Did you know that the legendary game, The Oregon Trail, was created by Bill Heinemann, Don Rawitsch, and Paul Dillenberger in 1971? After that, millions of copies of this game were sold.
The best thing about this game is its simplicity. Children could quickly understand its concept. This game was created with the sole purpose of teaching the kids about the life of 19th-century traders on the Oregon Trail.
Even decades later, this computer game is popular among young players. The reason behind the game’s popularity is its three essential aspects.
Three Important Aspects of Oregon Trail
Oregon Trail is a gaming classic that educates about the 19th-century traveler’s life. Below are three reasons that show why this game has managed to live on.
Hunting is one of the essential aspects of the Oregon Trail game, which keeps the players hooked. To survive, players would purchase bullets at the beginning and throughout the game.
Mostly for consumption, players got an option to hunt different animals, including bears, bison, squirrels, rabbits, deers, and elk. In the older version of this game, players would type “POW,” “WHAM,” or “BANG” for hunting. Typing errors would result in failed hunting.
In later versions, a little man would point a rifle in eight different directions to quickly kill the fast-running animals. And in the latest version, one could hunt with crosshair with the help of a mouse.
Even if players kill several animals and collect hundreds of pounds of meat, they can only carry 100 lbs in their wagon. It gave a realistic feel to the computer game.
Another unique aspect of the game that kept players engaged was death. People at the party might suddenly fall ill and die. Usually, the cause of death included snakebite, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, measles, and exhaustion. Besides this, members of the party die by drowning or a simple broken leg.
Not just the people of a party but oxen would also die due to illness on the trail. After someone’s death, the party organizes a small funeral, where players can write an epitaph. After that, they have to continue the trial.
After death and hunting come scoring, another interesting part of the Oregon Trail online. Players were given a score at the end of the game and path. The points were given considering the remaining possessions, like cash and leftover supplies. The profession of the party leader is also given weight during scoring.
If a player has selected a carpenter as the profession, their points will double. And if they have selected a farmer, the points would triple at the end.
Where Was The Oregon Trail Made?
As far as the location of the real Oregon Trail is concerned, it includes Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska. That means the Oregon Trail went through these states.
Traditional trading took place primarily between 1840 to 1870. When the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, the Oregon Trail was nearly obsolete. That’s because travelers started taking the train to move from one destination to another.
What Led To The Establishment Of The Oregon Trail?
During the 1840s, the fur trade was the primary source of income in the Canadian Pacific Northwest and U.S. It has led to the establishment of the Oregon Trail. Through this, traders could efficiently execute commercial trade.
Besides the fur trade, mining made the Oregon Trail so famous. During the California Gold Rush, settlers would travel south of Oregon to earn money. They followed the same route used in the Oregon Trail between 1848 and 1855.
They used this route to get mines after gold nuggets were found in the Sacramento Valley.
What Made the Oregon Trail Difficult?
Harsh Natural Environment
While trail leaders tried to control the speed of travelers, the harsh natural environment was tough to deal with. The condition was so harsh that there were 10 graves for every 1 mile of the trail.
Mostly the cause of death was the harsh weather and surroundings that made it difficult for travelers to move. While wagon members helped each other, they couldn’t avoid accidental drownings while crossing the river.
The travelers from the East were known to bring diseases to the Pacific Northwest due to their unclean way of living. Since travelers had trouble finding clean water, diseases like cholera dysentery and smallpox became common.
Lastly, the war made the journey difficult for Oregon Trail travelers. Earlier, American settlers saw the Pacific Northwest as a trading opportunity. But the Native American tribes started settling there. Also, they were hostile to pushy settlers.
Talking about the Oregon Trail game free, its earlier version was a little tricky to understand because it was on the teleprinter. But the updated versions can be easily run on any web browser.