The Oregon Trail Game

The Oregon Trail Game was developed back in 1971 by Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberg. Three years after, Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium also known as MECC, produced the game.

Originally, it was designed to teach children about the real-life situations of people in the 19th century. The goal must be to take a group of people from Independence, Missouri, to another place called Oregon.

Oregon Trail was a big hit and almost became one of the best selling video games back then. It was played by school kids from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.


There are several basic things that you need to know about this game. The Oregon Trail consists of three parts:

  • Beginning (The Departure). This is when the player needs to choose the character and name of the leader, as well as his/her companions, prior to leaving Independence, Missouri.
  • Middle (The Journey). This is the journey and the leader is expected to face obstacles along the way.
  • End (The Arrival). It is the moment of reaching Oregon where a player can review all the points acquired on the journey.

Departure to Independence, Missouri

Independence, Missouri is the starting point of the trail. To start the game, a player needs to choose what kind of person a leader would be while traveling to Oregon. There are four people who can accompany the leader on the journey. The player will name them according to his preference.

Once the leader and company have been decided, the leader needs to decide the month of departure. He can choose between March to July. There is also an option to ask for a piece of advice.

For the time the travelers are about to leave the Independence, they have the available fund of $1,600. The money can be used to purchase items like foods, clothing, animals, ammunition, and spare parts which are sold in Matt’s General Store in Missouri.

After buying the items, the leader together with his party members is ready to leave. This will be the start of trials and challenges along the way.

The Trail

During the course of the Oregon trail game, travelers will face many obstacles. They will be reminded of the available supplies, the current weather, and the health condition of the leader. The leader has the choice to continue the trail, check supplies, and rest. There is also an option to see how many miles they will need to travel and the places they will need to cross.

While traveling, valuable items can be found. Now and then, the game will show the status of the weather and the remaining resources. So, better watch these things to successfully reach Oregon.

One of the most important aspects of the game is hunting for food. The leader is given the rifle to hunt animals and add to resources. The travelers are also provided with a map to have an overview of where they are headed.

Arrival to Oregon

At the end of the game, points are awarded according to the chosen profession of the leader, number and health of surviving parties, cash on hand, and remaining resources. If the player chose carpenter, the points will be doubled. If the farmer is selected, the acquired points will be tripled.

Obstacles of Oregon Trail

There are many obstacles the leader and his parties may face while traveling to Oregon. These problems may arise at some point and can be a factor in accomplishing the journey.

  • Wrong direction or trail
  • Illness/sickness of the leader’s company or the party
  • Stolen supplies along the way
  • Snakebite
  • Death of one of the parties
  • Severe thunderstorm
  • Heavy Fog

Game Controls of the Oregon Trail Game

  • Click the Start button using your mouse and wait for the game to load all the necessary data to start.
  • Once started, use your computer’s keyboard to complete the game.
  • Press Alt+Enter to switch and exit to full-screen mode.
  • Click “Y” for Yes, “N” for No, and number keys to select from the options.
  • Press Enter/space bar to continue the trail.

In Conclusion

Did you play Oregon Trail? How was your experience so far? Please let us know in the comment section below if you found this game fun and exciting.

If in case you need help, or you have questions, do let us know and we’ll get back to you.

4 thoughts on “The Oregon Trail Game”

  1. “Wow, I really liked the animations and the game.”This is just amazing! I wonder if we can download the game and play it offline. It can be a great game for my children, since it is very educational and fun at the same time.

  2. This is a great game for kids who want to get to the Oregon Trail in a way that could benefit their kids. They want to have a game like this that will work well enough, but I have trouble with how much it requires for a parent to play the game.

  3. Thanks so much for this. One possible area to improve (or maybe we hit an unlucky snag): when you fail during hunting, you have to press space bar to continue, but then the page thinks you mean to scroll down… So our game got stuck.



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