A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Oregon Trail is set in 1800s America, at a time when passage through the fateful 2000-mile stretch of land was a lofty ambition for citizens throughout the Midwest. The original version of this game was first released in 1971 and became distributed in classrooms as a learning tool to help teach students about the real-life Oregon Trail. This version takes the education factor to the next level by providing players with storylines and context about the trail's storied history, but it also increases the realism when it comes to hunting, presenting players with a first-person shooting mini-game that renders animals motionless and with stars appearing over their heads when shot. While this version is presented with more realistic graphics than earlier versions, it is nevertheless, an engaging game representing a time in American history.
What's it about?
THE OREGON TRAIL puts players in 1800s America, through one of the most challenging and exciting real-life adventures the country has ever faced. This game itself has had a very storied history, being remade numerous times over the last 40 years. This latest version, presented with more realistic graphics, encourages players to go through the adventure multiple times, with multiple storylines to play through. One storyline is presented as a sort of race to get through the trail as fast as possible, while others focus on stories that are representative of the real issues from the 1800s, including the thrill of gold and riches on the West Coast and the struggles of family life on the trail.
Is it any good?
The Oregon Trail is the latest version of the game that has, for 40 years, provided insight to players about the trials and excitement of crossing the real-life Oregon Trail. Players can play through multiple versions of the trail with different background storylines, each representing one facet of the impacts of and reasons for embarking on the arduous journey. There is also an added gameplay element in that players actually control the driving of their wagon and must avoid obstacles along the way. It is a very well made re-invisioning of the classic computer game, and although its graphics, soundtrack, and gameplay mechanics would hardly stand up to any other modern video game, the presentation of human emotion and the adrenaline of making it to the end of the trail live up to what anyone who has played a previous version of The Oregon Trail has come to expect.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the hunting mini-game. Do you consider this an act of violence or a required means of staying alive?
Do you think you would have been able to survive if your family went across the real Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s?
Did this game teach you about history? Was it a fun way to learn?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii
- Subjects: Social Studies: events, geography, history
- Skills: Responsibility & Ethics: fiscal responsibility, learning from consequences, making wise decisions
- Price: $19.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Crave Entertainment
- Release date: December 9, 2011
- Genre: Strategy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Violence
For kids who love learning while gaming
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.