So I know I said I'd actually be Let's Playing a game the other night. I actually forgot to do that, my bad. And, in all actuality, it'll be more of a "revisiting". You see, I did an LP like this a long time ago and it was pretty fun, but it's been a long time and most of the new members will be unfamiliar with it, so I decided I'd do a new one.
The game is, of course, the Oregon Trail.
Yes, you've played the Oregon Trail I'm sure. Everyone who's been to an elementary school computer lab from 1980something to 2009 has. Of course, back in my day, we did the "updated" version made in the 90s with medicine, foraging, and FMV, but that always felt a bit overwhelming to a kid. As somebody obessed with being thorough, a game that strongly implies you need to read through this entire manual on the 1860s time period in order to know what to do, that just wasn't my flavor. You get such a limitted time in the computer lab, and I didn't wanna spend it learning how to treat 8 diseases I didn't have supplies for.
There was a fun racing aspect to it, though, where the teacher said the first kid to reach Oregon would get 5 jolly ranchers, but nobody ever got that far because we didn't have enough computer lab days and ultimately Mrs. D was a fucking fraud. That being said, you really can't beat the simplicity of a quick game of the regular Oregon Trail, from back in the 80s. And there were a few little details that just seemed to make things more wild.
Anyway, I'm sure you all know the plot of Oregon Trail by now, but I'll transcribe the opening cutscene.
It all starts in the futuristic year of 2021, where an Elven Stockbroker named Mizal was typing busily away at her stocks machine, yelling at phones, keeping her dragon from getting entangled in the ticker tape, etc. when she heard a pounding on her office door. On the other side was a Penguinite, with wrinkled business clothes and his tie half undone.
"Sent, what the hell!? You don't work here!" Said Mizal.
"I do cocaine and yell at phones, I have all the qualifications to be a stock trader!" Said Sent.
"But you don't trade stocks!"
"I fail to see how that's relevant!" Sent said, "I didn't come to trade stocks!"
"Then why did you interrupt my highly important business activities!?"
"Mizal," Sent said, wiping crack off his beak dramatically, "I have a business proposition."
"This better be good."
"Remember that Time Machine I had that was retconned years ago?"
"I wasn't around back when you were this character."
"Well, I stole another one! Some alien hippies were using this camper van to travel through time and space."
"You committed a crime? How is that supposed to make money!?"
"Well, I'm sure you know, in the 1800s, money was worth 30 times as much as it is now!"
"How does that help us? The exchange rate on any money we bring back would be horrible!"
"That's just the thing. Back in the day, you could buy 30 times as much stuff! I bought a trailer, and we can use that to bring back everything we bought in the past, effectively tridecatoupling our money!"
"... Assuming you can sell all that?"
"People go apeshit for this stuff. You ever seen Antiques Roadshow?"
"I don't watch Public Television anymore, I'm a professional Capitalist now."
"Look, we just need your investment..."
"... How much money have you poured into this?"
"Well, my associates and I have been pretty excited so far. Cricket sold Corgi's Switch for $280, Malk threw in $100, and Dark threw in his life savings of 409..."
"Oh..." Mizal said, lifting her glasses and rubbing the bridge of her nose, "So you plan to go into the past with 400 dollars?"
"Or more, if you'd like to invest with us!"
Mizal eyed the birdman with suspicion, "What do you plan to do when you get to the past?"
"We'll be buying antiques, of course!... I mean, they won't be antiques yet, but they will be as soon as we get back, that'll multiply the value even further. It's practically like squaring the return on your investment!"
"Have you done your research on this?"
"No, but I know a lot about cowboys!"
"Look, I'll double your investment with 400 dollars of my own, but no more than that. And I'm coming with, I don't trust you yokels not to fuck it up."
"Oh, of course. All the investors get to come with!"
"I'm going to have to crowd into a camper van with all of you?"
"For a few days, at most!"
"Ugh, alright, it'll be bearable. For the stocks."
"FOR THE STONKS!"
And so, back in time they went. But not everything went smoothly. Before reaching the obligatory 88 miles per hour, one of the tires hit a rock, which sent them tumbling on a loop through time... Sent was the first to notice that certain parts of the dashboard screen had gone dark. Parts were missing.
"Mizal," Sentinel declared, "I have good news and bad news."
"You have what?"
"The bad news is, the Wormhole Module that allows the van to travel through time, uh... Fell out."
"What the fuck, Sent!? You've literally killed us all!"
"It's fine, it's fine, the aliens probably expected this to happen. I have a device that gives us the latitude and longitude coordinates of wherever it lands."
"You expected this?"
"It's 45.3364° N, 122.6050° W." Said Sent.
"That's Oregon City!" Cricket helpfully chirped.
"Where are we now?" Mizal asked.
Sent looked at the crooked road sign behind Mizal, which their bus had crashed into after plummetting out of the sky, "Uh... Independence Missouri?"
"Independence Missouri..." Mizal's voice dripped with seething rage.
"The C is backwards..."
"Sent, do you know how far Independence Missouri is from Oregon?"
"Well, pretty far I'd imagine. But hey, you've read more pioneer diaries than anybody in this van! This should be no problem!"
"Sentinel, if we don't get back to the present day, I'm going to bludgeon you to death with a cast iron pan."
"That's a not a constructive investor's attitude," Cricket chirped again, "We're only a fledgeling time travel company!"
Sentinel fearfully pointed up at Cricket's statement.
The sounds of someone waking up in the back of the van could be heard. Malk jumped out of the side door, with his hat on and his six shooters swinging, "WOOOEE! Are we in the 1860s yet?"
And so, the journey begins!
The rest of the adventure will of course be recorded in the diary of the Wagon Leader, Sentinel.
May 1th, 1848
Dear Diary, I swear this isn't a gay emotional thing, all the cool pioneers in the 1800s are doing it, and so I have to do it too if I want to keep up appearances. Anyway, with that out of the way, I may as well update you on what happened today.
Mizal pushed past us and immediately took all 4 hundred dollar bills. I didn't question it because, honestly, she should've had the money anyway. It's not like I'd know what to buy for a 2000 mile trip! She seems to have taken this news the hardest out of all of us, but to be fair, some of us are well-acclimated to these things. Cricket regularly has to drive 4 hours through the snow both ways to get to the hobby lobby where she buys food, and Dark lives in an adobe hut with no plumbing, so this wasn't the biggest change. Malk was disappointed that the South hadn't seceded yet, but came to terms with things quickly. When we learned it was 1848, he muttered something about how America still has "42 good years left", whatever that means. I'm not sure he was thinking about slavery.
We drove up to the general store, getting no shortage of bizarre looks from the Missourans. Some of them were dumbfounded by the strange rumbling machine we were travelling in, and others were mortified by the fact that a bunch of respectable-looking caucasians were letting a furry travel with them. Alas, such is the trouble with time periods like this. We are beset by prejudice on all sides.
Mizal had packed away just about everything she thought we needed for a long journey. Several hundred pounds of specially preserved food, a lot of different spare changes of clothes- But when I asked her where the cows were, she seemed confounded.
Silly elf, did she think this van ran on the power of friendship? Well, it does, in a way, but both our car (and cricket) are fueled by fresh dairy, so if we didn't bring any cows with us, we would surely perish. We settled on a herd of 8, just to be sure. I also convinced her to buy some fancy steam farming equipment from an eccentric inventor type, and scrapped it for parts, just so we'd have spares for the van. I'm sure setting back the advancement of agricultural technology in the South won't have any noticeable effects on the timeline. We also bought 200 bullets, because lord knows The West only gets more wild the further you go.
Our expenses totalled to 8 bovine friends - $160
300 lbs of food - $60
15 changes of clothes - $150
20 boxes of ammo - $40
Parts from a steam-powered combine - $90
Which leaves us with a bill of 500! Say, that still gives us 300 bucks to invest with when we get to Oregon! We're really not doing so bad. With all that packed up, we set off on our journey.
May 1th, 1848: ADDENDUM
God dammit. The instant I put my foot on the gas, SOMETHING had to fuck up irreparably. Ah well, I guess hearing his screams after running him over is better than travelling 8 miles and realizing we forgot him somewhere.
May 3rd, 1848
I've been informed that "I'm Gonna Be" by the Proclaimers is not an appropriate song to play on the radio at times like this.
May 4th, 1848
We made it to Kansas River Crossing, and in record time! Now that there's barely anything left worth celebrating on May the 4th, I think that it's as fine a day as ever to declare this RIVER CROSSING DAY! And hey, now that I'm here, it's officially a tradition over 100 years older than Star Wars! So there you go.
Mizal foolishly suggested spending some of our hard-earned investment money on a ferry to get our van across, but little did she know, I had already brought several hundred cans of Flex Seal to spray the underside of our van with. Never leave home without it! A couple of hours spent applying a fresh coat to our doors and undercarriage, and we were fit to float right over the river!
May 5th, 1848
A stranger came by to help us chip the flex seal off our door so we could get out, but when we opened it, we looked at the wagon behind us and found that he'd stolen all but 2 of our sets of clothing! What a prick. I considered turning the car around to hunt him down, but we decided speed was gonna be key here. It would suck if somebody found the time machine and broke it.
May 7th 1848
We reached Big Blue River Crossing, and we're tired. That despicable fashion bandit has really done a number on our group. We're tired of having to do laundry every day, and we're especially tired of Dark walking around naked all the time, so we tried to do some trading. I talked to all the other travellers who were holed up at this river, and it seems like they were all fresh out of spare clothes. But I did find a guy willing to trade us a new cow in exchange for 109 pounds of food! Now THAT'S a deal if I ever heard it. I gave him the food straight away.
... I now realize we only have 101 pounds of food left for the rest of this journey.
Ah well, I'll just prepare us to float across the river again and hope nobody notices!
May 9th, 1848
It's only 118 miles to Fort Kearney!... Only. It takes so long to drive when there aren't any fucking roads! I don't know how we're gonna get this damn thing to go over 88 miles again, short of driving it off a cliff. At least at the fort there'll probably be a place to buy some fucking clothes. Cricket also found a couple bushels of wild fruit on one of our rest stops, but I'm not sure if they're safe for mammals since I've only ever seen Cricket eat them.
Oh, shit, just realized we only have 86 pounds of food, not counting the possibly dangerous Cricketberries. I better spend today hunting so nobody gets mad at me.
May 10th, 1848
I saw that clothes-stealing motherfucker again! That despicable goblin was wearing 4 pairs of pants at the same time and chortling to himself like a bastard! Wasted 4 bullets trying to take him down, but he was too speedy. Now I've failed to solve our clothes situation AND our food situation. I simply can't return to the vehicle until I have something to bring back.
May 11th, 1848
I tracked a deer through the forest. I got the feeling he knew somebody was on his trail, and that hunch turned out to be correct. The deer was dispatched easily enough, but escaping the private defensive compound with his corpse was another matter. The encounter lasted 2 long hours, carrying the poor bastard over my shoulders as he bled out. I had to take down 6 of his bodyguards as they charged at me, I wasn't so lucky with the 7th.
I dropped the gun because my hands were so slick with blood, and then I dropped the deer because his henchman nearly gutted me with his charge. It was a barehanded fight to the death in the library, as each of us frantically grappled to reach the gun first. I eventually managed to get my footing- it was for a brief second, but it was just long enough to smash him over the head with a chair and snap off one of his antlers. He was dazed, but as he fell down, he turned to the gun... I dove after it, but it was too late- His hooves were already on the trigger. I was a fraction of a second away from death, but I remember waking up with my hand around that broken antler- And the pointy end stuck in his throat.
Unfortunately, this was all 5 miles away from the van, so I was forced to only take one deer back to the van with me. They had eaten all of cricket's berries by the time I came back, so there was much rejoicing!
May 12th, 1848
We rejoiced for all of 5 minutes before realizing that I had just made one of our 2 extra sets of clothes basically unusable. I also had to wash myself off with hand soap using just the sink for a few hours, forcing Malk to poop outside. Apparently, Dark didn't even know we had a toilet before today. At some point during the day, I stopped the van to investigate some weird noises. Turns out, it was a GIANT buffalo! We should really be all set on food for a while.
May 15th, 1848
Sweet mercy, we've finally arrived at FORT KEARNEY!
The locals were nice enough, but everything in Fort Kearney is more expensive than it should be. I guess supplies are scarce this far out in the wilderness. We bought 10 sets of clothing regardless, because the unsanitary horrors we've been forced to endure taught us the true necessity for clothes. Dark had gone feral by now and we couldn't get him to wear them again until it got cold.
We shared trail stories with the fort folks by the fire that night. They seemed a lot more worried about this trail stuff than we were- Not even in the responsible Mizal way. They said there were horrors out west. Things unheard of by science. That the west really did get wilder the further out you went. They weren't very specific about what that all entailed, though.
We only have 175 dollars left after all that shopping, but it should keep us held over until we get to Oregon. I mean, that's 5,000 bucks in today's money!
May 17th, 1848
I told Butterscotch not to play on the rocks, but they didn't listen! Now one of our cows is injured! 4 wheel drive really burns through milk, so I'm glad we already have 8 other cows to help us keep this van moving. It's still difficult trying to convince Mizal that our new friend was worth giving away half our food unnanounced and then disappearing for 2 days, but with the way Lola stepped up today, how could Mizal still be mad?
May 19th, 1848
All that flex seal really gummed up the works, I think. The van's axle had built up so much heat that when I looked under us to see why an entire back wheel snapped off, the metal was still glowing orange. We spent the whole day scraping the stuff off the bottom of the camper and I found a sturdy enough steel bar in our pile of scrap to fix it.
May 22st, 1848
Our food's getting low again, we only have 126 pounds of that giant buffalohock left. I'll have to go hunting again.
Today's outing resulted in failure. I shot a lot, but none of it was edible, it was just Indians.
May 23th, 1848
They keep attacking our wagon! Bastards. No matter how many atrocities we commit, they just keep trying to stop us from crossing this land!
One of them choked to death saying some gibberish about the Forbidden Lands, but I don't take much stock in it. He was probably just trying to psych us out.
May 25rd, 1848
Holy shit, I'm not even sure buffalo are supposed to get to this size! I thought it was freaky when that one buffalo chop was big enough to fill up most of the trailer, but a buffalo of this size... Is sort of bothersome. I've never seen a buffalo like this before.
May 26st, 1848
Here we are at Chimney Rock! This seems like a good place to rest awhile... The Buffalo seem to avoid this place.