Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 103: Oregon Trail!

          We used to have a game.
          A computer game, which seemed to us kids at the time to be the most highly advanced thing we'd ever seen; now, having experience to look back with, it was rather pathetic, but still really fun. This game was called...Oregon Trail!
          The premise was simple start out in a town called Independence back in the 18th or 19th century, get supplies, join a wagon train, and travel across the West to Oregon while attempting to keep the members of your party alive and (my goal) shooting every animal bigger than a pocket watch. When we first started playing, I always had charge of the computer and, as such, got to put my name in the not-really-coveted position of leader; Quill, Nemesis, and Squirrel then gathered around and added their names to my party. We'd debate over what items to get, debate over which trail to take, and I'd get smacked every time one of them got injured or sick and I chose to go hunting instead of dealing with the problem. Quill loved fishing, so I'd occasionally surrender the mouse to her so she could fish her heart out (but never during the salmon runs).
          As we grew older, we noticed that the computer used the same words over and over. It was always "Radar broke his leg." or "Nemesis has cholera." (We also noticed that I had the same response to each problem--go hunting--but that was universally accepted as me being OCD.) I don't know if it was Nemesis of Quill who first thought of this, but soon the party member's names changed. The new names were "Who," "Nobody," "the Mad Hatter," etc, so we could laugh until we cried every time the computer said something like "Nobody broke his leg" or "Who drowned while crossing a river."
          THEN...we discovered the diary.
          This was a computer-generated log of our adventures, in which we could add our own writing. Characters quickly developed for Who, Nobody, and the Mad Hatter (Nemesis was always Who; Quill varied occasionally but was usually the Mad Hatter), and the diary became the main attraction for the game. It's impossible to I'll let you read an example, written quite recently when we rediscovered the game.
          In this particular game, I was the Doctor, from the Doctor Who TV show. He was a time traveler with a "sonic screwdriver" that could fix anything as long as it wasn't made out of wood, and also possessed a police telephone box that was bigger on the inside than it was on the outside. He often fought with a race of aliens called the Daleks, which were obsessed with their machine voices and exterminating anything that crossed their path, so I included Dalek Sec in the party just for grins. (A Dalek looks a bit like a strange salt shaker with a plunger sticking out of it for a hand.) Quill opted for the Mad Hatter, Nemesis became Who, and Nobody joined us because everyone could write for him and puns were inevitable. Also, I introduced a new guy, Some Fool; I figured we could just blame him for everything.
          As far as reading the diary goes...the stuff in red is our work, while the stuff in black is the computer. The computer is kinda boring, but it's occasionally necessary to read it in order to understand where we're coming from. Most of the time, you can ignore it though. Also, we always had someone yell "THIRD BASE" after every Who joke, hearkening back to the "Who's on First" baseball skit by Abbott and Costello that probably set this whole thing off.
          And since the diary is a bit long to go in this post, Doctor Who and the Mad Hatter, too is located on a different page.


  1. So fun!! I never got past the canoe and the fishing. Never could figure that game out...

  2. Oh, the fond memories of overhunting the wilderness and dying of smallpox... That game was on all the computers at school and everyone in my class used to race each other to Oregon when we were done with our work. And the "dun-da-nuh" music from someone dying in the game is still quoted by me at opportune moments.