Oregon Trail is probably one of the most premier early edutainment titles in American history. As elementary school students, many of today’s retro gamers were given “Trail Time” as rewards for jobs well done. Others had this bit of history worked right into their historical lesson plans.
The original version of the game was written by college students in 1971, running on BASIC for the HP microcomputer. How far it has come! Tiny, polygon green men used to represent settlers headed west in a Conestoga wagon, meting out their resources and trying to avoid any number of untimely deaths. Mistakes in anything from frontier intelligence to poor planning when buying supplies would kill you. “You have died of dysentry” was the phrase that generally got a smirk from children running the game and is probably one of the more popular Oregon Trail T-shirt logos to this day. The blobs that were bullets almost never hit the running deer, wheels fell off wagons and looked like gobs of light. It was fun. It wasn’t about looks. It was about smarts…and a little history lesson to boot.
Today, it is still popular. Like so many games that are trying to revive and become #1 yet again, Oregon Trail has been redone and redone again, turning most recently to the social networking sites for a boost. Yes, you can now hit the trail on Facebook. It looks NOTHING like the game of old, and is filled with great color and graphics…and of course frequent requests to ask your buddies for assistance, something we would have killed for as we struggled across the frontier “back in the day”.
Check out the site, or mosey on over to some other Oregon Trail remakes and relive the makings of America…if you survive.
The Oregon Trail: Official Facebook Trailer
Tags: Browser Games