|Back in the early 80's, Apple II's were the most groovin' thing to hit elementary schools since the lunch box \ thermos combination.
Nearly every school in the country had at least a few Apple II compatible computers, some had one in every classroom. Of course,
educators weren't about to let kids pass the time by playing Choplifter on these babies, so they bought (of all things) educational
software. Quality ranged from "programmed in two minutes and only teaches kids that eating snow is more entertaining than computer
games" to "not horrible." Only a few really stood out as being really popular with the kiddies, and most of them were MECC games (I
know, I'm leaving out Carmen Sandiego games…). The two most popular ones probably being Math Munchers and (of course) Oregon
|Try taking a journey by covered wagon across 2000 miles of plains, rivers,
and mountains. Try! On the plains, will you slosh your oxen through mud
and water-filled ruts or will you plod through dust six inches deep?
How will you cross the rivers? If you have money, you might take a ferry (if
there is a ferry). Or, you can ford the river and hope you and your wagon
aren't swallowed alive!
What about supplies? Well, if you're low on food you can hunt. You might
get a buffalo... you might. And there are bear in the mountains.
At the Dalles, you can try navigating the Columbia River, but if running the
rapids with a makeshift raft makes you queasy, better take the Barlow Road.
If for some reason you don't survive -- your wagon burns, or thieves steal
your oxen, or you run out of provisions, or you die of cholera -- don't give
up! Try again... and again... until your name is up with the others on The
Oregon Trail Top Ten.
|The best thing about Oregon Trail is that it doesn't shove educational crap
down your throat. Learning sucks, dude!!!!!!
Let's go through a typical game of Oregon Trail shall we? Pull up your socks,
we're going back to elementary school! Whee! Or something.
Let's see… first thing we have to do is name the people in the game. Heh
heh… Let's name the leader Poop! Heh heh. Who else… how about Pee,
Booger, Snot, and Stinky! Wheee! Next it's time to choose who you want to
be, a farmer, a carpenter, or a banker. Hmmm… the banker has the most
money, and that's good because we can buy lots of ammo at the store! Oh,
and better buy some other crap too… food, oxen, clothing, spare parts…
hey, did I just accidentally learn some math?
|Now it's time to hit the trail! Yay!
Oh oh… a river. Well, let's try to ford across… dammit! Didn't work! Darn!
Booger, Snot, and Stinky drowned! Well, I know something that'll cheer me
Hunting! Wahoo! The only game in school where you can actually shoot
stuff, killing them dead. Who cares if you hunt when you don't need to, who
cares if you waste food by shooting down four buffalo, who cares that the
hunter looks like a Stormtrooper… it's a lot better than playing Mrs.
Crabtree's Friendly Fractions!
|Tombstones! Some kids purposely die just to leave weird (and vulgar)
tombstones behind! Check this one out! Tee-hee!
There's other things to do on the trail besides hunt. You can talk to people,
mocking out their funny accents and getting tips, trade with people, look at
pretty pictures, and listen to some hip-hop music. And it's so awesome when
people get diseases… did you know dysentery means the poops? Hee-hee!
|Eventually, after traveling down the trail for a long, long time… you get to
the second best part! Whitewater rafting down a river in your wagon! Yee-
haw! Avoid the rocks or you'll die and have to place an underwater
After that, you win! You get your points added up (based on what character
you chose and what you had left), and then see if you're good enough to
get on the Oregon Trail Top Ten! What a hoot!
Wow, I was pretty lame as a kid. Not that I've changed. Anyway, Oregon
Trail is still pretty amusing, and the original is probably better than some of
the more recent remakes… uhh… not that I'd know.
Graphics are pretty darn good for an Apple II game. The only sound is the
music that plays when you hit a landmark, which is almost always
immediately skipped over.
|If you don't remember playing Oregon Trail as a kid, you'll probably not be
too interested in recapturing all the excitement of Manifest Destiny and the
Western Expansion and such… but can you name another game where you
can die of the trots? Hee-hee!
You will need to download and extract the AppleWin emulator first. Then
download and extract the Oregon Trail game.
Download the: Oregon Trail Apple II Disk Image
Emulator used: AppleWin