Let’s ford the river! I was in fifth grade at my school in Forest Grove, Oregon, and the memories are so fond. Our class had a Commodore 64 computer, and I spent hours and hours playing The Oregon Trail Game with its stunning 8-bit graphics. When I found out you could play an online emulated version of the original game, my adult heart leapt with joy.
A Brief History of the Oregon Trail Game
As early as 1971, there was a very early version of the game developed by an 8th grade teacher from Minnesota. He wanted a learning aid to teach his class what life on the trail from Independence, Missouri to The Dalles, Oregon was really like in the 1850s.
In 1984 the version I knew and loved when I was a kid was released, and a year later it was developed for the Apple II computer. There were later updates through 2021, but the original is still the most nostalgic for many people.
Classic gameplay, educational purposes
Against a black 16-color VGA background, your job was to guide your wagon from Missouri to Oregon, braving the dangers of rattlesnake bites, dangerous river crossings and attacks from hostile tribes. It was immersive. If you go too early in the year, flooding is a concern. If you leave too late, your cart could get stuck in the snow before you even reach Fort Dalles. Along the way, kids would learn about the Oregon Trail’s famous stops and landmarks, as well as the ubiquitous hazards along the way. Many things could mean instant death, broken bones and accidental gunshot wounds to perhaps the most memorable death in The Oregon Trail game: DYSENTERY.
Where to Play Oregon Trail Game Online
If you’re feeling nostalgic (or maybe you’ve never played before), click on the emulator below to start playing the game. Game Oregon Trail online. Are you going to die of cholera or make it to Oregon?
The New Oregon Trail Game Online
There is a new version of Gameloft’s Oregon Trail game available for Apple users on Apple Arcade. Check out the trailer for the new game below:
The Oregon Trail Card Game
If you don’t like playing this classic online but still want to play, there’s a card game version of the Oregon Trail game you can try. Watch the how-to-play instruction video below to see if this is something you want to add to your game night board game collection.
True Oregon Trail Story
Early Americans believed in the concept of “Manifest Destiny” or “the divinely ordained right of the United States to extend its borders to the Pacific Ocean and beyond.”
In order to extend our borders to the Pacific Ocean, the US government offered free land to those who wished to travel to “Oregon Country”. Pioneers heading west to claim land had to make a long and dangerous journey on foot on roads like the Oregon Trail.
The pioneers sold all they had to buy a wagon and provisions, left their homes and families behind, and set out west with groups of other pioneers on a journey that could last up to a year. Many people did not survive the trip, and the Oregon Trail was littered with chests of drawers, pianos and other furniture pioneers who had to unload and leave behind because they could not be transported by upstream.
When the pioneers arrived at their destination in the Pacific Northwest, they faced a wilderness that had to be tamed, and they had to work and improve their land for four years in order to keep the farm that had given them was given through the Oregon Gift Land Law.
The Oregon Donation Land Act initially offered 320-acre parcels of land in 1843, but only to white male citizens. A woman could only claim 320 acres if she was married, meaning a married couple could claim 640 acres of land for their farm. The law changed in 1850 to offer half the land, so married couples could only claim 320 acres. Once a person had lived and made improvements to the land for four years, they received legal title to the property.
For those who want to explore the Oregon Trail in real life, visit here to check that Awesome Oregon Trail road trip.