Viral game Wordle creator teams with app developer to benefit youth charity

The Wordle! app and the Wordle browser game
The guessing game went viral thanks to a user in New Zealand. Photo credit: Newshub

The man behind viral word game Wordle has teamed up with the creator of an older app with the same name to benefit charity.

Josh Wardle, who created the game for his puzzle-loving partner, said Steven Cravotta, who created the Wordle! app five years ago, had been in contact with him over doing something a little different.

"Can confirm this is true. Steven Cravotta reached out to me unprompted and asked about donating the proceeds. He's a class act," Wardle wrote on Twitter.

Wordle, which went viral after a player in New Zealand shared their results using emojis on Twitter, is a browser-only game that gives players six chances to guess a secret five-letter word.

The aim is to figure out the word in the fewest guesses possible, with coloured codes offering clues to correct letters and their position in the word.

The Wordle! app is nothing like the Wordle browser game, but interest in the latter has prompted a massive spike in searches and downloads of the original, Cravotta said.

The developer first made the game when he was 18 to sharpen his coding skills and "maybe make a quick buck"; but when it failed to take off he stopped updating and promoting it.

He had become used to seeing just one or two people downloading the game per day until just over a week ago and saw the huge spike.

Initially he thought it was bot-related, with someone artificially sending downloads to the wrong app but the 200,000 plus installs came from a different place.

"After a quick Google search I realised I was very wrong," he said.

"As it turns out, the very talented developer Josh Wardle created an amazing in-browser game called Wordle."

When major publications started running stories about Wordle's success, many failed to specify there was no app version of the game, so people went to the App Store to search for it, Cravotta said.

"Lo and behold, those people came across my app, also conveniently named Wordle. My Wordle app has gotten 200,000 downloads in the past seven days and it's not even slowing down yet."

Cravotta's app has in-app purchases, and the realisation it would earn him money prompted him to reach out to Wardle to see if the proceeds could be donated.

"I figured we could turn this very strange, once in a lifetime scenario and make it something amazing," he said.

After talking with Wardle, the duo decided the money would go to Boost Oakland, a programme that focuses on youth literacy.

"We feel the money will make a real impact here," Cravotta said.

According to The Verge, over US$2000 has been raised so far and the literacy program can expect a substantial donation at the end of the month.

Last week Apple started removing clones of Wordle from the App Store after those creators tried to cash in on the game's success.

A backlash on social media forced one developer, who boasted his version was "going to the f**king moon" to apologise after admitting he did it to make quick money.