The Oregon Trail on Facebook

Common Sense Media says

Classic educational sim gets the social game treatment.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
10
11
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13
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most of the quests are designed to help your wagon caravan make it to Oregon by making repairs, finding food, healing sicknesses, and guiding them through treacherous terrain.

Positive role models

The characters that appear in the game are typically helpful, and players also get to interact with famous historical figures.

Ease of play

The controls are simple and explained through tutorials. The hunting mini-game requires moderate reflexes.

Violence

Players can buy guns to fend off bandits, and can also shoot animals for food in a hunting mini-game. When shot, the animals turn into pieces of meat.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Like most Facebook games, there are two types of cash: one that is earned in the game and one that must be purchased with real money or by participating in offers. The premium currency can be used to instantly refill stamina and energy, purchase special items, unlock content earlier, and select the best outcomes in multiple choice situations.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Players can visit saloons and talk to the bartender.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Oregon Trail is a Facebook adaptation of the classic educational sim for PC that lets kids experience what it was like to lead a wagon train west from Missouri to Oregon in the 1800s. The game is free to play, but players can spend real-world cash or participate in special offers to advance more quickly. Players can buy guns to fend off bandits, and there's a mini-game that lets them hunt for food by shooting animals to turn them into pieces of meat. Characters can die in the game from starvation or disease. While this game will be attractive to kids as young as age 9, since it is on Facebook, which has an age gate of 13, they will not be able to play.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

THE OREGON TRAIL adapts the popular classroom PC game for Facebook by adding social gaming features like friends, online leaderboards, actions that require energy to perform, and bonuses that can only be unlocked by purchasing Facebook Credits. Players guide a wagon train of settlers travelling west across the American frontier. Along the way, you'll decide how to respond to random events like stampeding buffalo, thunderstorms, river crossings, and companions falling ill. You'll also manage supplies and decide which route to take. You can hunt for food, repair the wagon, and search for special items by playing three mini-games.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In the Facebook version of The Oregon Trail, actions require energy and stamina to perform, which are reflected on meters. Once both meters are depleted, you can't continue until they are recharged, which can take a few hours of real time or can happen instantly by buying the game's premium currency, Trail Notes. As a result, where the PC version of the game emphasized planning and decision-making, the Facebook version of The Oregon Trail is less about choosing the best response to the situation and more about balancing energy, stamina, and food until you reach the next checkpoint. Choosing the best outcome to a situation typically involves spending Trail Notes. This is a major shift in the game, and one that makes it highly commercial.

The Oregon Trail is still packed with interesting historical information and has a polished and fun appearance, but the social features designed to entice players to fork over real-world cash serve to make the game more tedious and less fun than the original.

Online interaction: Players can see which of their Facebook friends are also playing the game without having to manually invite them. Friends can send each other messages and view their progress along the trail on an overhead map. Before setting out, players can select any of their Facebook friends to be part of the wagon caravan.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the history of the frontier. Why were so many settlers heading west? What kinds of hardships did they face?

  • Talk about what life was like back in the 1800s. What kinds of things did people do differently?

  • Discuss some of the famous historical figures featured in the game. What important contributions did they make to American culture and history?

  • Why do you think this classic educational kids' game was brought to a platform that is exclusively for teens and adults? Why are more and more Facebook games being produced?

Game details

Platforms:Facebook
Available online?Not available online
Developer:The Learning Company
Release date:February 2, 2011
Genre:Simulation
ESRB rating:NR for (Facebook)

This review of The Oregon Trail on Facebook was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byLayneE February 17, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Good re-vamp of the old version!

I'd put the age lower, but TECHNICALLY kids shouldn't be on facebook. But parents, remember Oregon Trail? It's pretty much the same darn thing.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages

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