Organ Trail, a zombie spoof of Oregon Trail, is going mobile
Organ Trail, a zombie-filled spoof of the beloved Oregon Trail computer game created in 1971 and played in elementary schools across America, is coming to mobile devices.
The Men Who Wear Many Hats, a group of indie developers that originally released Organ Trail as a free playable Flash game on its website in 2010, have raised more than $7,000 through the website Kickstarter, more than double their original fundraising goal. That gives them enough money to build a version of the game for the iPhone, iPad and Android.
"I often sit in awe, almost every day now, at the outpouring of love and support (and money) that community is giving us," said Ryan Wiemeyer, a lead member of the group. "We know how to make games. We're still learning how to put a product out. It's pretty frightening, but I couldn't be more excited to be pushing our group to new cool things."
Organ Trail is based on The Oregon Trail, a computer game designed to teach schoolchildren about the challenges of 19th century American pioneer life -- dysentery! Typhoid! Cholera!
In Organ Trail, instead of dealing with the trials faced by pioneers, the player deals with the trials of living in a world populated by bloodthirsty zombies.
"How will you cross the undead hordes?" read the directions to the game. "If you have money you might hire some bandits (if there are bandits). Or you can ford the undead and hope you and your bus aren't swallowed alive!"
You know, just like The Oregon Trail, but not.
The Men Who Wear Hats released a free version of the game a few days before Halloween 2010 and report that it has since been played by more than 600,000 people.
Wiemeyer said the game might be available for the iPad in early spring, but that could change.
He also said the game was pretty easy to make because it is mostly a series of menus. The hard part was keeping it fun.
"We get to cheat a little because people already love the idea," he said. "But the trick is to make something compelling enough that when that initial delight at all the puns and nostalgia wears off, we have them engaged in the experience."
And how will it look? "We decided to stick to the Apple II color palette," he said, "which is like 15 colors that all look like they came from an Easter-themed coloring book."
-- Deborah Netburn
Image: A screen shot from the Organ Trail game. Credit: The Men Who Wear Many Hats