LGR – The Oregon Trail Electronic Handheld Game!

LGR – The Oregon Trail Electronic Handheld Game!


Greetings and welcome to an LGR thing!
And this thing right here is The Oregon Trail, or rather a new iteration of it
for 2018. And it’s being sold at a suggested price of $25 US dollars. This is a
dedicated electronic handheld unit based on the classic edutainment game that was made most famous on the Apple II in the mid-1980s However as fondly remembered as that version is that is not exactly what you’re getting here. In fact what
you get is a little bit more advanced than I expected, more on that in a moment. But yeah for now just look at this thing, man! I’m always fascinated by dedicated
handhelds, I loved getting those Tiger electronics
things back in the day even though they pretty much all sucked. But this is
thankfully a lot better than that. But somewhat annoyingly it is exclusive to
Target stores in the USA, at least as I’m recording this video. And no this is not
sponsored, they didn’t send it to me or anything, I didn’t get it for free. I just
saw it on the shelf and bought it because it looked cool. It turns out
Target is no stranger to selling exclusive Oregon Trail products, they
also released this Oregon Trail card game a year or two ago by Pressman.
Similar packaging but it’s just a card game. I’m not huge into card games but I
picked it up anyway because I like Oregon Trail products. Anyway this
electronic version is manufactured by Basic Fun which is a division of The
Bridge Direct. I’ve never owned anything of theirs but I have seen some of them
hanging around various shops. Especially these miniature arcade machines, those
were kind of impressive I thought. But yeah this is the first one of their thingies that I have
picked up and you know what? I’m just ready to get inside of this thing
because I mean just look! “Set out on the trek from Independence, Missouri to
Oregon’s Willamette Valley!” Ah, many fond memories of playing Oregon Trail games
over the years, so let’s jump into the box and see what you get inside.
Yeah there’s little twisty things, just twist off of there and now there you go.
You got one of those little pull tabs to get the included batteries doing their
thing and to get the store demo mode disabled. And say hello to The Oregon
Trail unit itself! A rather compact little thing about the size of a Game
Boy Color, definitely a good bit thicker than that though. And to me it actually
looks a a little bit like a Macintosh, like an
earlier compact Mac. Anyway down here you have some controls which are, well… they
don’t feel great let’s put it that way. Cheap, gummy, plasticky things with a
rather bizarre d-pad here. You have these diagonals and cardinal directions then
these other keys for enter, the wagon for the menu, got the sound on and off
and a yes or no button for different questions in game. And you also get a
little black and white fold out instruction manual which pretty much
just tells you to play the game. But if you’ve played practically any Oregon
Trail iteration over the past 30-something years then you’ll be right at
home because this really is a classic iteration that has been redone to fit in
this handheld form. Press the power button and it powers on and yep, you get
a backlit two-and-a-half inch LCD screen. It’s quite sharp, very readable. This
is what I was impressed with, I was not expecting this to look this “nice,”
relatively speaking. Yeah, sorry about the dust and like, scratches. A lot of that is
underneath the plastic when I got it. I tried to clean it up as much as I could
but you know. Anyway here you go, this is The Oregon Trail! And it is the
classic game, really. I’ve covered this before on LGR many years ago, but the gist of the gameplay is you’re a person, or a family really or group of people, that
are trying to get from the east coast to the west coast of the United States in
the mid-1800s. And there are different difficulty levels depending on who you
choose to be from the start. So the banker has the most money and the
carpenter is kind of in the middle and the farmer’s like “nyeh.” You can name your leader and four members of your party which is always an opportunity to have
some fun with the naming. And before setting off on your trek you have to buy
some equipment and supplies. And you’ll need to buy, at minimum, some oxen to pull you along. And then you have the option to get as much food, clothing, ammunition, and spare parts as you want and/or need. And there you go, you’re ready to start!
“Good luck! You have a long and difficult journey ahead of you.” *chiptune Yankee Doodle plays* So yeah you not only get a full-color
screen but a pretty decent little sound chip that plays chip tunes and PCM
sounds! It doesn’t have a headphone out jack so I couldn’t get a direct
recording but yeah, it sounds pretty darned acceptable for this tiny little
thing. This is a conversion of sorts of one of the classic versions of the game, and if I had to guess it seems to be based on the 1989/1990 MS-DOS version of the game, at least judging by these graphics. It’s not identical obviously,
they’ve modified it a bit to be on this tiny little screen. But it’s definitely
not the Apple II version, I mean, compared to that it just doesn’t look anything like
it. I’m assuming though that they just made their own version for this specific
type of hardware because it’s not a direct emulation of any version of the
game that I’ve ever played or seen. It’s just kind of a mishmash of a few
different things. Anyway at this point it really is just The Oregon Trail: you’re
going around trying not to die, attempting to ford rivers and failing
spectacularly, and running into all kinds of problems like heat and broken arms
and of course cholera and the infamous dysentery. And every so often you get a
nice little screen with some nice little music that plays and lets you know where
you are on your trek across the United States. *nice little chiptune plays* And as gummy, and imprecise,
kind of clunky feeling as that directional pad is for up, down, left, and
right, it’s fine for the menus. I never had any problem navigating and pressing
enter. It’s, again, a bit gummy but it’s fine. This is not like a quick reaction type
of game, you’re really just navigating menus for the most part. And for that it
is perfectly adequate. However one of the key parts of The Oregon Trail is the
hunting minigame and this is a bit of a different story as far as controls go.
You still have your cardinal directions but you also have to use those diagonal
keys that are around the directional diamond. It made hunting way more
difficult than it needed to be and the animals move just as fast as they would
on other versions of the game from what I could tell, so they didn’t seem to make
any concessions for this slightly awkward control scheme. I was just
wasting ammo left and right. Yeah that is a little disappointing, I don’t know why
they couldn’t have put a little tiny joystick on there or a more traditional
directional pad. Oh well it’s completely playable though and I was able to get
through the entire game without dying. Well I mean, a whole lot of my people
died, I think I might have been the only one left by the end, but hey! I made it
and that is all that matters. Look at all the other people that have played who
haven’t actually played because I’m the only one to have played this unit.
Unfortunately I didn’t run across any “”peperony and chease” on the trail so I
guess this is not based on that particular version that was distributed
back in the day. But I didn’t expect it to because as I said I believe this is
a custom version that is mixing together different aspects of different Oregon
Trail releases. I don’t know about you but I was kind of curious to get inside
of this thing and see what was going on. Check out these craptastic batteries
that it came with it, I do not trust these at all. They felt like they have the
weight of toothpicks, they were just cheap and pathetic. But hey at least it
came with them. So getting the unit open is thankfully very simple: you just have
four Phillips head screws, one in each corner, and there you go — it pops right
open. And there’s not much going on inside as you might expect for a
handheld that costs $24.99. And as expected this little PCB right here you
got this epoxy resin crap that’s covering up the chips. So I don’t know
exactly what they are and I’m not gonna try to peel that off there. But if you
see the board right there, it’s a little bit of a different layout, but it has the
same number as others that I’ve seen in certain videos: E156176. The video I’m specifically thinking of is this one
by The 8-bit Guy that he did on the company’s other mini tabletop arcades.
The board is very similar, in fact it has that same number on there and everything,
but the layout is a little bit different. So yeah I guess they’re just sort of
repurposing these electronics for whatever they need to over in China,
which is pretty darned interesting to me. I don’t know the specifics of it, maybe
somebody else can figure out if it is like a Famicom clone NES on a
chip type of thing, I don’t know man. So what you end up with is a standalone
version of The Oregon Trail that plays a lot like what you remember, but is a new
thing in a new form factor. And it’s just dedicated Oregon Trail on the go! I like
this idea, I don’t know about you, and I have a feeling these are gonna start
becoming collectibles. Maybe they already are, so if you can I recommend picking
one of them up if you’re interested in a little handheld Oregon Trail. And I’m
also really curious if anybody’s gonna be able to like, hack these things to do
something else. I’d be down for a portable Super Solvers Spellbound, just
throwing that out there. Carmen Sandiego something like that? Yeah man bring on
the portable edutainment machines! Anyway, that is it for this episode of LGR and I
hope that you enjoyed checking out this little thingy. And if you did, well, stick
around. I do more videos every Monday and Friday and occasionally I’ll cover
something like this that strikes my fancy even though it’s a little bit
different than what I normally do. But that’s okay, I hope. And as always thank
you very much for watching!

100 Replies to “LGR – The Oregon Trail Electronic Handheld Game!”

  1. Looks like it's 75% 1985 version, 20% Deluxe version, and 5% original. And obviously, the little bit that's original is because they had to accommodate for the new control scheme. Very interesting little mishmash, and definitely worth a purchase in my book. You can still get them apparently, and still for around the same price.

  2. There are a whole bunch of these handheld, mini arcade things at Walmart, it at least the one I have near me, in Canada. I don’t know if there is Oregon trail one, but there is Pac-Man, space invaders, donkey Kong, etc. Not really helpful but just thought I’d add!

  3. I just got one today from the Amazon sale last month for $10, had to wait a month to get it but worth it! I would love other classic dos style games in form factors like this, much more fun and unique than the mini arcades that just play NES roms.

  4. How do you reset the high scores? I played my family's copy and of course gave everyone in my party vulgar names and now #5 on the high score list is "DEADFUCK" and I don't want to have to explain they to my wife.

  5. I feel you could make a a custom case for these looking at the extra space. Maybe a ps controller style with a screen in the middle

  6. I saw one of these at Target last year, and I almost bought it since I have fond memories of playing The Oregon Trail games as a kid too. But, I'm not sure if it's worth it now because of how small the screen is. It would give me a neck ache, if I played it for a long time.

  7. You didn't mention saving. That leads me to believe this doesn't support saved games, and must be completed in one go each time. Ouch.

  8. I come to the realization that Oregon Trail was NOT fun. It was just the least boring thing on the school computers at the time.

  9. I told my mother about the card game and she bought it to play with her summer school kids when they were learning about the pioneers. Thanks LGR for making the experience a lot more fun

  10. came so close to buying this, but I came to my senses. id have played it five or six times and it would go in a drawer.

  11. When I saw the poster frame image for that clunky beige thing that plays only one game, I thought it was from 1998, not 2018!! I guess it's mainly for collectors, seeing as how today you can literally play thousands of games right on your much bigger, yet more portable, phone screen.

  12. Those PCBs are most likely just running a modded version of android! Seems to be the goto for many chinese mini game machines lately.
    Pretty cool little handheld though! Love the beige-grey look of it!

  13. i beat this game on my 3rd try

    a few broken limbs and a few sicknesses but everyone survived

    parents said i was cheating lol

  14. Hey LGR, I'd love you to review my all time favourite game – Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time (1997). <3

  15. no joke i have never disliked even one of LGR's videos mainly i like the vid way before it ends to be honest lol

  16. This is pretty cool. I've always liked this game and so hard to find a legit copy in stores any more, so this might fill that need quite nicely. Looks decently made, although as you mentioned the awkward and gummy controls were passable, that is a shame. And the screen with the dirt behind it would annoy me to no end. I kept rubbing my screen, thinking the problem was on my end. ^^! Since you already opened the back of the unit, did you try to clean it at all with a air can or anything? Maybe you can get used to the controls for the hunting part. Thanks for the vid!

  17. I got mine at Walmart. The Target exclusive mark is ofc missing and weirdly enough the Basic Fun logo is different.

  18. This thing should come with one of those warnings from pharmaceutical ads: "Possible side effects include measles, snakebite, exhaustion, typhoid, cholera, and dysentery."

  19. Maybe some old Sierra portable conversions would be cool!
    Yknow, like Space Quest or Leisure Suit Larry or Kings Quest!

  20. Always leave in March or April depending on which version you're playing/starting point. It's ok if the game starts out a little rough and your party is cold. You have full supplies, clothes and food. Better to be cold for a few weeks early on rather than being cold and desperate in December when you are up north and almost to Oregon.

  21. Target hu so a guy can go into the girls bathroom because he's a girl. Fuck you people and diel with your shit without pulling right people into your shit

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