Digital Wagons Ho! “Oregon Trail” and Old Software Ride Again

Historically Speaking

Classic Oregon Trail gameplay. Contributed by Alan Chan (3503) to Moby Games on Jan 16, 2000. Source: http://bit.ly/1FaBG4v. Classic Oregon Trail gameplay. Contributed by Alan Chan (3503) to Moby Games on Jan 16, 2000. Source: http://bit.ly/1FaBG4v.

During finals last semester, I came down with a nasty case of the flu. Desperate for distraction, I scoured the Internet for something fun. I read that Internet Archive had recently uploaded an enormous batch of classic computer games. Since I’m a history nerd, I clicked on the link for the Archive’s edition of the original Oregon Trail. I spent much of that day recuperating from the flu while guiding my poor virtual family through dysentery (irony of ironies), starvation, broken limbs, death, and possibly the most disastrous river crossing in digital history. Of my family, patriarch “Orestes” and his daughter “Emmaline” made it to Oregon, but everybody else kicked the bucket. Although I was taken aback by the 8-bit brutality of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and…

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