This week’s groundbreaking announcement that The New York Times Company has purchased Wordle – the hit online game in which once-a-day players have six chances to guess a five-letter word – has reignited fan annoyance of word games that were already IRATE to the fact that Wordle is essentially the same game played on “Lingo” TV for over 30 years.
The New York Times’ purchase of Wordle for seven figures from its creator, software engineer Josh Wardle, seems to have added an edge to the debate. But social media and gaming-related blogs have been at it for weeks, noting the games’ similarity as Wordle has become a widespread phenomenon.
The New York Times did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the games‘ similarity.
Wrote a seemingly surprised gaming fan on Twitter:
Another Twitter reviewer suggests that Wordle is just a “recycled Hipster Lingo”:
However, the Tweet from “Sophia” suggests that it’s “legitimate” better to be in Wordle than “Lingo” if you don’t want to channel grandma and grandpa:
And the New York Times deal prompted this proposal for a “new game” from “jp”:
“Lingo”, the game show created by American television producer Ralph Andrews, first aired in 1987 on the British ITV network and has gone through various incarnations and syndications, as well as various hosts, over the years. The series became the most popular in America in 2002 on Game Show Network, hosted by Chuck Woolery, where it lasted five years and over 300 episodesaccording to Buzzerblog.
The game briefly returned to GSN in 2011 with comedian Bill Engvall as host. This “mystery pun” came from Zoo Productions, a division of All3media Group, and was featured in the 2011 ad as being “from the producers of ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?’ Also in 2011, GSN Games launched a free online version of Lingo on GSN.com GSN Games has been removed from the GSN corporation since last year.
The most recent incarnation of “Lingo” is a current UK version of the show launching in 2021, hosted by Adil Ray. There is also a free Lingo mobile game app, as well as other online Lingo clones, currently available.
The rules of TV’s “Lingo” game are virtually the same as the online game: six chances to try to guess a randomly chosen five-letter word. In Wordle, if you have the right letter in the right place, it appears in green. A correct letter in the wrong place appears in yellow. A letter that is not in the word anywhere appears in gray.
A similar color code indicates correct and incorrect letter choices on the board in the TV show. However, in the TV version, guesses are made by teams and they accumulate points to progress to higher stakes in the game. TV teams also get a break as they are given the first letter of each word before start the guessing game.
Some on Twitter are fine with the games’ similarity as long as buying The New York Times doesn’t require them to pay to play Wordle online. But they are skeptical. Wrote “FilmmakerJulie”:
Watch Woolery and his guests play the game from this 2006 episode of “Lingo”: