Why is Wordle so addicting? | TechTree.com

Why is Wordle so addicting?

Wordle evolved from a personal present to a viral success in three months, and now we all want a piece of it.

Why is Wordle so addicting?

Before we get into what makes the game stand out, let’s trace its origins. Wordle was developed by software engineer Josh Wardle as a present for his partner. A month later it was made available to the public and became extremely popular, mainly due to Twitter. In fact there have been nearly 1.3 million Wordle-related tweets in the last three months. 

So, what exactly makes this game so addicting? According to research, it provides the ideal balance of challenge, significance, and insight. The words are common enough, but not overly so and the number of guesses is the appropriate amount.

The game has simple mechanics and provides high social engagement, and the opportunity to flex your cognitive muscles provides an irresistible combination of accomplishment and dopamine. Not to mention that it’s ad-free and app-free. 

It is a brilliant short puzzle that doesn't take too long to solve, making it ideal for our generation's limited attention span. Restricting the users to six attempts and only releasing one problem a day creates excitement and exclusivity. 

Wordle has quickly become the pandemic survivor's latest intoxicant, and the thing that lures more users in, is posting the green, greyish-black and yellow coloured squares with no explanation on social media. It creates a sense of intrigue and FOMO (fear of missing out) in non-users. 

Even celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon. Take Jimmy Fallon, who played Wordle on his show last month and after much struggle and determination (and help from others), was finally able to guess the correct word (Abbey).

Wordle's enormous appeal can be encapsulated as a desire to keep one's mind engaged while participating as a community. When we get to share an experience, our sentiments are enhanced, so when we're all having fun with Wordle together, it makes it all the more enjoyable. 

Josh Wardle himself stated in an interview that, “The game feels really human and just enjoyable. And that really resonates with where we’re at right now in the world and with COVID.”

As Monica Lewinsky said in her piece for Vanity Fair, “The craze is an obvious product of the COVID lockdown. Wordle provides a daily ritual with which to help quietly fill a bit of time and space during a pandemic whose contours seem limitless and limiting.”

She also went on to write about the inherent fairness of the game, “Another of Wordle’s subtle attractions is that, unlike so many competitive exercises in our culture, it is fair. The same rules apply to everyone. The letters fit or they don’t. The words are right or they’re wrong. You can’t appeal a ruling or work the refs or game the game. It’s not like pro sports (stealing signs, instant-replay appeals, steroids) or the Olympics (judges, doping scandals, politics) or, well, electoral politics (super PACs, suppressing votes, “I demand we recount the recount!”). In Wordle you win or you lose, no debate, fair and square.”

At a time like this, when most of us are feeling isolated, Wordle provides a platform for shared experiences that are memorable and comforting.

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