The news that viral game Wordle had been purchased by the New York Times caused angst among fans worried that it might be put behind a paywall.
However creator Josh Wardle has effectively pre-programmed the free browser-based game for the next six or seven years.
By saving a copy of the webpage and a couple of other files to a local folder, players will continue to have free access until Wardle's pre-programmed word list runs out - which contains more than 2000 words.
The Times paid over a million dollars for Wordle and said the game would "initially" remain free to new and existing players.
That led to fears it will eventually be moved behind its gaming paywall, which currently has over a million subscribers.
Even if that happens, by doing three simple things gamers will be able to keep guessing the secret five-letter word for years to come.
To play Wordle locally:
- Go the Wordle website, right click somewhere on the page and select 'Save As...' to save a copy of the webpage
- Download the gaming engine https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/manifest.json and save it to the same folder
- Download the code and word list https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/main.e65ce0a5.js and save to the same folder
According to Vice's Motherboard, streaks may not always be preserved and the sharing functionality may not work but otherwise the game plays fine and offers a new word each day as expected.
Wardle created the game for his puzzle-loving partner and saw it quickly grow from just one user up to millions, aided by the sharing of results on Twitter by a New Zealand player.
Announcing the sale, he said the response to the game had been "a little overwhelming" and was happy the game was moving to the Times.
"It has been incredible to watch a game bring so much joy to so many, and I feel so grateful for the personal stories some of you have shared with me - from Wordle uniting distant family members, to provoking friendly rivalries, to supporting medical recoveries," Wardle wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.
He said the Times played a part in the origin of the game and the company's respect for its gamers was an important factor in his decision to sell his creation.
"Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I'm thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward," he wrote.