Saturday, June 10

The success of Wordle is a vestige of the Internet that hardly exists anymore

Of Wordle we can say that hide a love story, that is addictive due to its simplicity or that part of its magic is in how simple emojis tell a story, but perhaps the best of his intrahistories is that of a reconciliation with the Internet that dominated twenty years ago and that hardly exists today.

I was a premature child on the Internet, one of those slightly repellent children who boasted of having created a website at the age of twelve and who spent the afternoon on Messenger talking to the other three children in the course who also had Internet at home and wanted to use it. Let’s situate ourselves: year 2002.

At that time the common thing was the Internet indie, of websites launched by independent developers or small companies, on a national scale. And above all, a lot of innocence, that of someone who discovers a construction toy full of possibilities and simply wants to create.

Time passed, the ghosts of the bubble dot com were left behind, and companies returned to invest decisively in the online. Google arrived, social networks arrived, technological ones became giants and everything changed. The Internet became compartmentalized, the land of large companies willing to hook us and get addicted, to ensure that we spend as much time as possible inside their pens. Pens with banners, cookies that record our most intimate likes and dislikes and buttons to make us premium. Because if something has changed is that before everything was crappy and we were happy, now everything is premium and…

At 256 kb/s and without CSS: the 17 mythical websites that most marked our beginnings on the internet

A charming anachronism

Daniel Rodriguez, the creator of wordle in spanish, said it very clearly: “No company today would launch a game like that, which avoids hooking you”. That’s the magic of Wordle, its purpose to impact us in a limited way. Nothing prevents its creators from filling it with banners, allowing unlimited games, creating world rankings and activating a subscription that allows a certain number of tracks per month and a badge next to our nickname. But you don’t even need a registration.

This spirit —happily respected by Daniel— leads me to think of what the Internet could be were it not for what it ended up being, the fruit of economic aspirations and vanity. At Wordle, strangely, we don’t feel like a commodity to be held and exploited. He doesn’t ask us for anything in return.

Few things are as wonderful as the advertising in those old computer magazines

In a way, it reminds of Fotolog, which had a mechanic that sounds anachronistic today: you could only upload one photo a day, and the internal architecture induced you to develop a text. Then Tuenti arrived and we ended up not being able to upload less than a hundred photos every Sunday morning, without any filters, but that’s another topic. Can anyone imagine not being able to share more than one story daily on Instagram? Mechanics that go against the market and a fight to shake off the dust of nostalgia.

Wordle’s story has continued with what one would expect in 2022. A guy created a copy to take to the App Store without asking anyone’s permission, he monetized it with subscriptions of thirty dollars a year and only when the hare jumped did he propose options to the original developer, all aimed at making him happy with money. When he refused, he just kept going until Apple removed the app from the store. A dynamic that could be summed up as “move fast and break things“. ¿Who does it remind us of??