How Oregon Trail was ferried from teletype to computer - Bring Me The News

How Oregon Trail was ferried from teletype to computer

What do you mean I can only carry 100 pounds of meat back to the wagon?

Ever wonder exactly how that old Oregon Trail game from your childhood came together?

Vice published an oral history of the game's conception Wednesday, speaking to the three creators – Minnesota teachers Paul Dillenberger, Bill Heinemann and Don Rawitsch – about the very first iteration.

And this isn't the black-and-green computer screen origin story.

This predates that DOS version, with the trio talking about the original teletypewriter version that required you to type commands on paper, then you'd see it punch out a response back to you.

It's a good read (and not too long either), and goes over its transformation from a card/tabletop game, to one that needed teletype coding, and them eventually to an actual computer.

One sample: check out the original way they implemented hunting, via Heinemann:

"Hunting was one of those routines I stubbed in on Monday and created on Tuesday or Wednesday. One of the things that BASIC [an early programming language, which stands for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code] had built into its language was a variation of the INPUT command, where you could not only accept input, but be notified of the length of time it took to respond.

I thought, 'Aha! This is perfect for hunting. I'll tell the students to type 'BANG.' If the students spelled it wrong or took too long, they got nothing. The faster they typed, the more meat they got and the more positive comment they received.'"

Oregon Trail wasinducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2016.

And the nostalgia wave for the game swept up Target shoppers last year too. The small game company Pressman Toys/Goliath Games released a tabletop version exclusively with Target, and it was sold out for weeks because of high demand.

And if you want to take a stroll down DOS memory lane, this website has the old game playable in your browser.

Next Up

victoria burrow pizza

Fair-inspired entertainment venue opening at Mall of America

Fair on 4 will feature axe throwing, go carts and more.


Canceled: The Halloween bar crawl that no bars knew about

The dubiously organized event was planned for this weekend in Minneapolis.

covid saliva test

St. Cloud gets Minnesota's 6th COVID-19 saliva testing site

Four more sites are expected to open in the Twin Cities in the coming weeks.

burnsville center

Part of Burnsville Center is being auctioned off

More than 500,000 square feet of the mall is being auctioned off.

State Capitol

Elections 2020: Control of Minnesota's divided Legislature is up for grabs

Redistricting and responding to COVID-19 are among the issues the new legislature will have to deal with.


Rochester woman found dead in the snow after leaving senior residence

The woman left the senior living center around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 10.43.19 AM

Investigation: Sprinklers could have saved 5 killed in Minneapolis high-rise fire

The deadly fire broke out at the Cedar-Riverside apartment block last November.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, October 27

Hospitalizations continue to rise quickly in Minnesota.

Associate wearing PPE 2

Amazon looking to hire 1,000 seasonal workers in Minnesota

The retail giant is hiring 100,000 nationwide.


9 kids accused of damaging Minnesota golf course

The full extent of the damage won't be known until spring.

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 9.36.14 AM

Ordway to host 3 virtual holiday shows this season

'A (Virtual) Christmas with The Griswolds,' 'Hip Hop Nutcracker' and 'A virtually Celtic Christmas' will be streamed live for those who buy tickets.

portland police protest

Charges: Minneapolis man threw rocks at Portland police during protest

Adrian Ruben De Los Rios is charged with civil disorder in federal court.


Wii Sports is so old it's now 1 of 12 Video Game Hall of Fame finalists

The full list of finalists includes some old classics, and some newer games that will make you feel old.

Wii Sports is so old it's now 1 of 12 Video Game Hall of Fame finalists

The full list of finalists includes some old classics, and some newer games that will make you feel old.

Read this: Marlon James on race and racism in Minnesota

James writes in part: "Tomorrow when I get on my bike, I am big black guy, who might be shot before the day ends, because my very size will make a cop feel threatened."

How safe from a ransomware attack are Minnesota's government computers?

WannaCry ransomware has been detected across more than 200,000 computers in 100-plus countries. So how protected is Minnesota?

2 major security flaws are affecting millions of phones, computers – here's what you should do

And you probably have a device that's at risk. Here's what you should do about it.

How to turn on the rainbow flag Facebook reaction

It isn't automatic – you have to do something to turn it on.

A daughter explains why she wrote 'evil does in fact die' in her father's obituary

Charping "did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick whited [sic] sarcasm."