I, like millions of other people, decided to jump on board the Wordle hype train a few weeks back. Seeing everyone I know post green, red, and grey mosaics on Twitter somehow drew me into the browser game thatcrashed into - wait, no - broke into the mainstream with just five letters a day.
It even drew me into the vast world of Wordle spinoffs! Hours upon hours were dropped into the growing genre of brain-busting games that tested my knowledge of geography, mathmatic equations, Pokemon, and professional cyclists. Never before had my brain felt so smooth and bumpless. While there was a lot of short-term enjoyment from these lovely alternatives, the classic Wordle pulled me back like I was Michael Corleone, almost free from the damn thing.
My love-hate relationship with Wordle drew my eye towards the New York Times’ online selection of games, the soon-to-be new home for the internet juggernaut. I didn’t even know they had a games section! Hoping to be one step ahead of Wordle, I scouted around the pre-existing selection to see whether something else would tear my attention away from my traditional morning routine of browsing Twitter. If only I had known that I’d be trading out something short and sweet for something much worse.
I’ve traded out the hip new hotness for crosswords. I’m officially old, but it’s not my fault! The crossowrd is right there, right in the middle of when you first log onto the site. Sure, you need to subscribe, but it’s like five quid a month. Once you’re in, it’s all perfectly laid out in front of you, with the massive square on the left alongside columns of clearly visible clues on the right. I think; "I write words all the time, I can figure this out right?" Thirty minutes pass before I realise the state I’m in – refusing to take clues or autocheck anything before I’m finished, unshowered and half-dressed seconds before work starts.
If you can believe it, things actually get worse. Once I finish one crossword (perfectly, I might add) I notice that the full archive of crosswords are at my fingertips, written by smart sounding people like Byron Walden. If you’re reading this Byron, I don’t care that you’re an established and successful crossword creator: you’ve ruined my otherwise unproductive mornings and forced me to look up hair loss treatment years ahead of schedule.
If you fancy other browser titles that don’t suck away your youth like Crosswords do, there are some lovely games also on the NYT website like Tiles. I love Tiles! A calming title where you simply match pictures together. It even has a zen mode, for those looking for a relaxing pastime. For me, I’ve somehow found myself in an abyss surrounded by two equally addicting time vampires – whether I manage to escape either remains to be seen.