I grew up in an environment rich in words, number games, encryption puzzles and intrigue.
My mom always had puzzle magazines, and I was quick to pick them up and solve them. A relative who often visited us told us about his classified information decoding work abroad. I was born with a curious nature and I also like to get lost in a problem.
Whether it was environmental influence that developed a brain that likes to code and decode, or whether I gravitated towards it because I was born prone to that sort of thing anyway, that’s a topic for another column.
All I know is that I have a strong preference for Dell Puzzles over Penny Press, and I’m looking forward to an Olympic cryptogram event. I have a fascination for word families, etymology and languages in general. I have heaps of well-crafted puzzle magazines hidden around my house.
So, as one can logically deduce, this column is actually about the latest gaming craze, Wordle.
The second I saw there was an online game involving levels of anagrams and cryptograms, I was in to win it. For those who have no idea what Wordle is, it’s a web-based word game that you can play on your phone. You get six tries to guess the word. Everyone on the planet (with internet access) receives the exact same word for 24 hours, so no one shares the word.
The fact that this was agreed across the lands by all players, at this juncture in time and space, amazes me.
But seriously. One word a day? I can finish an entire Jumbo Edition of a puzzle in a long weekend, so clearly that wasn’t going to be enough for me.
I was quickly on the lookout for counterfeits and was quickly rewarded. It didn’t take long for the New York Times to notice this and offer the designer $1 million. Do you know the Sunday crosswords? It’s clear they know the importance of a good game when they see it.
People got mad because the difficulty level went from zero to “too hard” since the takeover. But it’s still not difficult for me. And there’s nothing less fun than a puzzle that isn’t difficult.
Fortunately, I am not alone. Demand for the game has fueled an entire cottage industry of Wordle spinoffs, which seem to be created almost daily.
There is a six-letter Wordle (Lingle) and a seven-letter Wordle (Septle). There’s French Wordle (Le Mot) which I was thrilled to win because I haven’t been fluent in over 20 years. There are even a few naughty words, which proved I wasn’t as dirty-minded as I thought, and I’ll let readers figure it out for themselves.
And then there’s Quordle, which gives you four Wordle games at a time, and only nine chances to solve all four at once. And while there’s a new Universal game every day like its predecessor, there’s the beloved practice mode. I can play to my heart’s content. I lose a lot. I win.
And I like it.
While Wordle is fun to play on a large scale and see how everyone did online throughout the day, Quordle is the closest version of a complex puzzle I’ve found. The fact that I lose as much as I win attests to the fact that it is difficult.
In the days to come, I hope more versions of this word game will be released. It brings people together to share their nerdness and love of puzzles and games, in a time when we need fun and games like never before.
So while some people are perplexed by this latest craziness, I tell them to embrace it. Like all craziness, it won’t last long.
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