Hm, I've done a scary amount of work on xhippo since I last posted here. Most of it has been code cleanups; for instance, it's now split up into multiple files, the configuration file reader is table-driver, and the argument-building code for the players is much more sensible. Now that I'm at UKC, it's easier to find tame xhippo beta-testers---thanks are due to Giles, Matthew and Tim for noticing stuff that I wouldn't have picked up on. Next job I'm planning on doing is moving the documentation to texinfo, since I'm thoroughly fed up with maintaining it in SGML. (I've also got a couple of bugfixes done in my current tree, but nothing major.)
I've also got around to fixing my web pages (spurred on by the apparent demise of netpedia's free-software hosting service). I went through my stuff-I-wrote directory and packaged up pretty much anything that someone might find useful.
keverets, the ncurses idea sounds decidedly interesting. I made an attempt to abstract out the UI in C++ before (see "hippo" on my projects page) before deciding that I really didn't like the language. Currently, xhippo is very closely tied to GTK, so you'd have to either fix it so it's not, or write a library which emulated enough of GTK on text consoles to run it. (xhippo's a bit more usable via the keyboard now, by the way...)