How the Oregon Trail (Computer Game) Was Formed

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The mere mention of the game Oregon Trail is enough to send most anyone that grew up in the last four decades into a fit of nostalgic glee.

If you’re one of those giddy fans of the 1800’s-themed computer simulation game, you’ll definitely want to check out the City Pages profile on how the game was created 40 years ago by a trio of fresh-faced student teachers as a way to educate and entertain in their classroom.

As the article reports, in the decades since its creation, Oregon Trail has sold more than 65 million copies in all of its various incarnations – including nearly 3 Million units of the now-popular iPhone app.

Among the other fascinating tidbits the story offers is this detail about the primitive nature of the original game:

With no monitor, the original version of Oregon Trail was played by answering prompts that printed out on a roll of paper. At 10 characters per second, the teletype spat out, "How much do you want to spend on your oxen team?" or, "Do you want to eat (1) poorly (2) moderately or (3) well?" Students typed in the numerical responses, then the program chugged through a few basic formulas and spat out the next prompt along with a status update.

Hunting required the greatest stretch of the user's imagination. Instead of a point-and-shoot game, the teletype wrote back, "Type BANG."

If the user typed it in accurately and quickly enough, the hunter bagged his quarry.

Check out the article for much more information on the game’s creation and rise to popularity.

(Via Geekosystem)

January 21, 2011 - 3:31am
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