Lessons in Sadism from the Oregon Trail

One of my favorite games when I was little was the Oregon Trail. I played this for hours on end when I was in middle school. You would pick your wagon, pick your “family” members travelling with you, and begin your journey westward, encountering broken wagon wheels, forging rivers, famine, and various diseases. The first few times, I played it seriously, Mom, Dad and my little sister all travelled with me westward. I was excited for this journey until… WHAT? What was that? My Mom caught cholera?! Wagon headcount lessened to 3 now. Well, until we forged the river and my sister drowned. Unfortunately 5 minutes later in the game my Dad unforunately passed from being malnourished because I couldn’t accurately shoot bison/ducks/whatever popped up on the screen. It was a tough loss. After a considerable amount of heartbreak, I learned how to REALLY play the Oregon Trail. Step 1: Pick a good profession. Typically the farmer (although not the most glamorous job) was the best one to pick I think. Step 2: Fill your wagon with your worst enemies / people you strongly dislike. My wagon was always full, and I would never have enough space. Step 3: Buy cheap shit. If I remember correctly, before embarking, you are supposed to stock your wagon. I always wanted to see how badly I could screw this up, so I’d buy the cheapest stuff offered. Saw dust for breakfast? Hell yeah! Step 4: Ignore warnings. Unlike real life, the Oregon Trail would give you warnings or caution you for some events. Watch out! A stampedes coming! Be Careful! Tide is high on the river! Would warnings in real life be too much to ask for? I think not. But to have real fun in Oregon Trail, is to say, “Oh fuck it! I’m forging the river anyways! YOLO!” and let your ex best friend drown while doing so. Got an infection that needs to be treated? Well in THIS wagon, we can’t afford medicine, so let that thing take its course. Step 5: Use ammo a lot. Let it be known, this is only a rule playing Oregon Trail… not to be confused with real life. You know the part where you can hunt ducks or bison, or gazelles or zebras for food? Well, usually the best thing to do is to click a million and one times and just move your cursor around the screen. You’re bound to hit something. If not, another day without food couldn’t hurt. Step 6: Sit back and enjoy. Let the story unfold and enjoy the show as your enemies battle it out, pass away, get lost, get stampeded, etc. The gratification will be rewarding, I think. “Oh no! Mary Jane just died of thirst!” Yeah, well that’s what Mary Jane gets for stealing my kickball at recess, bitch.

Oregon Trail
Sorry ’bout it.

That being said, these steps are absolutely applicable to the real world. Step 1: Pick a good profession. AKA Do whatever makes you money! Yes, that includes resorting to the seedy underbelly of society. JK. But seriously, in the game, everyones like “Imma be the banker because they make MONEY$$!” But hello, we’re on the Oregon fucking Trail, its all irrelevant. Step 2: Fill your wagon with your worst enemies. AKA Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. How many times does this need to be reiterated? Whoever came up with that quote was a goddamn genius. Step 3: Buy cheap shit. AKA Its okay to skimp on things. Step 4: Ignore warnings. AKA #YOLO. No. But seriously. Step 5: Use ammo a lot. AKA…Hmmm… Step 5: Use ammo a lot. Step 6: Sit back and enjoy. AKA Relax. After so much working and hunting and avoiding diseases, etc. you gotta make some “me” time.

So maybe you weren’t allowed to play Oregon Trail. EVERYONE played SIMS at least once. Another opportunity to let your inner sadist shine. Of course you smiled when your SIM got frustrated, or looked like it was living in a perpetual hell. I even bet you put your SIM in the swimming pool and removed the ladder. You did, didn’t you? We all did. Wait,… right?

If I could play Oregon Trail right now, my wagon, surely would be full of ex boyfriends, terrible bosses, bad dates, annoying classmates, the homeless man who is always screaming outside my window (in NYC of course – suburbia wouldn’t allow such nonsense!), etc. Remember that time you didn’t call me back after our second date? Yeah? Well you’re about to die of diarrhea on my wagon.


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