Have you Wordle-d today? The popular word puzzle has a Malaysian version too


What's your best wordle score? Photo: Wordle

Have you noticed the yellow, green and grey grids that have been shared on social media platforms like Twitter and are curious what these are? Well, these are the daily records shared by Wordle, a word puzzle, players.

Since its launch, the world puzzle game has seen an explosive growth – from 90 daily users in November to 300,000 in January and up to two million just last weekend.

Its popularity even prompted a Malay version of the game, called Katapat which is a portmanteau of “Kata” and “Tepat.”

And, the puzzle kind of looks like a Ketupat if users guess the words correctly in a few tries.

Katapat (//projecteugene.com/katapat.html) was released last on Jan 22 and has already garnered over 2,500 users in three days.

"My friend thought it was a fun thing to share with others, but we didn't expect it to go viral so quickly,” says creator of Katapat Eugene Low, a 32-year-old app developer from Selangor.

Low developed the game by reproducing Wordle's code. He says the game would not have been possible without the help of his friends and family, who came out with the name, logo, Malay word list and translations so that Low could bring the game to fruition.

“It's just nice to have a version closer to home while being carried by the hype of the Wordle. It's nice to see everyone enjoying it as much as I enjoyed putting it together with my friends,” says Low.

What is Wordle, and why is it so popular right now?

Wordle is a word puzzle created by American software engineer Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner Palak Shah, who loves word games and crossword puzzles. It is a web-based game and no app or software download is required.

To play, you just have to visit the website: www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/

Similar to the code-breaking board game Mastermind, the rules are pretty straightforward.

Each player is required to guess a new five-letter word every day within six tries. For each word you guess, the game tells you how many letters you guessed are in the “Wordle” of the day, with each letter on its tile turning to either yellow, green or grey.

If a tile turns yellow, it means that the letter is included in the word but is in the wrong position. If it turns green, the letter is included in the word and in the right place. If it is grey, then the letter is not in the final word.

The game is essentially just a process of elimination where users guess the letters and their placements. Although it’s simple, the game can be very challenging.

Wordle’s massive popularity can be attributed to its simplicity. While there are numerous games outside that require players to spend loads of their time advancing to the next level, Wordle is only programmed to be played once a day. The game is a breath of fresh air as it doesn’t contain any push notifications, email sign-ups, pop-up ads or banners.

Best of all, it’s free.

“The game is humble and it doesn't fight for attention like any other apps or games out there. It’s addictive in a good way because there’s a form of gratification that feels more honest and rewarding. I can see myself committing to it for a long while,” says Omar Kasturi, a 26-year-old designer.

“It’s something that encourages you to spend three minutes a day. And that’s it. Like, it doesn’t want any more of your time than that,” Wardle said in an article in the New York Times.

But ultimately the buzz surrounding the game may be down to its current social media hype, with users sharing their daily Wordle results on Twitter, Facebook or with their friends.

“I saw people sharing their results online (green and grey cubes). I was curious about it, that's why I tried it out. As you have to wait a full day before getting to guess a new word, this fuels my anticipation for the next day,” says Janna Lee, 23, audit associate.

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