A staple of classrooms in the 1980’s, The Oregon Trail was a CYOA text adventure designed to teach kids about the realities of living life as a pioneer. Most of us who played the game died of dysentery well before arriving at the game’s final destination, but it was, for kids of a certain generation, it was one of our first experiences interacting with a narrative through a computer screen.
Fast forward to 2019 and the The Oregon Trail has become a growing game book series since the first paperback published in 2018. Now with six books in the series and a new four book box set available, the series is finding a whole new audience.
The series comes from HMH Books and is something of a lavish affair. Each book is fully illustrated and features covers by pixel artist Gustavo Viselner, connecting the books to their vintage, computer game roots.
The first Oregon Trail computer game was originally developed by Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger in 1971 and produced by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium(MECC) in 1974. Rawitsch was an assistant eighth grade history teacher at the time and when he debuted his first buggy version to them in the 70’s it was an immediate hit.
About the Books:
Choose your own trail and complete the journey to Oregon City in these six paperbacks based on the classic text adventure series. It’s 1850 and your first goal is to get your family, covered wagon full of supplies, and oxen to Chimney Rock on time. But hurry–you’ll need to make it through the rugged mountains before winter snow hits. Plus, there are wild animals, natural disasters, unpredictable weather, fast-flowing rivers, strangers, and sickness that will be sure to stand between you and your destination!
Which path will get you safely across the unforgiving terrain–from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City? With twenty-two possible endings in each book, choose wrong and you’ll never make it on time.
Readers should note that these are basic choose your own adventure book and do not include any complex game mechanics.
Big ups to Gamebook News who reviewed the series.
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