|(games, history)||Hunt the Wumpus - (Or "Wumpus") /huhnt th* wuhm'p*s/ A famous
family of computer games, dating back at least to 1972
(several years before ADVENT) on the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System.|
Hunt the Wumpus was created by Ken Thompson on an early version of Unix. It was created from a game in a children's magazine, and was made to give his young son something to do on the computer.
The wumpus lived somewhere in a cave with the topology of an dodecahedron's edge/vertex graph (later versions supported other topologies, including an icosahedron and M"obius strip). The player started somewhere at random in the cave with five "crooked arrows"; these could be shot through up to three connected rooms, and would kill the wumpus on a hit (later versions introduced the wounded wumpus, which got very angry). Unfortunately for players, the movement necessary to map the maze was made hazardous not merely by the wumpus (which would eat you if you stepped on him) but also by bottomless pits and colonies of super bats that would pick you up and drop you at a random location (later versions added "anaerobic termites" that ate arrows, bat migrations and earthquakes that randomly changed pit locations).
This game appears to have been the first to use a non-random graph-structured map (as opposed to a rectangular grid like the even older Star Trek games). In this respect, as in the dungeon-like setting and its terse, amusing messages, it prefigured ADVENT and Zork and was directly ancestral to both (Zork acknowledged this heritage by including a super-bat colony). A port was distributed with SunOS and as freeware for the Macintosh. There is a freeware C emulation of the original Basic game.