Flour, Sugar, Bacon and Coffee on the Oregon Trail

October 19, 2008 12:01 am Published by 7 Comments

Ah, computers. They have come so far and enable us to do so much. I have this one computer – it fits in my hand, has a calculator, shows me pictures, sings me songs, plays me movies, lets me make phone calls and has a cute, shiny picture of an apple on the back in case I get hungry and need to remember what food doesn’t look like. As it turns out, the same company that makes the aforementioned supercomputer also made another special computer about 25 years ago. Who Knew?!

The Apple IIe was ahead of its time (I’m guessing). What’s really important, though, is that it allowed us to play GAMES! One of my favorites from the era was Oregon Trail. There was nothing like spending 2 hours traveling to Oregon at a grueling pace on meager rations only to learn that Little Billy had died of cholera or syphilis or whatever diseases the programmers at the MECC deemed appropriate at the time.

These days, the original Oregon Trail game has become a thing of legend and, at least  in my mind, has become a figment of my historical imagination. But wait! History is repeating itself! If you visit the Virtual Apple 2 Online Disk Archive you can play more than 1000 games from that platform, including the original version of Oregon Trail.

Why talk about OT on BT? I was surfing around the interwebs and found the OT game. I had to play. It had been too long. I gathered up my courage, my wagon and my four family members and decided to head out for the glorious west coast. They’ve got gold out in them thar hills. As an Illinois Farmer I knew a thing or two about tough travelin’, so I stopped into Matt’s General Store in Independence, MO to pick up some supplies for my journey. Matt is a very helpful guy. When I finally got around to buying some food, here’s the advice he had to offer me.

Flour, sugar, bacon and coffee. Really? That’s all I’ll need?

Flour, sugar, bacon and coffee.

I see.

Well, okay, Matt. You own a store in Independence, so you must know what you’re talking about. I’ll take $120 worth of food, but since I’m a (pig?) farmer, I’ll just take it all in bacon.

He gave me a strange, pixelated look, and then handed me my 600 pounds (272 Kg) of bacon.

Thanks for the encouragement there, Matt.

I set off into the wilderness to pursue the gold-plated promise of the American Dream. Little Billy may die of cholera, but at least we’ll have bacon.

— Mike


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7 Comments

  • cinnarose says:

    I, too, had many family members die on the Oregon Trail from cholera, snake bites and the like. It was always fun inscribing their tombstones.
    How ironic that you need to be running XP, or have Parallels, in order to run the Apple emulator on a Mac.

  • toomuchrock4onehand says:

    I can’t tell you how happy this made me today. Dysentery is a bitch but it was worth it when our wagon pulled into Oregon and we saw that pixelated bounty. And we had 241 pounds of bacon left.

  • Alexa says:

    The memories of recesses played inside the library playing the Oregon Trail and math munchers. I think that maybe they were subliminally instilling the idea that Bacon is essential to make it though life. Thanks for the story!

  • Corey James says:

    Hey Mike, I got fourth place and gave us a shameless plug on Oregon Trail 😉

  • Mike says:

    Unfortunately, I lost all my supplies and my wagon trying to float across a river that was running too high. I died, but my spirit will live on to make it to Oregon another day.

  • Mike Kirsch says:

    This just in… I played again (couldn’t stay away) and made it to the promised land. I also gave us a shameless plug, but it looks like you just barely eeked out the win. Well played, sir. Well played.

  • I can’t believe I missed this adventure!!! I should have NEVER gone to sleep!!!!!

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