Hunt the Wumpus
is an early computer game, based on a simple hide and seek
Hide-and-seek or hide-and-go-seek is a variant of the game tag, in which a number of players conceal themselves in the environment, to be found by one or more seekers.-Variants:Numerous variants of the game can be found around the world...
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
BASIC is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use - the name is an acronym from Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code....
. It has since been ported to various programming languages and platforms including graphical versions.
- Objects -
- Wumpus - a beast that eats anyone that enters its room.
- Agent - the player that traverses the world in search of gold and while trying to kill the wumpus.
- Bats (not available in all versions) - creatures that instantly carry the agent to a different room.
- Pits - bottomless pit that will trap anyone who enters the room except for the wumpus.
- Actions - There are six possible actions:
- A simple move Forward.
- A simple Turn Left by 90°.
- A simple Turn Right by 90°.
- The action Grab can be used to pick up gold when in the same room as gold.
- The action Shoot can be used to fire an arrow in a straight line in the current direction the agent is facing. The arrow continues until it hit and kills the wumpus or hits a wall.
- The action Climb can be used to climb out of the cave but only when in the initial start position.
- Senses - There are five senses, each only gives one bit of information:
- In the square containing the wumpus and in the directly (not diagonal) adjacent squares, the agent will perceive a Stench.
- In the squares directly adjacent to the bats, the agent will perceive the Bats
- In the squares directly adjacent to a pit, the agent will perceive a Breeze.
- In the square where gold is, the agent will perceive a Glitter.
- When the agent walks into a wall, the agent will perceive a Bump.
- When the wumpus is killed, it emits a Scream that can be perceived anywhere in the cave.
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
In geometry, an icosahedron is a regular polyhedron with 20 identical equilateral triangular faces, 30 edges and 12 vertices. It is one of the five Platonic solids....
(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 game
An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving instead of physical challenge. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media such as literature and film,...
s, such as Zork I
Zork: The Great Underground Empire - Part I, later known as Zork I, is an interactive fiction computer game written by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, Bruce Daniels and Tim Anderson and published by Infocom in 1980. It was the first game in the popular Zork trilogy and was released for a wide range of...
, Valley of the Minotaur
Valley of the Minotaur is a computer game for the Apple II series of home computers. It was published by Softalk magazine in 1983, on a 5¼ inch floppy disk. It is a work of interactive fiction, also known as a "text adventure"...
Adventure is a video game for the Atari 2600 video game console and is considered the first action-adventure game. Its creator, Warren Robinett, also introduced the first widely-known Easter egg to the gaming world.-History and design:...
), 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.
Hunt the Wumpus
was originally written by Gregory Yob
Gregory Yob was an American computer game designer.Gregory was born in Eugene, Oregon. An article about his experiment on simulating gravitational fields with droplets of water on a soap bubble was published in Scientific American in December 1964, under The Amateur Scientist.His one published...
in BASIC while attending the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is one of five campuses and operating subdivisions of the University of Massachusetts . It is located in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, United States, in the center of the South Coast region, between the cities of New Bedford to the east and Fall River...
in 1972 or 1973. Out of frustration with all the grid-based hunting games he had seen, such as Snark, Mugwump,
Yob decided to create a map-based game. Hunt the Wumpus
was first published in the People's Computer Company
People's Computer Company was an organization, a newsletter and, later, a quasiperiodical called the "dragonsmoke." PCC was founded and produced by Bob Albrecht & George Firedrake in Menlo Park, California in the early 1970s.The first newsletter announced itself with the following...
journal Vol. 2 No. 1 in mid-1973, and again in Creative Computing
Creative Computing was one of the earliest magazines covering the microcomputer revolution. Published from 1974 until December 1985, Creative Computing covered the whole spectrum of hobbyist/home/personal computing in a more accessible format than the rather technically-oriented BYTE. The magazine...
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
Sixth Edition Unix, also called Version 6 Unix or just V6, was the first version of the Unix operating system to see wide release outside Bell Labs. It was released in May 1975 and, like its direct predecessor, targeted the DEC PDP-11 family of minicomputers...
(1975), the game had been ported to Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...
C is a general-purpose computer programming language developed between 1969 and 1973 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system....
. An implementation of Hunt the Wumpus
was typically included with MBASIC
MBASIC is the Microsoft BASIC implementation of BASIC for the CP/M operating system. MBASIC is a descendant of the original Altair BASIC interpreters that were among Microsoft's first products. MBASIC was one of the two versions of BASIC bundled with the Osborne 1 computer...
, 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
The Commodore PET was a home/personal computer produced from 1977 by Commodore International...
which was distributed in the late 1970s with Cursor Magazine
CURSOR - Programs for PET Computers was the name of an early computer-based "magazine" that was distributed on cassette from 1978 and into the early 1980s. Each issue, consisting of the cassette itself and a short newsletter including a table of contents, contained programs, utilities, and games...
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."
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
A regular grid is a tessellation of n-dimensional Euclidean space by congruent parallelotopes . Grids of this type appear on graph paper and may be used in finite element analysis as well as finite volume methods and finite difference methods...
equivalent to a torus
In geometry, a torus is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three dimensional space about an axis coplanar with the circle...
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.
- The card game Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering , also known as Magic, is the first collectible trading card game created by mathematics professor Richard Garfield and introduced in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast. Magic continues to thrive, with approximately twelve million players as of 2011...
has featured several "Wumpus" cards. The Wumpus seen on Magic cards is a beast with a characteristically-shaped head, jaw and mane. Mercadian Masques
Mercadian Masques is the nineteenth Magic: The Gathering expansion and was released in October 1999 as the first set in the Masques block. It is notable for being the first set not protected by Wizards of the Coast's "Reprint Policy"...
featured Hunted Wumpus (reprinted in several core sets, including 10th Edition
Tenth Edition is a "Core Set" for the collectible trading card game Magic: The Gathering. It was released on July 13, 2007, replacing Ninth Edition as the core set of cards for standard tournament play...
), as well as Thrashing Wumpus. Planar Chaos
Planar Chaos is an expansion set, codenamed "Crackle," from the trading card game Magic: The Gathering. The set was released on February 2, 2007. The pre-release events took place on January 20 and 21, 2007. It is the second set in the Time Spiral block...
, a set concentrating on new takes on popular cards, contained Shivan Wumpus.
- The Wumpus is also found in the open source game NetHack
NetHack is a single-player roguelike video game originally released in 1987. It is a descendant of an earlier game called Hack , which is a descendant of Rogue...
and the game M.U.L.E, with capture of the wumpus (renamed "wampus") in the latter game leading to an in-game cash prize for the player.
- An interpretation of Wumpus called 'Grand Theft Wumpus' is built up gradually in chapter 8 of Land of Lisp
- The Wumpus is mentioned in the "Thy Dungeonman" games in Homestarrunner.com.
It is also mentioned in the October 18, 2000 cartoon at userfriendly.org.
- The Wumpus gets his revenge on Wumpus hunters in the audio-only game Be the Wumpus.
- A zone in Kingdom of Loathing
Kingdom of Loathing is a browser-based, multiplayer role-playing game designed and operated by Asymmetric Publications, including creator Zack "Jick" Johnson and writer Josh "Mr. Skullhead" Nite. The game was released in 2003...
was introduced in June 2009 which features an icosahedral map and the goal of which is to find the Wumpus and defeat it in combat.
- Wumpus is the inspiration behind and project name of Nicholas the Traveler, an evermoving character in Guild Wars
Guild Wars is an episodic series of online 3D fantasy role-playing games developed by ArenaNet and published by NCsoft. Although often defined as an MMORPG the developers define it as a CORPG due to significant differences from the MMORPG genre. It provides two main modes of gameplay—a cooperative...
- Wumpus, an homage to the original game, was released for iPhone and Palm Pre in 2009.
- The complex maze structure of Wumpus was a direct influence on the random sector link system of Trade Wars
Trade Wars is the title, with some variations in spelling and capitalization, of a series of computer games dating back to the early days of personal computing. Based on influences from Star Trek, Star Wars, and early BBS strategy games, Trade Wars was an early example of the appeal of online games...
- Hunter, in Darkness
Hunter, in Darkness is a 1999 interactive fiction game by Andrew Plotkin, written in Inform. It won the "Best Individual Puzzle" and "Best Setting" categories in the 1999 XYZZY Awards, and came in eighth overall in the 1999 Interactive Fiction Competition....
, an experimental interactive fiction
Interactive fiction, often abbreviated IF, describes software simulating environments in which players use text commands to control characters and influence the environment. Works in this form can be understood as literary narratives and as video games. In common usage, the term refers to text...
work by Andrew Plotkin
Andrew Plotkin , also known as Zarf, is a central figure in the modern interactive fiction community. Having both written a number of award-winning games and developed a range of new file formats, interpreters, and other utilities for the design, production, and running of IF games, Plotkin is...
, was heavily inspired by Hunt the Wumpus.
- Mattel Dungeons and Dragons 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 you're searching for a dragon rather than a wumpus.
- Dungeon Joe is a touch-focused strategy game inspired by the Mattel Dungeons and Dragons implementation of Hunt the Wumpus. It adds treasure and a damsel as goals, and a crystal ball allowing a glimpse into adjacent rooms. Being touch-focused, navigation within the dungeon is by swipe gesture, which scrolls the new room into view and tools are tapped to be taken or used.
- The wumpus world is commonly used in AI(Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...
) to demonstrate knowledge-based agents.
- Hunt the Wumpus was also ported to the KIM-1 microcomputer system by Stan Ockers