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Reflecting on the Success and Appeal of Wordle during the Pandemic

An iPhone with Wordle on the screen

The Beginnings of the Wordle Craze

There’s a pretty decent chance you’ve already heard of Wordle. The online game — a puzzle that tasks players with working out a mystery word — quickly become a viral sensation. Created by Josh Wardle, a former Reddit engineer, in 2021, Wordle started as a family activity over WhatsApp. By late January 2022, the number of players had surged to nearly 3 million.

Wordle’s now-iconic grid of green, yellow, and gray boxes became a common sight on social media. Its shareability was a key factor in its rapid spread. Friends and family members would eagerly share their daily results, creating a sense of community and friendly competition. The simplicity of the game made it accessible to everyone, regardless of age or tech-savviness.

For many, Wordle became a daily ritual during the pandemic. Each day brought a new puzzle, a fresh challenge to look forward to. It was a small but significant part of the day that provided a sense of normalcy and routine. The anticipation of solving the puzzle and sharing the results added a bit of excitement to otherwise monotonous days.

The Charm of Wordle

Simple Yet Addictive

The universality of Wordle is quite refreshing — we all get the same word and the same number of chances to guess. It offers low-stress social interaction in a pandemic era of isolation and connectivity.

Engaging the Mind

Like most successful games, puzzles and riddles, Wordle delivers that ever-satisfying “aha moment” and the accompanying burst of dopamine. However, the Wordle phenomenon runs much deeper than mere biology: With a new word to guess each day and endless people to discuss it with, Wordle strikes the perfect balance between stimulation and routine — and between competition and community.

Wordle Community Connection

Bonding Over Wordle

Wordle famously comes with a built-in sharing feature — something that no doubt gave rise to the game’s massive popularity on social media. With so many people working from home, and with so many social functions either modified or canceled due to the pandemic, Wordle became an appealing alternative. The fact that everyone was trying to solve the same puzzle brought us together; it made us feel like we were tackling a bigger problem together.

Wordle as a Conversation Starter

One of the key differentiators of Wordle was that players across the globe were all guessing the same word on the same day. This collective experience feeds into our competitive nature and made Wordle a perfect conversation starter. Whether celebrating a recent victory or complaining about particularly challenging words, Wordle gave us a new way to connect and engage with each other.

Competing in Wordle Challenges

The game's functionality leads to a sense of connectedness. With thousands of tweets about the game everyday, it’s not uncommon for people to share their scores and strategies. This shared experience has turned Wordle into a friendly competition, where players not only bond but also challenge each other, creating a bright future for the genre.

Wordle's Impact on Mental Well-being

In the midst of the pandemic, many found solace in the simple yet engaging nature of Wordle. The game provided a much-needed break from the constant barrage of news and uncertainty, allowing players to immerse themselves in a world of letters and logic.

Playing Wordle became a form of mindfulness for many. The act of focusing on finding the right word, letter by letter, helped to quiet the mind and bring a sense of calm. It was a small, daily ritual that brought a moment of peace in a chaotic world.

The satisfaction of solving a Wordle puzzle served as a daily dose of happiness and relief from the stress and anxiety of pandemic life. The game's ability to engage both the language- and logic-processing areas of our brains made it a perfect mental escape.


In the midst of a global pandemic, Wordle emerged as a beacon of connection and mental stimulation. Its simple yet addictive gameplay, combined with the joy of sharing results and strategies, created a sense of community that many of us desperately needed. The daily ritual of solving a Wordle puzzle provided a comforting anchor in a time when days often blurred together. As we look back, it's clear that Wordle was more than just a game; it was a wholesome distraction that brought people together, offering moments of light and connection during some of our darkest times.


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