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Trivia / The Oregon Trail

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  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The line "You have died of dysentery" never literally appears in the original version of The Oregon Trail. The actual phrasing only mentions the disease in the third-person voice: "[Character name the player entered] has dysentery."
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • A well-known meme from Oregon Trail exists because of people 'circulating tapes'. Why does everyone remember "here lies andy; peperony and chease"? Because a player put that tombstone into a copy of the game that was widely pirated, and in the heyday of emulation, found its way into almost all Apple II disk image archives online. (The "pepperoni and cheese" joke itself is almost certainly a reference to this '90s Tombstone Pizza ad.)
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    • The iPhone and iPad ports are becoming subject to this. Firstly, it works best on iOS 5 or older, and iOS 11 will not run it because it's a 32-bit app, so you'll need access to an OG iPad or a considerably old iPhone to run it. Then because it's no longer available in the app store, you need to have already backed up the app on an old pre-version-11 version of iTunes (if you bought it beforehand) or get it from somewhere and jailbreak your device to install it. And to top it all off, due to the additional freemium functionality (on top of the fact that this is a paid app, mind you), it needs a connection to Gameloft's servers, which no longer exist, and the error condition of the game causes it to not run at all if it can't reach the servers. Ouch.
  • It's Been Done: When Target put out a handheld version of the game in 2018, people were crying out for a port of Oregon Trail for iOS and Android. That actually happened in 2011 (see Porting Disaster entry in YMMV), but then Gameloft mismanaged the franchise and screwed the game over...note 
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  • Let's Play: A very popular target for this, especially the second edition of the game. It's believed to be the first screenshot LP done on Something Awful.
  • Multi-Disc Work: The 5¼" DOS version has two disks.
  • Port Overdosed: An extremely widespread game, ending up on virtually every computer platform from the mid-80s to present.
  • Science Marches On: Inverted, actually, in Oregon Trail II and its sequels. While you're limited to nineteenth-century medicines, the medical advice from your guidebook and other characters is unrealistically accurate for the period. For example, cholera being airborne was the overwhelming medical consensus of the time. The disease being waterborne was first proposed by John Snow in 1854note , and his view was extremely controversial for a while. The game, however, acts like it's already an established fact that cholera is waterborne. Also, bloodletting was a be-all-end-all treatment during the period in which the game takes place, but it's never offered as an option or even mentioned.
    • Played straight in Oregon Trail II with alkali sickness. Shortly after 1860 it was discovered that what was then called "alkali sickness" had nothing to do with alkali but ingesting white snakeroot poison. The game treats it as if it was actually alkali.
  • Sleeper Hit: According to this video "Five Unbelievably Massive Franchises You've Probably Never Heard Of", the various editions of The Oregon Trail have sold a collective 65 million copies, which is a similar amount to Battlefield and Halo.