Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Oregon" found; more beautiful, childhood-killing than expected

A quick correction to yesterday's "Oregon Trail" post...

It turns out today's "Oregon Trail" is actually much different than the ol' 1987 version of my dreams. When I played it a couple of years ago (the basis for my "it hasn't changed" sentiment), I forgot to consider it was at a fairly ghetto school, using computers that still relied on floppy drives. And not the hard floppys, but the bendy kind that looked more like square 45" records (computer nerds, if you feel the least bit obligated to make technical corrections to that statement, wipe the crusted Dragon Con make-up out of your eyes and take a long look into your D&D sticker-covered mirror).

I took my class to play the game yesterday - we're actually studying the gold rush and various ways folks traveled across the plains, so for once it's somewhat relevant. The "new" version is absurdly complicated, in fact - it took me 20 minutes to even get on the trail after buying all of my supplies. Not only do we have to decide between how many oxen, wheel axles and pounds of sugar to buy, but now players have to decide between an entire Publix worth of food, specific pieces of clothing down to underwear and socks, and non-essentials such as "candy" and "horses."

And though people in your wagon still die ("Mr. Massey" died in no less than 10 of my students' games - hopefully not on purpose), I managed to get "fired" from my job as trail leader. And that was the end of the game. Not one bout of cholera, a case of dystentery, or even a solitary shingle. Just a rash of incompetence.

It is the one place in American schools where students are still allowed to mention guns, however, so at least (for now) political correctness hasn't drained the flavor out of everything. Just give it time, I guess.

A screenshot from the new game:


Doug said...

Just from looking at the screen shot, I can tell I'd still like the old one better. There's just something about shitty 8-bit graphics and sound effects consisting entirely of monophonic "beep"s that takes me back to a simpler time. Granted, that time was in sixth grade, when I was a total dork and had about as much chance of snagging a girlfriend as Wile E. Coyote did of capturing and eating Roadrunner, but . . . a simpler time nonetheless.

That said, I think it would be awesome if someone came up with "Oregon Trail: Grand Theft Conestoga," in which you can steal supplies, jack other people for their wagons and/or oxen, and every stop between Independence and Oregon City has a brothel. Occasionally two.

Josh said...

Mr. Gillett, I think that is the greatest idea you have ever had. Of course, you'd have to get extra points for killing injuns and slaves.

Lydia said...

Yeah awesome idea. I think the "Oregon Trail" sales would go up.
Looking at the picture that is what I am use to so I guess I am kinda giving away my age.