Hop on the Wordle Bandwagon

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Students are able to enjoy Wordle on their phones and computers every day. (Source: Lauren Dong (VI))

By Fiona Yuan (III) and Amy Cui (III)

The rules of the game are simple: six guesses, five letters, one word. Wordle, first launched in October 2021 by Josh Wardle, has become an internet sensation with millions of players attempting the daily challenge. With The New York Times’ recent acquisition of the game and its growing popularity among people of all ages, Wordle’s success suggests that people should implement more cognitive games into their daily lives.

Wordle, along with other brain games, acts as an effective escape and a moment to reset and de-stress while one directs all focus to the simple yet stimulating task at hand. Wordle’s instantaneous feedback for guesses and its “sense of scarcity,” with only one puzzle per day, keeps players coming back for more, leading to habitual playing. Boston Latin School Classics teacher Mr. Salvatore Bartoloma explains, “Wordle  has become part of my morning routine. Once I feel like my brain is awake, it’s time to play. I have been playing in English, Italian and Latin, and each requires me to change gears and adapt to the patterns of each language. It is a fantastic way to start my cognitive day.”

Despite its low-key character, Wordle continues to be highly interactive accessible common ground. Mr. Bartoloma continues, “[Wordle] has created some new text threads with family and friends.” Social interaction has increased as teachers and students are able to connect over the daily Wordle.

According to Dr. Douglas Scharre, a neurologist and director of the Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, puzzles and games involving new and original parts stimulate key parts of the brain such as logical reasoning, language and attention spans. Playing cognitive games also improves memory and recall, as well as promotes a better way to utilize time instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. The more one stimulates one’s brain, the more opportunities the brain has to create new pathways to develop.

If you are looking for something more time-consuming or rigorous, consider trying out other cognitive games such as chess or Sudoku on top of the daily Wordle. Although Sudoku deals with numbers and chess with battle strategy, both cognitive games are great to challenge and exercise your brain. These games rely heavily on memory, problem-solving and strategic thinking.

Zach Chen (III), an avid chess player, explains, “Wordle players should consider chess because not only does it have the logical component of Wordle, but also has multifaceted strategies, a time component and a player base you can connect with.” Playing chess also comes with its own community and websites, similar to Wordle’s large social media base.

Through predicting the opponent’s moves and considering one’s own moves, learning chess fosters greater self-awareness and empathy. One is constantly predicting future moves and how the opponent may react, so they are forced to view the board from both their own and their opponent’s perspectives.

Brain games are great for eager thinkers who want a quick pick-me-up. The next time you find yourself with idle time, why not try it? Miss the Wordle today — there’s always another tomorrow.