You’ve definitely heard of Wordle, the online puzzle game that has become a cultural phenomenon. What you might not know is that qa wordle josh is the creation of a University of Oregon graduate with a history of tantalizing the internet.
Wordle—which provides players six chances to guess a five-letter word each day—was conceived by British software programmer Josh Wardle, who studied digital arts at the University of Oregon and finished with a master of fine arts degree in 2011.
The game’s success has been a significant coup for Wardle, who used to work for Reddit. After its debut last November, Wordle grew from attracting 90 players to 300,000 in one month.
Wardle’s effort has even garnered the attention of Saturday Night Live, which recently broadcast a cold open where Donald Trump (James Austin Johnson) plays the game, making bizarre word predictions like “Momoa.” Needless to say, proper nouns are unlikely to be found on Wardle’s list of around 2,500 approved Wordle terms.
Initially built by British software engineer Josh Wardle for his fiancée, Wordle has become an online phenomenon with millions of daily users.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Jonathan Knight, the general manager for games at The New York Times Company said: “I am amazed at it and I am really impressed – I think it’s a great story.
“It’s a game that brought us all together and that’s what’s simply so great about it. It’s one word a day and it’s the same word for everybody and we’re all trying to figure it out together.”
But precisely who is the game’s inventor, Josh Wardle?
Who is Josh Wardle?
Josh Wardle is a Welsh-born software engineer who now lives in New York.
Previously an employee of social news and debate website Reddit who “used to work in Silicon Valley”, Wardle initially designed the game for himself and his spouse to enjoy.
The 38-year-old was inspired to invent the game – which is nearly identical to the pen-and-paper game Jotto and the US television game show, Lingo – after the couple “got really into the New York Times crossword”.
“I wanted to try designing a game that she and I would enjoy playing together, and Wordle was a byproduct of that,” he revealed in an interview with Slate.
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How Was Wordle Created?
Wardle actually started work on a version of Wordle almost a decade ago in 2013, which, albeit mechanically identical, had some “big differences”.
For instance, participants were able to move on to new problems as soon as they’d completed one (the now-popular version gives everybody just one a day) (the now-popular version gives everybody just one a day).
The current day Wordle also pools its daily answer from a pretty small range of words – just 2,315 of the more than 12,000 five-letter English language words.
Those words were chosen by Wardle’s spouse, who classed them into those she knew, ones she did not know, and those she could have known.
But the prototype wasn’t very refined.
“I basically threw every five-letter term in the English language from whatever dictionary I found online,” said Wardle. “So there were some really arcane words in the English language that I have never heard of.”
This led to a completely different game, one in which players would often end up “brute-forcing” their way to an answer.
Wardle opted to keep the game purposefully simple, with only one puzzle per day so it does not require too much time, and no advertising demanding the user’s attention.
Wardle claims his experiences working in Silicon Valley helped develop the game into the basic, ad-free experience it is now.
“I’m conscious of the things that, especially with games, you’re expected to do with people’s attention,” he remarked. “Things like infinite play, or sending them to push notifications, or asking them for sign-up information.
“Philosophically, I relish doing the antithesis of all those things, doing all the things that you are not meant to do.”
But at Wordle’s heart, Wardle says he was “literally simply building a game for my spouse, and I made some decisions that we would like.”
Here is a video showing the process to play the game:
What is His Net Worth?
Despite Wardle selling the game for a number “in the low seven figures”, BiographyDaily.com estimates his net worth to be between $600K and $800K.
That’s roughly £442K to £590K.
Who is His Partner?
Little is known about Wardle’s spouse, for whom he initially designed Wordle.
What we do know is that she is called Palak Shah, and is American, a fact that infamously ruffled the feathers of British players a couple of weeks back.
The word ‘favor’ was included as one of the game’s responses, but using the American spelling and deleting the U of the British English form so as to make it a five-letter word.
Wardle explains that, because he designed the game for Shah, “it’s really focused on what she knows and doesn’t know.”
“I was conversing with her this morning actually about, ‘How do you feel about the favorite thing?’ And she was like, ‘I’m American. You made the game for me.’”
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Why Did He Sell it?
Wardle has said he chose to sell the virtual puzzle after it snowballed and became “overwhelming” to run.
He announced the change on Twitter, praising users for sharing heartfelt anecdotes about the influence the game has had on their lives and relationships and added that he was “thrilled” about the takeover.
He said: “The game has gone bigger than I ever expected (which I suppose isn’t that much of an achievement given I designed the game for an audience of one).
“It has been fantastic to witness the game offer so much joy to so many and I feel so grateful for the personal experiences some of you have shared with me – from Wordle connecting distant family members to stimulating friendly rivalries, to aiding medical recoveries.
On the flip hand, I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been overwhelming.
“After all, I am just one person, and it is vital to me that, as Wordle expands, it continues to give a terrific experience to everyone.”
The NYT reported the ad-free website was bought for a fee “in the low seven figures” – it added that “the game will initially stay free to new and existing players”.
Wardle noted that beyond all the game production faux pas and accidental quaintness that contributed to Wordle’s success, he felt that it was the social relationships it has driven among family and friends that made it such a hit.
“What really struck me is that right now we are more connected than ever, but people crave for connection,” he remarked. “Wordle became this incredibly lightweight method to check in with friends and family and tell them you love them without using huge weighty phrases like, ‘I love you.’”