Portable version of the 1974 computer educational game, The Oregon Trail

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/08/portable-version-of-the-1974-c.html

The obvious question is, how easily can it be hacked to run other Apple II games?

The Oregon Trail adventure game, published in 1974, was a classroom favorite, teaching students about managing resources and making good decisions in order successfully cross 2000 miles of rugged terrain with your family in a covered wagon in 1848. You can play it at Archive.org with their online emulator.

I might add that the version is MECC’s 1990 “remake” and is a pretty far cry from the 1974 original, which is really quite primitive, though not necessarily without some entertainment value.


I predict that your 7 year old will be disappointingly uninterested you your nostalgia.


Do you know if this emulates the 1990 DOS version, or the 1985 Apple II version?

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But that’s NOT the 1974 version of the game!
It’s clearly a later graphical edition.
The 1974 version was text-only, and could be played via teletype to a mainframe.
Does anybody know where I can find a playable version of that?


Here we go:

I said “1990” as that was what happened to be on the title screen for the linked Archive.org version.


Well this should give the kids something to do as we struggle across the blasted, post-apocalyptic hellscape of tomorrow! (Until we run out of batteries.)


Okay, wait. Just wait.

This device is a computer. It has a processor, an LCD, a battery and a power source, buttons, etc.

Yet, it is designed to run exactly one application. It is an application that nearly everyone who purchases it will play at most a half-dozen times, and then discard. Every one of these devices will end up in a landfill, almost completely unused.

This is an enormous waste of material. It is as bad as the thousands of single-use kitchen appliances, like banana slicers and strawberry top removers, which are purchased and thrown away when the users realize they’re practically useless.

Mark, seriously - shame on you for promoting wasteful products like this. Wanton consumerism is destroying the planet.


To be fair, because I read this I am now likely to buy one just to try and hack it into something more useful.


Android emulator:

Disk image:

I’d be interested to know about the hardware. A SBC with screen could be re-purposed to a lot of things for $25.


Ha! I’ve already played it two dozen times. I’m well ahead of the curve!


It’s neither. From the youtube reviews, it’s its own version closest to the 1990 MS-DOS version – it isn’t running on DosBox or similar – instead it really is a new version of the game custom implemented for the system.


I saw this on Twitter a few days back, and thought COOL!

I even wrote down the UPC information, and was planning on fitting in a trip to Target to pick one up.

Then I remembered that I had an Android tablet, which could probably download any number of Oregon Trail clones.

I did find a few . . . but ended up downloading and playing “Seedship,” a fascinating space colonization game.

OTOH I would buy this in an instant if it had the ability to play other nostalgia games. For $5 more, I’m guessing, it could have a slightly fancier interface and a dozen or more games in memory.

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Well, darn. I would have expected development and QA for that option to be too costly.

One of these days I’ll get around to The Organ Trail. The Thule Trail is kinda neat.


Or you can order it online through Target: https://www.target.com/p/handheld-oregon-trail-game/-/A-52719211

Loved this as a kid and the Institute (an Apple II game released later), here’s a passive video game where everyone wins! #nonviolentgames

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