I’ll admit that I’m a little late to the whole “Wordle” thing. I started it about 2 weeks ago. Based on my Facebook feed, we probably hit “peak Wordle” sometime around then and have been falling since. But, it still seemed like a good idea to talk about the whole phenomenon and how it all seems… a bit too familiar.

The game that is Wordle

For the four people out there who haven’t heard of Wordle, it’s a simple web-based game. Faced with a 5×5 grid, you guess words. You’re told if you’ve guessed the right letter in the right place (green) or the right letter in the wrong place (yellow.) From there you can deduce what the right word is.

The unique thing about Wordle, other than the fact that it’s a web page not an app, is that you can only play once a day. Everyone gets the same word at the same time, and you only get one word no matter how many devices you use. This makes the game fast and easy to play, and makes it easy to compare your progress with that of others.

Does this look familiar to anyone else?

Here’s an episode of the show “Lingo.” This video seems to come from about 2005, but versions of the show have been airing from the 1980s. In this show, teams of players compete to find the correct five-letter word and are shown whether or not a letter is correctly placed, incorrectly placed, or not in the word.

In other words, it’s Wordle. Or Wordle’s actually Lingo.

To be fair, they’re not exactly the same, because one is a game played by two people competitively and one is played by millions of people just for fun. But the gameplay mechanics are certainly the same.

To be fair…

…no one has said that Wordle is a unique invention. Its creator (whose name is Wardle, get it?) hasn’t claimed to have never seen Lingo. It’s a free game, he’s not profiting off it. And the creators of Lingo aren’t speaking up with any sort of copyright claim.

I just find it kinda funny that people are looking at Wordle as if it never has existed before. The thing is, it obviously has. If I were the Lingo people, I’d buy the thing from Mr. Wardle and monetize it now while it’s still hot. That would be a win for everyone.


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.