Reboot of survival game takes you on a nostalgia 'Trail'

Saturday, February 12, 2011; 3:00 PM

Reboot of survival game takes you on a nostalgia 'Trail'

The Oregon Trail video game was a staple for students in the '80s and '90s. They spent hours traveling West while trying not to contract dysentery. On Feb. 2, the Learning Company and game developer Blue Fang released a Facebook version of the classic educational game. The game is still in beta, and can lag on some computers, but mostly stays true to its roots.

Players can name members of their wagon party after their Facebook friends (or use the delightful names provided, such as Ezra Meeker), and pick their profession, date of departure and other details. Party energy, food supplies, health and wagon condition determine your overall status. As in the original game, random illness, snakebites and food poisoning can strike your group at any time, requiring you to make decisions about whether to buy medicine or tell your party member to power through. Players are also in charge of navigating river crossings, which can lead to spectacular crashes.

Mini-games required to survive in-game, such as hunting and wagon repair, cost energy to play. You can replenish your energy by resting, consuming goods or spending Trail Notes, which can cost money through the Facebook Credits system.

While it's not quite the same as the game you may remember, with its nostalgia factor and accessible platform, this Facebook game is a worthy new version of the old classic.

- Hayley Tsukayama

© 2011 The Washington Post Company