The Oregon Trail — the game that made dysentery fun again — will be available for the Wii on Dec. 9. And we were as surprised as you to learn that it will be the 40th anniversary edition of the classic educational game. That’s right — the original was created way back in 1971, which is weird, since kids could just look out the window to see covered wagons whenever they pleased.
I kid, old people. Settle down.
Since the early days of the PC, The Oregon Trail has become a cultural touchstone for U.S. school children learning about the lives of 1840s settlers heading to greener pastures in the American West. The immersion of the high-stakes survival simulation (Lord help you if the character named for your classroom crush was bitten by a snake) has etched the stories of 19th century pioneers in the minds of a generation and engendered a love of river fording in millions of fans.
The game’s publishers (originally Brøderbund, then The Learning Company, now Gameloft) have repeatedly tapped into the fatted calf of gaming nostalgia by releasing updated versions on numerous platforms, notably for Windows, Mac OS, mobile devices, Nintendo DSi and a well-received Facebook game. The Wii version appears to have finally broken away from its side-scrolling ancestors and gone fully 3D.
Will you be picking up a copy to relive your former pioneer glory? Or is any remake of this classic destined to be a disappointment?