Second to only P.E., the resource class I most looked forward to in Elementary school was the Computer Lab. Long before the days of Chrome carts, where a set of cheap laptops could be rolled into a classroom, the computer lab allowed access to the farthest corner of the school where we only ventured once a week.
Except for the few days where the teachers would give us tasks to complete, we typically had free reign to which software we chose to run. For most of my classmates, this was usually in the form of a spelling elevator game no one remembers, Number Munchers, or the beloved Oregon Trail.
Personally, I enjoyed playing some game about Lewis and Clarke more, but whenever I glanced over to my friends, they were usually moving their stick figure pioneer around a black terrain hunting the beasts of the Plains.
For many Americans in the mid-19th century, the call of the West promised a better life than the rapidly crowding East. Thanks to Johnny Appleseed, there was an ample supply of pre-planted apple trees, along with lazy ass buffalo just standing around waiting to be shot. Add in some random Indian strange, and I’m ready to sign up, too!
In the game, the player gets to decide their background and how much money they’ll have for their trip. This basically boils down to how hard you want the game to be. I always choose the Banker from Boston because he has the most money and can travel to Oregon in luxury. This does leave me to wonder why a seemingly well-to-do individual would want to gamble everything and head out to his potential death; however, I then realize that he’s from Boston and that starving and being picked apart by vultures in the wilderness is a much, much better alternative than hearing about how Tom Brady is the GOAT every year.
Along with your own background, you’ll assign names to the rest of your party.
After buying food, clothes, bullets, oxen, and spare wagon parts, it’s time to head out on the trail!
On my first playthrough, some fucking thief stole all my oxen. I must have been extra drunk that night. Anyway, I was stuck for a month waiting for some asshole to trade me an ox.
By the time someone was willing to give up one ox, most of my party was close to death, and we were out of food. We limped to the nearest fort and replenished our supplies.
Unfortunately, the damage had been done, and we were all dead soon after.
I set up my group again to leave Independence, Missouri with the hope of gazing upon Oregon before I died, and outside of a few minor wagon repairs, this trip was going much smoother.
Unfortunately, at about the midpoint of our trip, Ass contracted a fatal case of dysentery and died.
Luckily, we soon arrived at Fort Boise and were greeted by a hot single mom.
I would have liked to have stayed and see what kind of freaky shit we could get into with that ox, but the rest of the team insisted on continuing our journey. As we departed, she gave us some wise words of wisdom:
The Beaver State
So four of the original five made it to Oregon with eleven delicious Oxen to eat and then build our new home from their bones. I also had hopes that our 330 bullets would allow us to easily rob exhausted parties limping across the finish line. Eventually, we would be the outlaw kings of this lawless land far from the reach of the governing body.
Playing The Oregon Trail in 2019 is purely a nostalgic trip as the gameplay is virtually nonexistent, outside of hunting some deer, and more insight about the actual journey could be gained from watching the fifth segment of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
Seeing as I was never overly fond of this game growing up, if you hold more affinity for it, you might be able to garner more enjoyment than I did. Nevertheless, it did bring back a slight wonder of what my third-grade teacher’s boobs felt like, and, in the end, isn’t that enough?