Are you a Wordle nerd? The online word game took the world by storm in late 2021 and rode a viral tidal wave into much of 2022. In fact, Wordle took the top spot in Google’s Top 10 Searches of 2022.
Now, The Guardian has thrown down the gauntlet with a word game creation of its own: Wordiply. But does this latest game for word-lovers have what it takes to be the next viral sensation?
On Twitter, The Guardian posted a video showing how the simple game works:
Have you tried Wordiply yet?
Put your vocabulary to the test and share scores with friends.
Play for free at: https://t.co/TwsKR7nC8Y pic.twitter.com/GvRqRYguQS
— The Guardian (@guardian) January 8, 2023
Like many good puzzles, Wordiply is simple to play but challenging to master. Each day, players are given a word. Players have five chances to build the longest word possible using the original word.
For example, “keep” was the starter word for a recent game.
I made guesses such as gatekeeper, housekeeper and housekeeping. The correct word was groundskeeping.
My guess was close, and that’s one of the secrets one of the game’s co-creators considered in making Wordiply.
Wordiply co-creator David Shariatmadari put in countless hours to develop a worthy rival to Wordle. The Guardian did some market research on their new game and found that when one tester almost had the solution but fell short, she still enjoyed playing it.
“The feeling that she was within touching distance is what makes her want to play it again,” Shariatmadari wrote in a piece for The Guardian about how Wordiply was created.
Trying to capture lightning in a bottle with a game like this isn’t easy, even though Buildd, a company that helps software developers start new projects, defined several elements that helped Wordle go viral. These included simplicity when playing, an easy-to-use interface, a minimal time commitment and the ability to share results publicly.
Wordiply shares all of these qualities with its Wordle competitor. But it remains to be seen if it has the ability to catch the same spark.
Other games that have gone viral in the past have included variations of those elements. For example, Words with Friends wasn’t necessarily shareable, but you did play it against others, allowing the building of relationships (some of which also went viral). Among Us, which entertained many groups of friends during the pandemic, isn’t nearly as simple as Wordle, but it is relatively straightforward and short.
And Pokemon Go, which almost rivaled Twitter in daily users at one point in 2016, can be simple and has a social element as well. However, this game also draws upon an already popular franchise and was able to leverage the popularity of existing games that made people want to catch and train Pokemon themselves.
Yet viral sensations have a limited shelf life. According to Google Trends, Wordle’s popularity dropped by about 50% by mid-2022, just a few short months after it rocketed into the viral stratosphere.
So, what does the future hold for Wordiply? Shariatmadari said its fate is out of his and the game developers’ hands.
“Wordiply isn’t perfect. There will be missing words, technical glitches, things that annoy people,” he wrote. “But it does feel as if it’s destined to have a life of its own: it’s been born and is no longer entirely ours. From this point on it belongs to the people who play it.”