With mobile phones in everyone’s pocket, word games seem to be more popular than ever. The genre has gone far beyond the original Scrabble; now, games such as Word With Friends and WordScapes dominate the mobile word game landscape. Even chat apps such as Slack are in on the trend with their word of the day game (Guess the word of the day and win $1,000!). This growth of word-based games and apps begs the question: Why are word games so popular? What makes them so interesting and cool in 2019?
The first and most pressing reason is, absolutely, the creation and proliferation of the internet. Before, we had to consult the dictionary — a paper dictionary! — to look up words. Now, we have online dictionaries and Wikipedia to let us look up absolutely anything and everything. New words and concepts are at our fingertips, and our desire to learn and use them has only grown.
Another reason for word games being more popular could also be the proliferation of smartphones. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and most of us don’t use the phone function very often. Smartphones function as a calculator, a text messaging service, a mini-computer, and as a small portable video game console. People are constantly on them and want more and more interesting games to play on them. Word games fit the bill as you’re constantly using your brain to work the puzzles. Small wonder people want to use them as a relaxation technique on the train.
The social aspect of word games is another draw. With Words With Friends you can compete against friends and strangers to test your linguistic knowledge. There’s nothing like scoring big and gaining bragging rights.
Word games also fill a business market. People are addicted to their word games and are willing to pay small amounts of money for bonuses and extras. Games and app companies are aware of the addictive nature of these games, and they’re making more and more games to fulfill the need. Word games are a good way to quickly make money for these companies, because they are relatively cheap to make. Most of them are based off of a crossword puzzle, which has been around for ages.
Finally, and most importantly, it’s now considered cool to know new words and be smart! There’s even evidence that doing word games will stave off disease like Alzheimer’s. Word games are more than just a pastime; they’re an important step toward brain health. Word games are an easy way to work on those skills and seem smarter to your friends.
It’s clear that word games are here to stay — they have so many benefits and hardly any costs (if you avoid those in-app purchases!). Be sure to download a word game and start playing today!