Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You Have Died of Cholera

I'm reading a great book titled "The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet" by Reif Larsen. I recommend it for all sorts of reasons not the least of which is that it gives the ultimate cheat for beating the original version of The Oregon Trail game. If only middle school teachers had not witheld this information, millions of lives could have been saved!

Just a bit of background. T.S. Privet is a 12 year old boy living on a ranch in Montana with his family. He and his younger brother Layton, loved playing Oregon Trail on their ancient Apple IIGS. ("'Old Smokey' as we called her."

Layton figured out that if you spent all of your money on oxen in Independence, Missouri, at the beginning of the game - forsaking food, clothing, and ammunition to buy an aramada of yoked cattle 160 strong - that the game would not provide any maximum speed for your wagon but rather continue to increase your pace by 6 MPH for each oxen. Thus, you could finish the game in two days, by traveling what I figured out to be approximately 960 MPH. Naked, hungry and unarmed, you still blasted across this continent before the cholera could catch up to you. That first time we won the game this way, we both stared at the screen, dumbstruck, trying to make room in our mental maps for a world that could include such a loophole.

Then Layton said, "That game kind of sucks now."

You can thank me later . . .
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