Hunt the Wumpus

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Hunt the Wumpus is an early computer game, based on a simple hide and seek format featuring a mysterious monster (the Wumpus) that lurks deep inside a network of rooms. It was originally a text-based game written in BASIC. It has since been ported to various programming languages and platforms including graphical versions.

Contents

Gameplay

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, he fires an arrow into the Wumpus's chamber to kill it. The player wins the game if he kills the Wumpus. 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.

Development

Originally written by Gregory Yob in BASIC while attending the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts and noticed on mainframes at least by 1972, Hunt the Wumpus was first published in the People's Computer Company[1] journal in 1973, again in 1975 in Creative Computing, and finally in 1979 in the book MORE BASIC Computer Games. 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. Yob injected adversarial humor into the computer's hints, prefiguring the "voice" of the Infocom narrator.[2] Later versions of the game offered more hazards and other cave layouts. 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 operating systems, where it is known as "wump."

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