Smash hit game Wordle finds its way to Game Boy

It's justifiable if Wordle creator, Josh Wardle, needs to pinch himself every now and then, given the way his simple but addictive five-letter word game has taken the world by storm. Originally created as a game for him and his partner to play, Wordle went live on the web for anyone to play only as recently as October 2021. It was immediately popular, but really took off after he enabled a way for players to share their results using emoji squares, revealing how many moves they took to guess the word — but without spoiling the answer of the daily word for other players.

Then, after The New York Times noticed the way the game had suddenly taken off, the paper ran a story about Wordle in early January. At that point, it had gone from an audience of 90 people on November 1 to over 300,000 players by the time the article was published. With the additional publicity, the game took off like a rocket.

People were so keen to play it, many assumed it was a mobile app and mistakenly downloaded a completely different game with a very similar name from the App Store. This created an unexpected windfall for the developer, who partnered with Josh Wardle to donate the profits. And then, The New York Times itself acquired Wordle for an undisclosed seven-figure sum by the end of January.

Wordle ports and clones keep popping up

The game's meteoric rise has naturally sparked many clones, but as always, there are eager and clever indie developers forever keen to demonstrate their coding prowess by finding ways to take their favorite games to other unofficial platforms.

We've seen developers port games like the original DOOM to Apple's MacBook Pro Touch Bar, using its iOS-based source code to create a fully functioning version of the game. Similarly, we've seen someone hack DOOM onto a dissected Ikea light bulb. Now, a developer has ported Wordle onto the Nintendo Game Boy (and the newer Analogue Pocket), which seems like a natural fit given its almost Tetris-like letter grid.

According to the developer @ghidraninja, "The ROM size is very limited, so I couldn't fit in a big wordlist of "real" words. Instead, I'm using a bloom filter to check (with, admittedly, currently a very high error-rate) whether an entered word is one of the 8000 most common English words."

The ROM has been available as a separate download for both the Game Boy and the Analogue Pocket, although (like the original) it can be accessed via a web browser with the same classic Nintendo-looking design interface. Unsurprisingly, other developers are also hard at work on porting their Wordle clones with @Huxley_D taking it across to the Palm VII pocket PC.

We look forward to seeing where Wordle will pop up next.