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The Oregon Trail: Facts About the Classic Video Game

The Oregon Trail: Facts About the Classic Video Game

The Oregon Trail: Facts About the Classic Video Game

Oregon Trail is probably one of the oldest games still loved by many computer game enthusiasts. If you’re one of them, you should go back and play Oregon Trail online. Although this game was built to educate kids about the 19th-century traders, it later became a form of entertainment. 

Players started enjoying its theme and hunting. Also, the way users got scores and how the party members would die made this game even more fun. 

Even after playing this game for years, many people are not aware of specific facts about this classic game. That’s why we have compiled this list with 10 facts, which will help you know more about this educational classic. 

1. First Release 

The original version of Oregon Trail, released in 1971, has no visuals. It was based solely on texts and was created by Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger. 

Later in 1975, the game was developed by Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) that upgraded the game. More than entertainment, this game was seen as a source of education that aimed to teach kids about the struggles of 19th-century pioneers. 

2. Origins 

Don Rawitsch, one of the developers of this game, got the idea of creating it while working as a student-teacher. At that time, one of his superiors asked him to create a project on the western movement of people of the U.S.A. 

While preparing that, he took the help of Bill Heinemann and Paul Dillenberger and built a text-based game that further became a legacy. 

3. Game Development 

With sheer dedication and hard work, the three developers ended up creating this game in just two weeks. After that, when they introduced the game in the school, it became a hit. 

In fact, it was so popular that students would line up after school to play it. And when the school year ended, Rawitsch took the source code with him. Then he was hired by MECC in 1974 to rebuild the game. 

4. Addition of Graphics

After MECC hired Rawitsch, the Oregon Trail game became quite popular among Minnesota’s schools. Later in 1984, this company hired R. Philip Bouchard and a few other people to make this game visually appealing. 

They made it better and compatible with Apple II computers, which were further going to be advertised as home use. The revised version of this game was more similar to the real-life Oregon Trail. Also, it came with a lot of replayability. 

5. Multiple Versions 

Since the new development team did not have any original developers, they took around 10 months. At the end of July 1985, they finally released this game for the Apple II computer. 

Then again, from 1991 to 1993, MECC continuously developed this game to enhance the players’ experience. In 1991, the Oregon Trail game online was made available on Macintosh, and in 1992, it was released on DOS with a new title, ‘The Oregon Trail Deluxe.’ And lastly, in 1993, the game was made available for windows. 

6. Handheld Release 

Did you know that one of the versions of this game was released as a handheld version in 2018? It used the DOS 2.1 version for better graphics and was developed by Basic Fun, a subsidiary of The Bridge Direct. 

By 2019, the handheld version of this game was made available in different stores, including Wal-Marts and more. 

7. Memes 

The main reason that this game has survived for decades is that people have several nostalgic memories of it. Certain times people have converted those memories into memes, which made this game even more popular. 

It’s not wrong to say that the Oregon Trail game was ahead of its time since it has a great design and interface. Also, it has a great replayability option that makes it a lot more fun and interesting. 

8. Musical 

This game was not just popular among players, but everyone seemed to like it. It was so influential that it inspired a Broadway-style musical titled The Trail to Oregon! Jeff Blim made the music and lyrics of this musical. 

Interestingly, the audience chose the characters’ names in this musical. Also, they were the ones who would decide which character would die. 

9. Total Sales

Compared with other computer games, The Oregon Trail was quite successful. In fact, in its 50-year-long-span, it has sold around 65 million copies. Also, tons of people have played it across the U.S. since it was high in demand during the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s. 

10. Legacy 

Many people don’t know this, but The Oregon Trail has become one of the most long-staying and talked-about games in history

Also, in 2016, this game was placed 9th on the list of “The 50 Best Video Games of All Time”. It was even featured in the book “1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.”

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