The Oregon Trail Collection
Oregon Trail 1 1990 DOS
In 1996 MECC released a compilation CD to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Oregon Trail. The CD includes
1. The 1990 DOS edition of The Oregon Trail
2. The 1992 DOS edition of The Oregon Trail with updated graphics aka Oregon Trail Deluxe.
3. The 1993 edition of the The Oregon Trail Deluxe, ported to Windows.
4. The Oregon Trail II
5. A video recounting the history of the game, including the schoolteacher who came up with the idea for the game.
All of the games, and the video, will run on Windows XP through Windows 10.
Oregon Trail History
One of the favorite games of my fondly remembered childhood is a text based adventure called Oregon which was released in 1975 on a time-share mainframe setup called the Michigan Terminal System (aka MTS). I first played the game in 1977 using a teletype terminal connected to a PDP-11. It was a magical and intense experience having to hunt for survival, forage for food, and defend my settlers from Indians by typing very quickly when prompted. I was quite the weathered trailblazer when I impressed all the kids in my class with my completed printout of the journey. Although utterly primitive by today's standards, the excitement of trying to survive the Oregon trail, controlled by a hulking mysterious machine far away, was a brand-new experience to children just before the onset of the digital age.
I was not alone in my fondness for the game. In 1973, a few years before the Oregon adventure was written, the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (aka MECC) was created and funded by the State of Minnesota. The state had the foresight to create an organization that would help schools on a statewide basis to plan for the use of computers. MECC was designed to develop educational computing programs for Minnesota school students, but also to join joint practices between K-12 an higher education. MECC ran a large, centralized timeshare that schools across the state could call into via telephone network. MECC created a central library of resources which served thousands of teletype terminals across the state. By far, one of the most popular educational tools was a game called Oregon. Put it this way: If you were a child in the 70s, and your school was one of the fortunate few with time-share computer access for its students, chances are you tried Oregon. And when the first PCs appeared in 1977 MECC began to transfer the best of their programs from the timeshare library to diskette -- all materials were programmed for the Apple. Thus was born The Oregon Trail for the Apple ][.
The title was so popular that MECC began to sell its software across the country at profit and used the money to fund the educational effort in Minnesota. In the late 1980's, MECC became the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation -- it was sold to a North American venture capitalist, for $5 million. Within one year, it was sold again to The Learning Company -- for $250 million. The MECC offices in Minnesota were closed in January 1999.
As both a gamer and nostalgia nut Oregon will always be a fond memory. The MECC is no more but its spirit lives on in the form of The Oregon Trail series, which shows no sign of slowing down. Each new version adds features, makes the gameplay more intuitive, while maintaining excitement of the journey.
Oregon Trail 1 - 1990
Oregon Trail Deluxe
Oregon Trail Deluxe for Windows
Oregon Trail 2