I beat Oregon Trail on my first try

I beat Oregon Trail on my first try

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August 2011
I don't know how I never played it before. But I couldn't take all the dysentery references I've been seeing, and had to play it.

Made it on my first try, as a banker (easy level). Took two tries as a carpenter (medium level). Took 4 tries as a farmer (hard level) - I think I came within 5 miles the first time. My high score is 4194, I believe as a carpenter.

Instructions for playing the original Oregon Trail:
http://www.virtualapple.org/oregontraildisk.html <- you can just play it online here, probably only works on Windows, doesn't work on Linux.


Download applewin: http://applewin.berlios.de/ (free, GPL), (runs fine under wine under linux)
Extract it into something like c:\Program Files\otrail\

Download ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/masters/dos33_with_adt.dsk - this is a disk image of the Apple DOS 3.3 operating system for the Apple II. Put it in your otrail directory. I don't think Apple will mind, I believe they allow you to download all this stuff for free now.

Download the 5.25" disk images from http://www.virtualapple.org/oregontraildisk.html :
I don't think the owner of Oregon Trial will mind because there is a pretty legit looking official Oregon Trail site that links to this page.

Extract those files, put them in your otrail directory.

Run applewin (for linux + wine just run "wine Applewin.exe")

Click the floppy disk 1 icon on the right (3rd from the top). Select your dos33_with_adt.dsk file.

Click the run(?) icon, the Apple symbol, 2nd from the top.

Once it's done booting (when you see a blinky cursor), load Oregon Trail disk 1 (Oregon Trail (Disk 1 of 2).bin) into the first floppy disk.

Type "run hello", and hit <enter>.

Play Oregon Trail!

During the game, it'll ask you to flip your disk. That's the time to load the disk 2 image into the first floppy.

Tips: There were a couple times I tried to load a floppy into a drive and it told me I couldn't, which was upsetting. It turns out it gives that error when you already have that image loaded into the other drive - just click the swap drives icon instead. Clicking full screen under linux made me have to restart X, I ended up using compiz's desktop zooming capability.

In Apple DOS, list the contents of a disk with "catalog", run a file with "run filename", so "hello" is the file to run OT. That was tough to track down.

Reading further will only be of interest to chronic geeks.

There's a native linux Apple IIgs emulator called KEGS, with relatively good documentation, but I couldn't get it to run Oregon Trail. Didn't want to recognize the disk images. The error it gives is "Using the installed File System Translators, GS/OS does not recognize this disk (in device .APPLEDISK5.25A). Do you want to initialize it?". And under linux, you'll need to compile it. To get it to compile, I had to change the line in the linux vars file from:

CCOPTS = -O2 -Wall -fomit-frame-pointer -march=pentium


CCOPTS = -O2 -Wall -fomit-frame-pointer -march=native

(Just change "pentium" to "native".) as recommended here.

It will probably fail with "open /dev/dsp failed" because you're using pulseaudio and have no /dev/dsp. You can disable audio with "./xkegs -audio 0", or emulate /dev/dsp with PA with "padsp ./xkegs".

I was a little dense at first about the whole ROM image vs. OS image thing. You need to save a ROM image as a file named "ROM", boot that, then hit F4 to select an OS image to boot. Hey lots of game images are inappropriately called ROMs, how was I supposed to know this thing was talking about an image of an actual boot ROM?

I thought the problem with Oregon Trail might be the fast disk emulation mode, but I disabled that with F7 and it didn't help.

Neat to be able to run the first common GUI desktop though.

It took me forever to figure out how to tell the thing to boot off a floppy instead of a hard drive image. Hit ctrl-alt-escape, select Control Panel, Slots, then use the left and right arrow keys to change StartUp from Scan to slot 5 or 6, depending on 5.25" or 3.5" images.

Hah, LJ doesn't linkify ftp urls.
  • I only ever played Oregon Trail as a kid in middle school, on the Apple IIc machines they had in the computer lab. At the time, I felt like the machine was ancient but looking back I see the machine had been on the market for less than two years at that point. Odd.

    Anyway, I don't ever recall being able to beat Oregon Trail as a kid. When I think about, I seem to remember thinking it was impossible to win the game. I should definitely try it again, though.
    • Somebody else told me "I loved that game. I never won." I guess... I have a lot more relevant knowledge / skill than when it came out?
      • I don't know. I just played it now with Carpenter and won fairly easily. Didn't lose anyone on the way there, though I had 0 pounds of food for the last few days of the trip. I don't remember it being this easy, so I'm not sure what I was doing with it back then.
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