On snow day #4.5 of 2011, I woke up, rubbed my eyes in the dewy morning light, fired up the ole laptop and checked the headlines. I gasped. Not because of what is happening in the world, or because the Snowpocalypse was upon us yet again. Oh no. The following headline caught my sluggish morning attention: "Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego to go on Facebook." The article, which is really mostly about the company doing this game making for Facebook, ultimately fails to adequately capture the fervent love of my generation for the Oregon Trail. It states:
"[T]he game migrated to succeeding generations of classroom PCs, where it became a favorite among schoolchildren. Players are cast as 19th-century pioneers trying to survive a journey from Missouri to Oregon, fending off hunger, disease, and accidents."
Um, just a "favorite?" Hello understatement. A search for Oregon Trail on CafePress turns up 155 t-shirts, all spun from the images and vernacular of the original low-tech graphics game. My personal favorites are all dysentery related. Why, oh why would my favorites be those of the dying a violent death due to epic poo-ing? Because in a highlight of my life, 6 summers ago, my all-American co-administrators at an all-girls overnight camp and I convinced our lone British colleague to create a live-action role playing version of this game.
It was...amazing. As you can see above, we made the teenagers be the hunted animals, and had packs of eight year old girls screaming joyfully while pegging them with water balloons. The bison herd had a rough day. The camp director walked around carrying a scythe, impersonating death. There were old prospectors, a build and test a raft station, and oh yes, oh yes, there was Dysentery. And oh yes, oh yes, I played the timeless and classic role of Dysentery. As you would expect, Dysentery wore brown, carried a roll of toilet paper, and hung out by the water fountains and wash-houses. Dysentery, to her great joy and to the chagrin of her unwitting victims, repeatedly used the infamous Oregon Trail line "You have died of dysentary!"
In short, it was pretty fantastic. Also fantastic? Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. I hard-out loved that show. It was one of the very few programs I was allowed to watch, airing on the ever safe PBS. I wanted to go on that show so so bad, and have my chance to run around and put flaring lights on the correct countries, buzz in to best Carmen at her own game, and rock out with Rockapella. I was delighted to discover that one of my C.I.T.'s (at the same camp, clearly a breeding ground for coolness) had actually BEEN ON THE SHOW.
Now, let me just say that video games in general are not my thing, with the exception of Oregon Trail. Facebook games? Reallllly are not for me. Despite my great love of these two fantastic game shows, I probably won't be playing them on the 'book. But I am excited they will be making it back into the public eye. Why? They are pretty much the two exceptions to my No-Reality-TV-Shows rule (along with Amazing Race, someday). I feel that their increase in popularity could, just maybe, might, result in some crazy-awesome Hollywood producer being all "HECK YES, let's turn this into a show!" I mean, PBS (or rather Thirteen/WNET New York and Wall to Wall Television) did Frontier House, Texas Ranch House, and Colonial House. Why not My House is a Chuck Wagon and We're Headed West for Oregon? And why not an adult game-show version of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? I mean...come on. If they can be Facebook games, and if film adaptations of Ouija and Battleship are in the works, why can't they have their spot of honor on my DVR list? Seriously, Hollywood. Get. It. Together.
Come on, people. I can't be the only one.
Join me in my appeal:
Join me in my appeal: