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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Tech Deck

This week’s free online game: Classic ‘Oregon Trail’

Are you a gamer? Do you like free things? Of course you do!

We here at the Tech Deck are just like you: poor gamers looking for cheap entertainment. And nothing's cheaper than cost-free gaming. Each week, we'll bring you a title (or two or three) you can legally play at home without plopping down a single dollar. If you see games you think we should be featuring on the blog, email us at or

This week, it's the granddaddy of all historically accurate video games. That's right, get your Conestoga in working order because you're hitting the Oregon Trail.

Nicole has dysentery in Oregon Trail
Never a good sign.

For no money at all, you can relive those exasperating days in your elementary school's computer lab warding off infectious diseases and trading buffalo meat for medicine. The original MS-DOS version of the game, released in 1990, is free via in-browser software at The Internet Archive.

Go inside the blog to read more about the Oregon Trial's development and leave your favorite memory from your treks cross-country.

The Oregon Trial was developed for the Apple II computer platform by now-defunct developer the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC). The unlikely home for a game about traveling from Missouri to Oregon shuttered in 1999 after going private and accepting a buyout from SoftKey, another computer games developer that's bitten the dust.

A 40th Anniversary version of the game appeared on the Nintendo Wii in 2011 (the original game ran on a Hewlett Packard minicomputer, the 1971 invention of a Minnesota student teacher who was trying to get his class interested in history). That version was not well-received.

What do you remember about the original Oregon Trail? Most of the guys in the newsroom fondly recall hunting thousands of pounds worth of buffalo meat. Leave your memories of the game in the comments section below.


Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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