How many childhoods were spent crossing the Oregon Trail? Generations were defined by hunting for buffalo, dying of dysentery, and learning the hard way that you should never ford a river. What those legions of players may not know is that The Oregon Trail was created in only two weeks.
Mental Floss tells the story of creators Bill Heinemann, Paul Dillenberger, and Don Rawitsch, all student-teachers at Carleton College in 1971. Rawitsch originally envisioned The Oregon Trail as a board game, meant to engage his eighth grade students. Heinemann was the first to suggest bringing the game to computers and was able to complete it in just a short two week window, just in time for Rawitsch to begin the school year.
The Oregon Trail would go on to sell 65 million copies and inspire generations of game creators, including the zombie-themed Organ Trail.