Wordle on Game Boy is fun, but is it Wordle anymore?

What is Wordle when it travels through time and is disconnected?

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

Wordle on the Analogue Pocket, which plays Game Boy games.

Scott Stein/CNET

The one thread connecting me to humanity lately has felt like it's been through Wordle, the viral word-guessing game that was recently acquired by The New York Times. 

Meanwhile, there are a million Wordle clones ready to toss that communal feeling in exchange for more personal word puzzle solving. One of them, a clone of Wordle, is available for the Game Boy if you download the file and sideload it with a compatible cartridge. Or you could load it onto a microSD card and put it into the Analogue Pocket, a new Game Boy-compatible handheld that I've slowly fallen in love with over the last few months.

Installing the file on the Analogue Pocket was easy, and it's a lot like installing other compatible indie games from itch.io, an online repository I've started browsing in recent months and trying out new Game Boy-compatible games from. This Wordle game isn't on itch.io, and I only even heard about it after a Kotaku article appeared about it. It was created by an IT security researcher and hacker known as Stacksmashing, so... I tried it. Because, well, I wanted Wordle on a Game Boy.

The game looks exactly like Wordle and plays pretty much the same, too. It has its own little keyboard and that all-too-familiar grid offering six chances to guess a five-letter word. There are apparently 8,000 words in the game's repository, so not every Wordle game is included. Correct guesses are black, correct letters that aren't placed right are gray. There's no Hard mode or any other settings -- this is pretty basic; it just throws a word at you to guess. Once you've guessed it, you can try another. There aren't any collected stats, though. I guess it's more like Wordle practice for me, the only difference being it requires an Analogue Pocket. And unless you have an Analogue Pocket, or some cartridge that can download and store files to play on a Game Boy, you're not even going to be playing this variation.

Considering you can play other Wordle games for free on a phone, this whole concept is absurd. And yet, there's something alternate-universe about it, like I suddenly was living in a world where Wordle was a Game Boy game in the '90s. 

But without people I can share my results with, and who have the same word to solve for, is it even Wordle anymore? For me, not really, but it's good Wordle practice. And yes, put Wordle on everything -- why not, I'll play it in any form right now.

Speaking of Word games for the Game Boy, I have a copy of Wordtris that I've started playing again. The letter-dropping word-based Tetris spin-off, released in 1991, is still fun. It should be rereleased in our Wordle times.