RIP Digits, the New York Times math game

The New York Times announced last week that it will stop making Digits, a math puzzle game that debuted in beta in April. The last of these daily math puzzles will go up on August 8.

Digits is a fun game. It earned a slot in my daily rotation of the little games I play when I need a little break from writing (for the record, all of you are sleeping on Globle). You have six numbers at your disposal, which you can add, subtract, multiply and divide to get to another specific number. Yeah, it helps if you’re good at math and can do some simple arithmetic to see if your solution to the puzzle will work, but the game does the math for you. It’s all vibes, baby. Add some numbers, multiply them, subtract some other numbers, see how you do.

It’s not clear why the New York Times is ceasing the production of Digits, but the company says that it was never meant to be a permanent game.

“We always approached our experiment with Digits as a limited time beta test,” a New York Times spokesperson said. “During this time, we learned a lot about how players engaged with the game and we’re grateful for their feedback.”

At the risk of sounding like a boomer, I think math gets a bad rep these days, and I worry that y’all didn’t give Digits a fair shake. I think people in my generation like to joke about how they can’t do math, but I think we’re smarter than that! It’s not our fault (or teachers’ faults) that the American public education system is underfunded and lacks sufficient resources, and it’s hard to learn precalculus in a classroom with 35 hormonal teens. Math is cool as hell. Didn’t y’all grow up watching ViHart on YouTube? Didn’t you meet some guy in college with an Euler’s Identity tattoo?

For myself and the (probably, like, five) other people who played this game, the only consolation is that another beta-testing New York Times game, Connections, kicks ass. You’re given 16 nouns, and you have to sort them into the four correct groups of four. Sometimes a category is easy, like “modes of transportation.” Sometimes, they’re a bit more tricky, like “band names minus colors.”

Regardless, I will miss my little daily math puzzles. I guess I’ll have to just keep trying my hand at the crossword.

Leave a Comment