The Oregon Trail Game

It wouldn’t make much sense to have a website like Visit Oregon and not have one of the most iconic Oregon video games ever made. If you grew up in Oregon during the 70’s and 80’s, you will remember Oregon trail.

Above is a free version you can play right here for as long as you like. Be sure to bookmark it or share it with friends and family as well.

History & Game Walk Through Of The Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail is an older, very popular computer game that was developed by Bill Heinemann, Don Rawitsch, and Paul Dillenberger back in 1971. It was then put out on the market in 1974 by MECC. The game is simple and was created to teach school children about the life of a 19th century pioneer on the Oregon Trail. You get to play the role of a wagon leader  and guide your group of chosen settlers from Independence, Missouri, to the Willamette Valley in Oregon while traveling along the Oregon Trail in 1848. The game has since been released multiple time on multiple platforms by various game makers and publishers who acquired the rights.


One of the most important aspects in the game is hunting. Using a pixelated pioneer with a gun, you must purchase bullets either in the beginning or over throughout the game. As you travel along, you may stop and select the option to hunt. You are then able to hunt wild animals (deer, elk, bears, bison, squirrels, and rabbits) to get more food reserves. In the early release original version of the game, there wasn’t any graphics like the version above. You were basically timed on how quickly you could type out “WHAM”, ”BANG”,  or “POW” with misspelled words leading to a failed hunt. In the newer version as seen above, you are able to control a little man who can point his rifle in eight different directions and fire a single shot at the fast moving animals. In other later versions of the game, you are able to hunt with crosshairs that you control by a mouse. Bison are the slowest targets to hit but they offer the most weight in food. Squirrels and Rabbits are super fast yet give you very small weight of food. Elk (western section) and Deer (eastern section) are in the middle in terms of size, speed, and weight of food. Bear are somewhere between deer & bison in all three categories. You can only shoot as many times as the amount of bullets you purchase or trade for in settlements. Keep this in mind when starting off as it is VERY necessary to last through the game. The most bullets you can carry in the wagon is 100 pounds of ammo in the earlier versions of the game. In the later versions, 200 pounds could be carried so long as there were at least 2 living members left. It is normal for players to have to kill several thousand pounds of animals, throughout the game, only to be able to carry 100 lbs of it back to the wagon after each hunt. This is to be considered a realistic representation of what the wild west really was. In the later versions of the game, you are able to hunt in different environments as well. One example is when you hunt during the winter, it would grass covered in snow.


While playing the game, people in your party can suddenly fall ill and die from multiple causes, such as a snakebite, measles, dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and even just exhaustion. You can also die from a simple broken leg or just drowning in a river you may be crossing. Your oxen are also likely to illness or death along your journey. When someone in your party dies, you hold a brief funeral. At the funeral, you are able write an epitaph, then simply continue on down the trail.


At the end of the path and game, points are awarded according to survivors, remaining possessions, cash in hand, and by the profession chosen at the beginning of the game (banker, carpenter, farmer). The points at the end of the game are doubled if you chose a carpenter & tripled if you chose a farmer.