‘Abandonware,’ a Series About Bizarre Early Games, Takes On ‘Hunt the Wumpus’

The 1980s game was designed by a self-proclaimed neo-neuro-cyber-shaman.

Feb 29 2016, 3:00pm

Motherboard series Abandonware is back with another relic from gaming history—Hunt the Wumpus, a 1980s game made for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A home computer.

Abandonware is hosted by Michael Sykora and Adam Pendek, whom you may remember from their misadventures playing the weirdo Dreamcast game Seaman. While Sykora owned the TI-99/4A computer as a child and spent many hours playing Hunt the Wumpus, Pendek is dubious—until he, too, gets sucked into the game.

Developed by certified eccentric Gregory Coresun, née Yob, Hunt the Wumpus is sort of like Minesweeper. You navigate a maze-like system of caverns, and you eventually have to guess where the Wumpus is based on a trail of blood and shoot your single arrow in his direction. If you guess wrong, you get eaten.

Sykora's glazed-eyed nostalgia high from playing the game prompts Pendek to do some digging on Gregory Yob, who it turns out was really into LSD psychotherapy and had himself cryogenically frozen in Scottsdale, Arizona. He also dubbed himself a neo-neuro-cyber-shaman, which sounds like something that would go over really well at Burning Man.

As Pendek and Sykora fall deeper into the pit of Hunt the Wumpus, things keep getting weirder, landing them in hot water with their producer and causing them to lose their grasp on reality—which is probably exactly what Gregory Yob would have wanted.