The New York Times has purchased Wordle, the free language game that’s massively popular, caused everyone on your timeline to tweet green blocks, and inspired dozens of imposters. Its future is now uncertain—its creator, Josh Wardle, said that it will remain free to play for everyone, while the NYT itself said “initially” free.
If you’re worried about what will happen to your daily freebie of angry words, it’s possible to easily preserve Wordle as it is right now, however, with a few clicks. This is because all of the code for Wordle is saved in plaintext on the Wordle website, which includes more than 2,000 words that can be easily downloaded or copy pasted.
All the words have been pre-selected and are sitting there for anyone to view. People have already reverse-engineered the code and created bots that spoil the next day’s word. So, people are simply downloading the page to play an offline version of Wordle that can last for seven years.
To do this, people are just saving the base Wordle page as an HTML file into its own folder. They are then downloading https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/manifest.json And the engine that drives the whole thing https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/main.e65ce0a5.js. Here there is a huge list of code and words for the next seven years.
By putting all these files into a single folder, Wordle now “lives” offline and runs on your own machine.
There are a few quirks to be aware of here. It’ll change the word every day, but it may not preserve streaks. Sharing is also weird: It generates a share page for you but converts the cubes into ASCII gibberish.
Wordle will eventually move over to the New York Times and it will, necessarily, change. The code will probably get harder to reverse-engineer, new features will come, and some kind of monetization will probably get layered on, as the paper itself said the acquisition “reflects the growing importance of games, like crosswords and Spelling Bee, in the company’s quest to increase digital subscriptions to 10 million by 2025.”
But if you want, you can take a few minutes to preserve Wordle as you know it now—the simple labor of love crafted by a guy who just wanted to make his wife smile.
Josh Wardle did not return Motherboard’s request for comment. “When the game moves to the NYT site, it will be free to play for everyone, and I am working with them to make sure your wins and streaks will be preserved,” he said in a tweet announcing the sale.