New York Times takes down the popular Wordle Archive

It was only a matter of time

At this point, I would wager to say that Wordle’s clones are just as well-known as the game itself. Just about every variation you can think of exists, from guessing swear words to songs to geography — it’s all there, but probably not for long. The New York Times’ acquisition of Wordle rocked the internet back at the end of January, and fans of the game have been apprehensive at best since then, after bemoaning supposed changes that the New York Times made to the game that have yet to be confirmed. Either way, everyone is kind of on edge, and understandably so. We’ve been seeing changes slowly rolling in from the journalistic juggernaut, the most recent being that they demanded the shutdown of a popular Wordle offshoot, Wordle Archive, as reported by Ars Technica.

The website was popular among fans of the modern classic of a word game, as it archived previous days’ puzzles and allowed players to return to them as much as they wanted. Wordle Archive had been up since the start of January, but it was officially taken down last week. When players logged on to play through some old puzzles, they were instead met with a message that read, “Sadly, the New York Times has requested that the Wordle Archive be taken down.”

A representative from the New York Times also put out a statement, as they told Ars Technica, “The usage was unauthorized, and we were in touch with them. We don’t plan to comment beyond that.”

As much of a bummer as this is, it’s entirely within New York Times’ rights to do so as the legal owners of Wordle. Copyright law can get a bit fuzzy when it comes down to copycats, but the fact that World Archive used the exact same name as the original game meant that there was no room for ambiguity.

The future of other clones, like any using the “-dle” suffix, is unclear, although part of me has to wonder if the New York Times is looking for a way to take those down, too.
[Featured Image Source: PC Gamer]

Noelle Warner