Most of us have grown up playing computer games, especially Oregon Trail. That’s because this game was exciting and fun. Kids would stock up oxen, watch over their family members, and hunt for buffaloes.
But have you ever thought how much this computer game is similar to the real-life Oregon Trail? Well, the computer game is similar in a lot of ways. But there are also a few things that do not justify the real-life Oregon Trail.
Below are nine myths we learned by playing the Oregon Trail game.
#1 Traveling At “Grueling” Speeds Is Not As Fun As It Seems
To finish the game before lunch, players would set their pace to grueling. While it took a toll on the party’s health, this way, they could finish ahead of their friends.
In reality, traveling at a fast speed was only possible if the wagon group’s leader got consent from the entire group. It’s also important to note that families rarely travelled alone and banded together with other families in a wagon train. The Oregon Trail was a mass migration in earlier days, and losing the trail was impossible.
When it comes to a grueling pace, people will follow instructions from the wagon trail leader. Also, they were given certain indications so that they could reach before dinner. But train leaders do not have much control over how fast they move because geography, topography, and weather had a major impact.
#2 Not Everyone Used Oxen
In the game, players would stock oxen as it seemed the only option for traveling.
The reason people took oxen with them was that these animals would eat anything. They were durable and cheaper than horses, and no one would try to steal them.
But not everyone had oxen on the trail. Some even took horses, mules, and strange forms of transportation. Also, people who had little money used hand carts to pull their belongings. Unfortunately, hundreds of people died because of pulling handcarts.
#3 Forting a 40-Foot Deep River Wasn’t A Split-Second Decision
Players quickly decide whether they want to ford a 40-foot-deep river to see their wagon tip over.
In reality, more than one person decides whether they have to ford, ferry, or caulk. And also, deciding these things is never a guessing game. It’s a group discussion.
#4 Killing A Thousand-Pound Buffalo Is Not Possible
In the Oregon trail game online, players can be seen killing buffaloes, deers, and bears when they need food.
In real life Oregon Trail, killing an animal depends on the era. Earlier, people used to hunt on trails, but after the 1850s, hunting became harder as there was a decline in the number of livestock.
#5 Dysentery Had Serious Consequences
In the game, one of the family members would always die of dysentery. It was so common that it even became a popular meme.
As far as reality is concerned, dysentery was not good. In fact, it was terrible because it resulted from consuming bad water. Besides dysentery, many other health issues raved the public, and they were all a threat to their life.
Dysentery was a main concern in the 19th century and often lead to death. And the poor train conditions only exacerbated the risk.
#6 People Didn’t Get Funny Tombstone
In the game, death was seen as a great opportunity to giggle because that’s when players got the chance to write funny headstones for their family members.
In reality, no one actually got a funny tombstone. While death on the trail was common, it was not seen as a great opportunity to giggle. In fact, traditional tombstones were non-existent.
That means if ever someone died on the trail, people would bury them immediately to keep moving. Most people would cover the gravesite with rocks so no wild animal could dig it.
Even if someone put a tombstone, other wagons could possibly run it over. But there were some notable gravestones, which were exceptions.
#7 Native Americans Didn’t Want Sweaters
Whenever a player wanted a guide from native Americans across the river, they would give them some clothes in exchange.
In real life, travelers traded guns, alcohol, and ammunition. Earlier, the relationship between Native Americans and travelers was good. There was more trade than conflict. But later, the relationship between these two frayed.
It happened because later trials got developed. Thus, native Americans were not that much of use. Also, violence between these two became common.
#8 Rafting Trip Was Insane
In the game, players had an option to choose between insane rafting trips and boring trails.
In real life, insane rafting trips were actually risky. While choosing rafting trips, travelers were always worried about getting injured. If they capsized, the further journey would become a burden.
#9 Starting as Banker Was Better
Players who wanted to increase their points became farmers, and the lazy ones would become bankers.
Starting as a banker was helpful. That’s because if anyone was poor, they couldn’t afford to go on the real Oregon Trail. Poor travelers who couldn’t stock up couldn’t make it to the trail.
Travelers required a good amount of money to head west because having a durable wagon and collecting food for six months was expensive.