A joint effort by Willamette Heritage Center, Culture Shock, Statesman Journal, Cherry City Derby Girls, Franklin’s Bottle Shop and other members of the community is turning the classic educational video game “The Oregon Trail” into a live-action game and party at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 29 at Mission Mill (1313 Mill St. SE).
A four-person team costs $30 in advance and $50 the day-of, and potential pioneers should visit OregonTrailLive.com to register. As of press time, 29 of the 40 possible teams had signed up, and the “Grueling Pace Challenge” had been completely booked. The competition is expected to last between an hour-and-a-half and two hours.
The festivities also includes a hoe-down after the competition with an Oregon-themed beer garden provided by Franklin’s Bottle Shop and music by Right On John and The Strangled Darlings. The party is free for team-members, but $5 in advance or $7 at the door for others.
Co-organizer and Statesman Journal columnist K. Williams Brown said the event will have baby animals, a full-sized wagon, a blacksmith, “old tin-type photos,” and kids activities like “make your own rope.” She also stressed that the event was for more than just the competitors, and encourages spectators to attend.
The Oregon Trail evolved from a text-based game for Minnesota students in the early 70’s to Macintosh-and DOS-powered graphic versions that became U.S. elementary school computer room standards by the early 90’s. Several more versions and additions to the series have come and gone since, including a 2011 version on the Nintendo Wii.
According to Brown, the event caught the attention and gained the approval of the inventor of the game and has drawn interest from other groups hoping to organize similar events.
Brown was the woman with the original idea, but admits the project has taken on a life of its own.
“I’m not doing all of it, or most of it, I was just lucky enough to have an idea,” said Brown.
“Culture Shock, Franklin’s Bottle Shop, Doug Hoffman (the music organizer), they’ve all done so much. Willamette Heritage Center had a seasonal event already scheduled, and scrapped it to do this one instead.”
Brown wants to see how the event goes before she made a commitment, but added, “it is certainly my hope that maybe it could become a yearly thing.”
Live Action Game
September 29, 1pm
Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill
1313 Mill St. SE, Salem