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Michael Dobuski/ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The first big viral trend of 2022 is here, and it’s a colorful word game called Wordle.

Players who visit Wordle’s website have six chances to guess a five-letter word, which was randomly selected from a database. On each try, the game tells you how close your letters are to the “word of the day”. If the letters you choose are in the word but in the wrong order, Wordle highlights them in yellow. If the letters are in the word and placed correctly, they are highlighted in green. Letters highlighted in gray mean that they do not appear in the word of the day.

“It’s a good, fun game,” says Gizmodo editor Andrew Couts. “It only takes a few minutes, and it’s something to discuss with your friends.”

Wordle was created by New York software engineer Josh Wardle last fall, but Couts says the game really caught on in late December and early January, and now has over three hundred thousand daily players.

“It seemed like after the holidays everyone seemed to be playing this game and sharing it on Twitter, sharing it on all the social media,” Couts says, adding that Wordle’s distinct visual style is key to its success.

“It creates a kind of cool little template that the game makes really easy to share on social media…so you can show people how good you’ve been on the word of the day. And I think that’s the one of the big things that made this game take off.”

Wordle 209 6/6


Took me all morning….

— Rob Hawley (@robertlhawley) January 14, 2022

Although the rules of the game are simple, Couts says there are a few strategies to maximize your chances of Wordle glory.

“Choosing words with a bunch of vowels and choosing words with common consonants like S’s, T’s or K’s is a good way to quickly get the word of the day.”

This simplicity cuts both ways – which could open up the game for people who want to up their odds in more sleazy ways.

“It’s also a very simple website and it’s very easy to cheat if you really wanted to,” says Couts. “You can look at the source code of the website, for example, and see the full list of words of the day. So you can know them in advance. But that kind of stuff takes all the fun out of it.

And after all, says Couts, it’s a good time to have some innocent fun online.

“It’s actually a good thing on the internet for once, so it’s very welcome.”

Listen to ABC News Radio’s Michelle Franzen report on the latest viral craze:

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