In a world where game consoles come with ever-higher resolutions and ever-faster frame rates, it’s refreshing to see someone going in the opposite direction: [Doug McInnes]’s latest project is a tiny handheld game console with probably the lowest-resolution graphics possible. Hardware-wise, it’s a small PCB containing an ATtiny84, two seven-segment LED displays, a speaker and a handful of buttons. It’s the software that gives this project its magic, and all of it is available on GitHub, along with schematics and a PCB layout.
The game is called Hunt the Lunpus, and as the name suggests it’s inspired by the 1970s classic Hunt the Wumpus. The player moves through a maze of interconnected rooms, trying to avoid slime pits and marauding bats while searching for the Lunpus, a sleeping monster that will eat the player unless they defeat it first by shooting it with arrows. Four pushbuttons provide directional control, with a fifth serving as an “action” button to start the game and fire those arrows.
Whereas Wumpus was originally a text-based adventure game, Lunpus is fully graphical: the seven-segment displays indicate the cave’s walls, and flash in different ways to alert the player to the various hazards. [Doug] explains the events as they happen in the video embedded below; while it might take a bit of practice to find your way at first, we can already picture ourselves wandering through the caves with our quiver full of arrows, ready to hunt some Lunpus. Who needs 4K graphics, anyway?
For anyone who’s been fiddling around with computers since the days before VGA, “Hunt the Wumpus” probably brings back fond memories. Developed in 1973, this text game has you move around a system of caves searching for the foul-smelling Wumpus, a vile creature which you must dispatch with your trusty bow and arrow. Some consider it to be one of the very first survival horror games ever developed, a predecessor to the Resident Evil franchise as well as the video game version of Hannah Montana: The Movie.
If the concept of “Hunt the Wumpus” sounds interesting to you, but you just can’t get over the whole text adventure thing, you may be in luck. [Benjamin Faure] has developed a semi-graphical version of the classic horror title which might better appeal to your 21st century tastes. Running on an Arduino Mega 2560 with graphics displayed on a 8 x 8 LED matrix, it’s not exactly DOOM; but at least you won’t have to type everything out.
For his handheld version of “Hunt the Wumpus”, [Benjamin] 3D printed a nice enclosure and adorned it with labels and instructions that look like tiny scrolls, a neat touch for a game that’s so old contemporary players would have called Zork a “next gen” game. While playing you can see where you’ve been and where you are currently thanks to illuminated dots on the MAX7219 display, and there are LEDs to warn you of your proximity to bottomless pits and the Wumpus itself. There’s even a piezo speaker that will chirp when a bat is nearby, which is important as they have a tendency to ruin your day by carrying you away to a random location in the cave.
Most of the game looks like an advanced version of Snake, but [Benjamin] did go through the trouble of adding some rudimentary animations and sound effects that play during specific parts of the game. When you shoot your arrow or get carried away by a bat, you’ll see a “cutscene” of sorts on the LED display. It’s a fairly simple effect, but helps break up the otherwise fairly spartan graphics and might just be enough to keep a youngins’ attention.
Let’s be honest, you’re going to have trouble getting kids to play text-based adventure games these days. But this is one way to get them interested. This weekend you should get together with niece, nephew, son, or daughter and help them build their own hardware and program it with an adventure game. One last project before school’s out and the weather’s nice.
This is [Dan’s] shiny example of Hunt the Wumpus. He used Adafruit’s RGB LCD shield for Arduino. It’s got a character LCD and five buttons. But you can easily breadboard this yourself using a few tactiles plus a screen and uC of your own choosing. One nice touch with this one is the RGB backlight which is used to add an element of danger to the story line. He also mentions a few bugs in the Arduino language which he found while setting up the game.
We’ve been meaning to make our version of Zork using an Arduino, GLCD, and PS/2 keyboard ever since we read “Ready Player One”. This is just a bit more encouragement to get moving on that project.