The Oregon Trail is an educational computer game developed by Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger in 1971 and produced by MECC in 1974. The game was inspired by the real-life Oregon Trail and was designed to teach school children about the realities of 19th century pioneer life on the trail. The player assumes the role of a wagon leader guiding his party of settlers from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon's Willamette Valley by way of the Oregon Trail via a Conestoga wagon in 1848.
Laugh uproariously as little Timmy slowly perishes of typhus! Partake in the massacre of defenceless buffaloes! Get caught by winter and freeze to death in the Rockies! Hoot with hilarity as you lose 238 pounds of meat, 18 bullets, a wagon wheel, and little Timmy in a failed river crossing! Trade with the local Indians for supplies and screw them over as hard as you possibly can! Run out of food and eat little Timmy! In short, this gave me hours of fun in my misspent youth and continues to do so. The only real problem is that the gameplay's a little slow, but that doesn't really detract from it that much. Also an excellent reminder of how hilariously miserable and fraught with abject suffering leading to early graves life was in Olden Times (tm). - maga_dogg
...keep up a grueling pace with bare-bones rations and see how long little Timmy's broken leg takes to heal. I don't know whether the misfortunes in the game were intended to be hilarious, but yes, they are. It's worth playing the game once just for the completely deadpan descriptions of events. (Also, talk to people along the way and notice how historical information is slipped into their idle gossip making it sound somewhat contrived.) I have to disagree about the slowness of play not detracting, though. This is definitely a game to play while doing something else. - The Other Daniel