At the start of the year, anyone that was online on Twitter or Facebook started seeing people posting green and gray squares, with a number. It was just a few friends at first. You might see one in the middle of your scrolling and you’d skim over it. Soon, the squares were everywhere and you had no choice but to Google what it meant. Now you were stuck, because you had stumbled upon one of the trendiest trends since bell-bottom jeans: Wordle.
To put it simply, Wordle is a cross between Mastermind and Hangman. The goal is to correctly identify the word within six guesses. Players start by entering a five-letter word, any one will do, it certainly doesn’t matter (it really matters and people will fight over the best starting word).
From there, the game will show you squares. A green square means correct letter in the correct spot, a yellow square means correct letter in the wrong spot, and a gray square means that letter isn’t in the word. Using your powers of deduction, you’ll need to work out what the word could possibly be based on the information provided.
Adding to its allure is the fact there is only one Wordle a day. There’s no pressure to keep playing on an endless loop. You get to do one and you’re done. This adds a bit of pressure to the experience, as you want your one shot at guessing the day’s Wordle to be a good one. Manage to identify the word within five guesses? At least you didn’t hit six. Are you sitting around four guesses? There’s room for improvement. Within three guesses is the mark of luck and clever thinking, while two and one guesses to find the solution screams of pure luck (I’ll fight this point. This is my hill).
It’s so beautifully simple and yet so incredibly addictive. Though the game spread around social media and families like wildfire – clear evidence of a trend – what also marks it as a clear winner for this category are the copycats.
Imitation is the best form of flattery, or so they say. After the wild success of Wordle, direct clones and copycats quickly popped up. But better than the copies were the games that applied the concept of Wordle in a unique way.
Quordle has players solving four Wordles at once. Heardle is all about guessing the name of the song by listening to just one more second of the track. Moviedle asks you to guess the movie based on a compressed version of the film. Actorle requires players to identify the actor with the only information provided being a movie’s title censored using Xs, the year of its release, and the genre. Mathdle is about working out the equation using numbers one through nine and various operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). Posterdle lets you guess the name of the movie using a pixelated version of its poster. What’s great about this trend is that there’s one for everyone, no matter your passion or interest.
Though the number of squares shared on social media has waned, people are still playing Wordle and the various games inspired by it. The choice was clear, the award for Shacknews Best Trendsetter of 2022 goes to Wordle!
Check out our Year of the Games: 2022 article to see all of the other Shacknews Awards that have been announced so far.