Hunt the Wumpus was originally written by Gregory Yob in BASIC while attending the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts in 1975. Out of frustration with all the grid-based hunting games he had seen, such as Snark,Mugwump, and Hurkle, Yob decided to create a map-based game.Hunt the Wumpus was first mentioned in the People's Computer Company journal Vol. 2 No. 1 in September 1973, however the game listing was not published in this issue. The game listing was published in Creative Computing in its October 1975 issue. This article was later reprinted in the book The Best of Creative Computing, Volume 1. Yob later developed Wumpus 2 and Wumpus 3, which offered more hazards and other cave layouts.
By the release of Version 6 Unix (1975), the game had been ported to UnixC. An implementation of Hunt the Wumpus was typically included with MBASIC, Microsoft's BASIC interpreter for CP/M and one of the company's first products.Hunt the Wumpus was adapted as an early game for the Commodore PET entitled Twonky, which was distributed in the late 1970s with Cursor Magazine. A version of the game can still be found as part of the bsdgames package on modern BSD and Linux operating systems, where it is known as "wump."
Among the many computers it was ported to is the HP-41C calculator. The 1980 port of the game for the TI-99/4A differs quite a bit from the original while retaining the same concept. It is a graphical rather than text-based game, and uses a regular grid equivalent to a torus rather than an icosahedron. In this version, the Wumpus is depicted as a large red head with a pair of legs growing out of its sides.
At some unknown point it was ported to run on a UNIVAC 1219B used by the US Navy for firing solutions.
The vertices of a dodecahedron illustrate one common shape of the labyrinth in the Hunt the Wumpus game.
The original text-based version of Hunt the Wumpus uses a command line text interface. A player of the game enters commands to move through the rooms or to shoot "crooked arrows" along a tunnel into one of the adjoining rooms. There are twenty rooms, each connecting to three others, arranged like the vertices of a dodecahedron or the faces of an icosahedron (which are identical in layout). Hazards include bottomless pits, super bats (which drop the player in a random location, a feature duplicated in later, commercially published adventure games, such as Zork I, Valley of the Minotaur, and Adventure), and the Wumpus itself. The Wumpus is described as having sucker feet (to escape the bottomless pits) and being too heavy for a super bat to lift. When the player has deduced from hints which chamber the Wumpus is in without entering the chamber, the player fires an arrow into the Wumpus's chamber to kill it. The player wins the game if the Wumpus is killed. However, firing the arrow into the wrong chamber startles the Wumpus, which may cause it to move to an adjacent room. The player loses if he or she is in the same room as the Wumpus (which then eats him or her) or a bottomless pit (which he or she then falls into).
Yob's original program had these features, while later programs differ here.
Wumpus: your target; a beast that eats you if you ever end up in the same room.
Super Bats (2): creatures that instantly carry you to a random room.
Pits (2): fatal to you if you enter the room.
Actions: There are two possible actions:
Move: to one of the three rooms connected to your current one.
Shoot: fire a "crooked arrow" a distance of 1-5 rooms; you must name each room it will reach.
Warning messages: Give you information about the contents of adjacent rooms.
The card game Magic: The Gathering has featured several "Wumpus" cards. The Wumpus seen on Magic cards is a beast with a characteristically-shaped head, jaw and mane. Mercadian Masques featured Hunted Wumpus (reprinted in several core sets, including 10th Edition), as well as Thrashing Wumpus.Planar Chaos, a set concentrating on new takes on popular cards, contained Shivan Wumpus.
Dungeons & Dragons Computer Fantasy Game was a 1981 LCD handheld game with gameplay influenced by Hunt the Wumpus. Differences were that the rooms were arranged in a 10x10 grid identified like spreadsheet cells like 'A1', and the goal was to find a dragon rather than a wumpus.
Treasure of the Wumpus in the Azimuth Cave, a 5.1 surround sound only audio game inspired by the original was created by Jared Bendis and presented at the 2011 & 2012 Ingenuity Festivals in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2012, Hunt the Wumpus was listed on Time's All-TIME 100 greatest video games list.
Chat application Discord shows Wumpus-themed notices when there is no information.
^ abFischer-Hornung, Dorothea; Mueller, Monika (2016). Vampires and Zombies: Transcultural Migration and Transnational Interpretations. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 235. ISBN978-1-4968047-7-8. A comparatively well-established subgenre of the horror game, survival horror aims to create an experience of entrapment, persecution, tension, suspense, and discomfort. Traditionally, the protagonist of such games is an ordinary individual trapped in some isolated, monster-infested location . . . Hunt the Wumpus, Sweet Home, and Alone in the Dark represent early examples of the genre.
^The People's Computer Company, founded in October 1971, was a small non-profit group of independent educators who met in a small storefront on Menalto Rd. in Menlo Park, California during the 1970s. The first issue of their journal, People's Computer Company, was published in October 1972.
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