It didn’t take long for Wordle to become an internet sensation as we all struggle to find pandemic distractions, but for those worried about the game’s fate now that it’s owned by The New York Times, there’s no chance you’ll ever hit a paywall if you switch to this Game Boy port instead.
Similar to the classic board game Mastermind, Wordle challenges players to guess a word of the day, helping players along with clues indicating which letters are correct, which are in the right spot, and which aren’t in the word at all. The gameplay is simple, but the game was flawlessly executed by developer Josh Wardle and completely free of ads, in-game purchases, or other attempts to monetize it. The New York Times, which purchased Wordle from Wardle in late January, promises the game will continue to be free, at least at first, but many are worried about what changes the company has planned for their daily distraction.
It didn’t take long for Wordle devotees to figure out that the game could be downloaded as an HTML file and played offline for over 2,000 days, at which point its built-in catalog of five-letter words would be exhausted. Taking that approach makes it slightly more complicated to play Wordle on a mobile device like a smartphone, but there are already alternative versions of the game for other portable devices.
Gizmodo readers probably know Twitter user ‘stacksmashing’ best for their work on hacking Nintendo’s Game & Watch revival devices or using the classic Nintendo handheld to mine Bitcoin. But their latest creation is an even simpler version of Wordle that’s now Game Boy friendly. You can download a ROM of Wordle for the original Game Boy here (you’ll need a cartridge capable of playing ROM files) as well as a version of Wordle for the new Analogue Pocket, which uses its own proprietary ROM format but can be played by simply copying the file to the handheld’s microSD card. You can also try the Game Boy version of Wordle in your browser right here.
The Game Boy version isn’t as polished as the original web version. You’ll need to rely on an on-screen keyboard that has to be navigated using the Game Boy’s D-pad. And, according to stacksmashing, “The ROM size is very limited, so I couldn’t fit in a big wordlist of ‘real’ words. Instead I’m using a bloom filter to check (with, admittedly, currently a very high error-rate) whether an entered word is one of the 8000 most common English words.” So while the original version of Wordle will let you know if a guess is a real word or not, the Game Boy version may not be as reliable at saving you a wasted guess.