Hunting the Wumpus

For those who aren't in the extreme know, the TI-994a was one of the early "personal computer devices" of the 80's and was manufactured by the same people who probably made your high school calculator with all the fancy functions. I say all this in the hopes that 99% of the reading public has probably tuned out by now, so I address the rest just to the brave souls who have a special affinity from their childhood to this ancient device. The TI-994a came with an array of games that my brother and I used to while away the hours with in those early, simple years of ours, and one of our all time favorites among the Burger Times and Parsecs was this little obscure title called Hunt the Wumpus.

Hunt the Wumpus was originally a text-based game going back to the stone age, but the TI-994a had a colorful version of it, designed to bring out our collective caveman instincts. What exactly was a wumpus? It was essentially a giant mouth with legs that liked to lurk in the swamps (not unlike my ex-girlfriend), and you had to hunt it down. You basically started out on a white field and as you moved around the screen, you'd uncover a maze of pathways through the swamps tracking the near-presence of the beast who seemed to like to leave behind giant red circles (also not unlike...). Watch out though, or you could fall into the swamp. Along the way you'd also run into these bat-like creatures who'd I guess pick you up and drop you in random places--usually right into the spot where the wumpus was!

The object of the game was to make your way around in the maze, watch out for the green circles (that told you of the presence of swamps), the red circles (that told you the wumpus was nearby), and fire an arrow in the direction where you thought the wumpus might be based on the trail of his "residue" (I suppose). If he was there, then you won the game. If he wasn't and you fired an arrow, then no matter where he was on the field, he'd kill you. His big teeth would come down on the screen to the tune of Chopin's Funeral March (dun-dun-da-dun...etc) and your goose was cooked (your ASS being the goose of course, and served back to you roasted and glazed). If you fell into the swamp, you'd see a green screen where your little guy plunges into a watery death to the tune of "running your hands down the keyboard."

This game was endlessly entertaining as we fought over turns to hunt down the elusive beast, and the music played a big part in its humorous effect on us. Sometimes just seeing those big teeth come down on the screen and his grinning face was worth getting killed for and that would always crack us up. The game also had a hard mode where the maze wouldn't reveal itself as you walked around on it, but we didn't do that one very much.

It was more funner than Minesweeper. There, I said it.

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