The Oregon Trail Documentary Examines Legendary Game’s Origins

The best day in elementary school was when your whole class went into the computer lab and instead of using some boring science or math program, you got to play The Oregon Trail. The educational game has seen many iterations and has been around for decades, and MinnMax founder (and former Game Informer video producer) Ben Hanson has produced a documentary examining its unusual origins. You can watch the entire thing right here.

Trailheads: The Oregon Trail is a free YouTube documentary that examines the game’s Minnesota roots, including how it was initially created in college by the three-person team of Bill Heinemann, Paul Dillenberger, and Don Rawitsch and donated to the state’s MECC organization.

You’ve almost certainly played some version of The Oregon Trail if you live in the United States, as it has been a staple in schools and dates back to 1971. It gained particular popularity on the Apple II computer and you can even get a handheld version that resembles that computer.

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Author: Gabe Gurwin