So, it's been cold out lately, and snowing. The house I live in is pretty old and leaky, and so certain rooms suck all the heat out of the place. Nothing quite makes me feel cozier, though, than curling up at my desk while it's snowing outside and indulging in some nostalgia for a time before I was born. Everyone was asleep, so I heated up some hot water in a pan for hot chocolate to not wake anybody up. I put on a second sweatshirt and sat my laptop down at the cool desk next to the window, so I could watch snow occassionally fly by in the darkness. This was the ideal setup for a good evening. Then I slapped in my earphones and hopped on a DOS game archival site for some magical adventures.
You'd be surprised what you can find on a DOS Program Website. The place I visited, classicreload.com, had some pretty interesting software. It wasn't just DOS games, there's a handful of SEGA Genesis games on there, and I played one about a jet-powered flying motorcycle speeding over the ocean and shooting robots for a handful of seconds before clicking on a suggestion called "Safe Opening Simulator". It wasn't really a game, but more of an instructional software type thing that I assume came with a manual full of useful information, and this game served as more of a quiz on what the material.
Essentially, you were supposed to identify everything about this safe, the model, manufacturer, the exact model number of the lock, the "hand" (I don't know, I had to guess. I probably would've known if I had the manual.) and basically all the things you see at the bottom of the page. Then you'd turn the dial around, either to listen for the combination, or in the case of the safe being broken, to diagnose what tools should be used. I'm sure this all sounds very dry and academic, and it is, but there are little tonal inconsistencies, these small things, weird artifacts of tongue-in-cheek showmanship and production, that make this feel ever so slightly like a game rather than a strictly informational software.
You'll notice it immediately upon starting up the program, in the form of a shrill, eternally looping 8-bit rendition of the entire James Bond Theme. (I said they were small things, not exactly subtle things.) Then, in the selection of tools you can use, I noticed "explosives" was a choice. Now, I know in some obscure circumstances, somebody might actually use explosives, so naturally I clicked on that to see if it was a choice, but of course, that was the wrong choice as clearly I had only forgotten the combination, and this didn't call for an explosive charge at all.
Instead of the encyclopedic explanation as to why I shouldn't have chosen explosives in this situation, or even as simple as the game giving me a "wrong" noise and making me make another choice, like all the other times I guessed wrong, something else happened. I actually got to watch a little animation of a black cartoon bomb going off and then the funeral march played. In my carelessness, I became just another headline in the weird local newspapers: "Milwaukee Man Forgets Combination to Safe, Collapses House with Dynamite"
Perhaps I'm just reading too much into silly rabbitholes, but the personality and humor of this little program made me want to know more. So I looked up the company that the game lists as its distributor. I didn't expect to find much, but, oddly enough, the company's actually still around!
It's a little sad that a lot of their software is gone so recently, they seemed like a very interesting online resource that I found too late. But I guess it's an interesting tidbit that they're still here. A lot of the distributors for games like these just straight up aren't around anymore! It would've been a mystery forever.
Though I'm sure you didn't come to a post like this just to hear me wax pedagogical about silly budget software from the late 80s. You clicked on the title to hear about games. And, oh man, do I have games to play. Before I get to my LP of the evening, I have a few games that I feel are owed a special shoutout. The first of which is Hoyle Card games.
It may not look like much. Especially not by the standards of today. It was a weird thing to play, even back when I was playing it. I know card games like Euchre, Klondike, and Gin Rummy aren't exactly the new hotness, but sometimes you can't go wrong with classics. Back in the IRC days, every once in a while a handful of us would use the game's hidden internet capabilities to play a few card games. This was in that kinda post-apocalypse zone after Xyzzy was nuked and before the advent of Cardcast, so this was one of the few games we could play together. Now that Cardcast is gone, it's all we have again. Here you can see Miz, Cricket, Dr. Brain, and I got together to play one last painstakingly slow game of Old Maid for old time's sake.
And I should give one more special mention to a dumb RPG I used to waste hours on in my school days on DOS archival sites, because it was one of the few actual proper video games you could find on unblocked sites that would run on your chromebook. I feel the mists of nostalgia wash over me just looking at this page.
Man, I'd always have such a whale of a time with this game in high school. Guiding my team of 4 adventurers through the most perilous journeys! It was primitive, by the standards of games I had played before at that age, but there was such good storytelling. Really made you feel heroic, y'know? I know what you're thinking. That opening cutscene might look pretty cliche by now, but back then, storytelling like this was very new! This was one of the first RPGs to use in-game cutscenes, and it would've been pretty revolutionary if the game caught on.
Now, I couldn't sit here and walk you through everything because it's a very big game, and I don't want to spoil the experience. But this was a moment I always loved, the Minnetarr was one of my favorite characters.
The Final Boss was pretty intimidating, and, in true 90s RPG fashion, the way to beat him was actually pretty obscure unless you went out of your way to buff your party until they were broken. Even then, he'd adapt to meet your level. I never really beat him before, and even though the internet has basically dissected every game at this point, this one is just obscure enough that the final boss is kind of urban legend territory. Nobody except dataminers have seen the final cutscene, and there are people out there who still insist that L?~~_??????O???????????????????R??^?`¯????????????D?????? ????¨¨??????????????O?????¯"¯????????W????????^??´??O?????"?????????C?~??????????????? is unbeatable.
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.
Glad the van is already brown.
I generally start working on the next one more or less right after the last one. I'm not sure I can stick to an actual schedule, because both of these posts were meant to come out the day before I posted them.
May 26th, 1848
Dear diary, it feels like it's been awhile, even though it's only been a few hours! Frankly, I'm surprised this trip didn't somehow dimensionally collapse in on itself in the time that I've been gone. But despite not having moved an inch forward since this morning, we got a lot done! We've quantified our supplies, and discussed a list of "travel songs" that I'm not allowed to play on the radio.
I'll write them all down for future reference:
On the Road Again (there are no fucking roads)
500 Miles (1000 miles is only half way)
Sweet Home Alabama (that's behind us)
Highway to Hell (not very encouraging in these circumstances)
Riders On the Storm (We don't need to think about murderous hitchikers in a west before the law.)
I wasn't paying attention to most of them, but these were the ones I wanted to play the most, so I'll just avoid these. As far as I'm aware, they're going to allow me to play Livin' on a Prayer once when we leave Fort Hall. And nobody said anything against the Snoop Dogg version of Riders on the Storm either.
Anyway, with nobody here willing to trade, and nothing to hunt (the ashen rains of Chimney Rock seem to drive most of the animals away) we're just gonna keep going along to Laramie.
May 28th, 1848
I think I'm running out of roadtrip music. Most of my travel-relevant choices seem to be "in poor taste". It looked like the others were starting to notice after hearing Paradise City for the third time, so I went out to see if there were any wild phonographs I could catch. Unfortunately, all I found was a chocolate piano, which I shot before it could run away. Let's hope it doesn't melt.
May 29th, 1848
It's been a day... I've been chased through the woods by the Deer's associates. I can't risk leading them back to my friends... And I can't risk alerting The Buffalo so I've been trying to take them down discretely. I've managed to take down 3 or 4 of them, and made a sled out of their bones to help carry the chocolate piano back with me. But the deer thirst for revenge, they will not leave me alone... And The Buffalo hears their death throes.
May 30th, 1848
I think I've evaded most of the deer. I shot a few of them to attract them to the sound, then went back in their direction and spent the night sleeping in a ravine. I don't hear them anymore, I should be safe. But, now that it's all totaled, I think we have more food than we started with! Just not the right kind, apparently.
Malk seems to have recovered from his broken leg enough to walk around using a very thorough metal brace that the gang made out of that steam combine. But, now his gums are bleeding. I guess he didn't trust Cricket's fruit either. We're gonna have to find some fruit before his shins rot off, because, shit, he literally just got his shin unfucked yesterday.
May 31th, 1848
A thief came in the night and stole 10 bullets! Well, he stole 9 before Cricket started chirping and scaring him off. Somebody must've shot him, because that's what woke me up, but then he fell off a cliff. None of us were willing to climb down and retrieve our stuff, so I guess he's just gonna lay there until for the archeologists to find. I marked down where the body should be on our map, just in case we can make an interesting documentary about a 180-year-old unsolved murder.
Who the fuck steals bullets one at a time like fucking raspberries!? Seriously!
June 1st, 1848
We've reached Fort Laramie!
May has been an eventful month, the past week or so, I've had updates for nearly every day! The following weeks will hopefully be more peaceful. The folks at this fort even seem especially *quiet*. The people in this fort all use clay cookware and speak in hushed whispers. Whenever we talk out loud, we get dirty looks.
There were stories of The Buffalo. They only got bigger, the deeper into the plains you went, and I believed them. Many days ago, the shapes I started to see cresting the horizon were like mobile mountains. I instinctively knew what they were- As that enormous haunch bigger than one of our cows belonged to none other than one of these comparatively miniscule creatures further east. I know that The Buffalo are watching. Scouring the land with those eyes for any sign of life in their domain. Looking, barely moving, like those Watchers in The Night Land. Shit, that won't be written for another 64 years!
The silent fort-dwellers are all horrified about the gun shots they heard less than a day away from here... The Buffalo followed loud noises. They would be here soon. I would've offered to trade something with them for fruit, but we had already worn our welcome thin by arriving with our gas-powered car engine. Malk had to suffer in silence as he filled both of their outhouses with torrential diarrhea. I didn't know it was possible to shit anything other than gravel after this much meat, but it was quiet enough in this fort to hear the muffled sounds of liquid against liquid all the way in the bunk building. The fortress medic actually ducked in to give him shots of opium to quiet his pained scurvy shit grunts. When Malk came back he looked like a third of himself, drenched in sweat. He immediately drank 4 gallons of water before collapsing on the cot we laid out for him. I hope he can hold out until we next get a chance to trade... It's 190 miles to our next stop.
June 4th, 1848,
Malk says he feels fine, but he's started bleeding out of his face and fingertips, so I went out looking for fruit. The shadows of the mountains are getting closer every day, so I didn't stay long. My heart jumped every time I stepped on a branch.
June 8th, 1848,
On my daily foraging attempt, I ran into some weird homeless guy with a pan on his head who gave me an apple. It was bruised and tasted pretty bitter, so I ate it myself. Malk deserves better apples than this. All I could find was BORIO, though.
June 11th, 1848,
We've reached Independence Rock! It's very strong.
Unfortunately, nobody's here to trade with us. They must have left when they saw The Buffalo circling...
June 12th, 1848,
There are abandoned wagons all along the way. the nearest mountain darkens the sky. We haven't seen another living traveler in weeks- Everyone has either fucked off, gone into hiding, or died trying. We heard gunshots up ahead of us. When we passed by, we found that a man had put down his family, and himself... Far be it from us to pass up some clothes and a free gun, though.
The Mountain moves ever more quickly- If you watch carefully, you can almost see it slowly turning his behemoth head.
June 13th, 1848,
We've shut down the engine. We dare not make a sound. Our oldest and strongest cows have been tasked with helping us push the van. The Buffalo stalks us over every horizon, and the sinewy hump of its neck blackens the sun like an eclipse. We hide behind the crests of hills, hurrying from one to the next whenever the light from its bloodshot searchlight gaze fades- for only each brief blink of its eye.
June 14th, 1848,
BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO.
June 16th, 1848,
We've escaped the Buffalo, for now, by heading to the South Pass. They weren't kidding, this place really is south. So far south, that the Emperor Penguins have jade brooches.
I think we'll have to take a rest here until the proverbial heat dies down. This place seems to be another spot that The Buffalo avoid.
Phew, sorry guys, I haven't played Oregon Trail in a while. Life has just been really weird ever since I moved to Milwaukee to escape the Corn Goblins.
So, this is the place I'm at right now. I'll be able to go home and play Oregon Trail after I've had dinner. Everybody in Milwaukee still has their masks on, but that's not the only thing that hasn't changed. As you can see, the entire city is still in Source 2. I've been waiting in line at this taco truck for a while, but- Is that guy trying to haggle over a bag of chips and a toblerone? What the fuck kind of taco truck is this!? Y'know what, I have food at home.
It looks like the riots are still going. At least it's not as bad as it could be, last time I couldn't get to my building. As long as I have my crowbar and don't piss off that racist guy with a samurai sword, I'll be safe.
Pardon the mess, I'm still not quite done cleaning out after the last guy. I sleep here in the livingroom because the other rooms aren't suitable for inhabitation yet, but y'know. That's the hidden cost of renting this much space for 25 bucks a month. Anyway, I'll just finish these leftovers and then get right back to the ol' Oregon Trail.
I'm still not really sure what was in that cow can. But it was certainly cow-flavored.
Well, this is my new gaming setup, built specifically for playing Oregon Trail on the highest settings. I met this guy at a duck restaurant who seemed to really know what he was doing. It wasn't cheap, and as you can tell I had to cut some costs elsewhere to afford it. But I wanted to get only the best, most system-authentic screenshots for this LP. I know you could probably tell by the little graphical defects in the original that my laptop wasn't up to the task!
Anyway, I put some snacks and stuff on that side of the couch so it would be ready if my friends came over to play Oregon Trail, but as you can see by the out-of-date CYS flag over there, not even the Amazon guy can get here right now. Ah well, if you have potato chips and a couch, you can pretend to sit here watching the game in real time!
Of course, the game is a little bit difficult for me to see from over here.
That's why I'll be putting it up on the big screen!
Of course, you're not here, so I'll be posting the screenshots for you to put on your own TV in full size here.
Hold on a second, why is malk driving? He's suffering from LATE-STAGE SCURVY! He's in no shape to drive anywhere!
Ah, wait, I see. He's got medicine.
I don't know if the developers knew that back in 1985, but I figured the microdose of vitamin c might be enough to keep him alive just a bit longer. Anyway, I'm sure you guys didn't come to this thread to listen to me gab on about this. I'll get back to showing you the in-game diary entries!
June 22th, 1848,
When last I left the camp, Malkalack was nearly in pieces. They had to tie him to the bed because he wouldn't stop flailing and screaming at hallucinations. He kept us up into the wee hours of the morning, always yelling, "THE BUFFALO! IT SAW US! IT KNOWS WHERE WE ARE! THE BUFFALO WILL FOLLOW US! HE WATCHES ME FROM WITHIN.". It wasn't the volume that kept me up- he was pretty hoarse after the first night of doing this, but it was extremely disturbing that he might have been right... What then? What if the Buffalo had seen us? I shudder at the thought. Even just thinking about that dead family we looted on the road gives me the creeps. They knew more about the fate that awaited them than we hopefully ever will.
At any rate, the good news is that we managed to rouse him to sanity by giving him his boof... He doesn't seem to have any memory of the night terrors that possessed him over the past few days. But he can also barely walk. Since our sleep schedules are now fucked up, we decided to drive in shifts to make up for the distance we lost by camping out in South Pass and scouring the entire mountainside for fruit.
What's worse, is during a particularly rainy day, Dark wandered out of camp on the lookout for berries, then slipped and fell into Malkalack's unburied diarrhea hole. We rushed to his aid and tried to clean him off as quickly as possible, but it was too late, he started showing signs mere hours later. Looks like he was infected with Malk's Scurvy as well. I decided it was time for me to take my leave. Seeing as this shit was all my fault, I wasn't going to return until I found something with vitamin c in it. But it's been a really long day, I spent half the remaining scouting time finding a good tree to sleep under.
June 23rd, 1848,
Well, today was a fucking wash. Not even a single berry to be found. The only fruit I've seen in months was that fucking gross apple! And there was nobody to trade with, either. It was stupid of me to swear never to return until I found some vitamin c! Just when I was starting to re-evaluate my entire future as a homeless woodsman in 1848, I heard music. And I saw woodland animals strangely congregated around a kiosk of sorts. I clutched all the money I managed to bring with me, and brought myself to the back of the line. I didn't notice much about my fellow patrons, aside the fact that most of them were deer, I was too busy trying to get a look over their shoulders at whatever was in the crates behind this service desk.
I don't know whether I should've been more or less surprised that the merchant sitting on this desk was a badger. I've sort of just been getting used to how wild it is out here in fuckin' Wyoming. He seemed to intuit that I was new here, probably because of my opposable thumbs, and introduced himself...
~this diary entry is interrupted by a cutscene~
"Howdy," Said the badger, "The name's Badger. Bernard Badger. Sole representative of the Mountain Merchants in all The Eastern Plains. If you ever wondered how the animals survive in the harsh wilds of Wyoming in a climate where there's not any fruit anywhere, whatsoever, that's because we give it to them."
"I thought most creatures didn't need fruit because they made their own vitamin c!" Sentinel said with confusion.
"Yes, but you saw what happened back there. Mexicans don't normally get scurvy, but your werecapy friend was able to pass on his scurvy pathogens with his shit! It might even pass on to whoever else you're travelling with if you're not careful!"
"How did you-"
"We're wise woodland folk, we can all smell a civilised animal with scurvy from a mile away. Which, coincidentally, is the distance we've been apart this whole time."
Sentinel was clearly not in the mood to question any of this. He slapped his money on the table with great urgency, "Look, this is all the money I brought with me. I left them with only 60 dollars to get by. How much fruit will this get me?"
The badger tched and shook his head, "Hm, well, we're fresh out of most fruit for today. But I do have this pizza. The tomato paste used in its construction should be able to help treat scurvy."
"How many can I get for $115?"
The badger took a long drag on his pipe, as if doing math in his head, "Hmm, you'd be able to get... This one."
"I can't help it. Pizzas are really fucking hard to make when you don't have hands. And also we're animals, these boxes have to be taken to the top of the mountains manually every week in order to get frozen. The labor hours that go into this are insane."
"What about just tomato paste?"
"Ew!? MY FRIENDS ARE DYING! I NEED MEDICINE!"
"Sorry, we don't carry tomato paste on its own. We only put it on frozen pizza."
"I can't afford your fucking frozen pizza!"
"If you have a problem with my prices, I have two people you can 'negotiate' with," The badger said, as two grizzly bears in security shirts stepped out from a cave behind the kiosk, "But I'm not a haggler. Out of the line please, there are customers behind you."
"YOU PRICK! YOU SWINDLER! THIS IS EXTORTION!" Sentinel said, grabbing his money and clenching it in his enraged fist. By the time he could put it in his pocket, the bears on either side of him grabbed his arms and started dragging him away.
"Easy now, let's not get violent." said Badger.
The bears didn't seem to fully understand english, but they did seem to growl instinctively in solidarity with Badger's thinly veiled threats. Sentinel panicked and reached for his gun, but the bear on that arm noticed this and shoved him out of the way, causing Sentinel to pull it out and panic-fire in the air! This scared away all of Bernard's other customers.
"You NINCOMPOOP!" Bernard snarled, "You scared away all my other customers!"
"Good!" Sentinel shouted in rage, "You were probably just gonna SCAM them all anyway!"
"We don't take kindly to SLANDER in these parts, birdman!" The badger said, his voice dripping with tobacco smoke and malice in equal measure, "Boris, Parsely, kill this insolent cretin!"
"I WILL NOT ALLOW MY FRIENDS TO DIE FOR YOUR GREED!" Sentinel said, working himself up into even greater rage as the two bears made moves to surround him, "YOU PILFEROUS PIZZAMONGER! YOU PRICE-GOUGING MUNG-MUNCHER! FUCK YOU!"
With that last 'Fuck you!', the Penguinite wound his arm back and decked Boris in the face with such force that his head twisted around at an unnatural angle, leaving Parsely standing there with a stunned and crestfallen look as his coworker fell to the ground in agony. Bernard dropped his pipe with fear, and turned to run away, but Sentinel managed to grab him by the throat. The badger's claws clattered uselessly against the gauntlets that Sent was totally wearing this whole time.
"You- You can't do this!" Badger choked, "Do you know who I am!?"
"YOU'RE A STRIPY LITTLE BASTARD!" Sentinel spat, "NOW TELL ME WHERE YOU KEEP YOUR MOST EXPENSIVE PIZZAS, OR I'LL SWING YOU AROUND AND SLAM YOU AGAINST A TREE UNTIL YOUR TAIL BREAKS OFF!"
"YOU'RE A MANIAC! You hear me!? *cough* a FUCKING MANIAC!"
"They're in the barrel... Over there!..."
Sentinel dropped the badger where he was and went for the barrel, he began rolling it downhill, in the direction of the wagon path where the van likely was. Bernard Badger slowly got himself to his feet and cried out, "You've made powerful enemies today, Birdman! You cannot even comprehend the extent of your crimes, can you!? You SPUNGLEMUNDOUS CLOWN!"
Sentinel was already pissed, and, not one to let such a grave insult go lightly, he turned around and emptied the other barrel of his pistol into Bernard.
And this was the end of Sentinel's activities on June 23rd.