Great write-up on creators of Oregon Trail

Yeah, the hunting minigame is sort of broken right now. That is, the timer counts down in real-time, but everything else about it lags very badly. I get maybe 5-6 shots during that one minute, and the walk speed is intolerably slow. Is that by design, or is it a function of processor speed? A haul of 10-20 food doesn’t get me very far, and it’s a stark contrast from the original game (and history) where a hunter would often shoot more food than could be carried back, especially in the Great Plains with those bison.

Sure, food availability was a function of which animals showed up, and the food issue was always a bit of a challenge with the original. Specifically, the hunting minigame changed over time. Early versions were mostly a timing game, where you tried to time your (slow-moving) shots to hit animals that ran across the screen. That one was interesting, because player “skill” improved with practice/experience. Later versions were like a top-down SHMUP, with your shots going in whatever direction your character was facing, which was more arcade-y. Other versions simply gave you a crosshairs on your mouse pointer while you kept an eye out for game, but without a character on screen or a need to manually pick up the meat.

Of course, back in those versions ammo was in limited supply (maybe even a carry limit?). Still, it was far more economical to buy ammo than to buy food. It was borderline cheating that way–we used to sell 95% percent of our food at the start, and then hunt along the trail, and trade our massive surpluses of hunted food for supplies. Like more ammo.

  • Alan

I’m playing it. It looks nice, the minigames are fun (one big exception), and it still has that Oregon Trail feel with all the interesting facts about the people and places along the way. However, the game wastes no time hitting you up for money. As you are walking along, your party members keep getting bit by snakes. You have to real choices, pay a ticket for a doctor or allow the party member to die. They start you off with some tickets. 15 I think. You will blow through thoses quickly. I’m not even a third of the way to the goal and I’ve used up my tickets and the only way to get more is to buy some. They are not cheap for the number you will need. At the rate I was burning through tickets, I estimate one trip will cost about $40 in facebook credits to buy them. I rather just buy a game in a box (or off steam).
Most facebook games let you play for several days, maybe longer, till you hit a point where you must pay something to advance or you can just continue to play at the level you are. I might end up throwing 5 or 10 dollars to continue playing or to get some cool virtual trinket. Oregon Trail is rather steap. I realize they created the game to make money but I feel they are asking for too much too soon. At least for me.
The one big exception to the minigames is the river crossing. The wagon moves way to fast to possible steer at all.

Rockapella will have to pick up the slack for Lynne Thigpen since she’s, well, dead and all.

Carmen claims another victim.

Tinkered with this a bit more, and I’ve decided it more closely resembles a standard “formulaic” Facebook game than it does Oregon Trail.

Thanks for the nostalgia trip, but if the game is going to resort to the same old tricks as everybody else, I don’t see the value.

  • Alan

You mean they didn’t get paid for their work?!? Outrageous!

You don’t actually HAVE to use tickets for those things - they basically let you “skip” the bad thing. You can also choose to wait it out - you lose a few days for a chance at fixing whatever the problem is. Or you can just push forward. Your sick members won’t immediately die, they’ll just move slowly.

Playing both of them since the day they came out - almost level 30 in Oregon Trail, and level 44 in Carmen Sandiego. The only issue I’m having with either one, apart from the hunting minigame running slowly on one computer, was that I didn’t realize that early processing of cases cost coins, so now I’m grinding earning one coin a day. Also, if you could possibly tweak it so you can remove cases from your ‘saved’ pile, that’d be really nice.

But they’re certainly addicting enough, to a girl who grew up playing the pair of them. :D And the inspired use of Google-fu for Carmen Sandiego is, frankly, awesome!

I’m feeling pretty done with Oregon Trail - I got to Oregon twice and don’t particularly feel like grinding to unlock wagon parts. Also I’d unlocked a wagon cover with some tickets, but when I tried some others on to see how they looked it reverted back to being unlocked, so that annoyed me.

Carmen’s pretty great though.

Just grabbed Oregon Trail on the iPhone thanks to this thread :)

The Carmen Sandiego remake is excellent, although yes, I’d like to be able to trash cases from my saved pile. The “spam your friends for a promotion” thing is irritating but doesn’t seem to block gameplay, so I’m ambivalent about it.

Oregon Trail has been improving slowly, but it’s still sort of busted.

  • Alan

I’m sure they got paid a salary or somesuch. But they created IP that ended up being worth millions, prior to and outside of their employment, and brought it in because they thought it would be a cool project to work on, and the vast majority of the financial benefit went to people who had nothing to do with creating it.

You can trash unlocked cases by clicking on them and then clicking on the trash can at the lower right corner of the case file. Unfortunately if you put a locked case in your saved pile you can’t do squat with it until you unlock it. We’re working on that.

This has changed - woohoo! Thank you for making it so that a level 55 detective doesn’t have to spam her friends to unlock an Easy case for 12 extra xp, just to get it out of her save pile. :)

Sure but without those “people” and their capital, distribution/marketing network, etc. the game would have never gotten the widespread distribution that led to its success. You need more than an “idea” - there are plenty of those around. There’s more to a product being successful than “creation”. And If they wanted a cut, they should have asked for a cut. iNobody’s looking our for you except you.

Here’s a nice documentary about the blazing of the Oregon Trail, with plenty of Minnesota exceptionalism and only a few sour grapes.

(It’s only a twenty-some minute doc, so they did not get into Oregon setting itself up as a “white utopia”.)

Original link in OP doesn’t take you to the article anymore.

Here it is in the Internet Archive:

I was going to post the Dissin’ Terry gif but I see Rob_Merritt beat me to it 11 years ago.

That makes “sense”. City Pages was the local free alternative newspaper. It was bought by the local Paper of Record, shuttered, and archives made unavailable.

I appreciate you finding the Wayback link!

Yeah, thanks for that.

Thanks. The article only touches on Broderbund, Carmen Sandiego and how Kevin O’Leary single handedly destroyed educational software for a generation, but as someone who worked at Broderbund in the 90’s when he did that, it’s still sad and shameful.