The New York Times Made An Important Decision About Wordle

The Times means business!

By Douglas Helm | Published


Wordle is an incredibly popular mobile game. If you haven’t heard about it, at least one person you know likely has and is probably actively playing it. With games that become that popular, there are inevitably clones of said game. One of the most popular clones, the Wordle Archive, was recently shut down by the owner of Wordle, The New York Times.

If you’re unfamiliar with Wordle, the premise is fairly simple. You have to guess the word of the day in six tries. Each time you enter a word, green blocks indicate that you have the correct letter in the correct spot, the yellow blocks indicate you have a letter in the word that’s in the wrong spot, and gray blocks indicate letters that aren’t in the word at all. Using these color-coded hints, you can hopefully guess the word correctly within your limited number of guesses. The game has rocketed in popularity over the last year. Part of the appeal is the community aspect, which is everyone plays the same word and there’s one word per day. Users can even share their attempts on social media, with the word itself being blocked out and only the color blocks of your attempts being shown. Friends and family can compare their attempts and talk about the word of the day with each other, making it a fun sharing experience as well.

As far as Wordle Archive goes, it was a version of the game that let you play previous puzzles, but now it looks like users will have to search elsewhere if they want to play puzzles from the past. Since the unauthorized platform was using the Wordle name and puzzles from the original, it does make sense that The New York Times was able to have it taken down.


Wordle was created by Josh Wardle, who eventually sold the game to The New York Times. With the game firmly in their ownership, it looks like they’re deciding to crack down on unauthorized offshoots. Wordle Archive is far from the only spin-off of Wordle. There are other games that presumably wouldn’t be able to be taken down by The New York Times. Worldle, Squabble, and Dordle are just a few examples of the knockoff games that have cropped up since Wordle became a mobile phenomenon. In Worldle, the same concept is applied but with names of countries. Squabble pits players against each other in a multiplayer version of the games. Dordle has dual puzzles that you have to solve. In short, there are plenty of other options out there if you’re looking for more Wordle-type gameplay. It’s unclear if these operate in enough of a gray area to avoid action from the New York Times, but presumably, they’re not going to be able to shut down any and all spin-offs.

Despite the acquisition, Wordle has remained largely faithful to its original version. The game is still completely free-to-play and none of the gameplay elements have been adjusted as of yet. Basically, if you love the OG Wordle, then you have nothing to worry about.