Going into this class I didn’t know what to expect from Electronic Literature. It was a pleasant surprise however to see how much video games would be present in this course. When exploring these games I’m reminded of Oregon Trail, a game used as a learning device for most of us in elementary school. Similar to the E-Lit that we have been exposed to so far, the players choices lead to whether or not they will be a success or fail.
Players continued to survive by hunting, thus the implementation of learning. In the original version players would type “BANG”, “WHAM”, or “POW”, with mis-spellings resulting in a failed hunting attempt. As new versions were released players began to have more options, such as pointing the gun themselves and shooting. Animals such as bison, deer and squirrels were hunted. Players were at risk of death from illness, drowning etc, and if a death occurred the game would stop to briefly hold a funeral. The player would have the option to personalize the tombstone, and the game would then continue. In order to win, points are tallied up based upon the profession chosen, number of healthy people in the party, remaining possessions and any cash.
So how does Oregon Trail tie into E-Lit? Oregon Trail was user controlled, and different decisions would affect the end result, just as E-Lit does. It is also interesting to compare the early 1980’s-1990’s version of Oregon Trail to today’s version. Oregon Trail is now available on cell phones and Nintendo DS as well computers. Oregon Trail follows a story line while taking players through a journey. Results are never the same, for example careers, hunting success and cause of death.
Updated Oregon Trail version