The 1974 edutainment title, Oregon Trail, is making a comeback in the form of a handheld gaming device, almost as if it were 1988 and the Tiger handhelds were all the rage once more. The new handheld for Oregon Trail is currently available right now courtesy of the game manufacturer, Basic Fun.
The game is in full color and features a miniature gamepad that has a couple of keypads, including directional buttons and an 'Enter' key in order to play the game effectively. The design looks very similar to a Game Boy, but Polygon notes that the shell is modeled after the Apple II.
As for Oregon Trail, the game originally made its debut back in 1971 as an edutainment title from a trio of programmers. Players take on the role of a caravan wagon leader who must guide pioneering settlers across the midwest during the mid-19th century.
You'll have to make decisions on acquiring and rationing out food, keeping your settlers alive, staving off disease, and learning about the harsh realities that pioneers suffered through during the early days of building up modern civilization as we know it today.
The Oregon Trail series has managed to persist throughout the ages since its release in the 1970s. The game was re-released and remade multiple times over, especially during the 1990s when PC gaming was going through a huge boom. In fact, there were about five different iterations of the game that were re-released throughout the 1990s alone.
Eventually as time went on and more gaming devices made their way onto the scene, we saw additional console ports made available, specifically for Nintendo's devices such as the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS, and, later, the game made its way to smartphones.
These days most people can just download the abandonware version of Oregon Trail from most abandonware repositories. However, if you were keen on teaching your kids about the old days of video game edutainment, there's always the Basic Fun handheld edition that you can purchase for those times when you're traveling and you want to teach kids a little bit about history along the way.
It's a little shocking that there haven't been attempts to modernize the experience for today's generation of gamer with improved visuals and playability, something akin to what Ubisoft did with Assassin's Creed: Origins. Nevertheless, if you want to pick up a remastered version of the Apple II release of Oregon Trail, the game is available within the handheld package for just $24.99. Right now the package is only available at Target but don't be surprised to see it pop up at other places sometime down the line.