The wildly popular word puzzle game Wordle has been a great brain teaser for adults the world over, but what about those whose vocabulary is still developing?
Christopher Porter, a local software engineer encountered exactly that when he sat down to play the game with his daughter Astrid. Porter found that if the word was one she knew like “robot” she had a chance of figuring it out. But if the word was something like “query” she was lost. To that end, Porter teamed up with a co-worker friend to create Spellie.
Porter laid out the story of Spellie’s creation on his blog Canadian Veggie. He explained that while Spellie may be similar to other word games out there, it has a few unique features specifically developed with young spellers in mind. These include:
- Kid-friendly words
- Three difficulty levels for spellers of all ages
- Hints and help
- Letters can be entered in any order
- Brighter, more kid friendly colors
- Kid-friendly font
- Alphabetically ordered keyboard
- No restrictions to entering words not in the dictionary
- Over 400 emojis to collect as rewards
It took playing with some variables to get to the game’s current look Porter wrote.
“The first prototypes were in a spreadsheet where we tested out various word lengths,” Porter’s blog post reads. “One thing we quickly found was that shorter words were actually harder than longer words because you get less feedback. This was challenging for young spellers as they know more 3 and 4-letter words – so we added hints and help.”
There are still changes Porter wants to make to the program but as of Feb. 11 he felt happy enough to launch it.
“I don’t normally develop software projects in my spare time, but it’s been a real joy to work with my friend David on this,” Porter wrote. “Seeing our kids get enjoyment from something we built and improve their spelling has been very rewarding.”
You can play Spellie right now online.