This New Portable Version of ‘The Oregon Trail’ Will Make You Delighted to Die of Dysentery

It's even housed in a retro console-shell made to resemble a '70s-era computer.

by Ben Marx
Originally Published: 

The Oregon Trail is fondly remembered less for its educational value and more as the video game where every character in your pioneer party died of dysentery. Or, sometimes, cholera, hunger, exhaustion, or snakebites. But pretty much always dysentery (stomach issues were a big problem during the pioneering days). Now, you can relive the hardships of covered wagon travel without digging out your old Apple II computer. Toymaker Basic Fun just rolled out a new line of Arcade Classics handheld mini-arcade games and, you guessed it, The Oregon Trail is among them.

Basic Fun’s Arcade Classic series is a collection of retro games housed inside their own portable retro console. Their version of The Oregon Trail retains the 1974 classic’s graphics and sound effects and its housing is made to resemble a ’70s-era computer with a monochrome layout and chunky keys. It even makes you push a “floppy disk” into its drive to boot up the game. The best part about the whole console may not even be its immersive design but the fact that it’s fully portable, perfect for road trips or plane rides and theoretically playable on the actual Oregon Trail itself.

The new line of tiny blasts from the past also includes mini versions of ’80s arcade classics Joust and Rampage. Like Oregon Trail, they’re both scaled-down versions modeled after the original arcade cabinets they were played on. The screens and buttons are considerably more finicky to use than their full-scale counterparts, but what the consoles lack in functionality they make up for with retro immersion. Plus, they’re slightly bigger and thus more playable than the similarly retro Super Impulse’s keychain-friendly Tiny Arcade, which couldn’t really handle more than one finger at a time and work better as cute stocking stuffers.

Oregon Trail, Rampage, and Joust are available at Target for $24.99 each, and they join Basic Fun’s previous line of throwback games, including Pac-Man, Frogger, and Centipede. Here’s hoping they do Dragon’s Lair next.

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