Lets Play: Plague and Treachery on the Oregon Trail
Fan art by Rondell
Susan: Did you just run over Baby?!
Cyrus: Son of a BITCH!
A Let's Play
of The Oregon Trail
by Chewbot, who's known for also creating The Terrible Secret Of Animal Crossing
Cyrus Neckebard, a dimwitted banker, gets swept up in the patriotic dreams of the new frontier and drags his wife and children along on a family road trip to Oregon. Coming along with him is his promiscuous and unhappy wife Susan Neckebard, his piggish and hydrophobic daughter Sarah-Jane, his unusually black-skinned
son Cyrus Jr. (AKA "Waffles" after the waffle incident
), and Baby, a deformed infant born without a face who is of undetermined gender.
And it all goes downhill from there.
Notable for being interactive while he was making the story, including asking forum users on Something Awful
to vote and choose what happened next, along with the names and personalities of the characters. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues
Can be found here
This provides examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: One part of the LP focuses on Waffles having to take charge of the wagon after Cyrus becomes too sick and delirious because of an allergic reaction to alcohol to do it. Later, an entire in-game month is shown from the perspective of two of the oxen.
- Anyone Can Die: As is custom for the game series, to the point where they even had a betting pool over who they thought would die next and from what causes.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Considering they spend virtually the entire story hating each other, moments where they get along are usually a solemn Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Becoming the Mask: Susan initially married Cyrus as a cover, and pretended to be a happy family, only to find that she really does love him and their children.
- Bittersweet Ending: Every one of Cyrus' family dies. But he made it to Oregon. And he decides to go on with his life and have many new adventures with the one ox that survived.
- The Blank: Baby was born without a face. They never gave it a name, and no one ever bothered to see what Baby's gender is. Seeing as how its lived this long, they mostly just shove it into the corner like a sack of potatoes and ignore it.
- Celebrity Resemblance: Chewbot insists that Waffles sounds exactly like Tracy Morgan's character on 30Rock, and writes his dialog as such.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Once the family members start dying off, it gets much more dark.
- Chandler's Law: The first edition Oregon Trail game is, quite frankly, boring to play and boring to watch. Hence why, whenever things get particularly dull, Chewbot gets a little... creative with his storytelling, like adding more Stuff Blowing Up
- Chocolate Baby: Waffles is black. Susan just convinced Cyrus that this is because he was born with a rare skin condition, and has nothing to do with why the only black guy in town laughs at him when he sees him. Given that his actual (still non-Cyrus) dad is white, she's telling the truth.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Though everyone is too distracted by their newfound cocaine addiction to mind.
- Determined Homesteader's Wife: Susan, who is not going to let a few broke limbs, bullets, or a medical book's worth of illnesses stop her from getting across the country.
- Driven to Suicide: Baby attempts to crawl away from the wagon to suffer a more dignified death by being roasted in the sun and devoured by vultures.
- Enforced Method Acting: While riding down the river, to simulate Cyrus riding while blind, Chewbot plays the minigame with his eyes closed.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When the Neckebards reach Snake River, they hire a tribe of Native Americans to help them cross the river, only to realize too late that they'd fallen victim of a trap that the natives set to steal their belongings. When the wagon capsized in the water and a massive emotional meltdown ensued, though, the chief felt guilty enough to order the tribe to fix their wagon for them.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: It doesn't take long for the family to stop mentioning Baby Neckebard, not that they really seemed to care much in the first place.
- Functional Addict: When the family manages to get a hold of enough cocaine to fill an entire potato sack, they are happy, getting along, and one hundred times as productive than ever before. When they run out they don't so much go through withdrawal as much as they get frustrated that now they have to deal with each other sober again.
- Gag Penis: Dongs McGee's "knife".
- Genre Shift: About midway through it turns into a very, very different story.
- Gonk: Sarah-Jane has a snout-like nose, and because she can't breath through her nose she has an obnoxious voice, and is frequently compared to oxen and pigs.
- Happy Place: Every day Sarah-Jane hides under a blanket and tries to sleep and dream about a better place than her own life.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: The mysterious American at Walla Walla is played by Samuel Clemens in a top hat.
- Ho Yay: It's implied one of the oxen might have had feelings for the other.
- The Immune: Despite every frontier disease known to man circulating the Neckebards' wagon multiple times until it becomes a festering cesspool of sickness, Cyrus never once catches anything (not counting that one time he drank himself into unconsciousness despite being allergic to alcohol and ended up unable to drive the wagon for a while.)
- In Memoriam: After finishing the story, Chewbot released a music video dedicated to all the family members that couldn't make it to Oregon. It's actually almost pretty emotional.
- Kill 'em All: Cyrus and Oxford are the only survivors.
- La Résistance: Susan was part of a secret British organization bent on overthrowing America from the inside.
- Let's Play
- Living Prop: The Neckebards wouldn't quite consider Baby a part of the family so much as it is ... some kind of divine punishment, and its passing would be a mixed blessing for them.
- Lower Deck Episode: Virtually an entire chapter was focused on the oxen discussing amongst themselves, while in the background the Neckebards are apparently having crazy adventures.
- Metaphorgotten: One of the many, MANY haiku votes:
The Neckebards must float
Like a butterfly and sting
Like a floating thing
- Mundane Made Awesome: When the decision came over what to do once they reached Snake River, Chewbot said he'd count anyone who posted their vote in the form of a haiku as two votes.
Think about it. What's more ridiculous than dozens of internet strangers voting on the river-crossing status of a fictional family based on an educational game that was created 30 years ago? Haiku about it.
- Mythology Gag: Cyrus stumbles upon a tombstone marked "peperony and chease" and remarks that it must have been a child's grave.
- Noodle Incident: The "waffle incident", as well as whatever was going on while the oxen were chatting.
- Off the Rails: When Chewbot suggested the forum goons to vote via haiku (suggestions as to what to do next would be counted as two votes). They wouldn't stop posting new river crossing poems, even long after the voting was done and the results posted. Eventually they stopped haikus altogether and started writing full-length ballads and love songs based on the characters. Chewbot was flabbergasted.
- Updates 17 and 19 are when the story completely loses all handle on reality and turns into a high-stakes, explosive, bullet-riddled chase sequence, amongst several other unexpected plot twists.
- One of Us: Forums user Der Metzgermeister, who performed most of the music in the LP and voiced Sarah-Jane in the last update, is troper Metz77
- Paper-Thin Disguise: On the way to Fort Walla Walla, the Neckebards decide to disguise themselves as the Bardneckes while they're on the run from colonial soldiers, complete with one item to disguise themselves with (except for Sarah Jane, who doesn't even get anything to disguise herself with.)
- Punny Name: Cyrus Neckebard has one fine neck beard.
- Rasputinian Death: All of the family becomes infected with many layers of deadly diseases that would kill a strong man in a dim hospital room, but this wagon full of feces-covered, emaciated lunatics crawling through a desert manages to shrug it off, to the point where they're all shocked when they do start dying.
- Really Gets Around: Name a man. Any man. Susan's slept with him.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Cyrus finds out that Susan cheated on him, he immediately grabs his rifle and storms off to shoot anything that moves (and a few things that don't.) He even calls the spoils his "revenge meat."
- When Waffles is killed by colonial soldiers, Susan's response is to raze the nearby Fort Walla Walla to the ground.
- And when Susan dies too, Cyrus goes apeshit on the British soldiers that come after them.
- Rock Bottom: No matter what happens, it not only could be worse, it will get worse. There's a reason why Chewbot nicknamed the wagon "the good ship hopeless".
- Running Gag: "And that was when [blank] realized they hated their family."
- Shout-Out: The "peperony and chease" tombstone was of course a reference to the old "What do you want on your Tombstone?" pizza commercials. Anyone who played this game in school will know how often kids typed that in for an epitaph.
- Spirit Advisor: The ghost of Sarah-Jane aids Cyrus while he is riding down the perilous river.
- Toilet Humor: Part 11 can really only be seen to be believed.
- Tragic Dream: Sarah-Jane dreams of being an opera singer, but no one has the heart to tell her how disgusting the sound of her voice is.
- The Dog Bites Back: When the wagon flips over in Snake River, Sarah-Jane immediately tries to drown her mother in retaliation for Susan doing the same to her as an infant and ruining her life.
- The Unreveal: Waffles is just about to finally reveal the story of the waffle incident to Cyrus, only for it to be made very clear that he was just incredibly delirious at the moment from sickness, and none of what he said made any sense.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: So many members of the forum voted to ford the Snake River just to drown the whole family at once.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Waffles is this to Cyrus.
- Wham Episode: Fort Bridger and Susan turning out to be a British spy, and Waffles the key to retaking the US.
- The road to Fort Walla Walla, and Waffle's death. While Baby had already died a while before, this is the point where the rest of the family starts dropping like flies.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sarah-Jane has a fear of bodies of water. No, "fear" doesn't quite cut it. The very concept of crossing even a foot-deep river causes her to go into a screeching catatonic state. Needless to say, this problem comes up quite a few times for them.
- You Can't Go Home Again: After nearly drowning in Snake River, Sarah-Jane can no longer return to the fantasy land in her head and pretend reality is the dream.