Wordle's success wasn't fully anticipated. The game exploded in popularity last December and has maintained a devoted fanbase ever since. Its simple, five-letter word guessing loop is almost universally accessible, especially now that the game has been translated into dozens of languages. This, in addition to its widespread Twitter presence, made Wordle a massive success for creator Josh Wardle. Now that The New York Times has purchased the game's rights for an undisclosed seven-figure number, its future is a mystery. Given the newspaper's existing library of games, now would be the perfect time for The New York Times to put out a puzzle compilation for consoles.
On first pass, the idea seems a little outlandish. Newspapers very rarely (if at all) publish what could be called a "video game." A crossword app is more or less the extent to which The New York Times involves itself with gaming. In recent years, however, more conventional tabletop experiences like board games and card games have found audiences on console. Big names like Mattel and Hasbro have been giving more of their traditional games digital counterparts, and The New York Times is sitting on what could be a classic multiplatform release.
Games from The New York Times
The New York Times is home to many PC and mobile puzzle games. Most notable is The New York Times Crossword, which sets the example for crosswords everywhere. The paper also hosts other games though, like Tiles, Spelling Bee, Sudoku, and Vertex. Each of these provide a unique experience, but they're similar in that the gameplay of each is deceptively simple.
In Spelling Bee, for instance, players must create words from the seven letters provided. It sounds simple enough, but it's more complicated because each word must be four letters long and include a specific letter. In Tiles, players must match tiles with complex patterns on the basis of their shared elements. These games are all easy to learn but difficult to master, and would be great for a casual game compilation.
Wordle and Other NYT Games on Console
Having such a collection of games available on console would be great. Not only do each of The New York Times' games provide hours of entertainment, but they're all already available on mobile and web devices. Being able to work through a Wordle using the Nintendo Switch touchscreen or fill out crosswords with a controller could expand their reach, and The New York Times already offers a subscription service to play its games across multiple devices; adding consoles to this plan would make sense. Perhaps a one-time purchase compilation for unlimited play could accompany this sort of subscription. The prospect of playing more than one Wordle a day could be enough to justify such a title, but throw in an archive of thousands of crosswords and the deal seems even more enticing.
The idea of a "video game" has changed drastically over the past couple of decades. As the medium evolves to address different audiences, so too will the offerings of so-called "casual" games. Crosswords in particular have maintained an almost cult-like following for decades, so it makes sense to offer this audience a video game. The success of Wordle and Wordle clones show that people of all ages are still interested in word games, making a compilation of Wordle, The New York Times Crossword, and more make sense. Similar to Uno's pre-installation on the Xbox 360, traditional games could have a bigger influence on the video game industry than many would think.
Wordle is available now on Internet-accessible devices.
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