The Oregon Trail originally created in two weeks

Were you among the many that died of dysentery? The Oregon Trail is one of the most memorable games of all-time and it turns out that it was made in just two short weeks.

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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.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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    July 31, 2013 3:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, The Oregon Trail originally created in two weeks.

    Were you among the many that died of dysentery? The Oregon Trail is one of the most memorable games of all-time and it turns out that it was made in just two short weeks.

    • reply
      July 31, 2013 3:16 PM

      warmed my heart when i caught my 14 year old playing it

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      August 1, 2013 5:58 AM

      This is a game I wish Sid Meier would get a hold of and do a modern remake a la Pirates.

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        August 1, 2013 6:57 AM

        Agree with you there 100%

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        August 1, 2013 8:16 AM

        How about a Rockstar remake along the lines of RDR? Foraging for food. Forging rivers. Fighting off natives.

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      August 1, 2013 7:35 AM

      The original text-only version of it was created in two weeks.

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        August 1, 2013 10:18 AM

        There goes someone again, ruining a cool story with facts.

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