New York City, NY — by Alexandra Cohen
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
My roommate and I often find ourselves awake at midnight — we’re college students with heavy workloads and a healthy amount of insomnia. Midnight symbolizes a new day, a satisfying tick of the clock. But for us, it also means we’ll have six attempts to guess a five-letter word.
We work silently on that day’s Wordle, with the casual “ugh” or “fuck” when choosing the right word is just a bit too overwhelming. After I eventually get the answer, whether it be in the typical four tries, the heart attack-inducing six, or the very rare and lucky two (I’ve received this honor once), my mom receives a text with green, yellow and black emojis. She’s on the West Coast, so her word won’t be out for three more hours, and, knowing my mother, she’ll be asleep way before her clock strikes midnight.
The goal of Wordle, which can only be played once a day, is to guess that day’s five-letter word. It has the 2017-era hype of HQ Trivia with less pizazz and lower stakes, The New York Times Crossword with less elitism — it’s the perfect unifier.
There’s something different about having one right answer once a day. Those five letters will mean nothing in 24 hours, but today they are the most important thing to know. They are the subject of texts, of small talk, of efforts in procrastination. Frustratingly, the puzzle can only be done once. All you want to do is give the game another go, to prove that you can solve another word faster. You won’t get that chance for another day. And while I do confess to playing the Wordle archive when nothing sounds more appealing than a grid of letters, it is simply not the same. Some even tamper with the date settings on their phone so they can access future Wordle games.
However, the game’s beauty lies in its opposition to our current culture. It is the unifier in our polarized world, the activity you have to wait for in the age of Amazon Prime and instant gratification.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.