Trivia Minute May 16, 2015

Episode 77: Oregon Trail

by Marcus Michelson

Oregon Trail

On this date in 1842, the first major group of pioneers departed Elm Grove, Missouri on the Oregon Trail.

The movement of nearly 400,000 settlers between 1841 and 1869 inspired the landmark “Oregon Trail” video game.

Here are some facts about the game that you may not have known.

First: It was originally written in 1971 by Minnesota student-teacher Don Rawlitsch. After using the game to teach his eighth-grade history class, he deleted the game from the server, but printed out the source code.

Rawlitsch was hired by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium in 1974, where he rebuilt the game for students across the state. In 1979, the game was adapted for the Apple II, and again in 1985 with better graphics.

Second: In the game, you choose whether you want to be a doctor, a carpenter or a farmer, leaving Independence, Missouri for Oregon. The different occupations gave players different supply budgets and different bonuses for reaching Oregon safely.

Third: The game was selected to be inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015. It’s available on Windows, Macintosh, iOS, Android, 3DS and Windows Phone.

Our question: Which of the following diseases was not in the 1982 version of the game? Dysentery, cholera, typhoid or scarlet fever?

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