Wednesday, March 25, 2009

fording the river (of life...)

When I was in elementary school, we had a "state of the art" computer lab with rows upon rows of what would now be considered dinosaur computers; huge, grey boxes with floppy disk drives and visible pixels even in the fonts. The highlight of computer time was being allowed to play the "it" game of the time- Oregon Trail. Anyone who has ever played this game knows that it was pretty much impossible to make it all the way to Oregon. You would ford a river and all of your supplies would sink, you would lose half of your family to typhoid or cholera, your oxen would die and slow your progress while you slowly ran out of food, part of your wagon would break and no one would be willing to make a reasonable trade. It was an educational game because you had to figure out how to make the most of your supplies, use your money wisely, and you learned about the pioneers movement west at the same time.

Joe and I recently found an online version of this old favorite game (you even have to press a function key to "flip the floppy disk to side 2") and played together once before Joe decided that we should play against each other on our own laptops to see if one of us could beat the game. Joe started out as a farmer, counting on the difficulty points that you get at the end as well as his hunting prowess (arrow keys to move, space bar to shoot... aim for those bears and you're golden). I started as a banker, which meant a lot more money at the beginning so you could buy extra supplies.

Long story short, I made it to Oregon. I was able to buy food at each fort, pay to get ferries across the river, trade with Indians and other travellers, and take long breaks to keep my family healthy (although, Libby unfortunately passed from typhoid right before we made it... win some, lose some).

Joe's whole family died about halfway through. He made to about 50 miles outside of Oregon before randomly kicking the bucket as well. I think it was from complications due to a broken arm. Something lame like that. Or maybe it was a hunting injury...

Anyway, so... all along I thought we were supposed to be learning about math, long term planning, and the pioneer movement. I guess the valuable lesson we were supposed to learn as children was that money makes you win at life.

1 comment:

Whirl said...

5 people in fair health - 2000 points
1 wagon - 50 points
7 oxen - 28 points
8 spare wagon parts - 16 points
10 sets of clothing - 20 points
113 bullets - 2 points
204 pounds of food - 8 points
$83.00 cash - 16 points

Total - 2140 points


GRAND TOTAL - 4280 points. I rock so hard.