May 26, 2022

Do you ‘dle’?

Wordle? Quordle? Worldle? Globle? Flagle? Nerdle? Heardle? For the completely uninitiated, these are all guessing games you play on your phone.

Wordle was the first of the ‘dle’s, hitting the zeitgeist in late 2021 after being developed by Josh Wardle, a software engineer.

The idea of Wordle is that you aim to work out the five-letter word-of-the-day in six guesses or fewer. If your guess contains the right letter in the right spot, it’s coloured in green. If it’s a letter in the word but in a different position, it’s coloured yellow.

Players of the board game Mastermind will see the similarity. And lovers of newspaper games like Target and crosswords will see the appeal.

Josh Wardle originally created Wordle for his partner, inspired by a shared love of words and lots of time on his hands during the pandemic. He then shared it with family and friends.

When this took off, he made the game public with usage leaping from 90 people on 1 November 2021 to more than 300,000 people by late December. The New York Times then bought it in January 2022 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum, though it currently remains free to play.

Piggy-backing onto Wordle’s success are ever-increasing variations on a theme. They all share the addictive element where there’s only one game available every 24-hours.

Most evenings, I play Wordle, followed by Quordle (which has not just one but four five-letter words to guess). Then, I move onto geography by playing Worldle (guess the country from it’s outline with directions and distance pointing you towards the country-of-the-day) and Globle (a similar idea but showing guessed countries on a globe with hot and cold colours indicating how far away you are).

Then, there’s Flagle, where you guess a country by having sections of its flag revealed after each incorrect guess. Nerdle takes my brain into numbers by having me guess an equation, using a similar system to Wordle.

Finally, there’s Heardle, where you guess a song based on increasing snippets of the introduction, which I confess I’m hopeless at. As the sort of person who tends to cry ‘Oh, I know this song’ when it’s already into the second chorus, I’ve never guessed Heardle.

Playing Worldle and Globle, I’m regularly trounced by my teenage son, who watches a lot of geopolitical YouTube videos.

But I get Wordle and Quordle most days and, though every single time I play Nerdle, I’m convinced I have no hope, I surprisingly get most of these too.

I reckon these games are a great way to use some brain cells in a different way (presumably not bad for keeping dementia at bay). I also play with others, making them very social. Sure, the games are on a screen but they feel more like doing a newspaper puzzle than scrolling social media.

And, the other day, I scored the Wordle equivalent of a hole-in-one by magically guessing the word on my first try!

Have you ‘dle’d? If not, I highly recommend giving it a go!

Vivienne Pearson is a freelance writer whose writing lives at viviennepearson.com

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