The magic behind Wordle is, of course, that there’s only one puzzle a day. Combined with the ease with which players can paste their spoiler-free results to social media and group chats, it’s that the whole world is all playing the same puzzle, the same day, that makes it so alluring. But screw that! You can now play the entire archive.
This piece originally ran on Kotaku Australia on February 5, 2022. It has been republished as a weekend read.
Part of creator Josh Wardle’s motivation for keeping the game to one puzzle a day, and not making an app, was his desire that it not take over people’s lives. And then it went and took over the world. (Then he cashed out.) And as noble as his intentions might have been, of course there are many who would love to spend an idle bus ride, or dreary wait in a dentist waiting room, playing the neat little game over and over. Maybe not more than anyone else has played, just the experience of the lucky few that have been following along since the game’s surprise release back in 2021.
Wardle has made no efforts to hide or protect the code running Wordle, even to the point where you can just right-click the entire game and play it for the next few years offline, no matter what the New York Times has planned. But now, even better, it’s been made possible to go back in time and play through the previous 229 puzzles.
Wordle Archive is the work of computational biologist, Devang Thakkar. He’s done a neat job of replicating the original format, while making it his own, and it allows you to easily click through to play any puzzle uploaded earlier than today. In keeping with the general spirit of the thing, it’s all open source, with the code on GitHub. Just how long free and open projects like this can continue once the NYT takeover is complete remains unclear.
That Josh Wardle is now a rich man thanks to the neat little puzzle game he made for his partner is a wonderful thing. That he did it with a game on which he refused to advertise, despite millions of players around the world turning up every day, was damned respectable. That the New York Times paid a seven-figure sum for an open source game that just flat-out rips off a 40-year-old quiz show is bewildering beyond comment.
Either way, for now at least you can finally go back and play all those Wordles that happened before you first stumbled on the phenomenon. I recommend starting with #121, because that puzzle is a bastard.
Wordle 121 6/6
Never got to the sixth row before. Man alive.
And as you can see, it still lets you copy and paste your anonymised results for public glory. Or un-glory in this case. If you’d like some tips for the best 5 letter Wordle words to tackle the huge backlog available in the archive, check out our guide!