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History of MECC and Oregon Trail 149 149

Gammu writes "For the past thirty years, many children have been raised with a heavy diet of MECC games like Oregon Trail, Odell Lake and Lemonade Stand. These products weren't developed by a major game developer. Rather, they were developed by the state of Minnesota for use in their schools. What began as an initiative to get Minnesota students ready for the micro-computer age turned into a multi-million dollar a year business whose products are still used in US schools even a decade after MECC was sold off to another developer."
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History of MECC and Oregon Trail

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  • by HaymarketRiot (931189) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @08:38AM (#19476401)
    Man, I miss shooting the hell out of all those bison. The shooting sections of that game really brought out a kill everything that moves mentality. Half the time I wouldn't even need food, but just wanted to shoot things.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @08:39AM (#19476411) Journal
    Having grown up in Minnesota, I was raised in a grade school that had many copies of the Oregon Trail.

    But something that isn't often mentioned about the Oregon Trail is the controversy that surrounded one of the first releases about it. We're all very familiar with the original but before that there was an even older one with crappier graphics. I distinctly remember playing the very old one only to have the teacher come up to my computer, ask me where I got that & then she took the disc and formatted it. Now that was curious behavior for a teacher.

    So I came into the lab after school, got another copy of the disk from where I had found the original (stacks of old disks were common) and popped it in. The graphics were worse but I soon realized why this particular version was frowned upon. Instead of saying, "You have encountered Native Americans ..." or something like that, it said "Indians Attack!" and then you were holding a shotgun from the point of view of the shooter. There were three frames of images with a Native American on horseback and a bow. He would ride at a random speed in front of you and you had to shoot when he was in the middle of the screen. The better you did, the less supplies you lost.

    I could see how you could argue either way to keep that in the game. Maybe that's really how some Native Americans reacted to settlers. Maybe you don't want your kid thinking that Native Americans were (and still are) like that. One thing is for sure--it was never in another version of the Trail.

    Minnesota's history is ingrained with Native Americans. I have many Native American friends and thoroughly enjoy Pow Wows & their amazing celebrations. At the same time, I recognize that there was conflict going on with settlers being killed or wounded at towns like Milford, Acton & Slaughter Slough. Interesting history to me, haven't heard anyone who's known about these events aside from Native Americans.

    Is it right to just forget about it? I personally don't think denial is the best way to deal with history. Although, the displacement of Native Americans from the east to parts further west like Oklahoma, Minnesota & Wisconsin (resulting in many deaths) isn't very widely known by most Americans.
  • by Broken scope (973885) on Tuesday June 12, 2007 @08:50AM (#19476485) Homepage
    Yeah I remember some of the kids would always ask me how I managed to finish the game, My response was always "I didn't waste all my money on bullets.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay