It is now possible to play classic versions of The Oregon Trail online for free. In addition to the famous 1985 Apple II version of the game, you can also play several other versions. This page shows you where to find these games. A new window will open in each case.
This is the classic version of The Oregon Trail that launched the second generation of the game. When you arrive at this website, look for the "Load" buttons, which are marked with file folder icons. First click the “Load” button for Drive 1, then choose “Educational”, and then “Oregon Trail – Disk 1”. You should also load Disk 2 to Drive 2, or else you will need to change to Disk 2 when you get halfway to Oregon.
The 1990 DOS version of The Oregon Trail was intended to be identical to the 1985 Apple II version. However, you can distinguish the two versions because the DOS graphics are slightly different. That said, the structure of the game and the gameplay details are exactly the same as the Apple II version.
The 1980 version of OREGON was a much simpler game than the 1985 version, lacking many of the features that people now associate with the game. The 1980 version is very similar to the original text-only version that people played on teletype machines in the 1970s. The main feature that distinguishes the 1980 version from its text-only predecessors is that the shooting activities include simple graphics. There is also a crude map available to indicate your progress.
In the 1970s, people played the original text-only version of OREGON on a teletype machine, with the output typically appearing on a continuous roll of yellow paper. After the game first appeared on the MECC timeshare system in 1975, it underwent a few minor tweaks in the subsequent years. For example, instead of always typing BANG to shoot your gun, you might be asked to type WHAM or POW instead. An emulation of the 1978 version is now available online.
In 1991 MECC released a monochrome version of The Oregon Trail for the Macintosh, followed by a nearly identical version (in color) for DOS in 1992. To distinguish the new DOS product from the 1990 DOS version, the word "Deluxe" was added to the title. The 1991 and 1992 products were the first in the series to allow players to interact with the computer using a mouse. The structure of the game is essentially the same as in the 1985 design, but the graphics were completely reimagined for the new interface.