I am the Wumpus

I just came across the Tales of the Rampant Coyote blog, written by Jay Barnson, an old-school gamer since the Ultima days. One of his posts really caught my eye, a description of the old game for the Commodore 64 called, “Hunt The Wumpus”. I LOVED that game. In essence, it was a logical puzzle. I’ll let the Coyote explain:

You started in a room in the cave complex of twenty rooms, each room connected to three others. In two rooms, there were bottomless pits. If you moved into those rooms, you lost the game. In two rooms, there were “Superbats” that would pick you up and drop you in a random room if you moved into them. And then there was the Wumpus.

You were armed with a few arrows that could shoot through five rooms (changing course as they flew). If they went through your own room (since they could circle around, in theory), you shot yourself and the game was over. If they went into the Wumpus’s room, they killed the wumpus and you won. Otherwise – if you missed the Wumpus OR walked into the Wumpus’s room, he’d get up and move (or stay in the same room). If he ended up in the same room as you, he’d eat you and you lost the game. You could also lose the game if you ran out of arrows.

You could hear the bats if you were next to a superbat room. You could feel a draft if you were next to a bottomless pit room. And you could spell the Wumpus if you were in a room next to him. So the game was basically a randomly changing logic puzzle where you’d try and triangulate the positions of your goal and the threats.

Oh, yeah. And it had no graphics at all. You had to draw yourself trying to figure out the topography of the map.

good times, especially when you got eaten by the Wumpus, because the entire screen would fill with blood (ie, the screen wiped solid red, which was about the limit of computer graphics at the time). It was a frustrating game, but it was great.