Wordle is the pandemic game we didn’t know we needed, so there’s understandably some fear that its brand-new owner, The New York Times, might eventually ruin it somehow.
But as technologist Aaron Rieke brilliantly explains in a Twitter thread, there’s little chance of that — because Wordle is a webpage, and webpages can be saved. (This particular webpage runs on client-side code, which helps considerably.) You could download a complete copy of the game right now that contains all the answers, cycles to the proper new puzzle each day, and still comes with the same “Share” button so you can share those all-important little squares with fellow players.
I checked real quick on my Windows desktop, and sure enough, right-click > save as created a complete copy of Wordle on my desktop, just like any other webpage I might save for offline use. I double-clicked the icon to launch it in my web browser, and it loaded today’s word.
It doesn’t retain my previous progress, just like the web version doesn’t keep your streak intact when you move from playing Wordle in a desktop browser to playing Wordle on a phone — but you could theoretically start building a new one if you want, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone figures out a way to import progress as well. (Several people have suggested to me that you can pull it from your browser using developer tools, since the game uses local storage for that as well.)
Where will you play Wordle next? It sounds like there may soon be plenty of options in addition to the one The New York Times suggested will “initially” be free. Because every web browser comes with instructions on how to download webpages for offline use — here’s Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari for Mac. And while I haven’t tried two days in a row to see if it loads the next word, it sure looks to me like the Reading List you’ll find in the iOS copies of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox saves a working offline copy of Wordle, too.
There’s an intriguing question here over whether this might be copyright infringement, so I’m not going to necessarily recommend you do any of the above — but saving webpages for offline use is a time-honored feature of all these browsers, and places like the Internet Archive do it consistently and continuously for much of the public web. So I expect that The New York Times will make it easier on everyone and keep Wordle free forever.
Update, 5:08 PM ET: Clarified that this works particularly well for Wordle because the web version of the game runs client-side, even using local storage you could theoretically copy over to save your progression.