the new gaming craze is a daily word puzzle: Five-letter brainbuster is surprise hit after soaring in popularity during festive break

  • Hundreds of thousands of fans played online puzzle ‘Wordle’ over Christmas
  • The aim is to guess a single five-letter word – the ‘Wordle’ – within six attempts
  • It has just one answer each day, with everyone competing at the same challenge 
  •  On Sunday more than 300,000 people played, according to the New York Times

Offering one five-letter puzzle per day, it doesn’t sound all that addictive. 

But the online brainteaser Wordle has become a surprise hit, exploding in popularity over Christmas. 

Hundreds of thousands of fans are playing the game – in which the aim is to guess a single five-letter word known as the ‘Wordle’ within six attempts. 

The free puzzle – which is very similar to the TV gameshow Lingo – has just one answer each day, meaning everyone is competing at the same challenge. 

This is very different from most popular online games such as Fortnite which attempts to keep players hooked for long periods of time with lots of action and constantly updating challenges. 

Instead, Wordle’s simple, once-a-day rule has helped it go viral as many players post their attempts online to see how quickly they were able to find the Wordle compared to fellow competitors. 

Hundreds of thousands of fans are playing Wordle – in which the aim is to guess a single five-letter word known as the ‘Wordle’ within six attempts

On Sunday more than 300,000 people played, according to the New York Times. And on Twitter it has been mentioned hundreds of thousands of times in the past week alone. 

The game’s creator Josh Wardle, a British software engineer, specifically designed there to be only one puzzle per day. 

He said he wanted Wordle to feel like a croissant, a ‘delightful snack’ that is not over-used. 

‘Enjoyed too often,’ he explained, ‘and they lose their charm.’ 

Deemed ‘easy to learn but just hard enough’, the game is also described as a cross between Hangman and Mastermind. 

Despite launching more than two months ago, Wordle only went viral over Christmas – thanks to a new function which lets players share their attempt at the day’s puzzle. 

Mr Wardle graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2006, then went on to the University of Oregon before joining social media site Reddit. 

It is not Mr Wardle’s first viral creation. In 2015, he created Reddit’s The Button, a bizarre game where a button appeared on a website with a 60-second countdown. 

Every time someone pressed the button the clock would reset, but each person could only press it once. Despite there being no prize for clicking it, the simple reward of being able to press it saw millions of people click it. 

Now based in New York, Mr Wardle says he enjoys ‘building unique products that focus on human interaction’.

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