Wordle has people digging up old games. Mastermind or Jotto, anyone?

Last weekend, Josh Small did something he hadn’t done in almost a decade: play Mastermind.

He remembered the board game after discovering Wordle, the online word game that recently went viral. Mr Small said Wordle looked like Mastermind, and he was itching for the game he played in the 1990s as a kid.

He took it out of the back of a cupboard. “Part of me thought maybe it wasn’t in there anymore,” said Mr. Small, a 35-year-old financial analyst from Gig Harbor, Washington. “I was happy to see he was just sitting behind boxes.”

An obsession with Wordle has people rediscovering decades-old games they played as kids. Some search home for forgotten board games or download apps based on them.

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“It’s kind of like a band-aid to hold me back until there’s a new Wordle,” Megan LeBlanc said of Jotto, which she plays on an app. She downloaded it after seeing tweets stating that the game was similar to Wordle.

Rauno Järvinen, the founder of Oval Software, who developed the 8-year-old Jotto app, said it was downloaded 10 times more this month than in January last year. He assigns it to Wordle, which can only be played once per day.

“His daily restriction has left many people hungry,” Mr Järvinen said.

Ms. LeBlanc could also buy Mastermind, which she played as a child. “It’s definitely something I plan to play again,” said the 43-year-old substitute teacher from Wellesley, Mass. “My brother and I were talking about it last week because of Wordle.”

Wordle has become an online phenomenon this year, with 1.8 million people playing it at the start of the month, up from 90 playing on November 1. Josh Wardle, the software engineer who created Wordle, said he made a prototype in 2013 and dusted it off. off during the Covid-19 pandemic for his companion, who loved puns.

Jotto was a common pencil and paper game in the 1950s; tampons were sold in stores.

It went viral after Mr Wardle facilitated sharing the results on Twitter and Facebook.

People also started tweeting about the game’s similarities to Mastermind and Jotto. Mr Wardle did not respond to a recent request for comment.

Wordle players have six chances to guess a secret five-letter word. Mastermind players, present since the 1970s, try to decipher a code made up of four colors.

Jotto, a 1950s pencil-and-paper game, asks players to guess a five-letter word that a second player has come up with.

Rhonda Rosen has never played Wordle. But after reading about it in a newspaper, she turned to her partner and said, “’It’s Jotto. Don’t they know it’s Jotto?’ »

Ms Rosen, 65, played Jotto as a child with her parents and sister on a family holiday. At the time, Jotto pads of paper were sold in stores for jotting down word guesses. She thought she might still have a Jotto notebook and went on a mission to dig it up. After cleaning out her office, she finally found it somewhere else.

“The basement library was the winner,” said Ms. Rosen, CFO of Small Business.

Phil Darlington is playing MasterMind again since he found three versions in a pile of other board games.

Wordle sent Phil Darlington to search his daughter’s room. He found three versions of Mastermind at the bottom of a pile of other board games, including the one he played with his grandmother in the 1970s. He believes the games haven’t been touched for eight or nine year.

“We will definitely be playing more often now,” said Mr Darlington, 46, a computer programmer from Nottingham, England.

Pressman Toys, which makes Mastermind, said it was too early to tell if Wordle was affecting sales, as Wordle started going viral recently.

Maurice Kelly plays Mastermind less. The 44-year-old software engineer from Dromara, Ireland has always been a fan, even keeping a mini-version of Mastermind that Singapore Airlines gave him when he flew to New Zealand as a child.

When Wordle went viral this month, he and his 11-year-old daughter became addicted to playing it daily instead of the Mastermind game she got for Christmas.

They have adopted a new habit. When they started playing Wordle, someone mentioned a TV quiz show called “Lingo” which offers word games similar to Wordle.

“Of course we started looking at that as well,” he said.

Write to Joseph Pisani at [email protected]

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