Every time I clicked “next,” I felt a rush: The roll of the dice, the spin of the roulette wheel. What incredible, horrific array of distorted images would the internet spit out at me next? And, more importantly, would I be able to surmise the exact recipe that created such monsters? Could I, once again, beat the artificial intelligence at it’s silly little game?
I’ll admit that “meatball soldier” was a challenge when I couldn’t stop seeing walnuts and brains in the Rorschach-esque test in front of me. And that “cage doing taxes” felt out of left field. But, as of writing this, Wordalle hasn’t stumped me yet. The open-source program combines the unfettered joy of the bonkers DALL-E Mini AI-generated images with the more staid pleasures of a pensive round of Wordle. It tasks users with guessing the original prompt fed to an AI that generated a series of absurd images. The result is irresistible.
“Spoilers!” you might decry— except Wordalle is working with a near-infinite resource. There are no spoilers here. You will almost certainly not be faced with the same image sets as I was and, if somehow you are, you can just “skip to next.” Unlike the original, daily Wordle, there is always more Wordalle.
Another difference from the inspiration source: the words you submit as part of a guessed phrase do not have to be “real” by any dictionary definition. Because DALL-E Mini allows prompts composed of letters in any combination, so too does Wordalle. (Ex: my enlightened “babyy yoda” submission below).
Everything else about the game though, is pretty intuitive if you’ve played Wordle or any of its relatives before. Green means good, yellow means sort of, gray means try again.
One extra bonus of Wordalle: the AI-infused word game isn’t tracking your personal data, according to a disclaimer on the site: “This demo collects the guesses to help with a research project. The demo stores no personal data, such as your IP address, email, or account, only your guesses. ” On the other hand, Wordle (acquired by the New York Times in January) now monetizes as much user data as it can.
For now, Wordalle is untouched by the unceasing drive for profit that seemingly dictates everything else about our world. It is an innocent pass time in a broken internet. It is the perfect way to wile away your Friday afternoon minutes before the weekend. One more round could not hurt.