‘Parer’ broke 60 percent of all wordle streaks in one day

If you’ve played Wordle religiously through 2022, you might remember one particularly rough day’s answer: Parer.

This turned out to be the most difficult word of the year, thanks in part to the use of a recurring ‘r’, but a GDC talk yesterday by New York Times games executive producer Zoe Bell revealed it was a particularly broken word Incredible amount of stripes.

Typically, Bell explained, showing a chart that plotted players’ streak-breaks over time: “15 percent of people break their streaks on any given day — except that one day with ‘parer,’ where almost 60 percent of the people broke their streaks. ”

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When Parer showed up, “we all groaned,” she joked, since it was what she called a bit of a “skyscraper word” — because you end up seeing what looks like tall buildings on your board, since you couldn’t get that last letter because of all the options.”

The rest of Bell’s talk was great to listen to — she noted that Wordle’s “mere existence” in the New York Times game portfolio caused the daily active users of her other games to skyrocket. The addition of that little prompt to try Spelling Bee, another word-based puzzle game, on Wordle’s endgame screen actually doubled the number of Spelling Bee users, while 35 percent of new New York Times Games section subscribers cited Wordle as the reason.

Bell also spoke about the Times’ “first, do no harm” approach to Wordle after they bought it from its original creator, Josh Wardle, describing its viral success as “lightning in a bottle, and we didn’t want it let it out,” while also acknowledging that they knew users would eventually peak. She also shared a graphic highlighting the now-leveled interest, which was significantly higher than other viral hits like Pokémon Go.

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She also conceded a few slip-ups to the Times, including the moment early in her ownership when all the strips were accidentally erased before they were – for the most part – fixed and the time when “fetus” was the daily answer, Monday According to the U.S. The leaked Supreme Court documents showed that they were considering overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights in the country.

In general, the Times’ process for other games like Crossword was to review Crossword and Wordle and review the next three months or so “just to make sure nothing we had was going to be too controversial,” and so when the fetus was reviewed about three months earlier, “it seemed fine — but on May 3, the Supreme Court’s Roe draft leaked out, and now ‘fetus’ was the word for the following Monday. And think.” Remember that people don’t update their tabs.” They only discovered it at the last minute thanks to an engineer working on the game.

Bell said the team debated whether to change it, talk about it, or not talk about it, and they decided to do both. Although they were ripped on the comedy show Saturday Night Live, which got the audience laughing at the talk, she said that of all the ways it could have gone, it ended up “pretty well”!

Still, Bell stressed the team is purposely avoiding being topical — and will not provide another thematic response, after the team playfully picked “feast” as the answer to Thanksgiving. (Although the Times once made a special version of the game for a fan with “marry” as the answer so he could use it to propose to his partner playing the game.)

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You can watch the full talk online via the GDC vault on April 14th, albeit behind a paywall for access, and you can also read our guide to today’s Wordle answer if you get stuck.