I remember the first time I died from dysentery.

Thanks to Minecraft EDU, students in 2017 can enjoy the all of the ailments one can might endure in The Oregon Trail.  The original game was created in 1974, but it still engaging and has educational value.  Yet, to students experiencing The Oregon Trail for the first time, this game may appear to be the "newest, latest and greatest".  However, many educators may remember their first trip across on the trail started by inserting a floppy disk into an Apple IIe.

What makes The Oregon Trail a new and timeless classic?  Perhaps, the game encompasses all seven of the Core Elements of Good Games, suggested by Shute and Ke.

  1. Interactive Problem Solving - The Oregon Trail is a "choose your own adventure" storybook with randomized challenges introduced to the player along the way.  To that end, the player is always trying to make the "best choice".
  2. Specific Goals - Get to Oregon, of course!
  3. Adaptive Challenges - Level of difficulty was an option introduced in later versions of The Oregon Trail.
  4. Control - Players control their destiny in TOT ... this is arguably the greatest strength of the game.
  5. Ongoing Feedback - Your Oxen have died.  Enough said.
  6. Uncertainty - The game was always randomized, so the story never fully repeats.
  7. Sensory stimuli - Look at that wagon wheel move!

While users don't have to put on a VR headset (yet) to enjoy The Oregon Trail experience, this new and classic experience is here to stay!