Tech & The Web

Mom Didn’t Care for Wordle…Now She Taunts Me with It!

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Do you play Wordle? It’s a simple little word game that quickly swept the internet, but it’s not as new as you might think.

The first time someone showed me the smartphone game Wordle, I knew it was very familiar.

I’ve heard people say the little word game could make a good game show. I find that a bit ironic. It essentially was a game show — many years ago. You may have heard of it by its name back then: Lingo. More on that in a moment.

If you haven’t tried it, the concept is very simple. You have six tries to guess a five-letter word. Each time you enter a guess, you will see the letters in your guess turn different colors. If they turn dark gray, that means that particular letter is not in the word. When it turns gold, it means the letter is in the word, but not in the position in which you’ve placed it. When you see a letter turn green, that means the letter is in the word and is in the right position.

So if the word happened to be TRIAL and you guess “tease,” the T would turn green because it’s in the correct position and the A would turn yellow because, while it’s in the word, it doesn’t appear as the third letter of that word.

You keep guessing words, trying to reason what the right would could be based on the letter clues you assemble.

After the sixth guess, if you miss, you lose. Here’s a video explanation:

But you only get six tries. What I find incredible about the appeal of the game is that it gives you only one word a day. You either get it correct or you don’t. But you don’t get to play again until after midnight the next day.

Mom didn’t like it at first.

Mom’s favorite puzzle game is Sudoku. It’s a similar idea in terms of the logic required to place numbers in a grid so that they fall into the correct combination. Sudoku, however, is far more complicated. It strikes me as too much like math, which Mom loves and I hate.

Still, I figured she’s like the game. So I talked her through her first attempt while she played it on her iPad.

She finally figured out the word.

“I don’t think I care for this very much,” she told me.

Well, I thought, that was that. She’ll stick with her Sudoku and I’ll stick with this.

The next day, she called and the first thing she said was, “Did you get the word today?”

I told her I did and she said she got it in five tries.

Nearly every day now, she asks. Several days she beats me by one guess.

For someone who didn’t think she cared for the game, she suddenly has become a competitor!

The first edition of ‘Lingo’ dates back to the late 1980s.

I would think most game show fans who know of Lingo would remember it on Game Show Network with Chuck Woollery as host.

But the first version to hit the airwaves in the United States goes all the way back to 1987 with host Mike Reagan. The rules for Lingo were similar but not identical to Wordle.

Contestants played in teams of two. They’d get the first letter of the word and try to guess. Like Wordle, Lingo would tell the contestants whether letters were in the word and if they were in the right position.

If they correctly guessed the word, the contestants would reach into a hopper and select lotto balls. Each ball was numbered and used to complete a Bingo card. If a contestant selected a red ball, they lost their turn. A team won the game by completing their Bingo card.

Here’s a sample:

There’s a newer version of the game that eliminates the “Bingo” portion of the game in favor of cash prizes and bonus 10-letter words. In different rounds, contestants even play word of four letters instead of just five.

CBS recently announced it is bringing the show back to its schedule. RuPaul will serve as host…an interesting host. (I miss the days when game shows were hosted by emcees.)

The real question is whether American TV audiences will sit through an hour (or even a half-hour) of this word game. Like Wheel of Fortune, it’s definitely easy to imagine people wanting to play along. But will there be enough excitement to keep people watching?

I’m not sure about that, but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

2 Comments

  • I recognized Wordle as a variation of Mastermind, a board game going back to 1970. The only difference is that Mastermind uses colored pegs rather than letters. The more things change…

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