Pointcast 19.1 – Go Ahead and Pick the Banker (The Oregon Trail)
If you’re a human being under 35, you know educational classic The Oregon Trail. If you’re like us, the name alone is enough to carry you back to a time when – once a week – children were whisked away to a mystical land known only as: the Computer Lab. Of the handful of games that we were allowed to play, Oregon Trail is the one that everyone remembers.
It taught us how unforgiving the Old West really was. Forget the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Oregon Trail will bitch slap you the second your wooden wheels hit the dirt. So you bought 5000 pounds of food? Good thinking! Clothes that should last a whole year? Smart. Enough ammunition to overthrow a third world country? That may be overkill, but I like where your head is. And, enough oxen to set a new world record for the Iditarod? Cute. But, you know what? THE OREGON TRAIL DON’T GIVE A FUCK!!! You will watch your whole family die, one by one, before finally engraving your own epitaph onto your headstone. But first – you’ll experience an inordinate amount of frustration as you capsize every time you caulk your wagon and float across one of the trail’s many rivers.
Truth in gaming
Let’s be honest. Of all the things that this “educational” game taught us, the most important is that no matter how grizzled and strong a settler is – he can only carry 100 pounds of food back to the wagon. You shot an 800 pound bison? Fuck you, you can have of those 100 pounds. We also learned that everyone in the 19th century died of dysentery. While I’m sure that’s a horribly painful way to go, it’s become the punchline to so many pop culture jokes that the educational value is lost.
We had a great time loading up the wagon with our fictional loved ones. And then littering the trail with their dead bodies in this historical death simulator. Do you remember any of the landmarks on your way to Oregon? We bet you don’t, but join us as we set out from Independence, Missouri, and enjoy Pointcast 19.1 of the Casual Cowards of Gaming.
*No humans died of dysentery during the making of this episode.