Originally written by Gregory Yob in BASIC while attending University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and noticed on mainframes at least by 1972, Hunt the Wumpus was first published in the People's Computer Company journal in 1973, again in 1975 in Creative Computing, and finally in 1979 in the book MORE BASIC Computer Games. Out of frustration with all the grid-based hunting games he had seen (Snark, Mugwump, and Hurkle included), Yob decided to create a map-based game. Yob injected adversarial humor into the computer's hints, prefiguring the "voice" of the Infocom narrator. Later versions of the game offered more hazards and other cave layouts. An implementation of Hunt the Wumpus was typically included with MBASIC, 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 entitled Twonky, which was distributed in the late 1970s with Cursor Magazine.
The TI-99/4A port of the game differs quite a bit from the original; it is a graphical rather than text-based game, and uses a regular grid equivalent to a torus 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 has featured several "Wumpus" cards. The Wumpus seen on Magic cards is a beast with a characteristically-shaped head, jaw and mane. Mercadian Masques featured Hunted Wumpus (reprinted in several core sets, including 10th Edition) as well as Thrashing Wumpus. Planar Chaos, a set concentrating on new takes on popular cards, contained Shivan Wumpus.
The Wumpus is mentioned in the "Thy Dungeon Man" games in Homestarrunner.com.
The Wumpus gets his revenge on Wumpus hunters in the audio only game Be the Wumpus.