Before every kid in Little League got a participation trophy, Oregon Trail showed us that Darwin was actually right: life runs by one rule—survival of the fittest. But after 30 years of surviving computer game upgrades, our original Oregon Trail CD-ROMs finally crapped out, succumbing to dysentery.
We remember the trail for all its ups and downs. Our oxen collapsed due to exhaustion? Oh well, I guess we’re pulling the wagon ourselves. Mom died of influenza? Sad day. Let’s bury her and get back on the trail. You packed too much gunpowder and not enough food? Dumbass, now we’re going to starve.
While first popular back in the 70s and 80s, most of us remember the newer versions of Oregon Trail from the mid to late 90s. It was one of the highlights of fifth grade computer class. As we hunted our way across country, others braved bouts of typhoid or watched their wagon float downstream because they were too cheap to pay the ferryman.
Thank you, Oregon Trail, for providing a safe way to show suburban children that making decisions out in the real world means life or death. You helped us fondly recall a time when Americans weren’t such pussies.