aka: Oregon Trail, The
Moby ID: 92500


The original, non-graphical BASIC version of The Oregon Trail was first developed in 1971 by three Minnesotan teachers and was meant to be played on a Teletype. This first version was played exclusively by Don Rawitsch's history class, taught at Carleton College. A subsequent version was re-typed from paper records into MECC computer systems in 1974, and made available to school systems across the entire state. It would be revised in 1976 and again in 1978 based on new research. In 1979-1980, MECC released Elementary Volume 6 for the Apple II microcomputer, a bundle of educational software including "Oregon" with music, rudimentary, non-animated graphics, and action-based shooting sequences. Subsequent versions for Atari, Commodore 64, and Radio Shack computers followed.

Being designed for a Teletype, gameplay is comparatively simpler than in the more widely played 1985 version. Players do not name or manage the members of their party; only the leader counts, and the game is over if he/she dies. Every day, the player may choose whether to hunt or not, and how well to eat. To hunt, the player must type a word such as "BANG" as quickly as possible when prompted, and is rewarded with food if typed correctly and fast enough. A disaster may occur randomly each day, such as raiders attacking or poor weather, and sometimes the player must choose from a menu which action to take in response.

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From the manual:

The forerunner of The Oregon Trail was the original Oregon program designed by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) and released on the MECC Time Share System in 1975. Adaptations for microcomputers and subsequent revisions were released in 1981, 1983, and 1985. The most recent major revision, upon which this IBM/Tandy version is based, was created by a MECC design team that included Tim Anderson, Philip Bouchard, Charolyn Kapplinger, Shirley Keran, John Krenz, Roger Shimada, Steve Splinter, and Bill Way. This IBM/Tandy version was created by Charolyn Kapplinger, Ed Gratz, Mark Paquette, Larry Phenow, and Julie Redland.


The original The Oregon Trail was a teletype version was co-developed by Paul Dillenberger, Bill Heinemann, and Don Rawitsch and first publicly shown in Rawitsch's history class at Carleton college in December 3, 1971. Rawitsch then took the game to his new job at MECC.


  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    • 2016 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by The cranky hermit.

TRS-80, Sol-20, Commodore PET/CBM, Apple II added by vedder.

Additional contributors: Peter Hall, Indra was here, Pseudo_Intellectual, Patrick Bregger, Hello X), SoMuchChaotix.

Game added July 13, 2017. Last modified January 19, 2024.