Oregon Trail Inducted Into the Video Game Hall of Fame

You forded the river, didn't die of dysentery and made it to The Dalles!

Yesterday, the National Museum of Play inducted The Oregon Trail into the Video Game Hall of Fame, finally validating the hours you spent in the library during indoor recess, carefully choosing the best profession (banker, obviously), purchasing flour and naming the other members of your expedition after cute boys in your class.

In their statement, the National Museum of Play did not address what took them so long.

They did however, reveal the shocking fact the The Oregon Trail was not invented in Oregon but in, gasp, the Midwest.

"Three student teachers, Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger, created The Oregon Trail in 1971 to help Minnesota schoolchildren learn American History," says the museum.

Oregon Trail has gone through many, many iterations. At Harding Elementary in Corvallis, Ore., we used to play a version in three shades of green where we hunted for pixelated buffalo. A few years later, we graduated to a slick CD-ROM version with better graphics.

Now you can ford rivers, visit landmarks, pick berries and meet the locals on your iPhone, or you can spend the next couple hours playing the old MS-DOS version on your browser (like we did a while back).

We'll wait while you play.

"The Oregon Trail is perhaps the oldest continuously available video game ever made," says the museum. "But more importantly, it pioneered a blend of learning and play that showcases the valuable contribution games can make to education."

So true. The children of America may not be great at math but they all know a few simple truths: never leave for a big adventure too late in the summer and always, always bring at least three oxen with you when you start down the Oregon Trail.

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