Relive the history of The Oregon Trail… the game!

I’m currently mulling over my next science blog post, which will hopefully be out soon.  In the meantime, I had to point out this wonderful discovery via StumbleUpon:  an Apple II emulator which allows one to play the classic educational game The Oregon Trail!

I remember The Oregon Trail as one of the few computer games which high school students were allowed to play in school back in my day, due to its history/geography emphasis.  The game allows the player to guide a family of settlers across the western United States circa 1848, from Missouri to Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  One must stock up on supplies and prepare for various random misfortunes which await you, from bad weather to illness to friggin’ thieves stealing all of your oxen!

Even though it is a crude game, I still found it strangely compelling.  I struggled to get my family back on the trail after we lost all our oxen, but unfortunately all succumbed to disease, in spite of my excellent ability to shoot bison.  It was difficult, dangerous, and damned frustrating to travel west back in those days, and the game does a good job of simulating that aspect…

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8 Responses to Relive the history of The Oregon Trail… the game!

  1. Lockwood says:

    “Colorado’s Willamette Valley?” Last time I checked, those of us living in the Willamette Valley were in Oregon… hence the name “Oregon Trail,” you know.

  2. How geeky was I? I had a copy of Oregon Trail at home. That’s how geeky.

  3. Ben says:

    One time I named the characters in my wagon Dead, Death, Die, Dying, and Died. They didn’t last long.

  4. skullsinthestars: Or, rather, how to very approximately simulate it on an Apple IIe!

    Ben: I used to name my characters Somebody, Nobody, Anybody, and Who, so that the game would inform me that, for example, “Nobody has dysentery.” It had a nice comic effect for the tombstones as well.

  5. Anybody else now have a yen to visit some of the sites in the game? When I first visited my wife’s hometown in central Nebraska the first thing we did was drive about a half-hour west from there to see Fort Kearney. Someday we’ll make the trip out to Chimney Rock too.

    • Christian: The game does have that effect, doesn’t it? There’s something about seeing places in the ‘innocence’ of 16-color graphics that adds to the intrigue, at least for me.

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