Indeed, in 2022, millions turned to the new game “Wordle.”
At first glance, Wordle is quite unassuming. It is just an array of 30 or so boxes. One simply gets six tries to guess a five-letter word with some hints along the way. Similar word games have existed for hundreds of years. So why is everyone obsessing over Wordle?
Because Wordle has provided something vital to human survival: Social connection. The game is a reprieve from the pandemic, bringing people together under the banner of COVID-19 stresses. But how does a digital game unite us?
For one, it is a social experience. Everyone around us is playing the same game, looking for the same word. This common goal elicits a feeling of cohesion that the pandemic has robbed us of.
Numerous communities and discussion groups have sprung up with thousands of members who flock to the site to discuss the game and create memes. But many games have just as large and just as loyal fanbases who have found solidarity in playing the game during pandemic lockdowns.
What differentiates Wordle from these other games is its simplicity.
It only “requires” to be played once a day, is accessible to both the young and old, and has no strings attached(no flashy ads, is free to play and doesn’t take much time). Wordle’s “undemanding” nature is in stark contrast to the fast-paced and complex realities the pandemic is forcing many to go through.
We want peace and stability, a life with certainty. Wordle gives us just that. Indeed, some players liken Wordle to a daily “ritual,” something they do with a sort of religious fervor. The fact that it is a “social ritual” further adds to this feeling of certainty.
Wordle’s simplicity has helped players go beyond the game. While many share their results on social media, one player crocheted a Wordle result board. It is the little moments like these that the world needs. Some say it is reminiscent of early pandemic times when people clanged pans on their balconies in support of essential workers. Wordle, in essence, is a simple “touching point” with others, one akin to the little moments we shared during pandemic times.
To many, Wordle is a beacon of hope: it is a subtle reminder that ultimately, the game remains as something we can all share, something we can all call “fun,” even in the face of polarization and disagreements exacerbated by the pandemic.