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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:48 pm

At this point just about everyone has likely played the gorgeously simple word game Wordle. If you haven't played it, you've probably seen others share their daily scores as a series of colorful squares all over the internet like a kid spilling his oddly shaped M&Ms across your screens.
At my work, we even have a dedicated Wordle channel for folks to drop their daily experiences, should they so desire. It's surprisingly active.

The sharing of the scores is brilliant; it's even morphed into the inevitable world of memes where folks modify the colors and rows of results.

I work at a trivia/quiz company, a pretty danged popular one mentioned in the NY Times crossword puzzles about once a year. It's been both awe inspiring and slightly crushing to see Wordle rocket to the top of pop culture. But it's been almost entirely inspirational. I love the game. It's so well-crafted and simple and accessible, device agnostic and ... free! There's a head scratcher for so many. And oh my god, so refreshing.

Meanwhile, no shortage of scummy folks have been scrambling all over the app stores to try and clone the game to make a quick buck. The funny thing? You can actually load the game in your browser and go to File > Save Page As and save it locally. It's really just a big javascript file that doesn't even require being online to play. You can play it every single day the same way you always have - and not even require an internet connection.

Naturally, some smart retro tech folks have been looking to port the game onto other platforms as well.

First up: Spiro Harvey, with help from Dan Sanderson (dddaaannn) for the Commodore 64.

Spiro has been making some YouTube videos about the project, which are pretty interesting if you're into coding topics on the beloved 8-bit platform.

The early results are pretty fantastic. I can't wait to see how this ultimately lands.

Incredibly, the fun doesn't stop there. A talented engineer named Robbie Nesmith even ported it to Palm devices running at least OS 3.2. I first saw it in action here:
But then, even better was the colorized version!
Photo by Huxley Dunsany

From the developer:
Currently it only really works on Palm devices with a color screen. I'd like to have it work on B+W devices in the future.

Also it doesn't have a list of all correct words to check against so you can enter whatever you'd like. Try to guess real words if you want an authentic experience.

I can't help but dream of a potential version being made some day for the glorious Apple Newton. No, that's not a joke. :)

With the NY Times purchasing Wordle, I can only hope most of the scummy app clones will get a cleanse from the App Stores. But I like to think they'll leave old retro platforms alone, especially since the games I've seen have all been quick coding projects and released to the public for free for retro tech nerds like us.

I love it!

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Posted Sat Feb 05, 2022 2:51 pm

Seems quite interesting. Especially that it creates such a buzz that it’s even ported to our beloved C64.

To be honest, though: never heard about it 😆.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sun Feb 06, 2022 2:06 pm

Welp, my weekend project is complete.

I played a game of Wordle's C64 port on my Amiga 3000 running Frodo 4.1. (Whew! That's a mouthful.)

The game - well, the emulator - runs a little bit slow but it's not that bad.

I don't fully understand the custom color coding in the C64 version. Normally the game works like this:
Green = you have a letter in precisely the right spot.
Gray = a letter is not in use.
Yellow = a letter is correct, but not in the right spot. That yellow color is key.

The C64 version uses red, and two shades of gray. I think light gray means a letter is in the right spot and dark gray means the letter is not in the word you're trying to find. I find changing the colors like this quite confusing.

Regardless, it does work. I hope Spiro Harvey is able to eventually bring the game closer to the original (even if that means using an REU to store more words) but it's pretty cool to see it on my Amiga!

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sun Feb 06, 2022 2:45 pm


I grabbed some Google Trends so you could see how this thing sort of exploded this year just in terms of Google Searches and popularity. Light blue is Wordle.
Screen Shot 2022-02-06 at 1.42.49 PM.png

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Posted Tue Feb 08, 2022 12:28 pm

Hi @intric8! Thanks for linking to my "Wordle on a Palm VII" tweets up above :D

I have to say, I've been sharing various nerdy projects online for years, but I've mostly had success on Reddit - this is my first truly 'viral' tweet. I'm so happy and surprised by the ongoing positive reaction to my tweets - now I just need to get all the blogs that have mentioned it to stop giving me credit for the actual work of porting Wordle to PalmOS, which really should be given to Reddit user "bobberto1995" who had the idea and so cleverly implemented it.

Anyway, thanks again!


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