You might have heard recently that the New York Times bought Wordle, the massively popular word guessing game. They said that Wordle will “initially” be free to play for new and existing players. While I was quite optimistic about the buyout, many were quite angry and frustrated at the idea that they might add a paywall to the beloved game. If you’re one of these people, then you’re in luck because IT security researcher “stacksmashing” created Wordle on the Game Boy.
The creator was inspired by a tweet by user “Huxley_D” showcasing Wordle on the Palm VII, which in turn was created by Reddit user “/u/bobberto1995“. This is what I love about the internet. One person’s idea can snowball into an inspiration train of cool stuff created by so many people.
Along with the Game Boy version, “stacksmashing” also made an “Analogue Pocket” version too, which is a console remake of the Game Boy that was released last year. The game’s mechanisms are quite similar to the original Wordle, but there are some key differences.
The most obvious difference has got to be the graphics. The Game Boy only has a resolution of 160 x 144 pixels, as well an extremely limited colour palette. Still, the creator managed to fit a whole keyboard as well as the five by six letter grid from the original game. Another key difference is that the word resets after every game, which means you don’t have to wait until midnight to play again. There’s also no share button, for obvious reasons.
Another difference is the word list, which is limited due to the ROM size. The game doesn’t crosscheck your guesses with a big word list. Instead, it uses a storage-efficient method called a “bloom filter” to check whether or not your guess is one of the 8,000 most common English words. In contrast, the original Wordle game has a word list of about 12,000 words. According to the creator, the filter has a “very high error-rate”, which I find quite funny.
If you want to play the ROM, you can download either the Game Boy version or the Analogue Pocket version here. You can either load it onto a cartraidge or just do what I did and play it on an emulator like OpenEmu. I tested it out by starting with the word “gamer” and winning in three guesses, so I guess you can say I’m a real gamer.
If you can’t be bothered to get an emulator, they also made an online version here that functions the same way. It even works on mobile!
Of course, you could also just go to the Wordle website, right-click, and save it as an HTML file to play it offline, but where’s the fun in that?