Pseudo_Intellectual (45531) on Dec 06, 2011
Q: It's established that the Oregon Trail "made" the Apple 2 when it won out over the TRS-80 for big educational contracts in the late '70s. Why then is it marked here as an '85 release date on the Apple 2?
A: There have been numerous versions and revisions of the Oregon Trail:
Original original "release" was Dec 3, 1971, on an HP 2100 minicomputer running HP Time-Shared BASIC. This version ran on teletype machines and had "type BANG" for hunting, and was played only by students in the class.
With more features, it became a network game in '74 under MECC,
then had source code published in May '78's Creative Computing magazine in BASIC 3.1 for the CDC Cyber 70/73-26.
It doesn't seem to have made its way to the Apple 2 until hereabouts, a conversion by John Cook provided on A.P.P.L.E.'s (Apple Pugetsound Program Library Exchange) PDS Disk series #108... undated in my morning's casual sourcing, but in this chronological ballpark.
Then an official MECC Apple 2 port happened in 1980 in the Elementary Vol 6 compilation, with the game simply entitled Oregon, with minimal graphics on Elementary Volume 6 in 1980.
(Some sources claim that the game's authors were careful to keep out insensitive "Indian attack!" events, while other players swear it was part of their Apple game -- if so, those likely belong to one of these two above releases.)
Then there was the '85 version that really was a mass experience, and then a later multimedia one... (and now facebook and iphone versions, re-igniting interest in the dormant brand.)
A good general source for the Oregon Trail story is http://www.citypages.com/2011-01-19/news/oregon-trail-how-three-minnesotans-forged-its-path/
All this because in the "40th anniversary of the first playing of Oregon Trail" gushing over the past three days I read a reference to students spending negative integers on store purchases and tricking the game into paying them. That's worth a trivia entry, I thought, plus discussion of how it was prototyped in board game form (and then developed in only two weeks), but none of those trivia items actually seem to apply to the '85-era version this entry describes, and I haven't been able to find a good source for the intermediary versions. So instead, I freeze my research in this forum thread.