Oregon Trail was inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame yesterday. Now, like you, I did not know what the Video Game Hall of Fame was until today -- but I'm going to take advantage of this occasion to look back at the classic game.
What everyone forgets about that game -- since people played it when they were like 10 -- is that it is more depressing than having your dog die on the day your parents get a divorce because your mom caught your dad having sex with the dead dog.
Let me back up: If you never played Oregon Trail as a kid, you might be a bit confused. Basically, it was a game that was on all the computers at school and every kid played it because there was literally nothing better to do.
As proof that there was nothing better to do, let me describe the game to you: You take a wagon along the Oregon Trail and buy supplies and stuff and always die from sh*tting yourself.
That's the whole game. That's it. It's like the story your grandfather would tell you that you'd ignore at Christmas dinner. And it was somehow amazing.
This is something I don't think really happens that much these days (because every one has entertainment miracles called smart phones), but there was once a time when you were so bored that you were happy to watch a pixelated wagon sink in a river over and over and over.
It's the most depressing game ever and absolutely not appropriate for kids.
First of all, let's break down the main screen.
Hey, little kids. Do you want to play a game? This one is really fun! It has deadly snakes that turn your blood into syrup! Dead bulls that rot away unwitnessed under the brutal sky! Giant fire ant hills that feed on the corpses of your fallen mules! And people traversing vast, harsh landscapes with almost no vegetation!
Have fun, children!
This, for anyone who played the game, was the scariest sh*t ever.
Maybe I was just a little dummy when I played this game and didn't understand how to win, but every time I had to cross a river all I could do was pray for mercy. And every time, all my mules drowned in the river and I was left stranded in the wilderness with only their cries of anguish to keep me company.
The one thing that was even a little bit fun about this game was hunting.
"Hunting" involved just massacring each and every life form I could find. This is the kind of stuff kids need to be learning to do at 10 years old. Let me remind you this game was made by The Learning Company, a company that was as committed to mutilating the spirits of young Americans as it was to thinking up unimaginative company names.
And then there was, of course, all the death.
...Death was everywhere...
...You were forced to watch your loved ones suffer and die...
...and all you could do was bury them in the wilderness and move on.
Your only consolation was getting to choose how to inscribe their tombstones.
An entire life, summed up in six words.
And then, at the end of it all, 90 percent of games ended with a little kid seeing this hyper disturbing sh*t.
Oh, and by the way, when you're a kid, you don't know what dysentery is. You literally have to go look it up in the dictionary or ask someone. And, let me remind you, this is what you find when you look up dysentery in the dictionary:
Life is hell.
Plus, to make all of it more harrowing, there was some f*cking math nonsense snuck in as if we wouldn't notice.
You think I wouldn't be able to tell it was MATH just because everyone was dying of diarrhea diseases? I'm not a f*cking noob. I can spot MATH a mile away, robot. Stop trying to indoctrinate me into your hokey religion!
In summation: This game entertained me in my time of need. For that, at least, I salute it. Congratulations.