The Oregon Trail (1992)
The Oregon Trail is an educational strategy video game developed and published by MECC, initially for the Macintosh Classic in 1992, then later ported to Windows 3, MS-DOS, and 32-bit Windows. This Trail game is the sixth release of The Oregon Trail, and, although the game play is based primarily on the "classic" Apple II game, this version has a significant upgrade to the graphics, audio and user interface. Because of this, it is often referred to as the "Enhanced" or "Deluxe" version.
In the game, you play the leader of a family in 1848 leaving from Independence, Missouri across the wild US frontier to settle in Willamette Valley, Oregon. You must manage your family's supplies, hunt for food, cross rivers, stave off disease, and avoid the many dangers that await you.
The original Macintosh classic released only supported monochrome graphics, but a color version was released later. The DOS port is labeled as v3.0 (a patch to v3.0.1 was also released). Dates for when the various ports were released range wildly on video game web sites from 1991-1997. A later Windows CD-ROM version was released which added digital music and speech for most written text.
I first played this version of The Oregon Trail to test out a Macintosh emulator I downloaded. I played it and beat it as a banker on my first try in 2019-07-07. On 2021-04-21, I beat the Windows 3 port, again as a banker.
I don't own this game, but I have beaten the Macintosh and Windows 3 ports, both as a banker.
Best Version: Windows CD-ROM
— This section contains spoilers! —
- All of the updates from the 1985 version were sorely needed. The graphics are much better and inline with other games of the day, the period music is nice (especially in the later CD-ROM version), but the overhauled user-interface was needed more than anything.
- The game now keeps track of the status of individual party members and they heal after getting sick.
- The minigames, though still boring, have much better controls.
- The increase of being able to carry back 200 pounds of food instead of 100 cuts out a lot of boring hunting time.
- The added voice acting of the CD-ROM version is decent and the digital music is very nice.
- Despite calling itself an educational game, I didn't find the game very educational. The game certainly popularized the travel route, and lets people know that dysentery is a disease, but that's about it. The game never expects the player to answer questions about the trail, know about the flora and fauna, or demonstrate applied knowledge of any kind. The few places where you can read about the history of the trail aren't all that informative, and are entirely optional.
- The pop-ups really start to get annoying through the Rockies. You start getting multiple every day with the same annoying tune.
- Despite all the added flash, the game is still boring. You're still just min-maxing, and watching a mostly static screen occasionally pop-up random events which are mostly outside of your control, and sometimes playing a dull minigame. That's the whole game.
The early DOS and Macintosh releases of the game use this box art. The typeface is fitting, and the art depicting a family preparing to cross a river in a covered wagon nicely represents the game. I prefer this cover. Note that some of the DOS v2.0 later releases also use this box, and it's not obvious from the outside which is which.
|Programmers||Ethy Cannon, Mark Paquette, Tom Zemlin|
|Artists||Dee Dee Daus, David Denninger, Sandra Forslund, Charolyn Kapplinger, Ed Madrid, Michael Tschimperle|
|Music and Sound||Lon Koenig, Larry Phenow|
|DOS Port Only||Greg S. Johnson, Wayne Studer, Elizabeth Wendland, Jeff White|
|Documentation||John Hickman, Cheryl Blackford|
|Product Advocates||Mary Eret, Brad Schrag|
|Product Package||Steve Niemela, Scott Toney, Janet Wolnik|
|Voice Actor (Guide Book)||Shari Zehm|
|Voices||David Denninger, Erin Gallagher, Al Lathrop, Alan Nelson, Cherie Neima, Mark Paquette, Juan Placencia, Derek Phenow, Jean Sharp, Melanie Smith, Wayne Studer, Steve Taffee, Michael Tschimperle, Eileen Wilkie, John P. Wlazlo, David L. Wood|
|Singers||Jan Delozier, Mark Durkin, Larry Phenow, Brad Schrag|
|Choir||Rich Bergeron, Craig Copley, Beth Daniels, Dee Dee Daus, David Denninger, Charolyn Kapplinger, Julie Kmoch, Tom Naughton, Cherie Neima, Jean Sharp, Melanie Smith, Steven Splinter, Wayne Studer, Michael Tschimperle, David L. Wood, Shari Zehm|
|Testers||Brian Anderson, Glen Anderson, Nursen Bilge, Ron Helwig, Josef Ling, Barry Mansur, Sue L. Minor, Rich Rainelli, Tim Vogt|
|Special Thanks||Chuck Bilow, Craig Copley, Greg S. Johnson, Wayne Studer, Elizabeth Wendland|
|Mainframe Adapters||R. Philip Bouchard, John Krenz, Bob Granvin, Roger Shimada, Steve Splinter, Charolyn Kapplinger, Shirley Keran, Bill Way, Timothy Anderson|
|Original Game By||Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, Paul Dillenberger|