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Wheaton North’s Wordle Wonderment

By Josiah Cook

“Did you get the Wordle?” is the daily question that darts around the Wheaton North LLC faster than an olympic athlete, as numerous students and teachers have become enamored with the tile matching word game that went viral seemingly overnight. If you aren’t familiar with the rules, here’s a handy-dandy WikiHow article that explains how to play. Averaging over 300,000 plays per day, this very popular and seemingly simple word game has a very interesting and lesser-known origin.

According to a TechCrunch article, Wordle was developed by a Swedish software engineer for his partner who loved word games. His name? Josh Wardle, believe it or not! The title is an intentional play off of his last name. Initially, it was not at all intended to be popular. He initially hosted it on a website he already had, and he shared it with his family and a few friends. It exploded from there, and now has over 2.7 million players.

However, Wardle doesn’t particularly enjoy the fact that his game has such a large audience, as he feels increased pressure to make sure the game keeps running properly. That makes sense, considering the fact that mobs of angry word aficionados would flood the streets if it ever shut down, even for a brief period of time. The game is very simplistic, which is part of the appeal for people to continue to play. There’s only one word a day, so people weigh their risks when they play and work on developing a strategy.

Wordle actually has beneficial effects on mental health as well, because according to Douglas Scharre, neurologist and director of the Center for Cognitive and memory disorders at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center “puzzles and games, especially those involving novelty, can stimulate and challenge key parts of the brain, including reasoning, language, logic, visual perception, attention, and flexibility,” That’s right, Wordle enthusiasts, you can continue to enjoy the game guilt free!

Wheaton North junior Nhi Dao enjoys doing Wordle every day mainly because they “like the logic behind it and finding out random weird words in the English language.” They also mention that it’s fun to do with friends. They were the ones who originally roped me into the madness that is Wordle, and for better or worse, I find myself in a group chat where a few of my friends post their Wordle scores daily. It gives me something to look forward to, a break from the crippling senioritis that encroaches from every direction, and an activity to focus on and improve my critical thinking skills with. English teachers everywhere, including at Wheaton North, are probably relieved that students actually pay attention to the daily Wordle, as it helps students build vocabulary skills. Just keep that in mind whenever someone says they hate English class, Wordle is proof that words can be a blast!


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