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Live action roleplayers are taking on new roles — reenacting cross country settlers from the classic 1980s video game Oregon Trail. From The Atlantic:
On a sunny Saturday last week, I found myself pushing a 200 pound man on an ancient kiddie wagon with two missing wheels up a hill with about a 40 percent incline while he shouted out facts about how to preserve meat. The sun beat down on us as we maneuvered him from a shady spot next to a historic wooden mill in Salem, Oregon, to the steps of the Pleasant Grove Church, an 1848 sanctuary for travelers who survived the Oregon Trail. […]Adults today, with real resources and skills and perhaps even a measure of success in the game behind them, are taking the nostalgic computer game, and turning it into a live action, role-playing, full contact game. I’m one of them, and I came to win.
[In] 2012 […] Kelly Williams Brown […] came up with the idea to take Oregon Trail and subject live bodies to it. “If you’ve played the game you realize how shockingly boring it was,” says Brown. A reporter for the Statesman-Journal in Salem at the time, Brown noticed that two generations within her newsroom had some experience of the game. “It has all of these touchstones that have made it into the culture. We thought: Someone has to do this.”
Brown approached The Willamette Heritage Center, who was quickly on board, seeing in a live-action Oregon Trail a chance to capture the attention of two hard-to-reach audiences for historic museums: young families and young adults. So for the past three years, the live version of the game has taken place in Salem, Oregon, a historic destination for many settlers who came to the Willamette Valley.
Here’s how it works: Teams of 2-4 people, many in pioneer garb, build a wagon out of paper and dowel rods before tackling ten challenges inspired by the computer game—things like floating the wagon across a kiddie pool, shooting at game with nerf guns, competing in a three-legged dysentery race to an outhouse. Instead of finding shelter, we built a tarp tent while volunteers sprayed us with water. We survived being pummeled with pool noodles by roller derby girls at the Platte River station.
After each challenge, every team gets a colored star based on how well they perform: One gold star means your team thrived, silver means you survived, but just barely, and a red star meant you probably perished, but you completed the station. A homesteading exam at the end tests knowledge of trail trivia from signs posted throughout the heritage center campus.
There are no words. pic.twitter.com/XmNS87FJfe
— βЯЗAӃՀ (@BreaKBeatJunkee) September 24, 2014