A handheld version of Oregon Trail!

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/24/dysentery.html


News of this was bouncing around Twitter a while back, and for about two days it seemed like the coolest toy ever.

Almost bought one. Then remembered I have a tablet which can play similar games. Downloaded a really cool one called Seedship.


I just ordered the PS4 remake of Shadow of the Colossus, but this is very tempting…

Last time this was posted I think we determined it wasn’t actually the Apple II or MS-DOS/Windows version of the game, but a similar-looking reproduction.


Some hacking potential.


You can buy it from Target online and not pay any scalper markup: https://www.target.com/p/handheld-oregon-trail-game/-/A-52719211


I don’t know why I balk at spending $4.99 on an App for my phone, but will plonk a $25 piece of plastic into my shopping cart with barely a second thought.


Didn’t we see this, here, a few weeks ago?


But it died of dysentery.


I bought it for my SO as a birthday gift to play at her office. I thought it would be great since we both loved playing it as a kid and have played it since on emulators.

The next week she told me she took the batteries out of it to test some new string lights that she bought.

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Two thoughts:

a) Given the extremely different approaches people take to shopping in person vs shopping online/on a device, I suspect the cognitive processes involved are radically different.

b) no matter how hard the software and tech industry tries to equate buying virtual goods vs buying physical goods, most people still treat them very, very differently. $5 for an app that has no tangible existence and could cease working the next time you upgrade your OS or buy a new phone is one thing. $25 for a plastic toy that you can hold in your hand is quite another thing.


On the Ben Heck Show, they did a teardown, but also did a re-design for a better form factor for the unit itself.


I see it like this.

Nintendo can’t take my 20 year old copy of Pokemon Red away from me, but they can take away the virtual console version without telling me. Likewise GOG’s DRM free games are worth more to me than an identical Steam version. I know Gabe Newell has said he will remove DRM if Steam stops existing, but I don’t know if he actually has that power. I can’t lose the GOG installers* backed up on a few discs no matter what happens to the company.

* OK, technically I can, but that would involve a series of freak events at which point the lost data would be the least of my concerns.


I didn’t previously see that they included “You have died of dysentery” on the front of the box. I’m not sure if that is terrible product design or excellent product design.


But are those GOG games worth more to you than the same games on physical CDs in physical boxes?

I know which ones I can buy and sell on Ebay, and it’s not the GOG or the Steam version.

Physical discs are the best option (assuming you have the space to store them), but they are in limited supply.

I don’t think I have ever sold any of my games, although I did lose a few when I was homeless for a while. I still have my SNES and Game Boy cartridges, but a lot of my PC games on CD disappeared.

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Very true statements all around- but my impulse mind sure wasn’t ticking away thoughts about “Take away my copy of Oregon Trail, take away my liberty!”

Honestly, in 20 years I’d be better off having “rented” this copy of Oregon Trail for $5 and then re-rented it 4 more times on different platforms/phones/tablets than I will be having this piece of plastic cluttering up my life.

But I still do it.

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Updated for our times.

You have been shot by a Bundy.

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