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A simple word game is the newest social media phenomenon

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

People who spend time on social media - or maybe I should say, people who spend too much time on social media - have noticed posts that feature a grid of multicolored blocks - squares within squares.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

They're from a game - a word game - called Wordle. The game grew popular, even though it was initially meant for just two people.

Software engineer Josh Wardle made Wordle as a side project.

JACK WARDLE: I made the game for my partner. She and I play word games, and I wanted to make a game that she would enjoy.

INSKEEP: If you play, you get six tries to guess a randomly selected five-letter word. And the game will tell you if a letter is wrong or just in the wrong place.

MARTIN: That's the whole game - tiles on a blank background and just one word a day.

Wardle says this was intentional.

WARDLE: Making Wordle, I specifically rejected a bunch of the things that you're meant to do for a mobile game.

INSKEEP: There are no ads, no notifications sent to your phone, no way to just keep playing all day long.

WARDLE: The rejection of some of those things has actually attracted people to the game 'cause it feels quite innocent, and it just wants you to have fun with it.

MARTIN: I mean, that sounds cool. You can apparently share your results online easily, but maybe too easily, because my feed, at least, is full of these things. And unless you speak Wordle, you have no idea what they mean.

INSKEEP: A New York Times article on Wordle said that just 90 people were playing this game at the first of last November, and it's now around 2 million players per day.

(SOUNDBITE OF KETTEL'S "QUICKPIG") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.