Clack clack whunk
There I was, playing another round of Oregon Trail. I was about six years old, typing away on my school’s amazing Apple ][ computer. My time spent in the library trying to get my band of settlers from Missouri to Oregon was pivotal and shaped my future life experience with computers, Apple, and gaming.
Fast forward many, many years. I’m playing Organ Trail (iOS version here), a wink-and-nod knockoff on an Android tablet, a personal computing device with exponential power and capabilities over that old Apple ][ and uses a touch-sensitive screen instead of a mechanical keyboard.
For $4.99 ($2.99 if you buy before July 23, 2013), you and four make-believe friends can travel from the east coast, down to Texas, and the west coast. Along the way you’ll have to scavenge for resources, repair your busted station wagon, fight off bikers, and run away from zombie animal stampedes.
And of course, you will have to make those tough decisions about what to do when someone in your group gets bitten by a zombie.
One of the reasons I love the zombie genre so much is that it helps us shed a critical eye to our social conventions and our own personal morality. For example, the first time someone in my group got bitten it was my buddy Tank. And as much as I loved him I couldn’t have his well-trained, armed forces veteran, juggernaut ass going Zed on us. I put him down instantly.
A few games later, Sedagive? got bitten. Keep in mind this is a random event, it just happens. Guess who is still infected, sleeping right next to the rest of our group and eating food with us?
That’s right. My girl. I can’t kill her, even if she’s just a bunch of pixels in a silly ass game.
Anyway, the game is a lot of fun except for the combat portions. You’ll have to fight off zombies to scavenge for food, parts and money, and you’ll scavenge a lot in this game. You will also have to shoot bandits in a hostage situation (apparently; I haven’t had this happen yet), or if you need to finish off a wounded party member.
Regardless, the mechanism is the same: draw a line with your finger from your target to your character. One, two or three dots will appear to help you aim, depending on the game’s difficulty. Release to shoot. Swear. Try again.
You can also run around the board by tapping, but given the “fudge factor” on touch displays moving around isn’t as precise as one would like. This can be an annoyance if you’re trying to dart in, gank a shopping cart full of food, and move away before the zombies get too close.
The game has several other neat aspects to it, such as trading, upgrading your car, taking on missions, and managing your party’s health and food supply.
You can also tweet a few big events, like these:
For $3 it’s a fun way to spend some time. For $5 … hrm, there are some pretty decent games out there for the same amount, and unless you have that nostalgia for Oregon Trail it may not be worth it to you.
That being said, when you tap buttons in the game it makes that bad ass