A screenshot from Hunt the Wumpus, a game for the TI Computer, 1980.

Wumpus, for the TI Computer

Hunt the Wumpus - Wumpus Room


Gregory Yob/University of Massachusetts 1972

You hear bats. You feel a draft. You smell a Wumpus.

Along with a mainframe Star Trek adventure game, the next widely popular computer game after Spacewar!¬†is Hunt the Wumpus aka Wump, developed by Gregory Yob in BASIC on a Time-Sharing System at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth in 1972. He is inspired by his lack of appreciation for early computer games he has seen coming from the People’s Computer Company in California, such as Hurkle, Snark and Mugwump. He is most put off by their 10×10 grids used as a playfield. Wumpus is a text based game where you move around a system of connected caves, arrayed in the shape of a dodecahedron. Armed with only five arrows, you must seek out the elusive Wumpus creature who will travel about the maze in deference to your actions. Upon arrival in each numbered room you are given clues to happenings in the surrounding caves…you may feel a draught from one of the lethal bottomless pits scattered around, hear a pack of bats that will carry you away to a random cave, or even smell the mighty beast itself. The object is to fire an arrow into the room which contains the Wumpus.

The code is eventually published in the magazine Creative Computing in 1975, after the game becomes a huge hit over the ARPAnet. After this printing, Yob quickly follows up with Wumpus 2, featuring further maze configurations such as the mobius strip, a hex network, as well as the ability for users to design their own. 

You can’t throw a brick at the Web without hitting six online Wumpus games nowadays. Probably the most complex, with graphics and a multi-player element, is Web Wumpus from Glenn Bresnahan at Boston University. ¬†logo_stop

 

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