It feels likely that plenty of people are going to hear about The Oregon Trail and wonder what in the hell the rest of us are talking about, right? But if you grew up in the 80s or even the 90s, you might have heard of this game, and you might have even played it a few times. If you did, then I’m sorry because you know the disappointment and frustration of trying to play a game that’s all about life or death and usually forces the players to experience too much of the latter. Those of us that remember playing this game probably recall how many times our party died of dysentery or a snake bite or from drowning while trying to cross a river. In other words, it’s almost like an earlier version of the Yellowstone prequel, minus the attacks from the indigenous people, since kids can learn about voiding their bowels until they die, but heck, no, we can’t teach them about other things that happened on the plains. In any case, making a darkly comedic musical about this appears to be one of the many ideas of the day, and at this point, it is intriguing enough to wonder what’s going to come of it.
There is a dark aspect to this game that a lot of us latched onto as children.
A lot of us can probably remember what it was like to put the floppy disk into the PC and boot this up, thinking that this time, THIS TIME, we might finally get across the river or find a way to win the game without needing to be super smart or just plain lucky. Sadly, it usually came down to realizing that a lot of us weren’t quite as smart or even that lucky when it came to this game. There were ways to win, there’s no doubt of that, but all too often, things would end badly for the player when trying to do something that felt mundane or difficult since it didn’t matter. This was the uncertainty of the Oregon Trail brought to life in a form that we could understand and didn’t have to worry over too much. But making a dark, comedic musical about it almost feels like justice in some sense, as it might give the current generation an idea of what it meant to laugh at adversity and keep pushing on. Yes, I know it’s a game, but seeing as how some folks take their games very seriously, it might be fun to see how said individuals react to this performance.
Like it or not, this is a part of what makes comedy important in society.
The thought of making light of something like the Oregon Trail, which was very real for a lot of people and ultimately saw the end of many individuals along its length, might sound and appear to be kind of morbid, but before we allow hypocrisy to get in the way, it’s important to remember what role comedy plays in society. Yes, the Oregon Trail and many other trials in history have been tragic, and making light of them might appear to be highly disrespectful and even wrong in many ways. But comedy is born from tragedy and despair quite often, and it’s the reaction to these moments that defines who people are and what they can endure. Making light of the Oregon Trail and the many trials that were met and endured during this time might feel morbid to many people, but being able to laugh at the pain when it’s presented in a way that tickles the funny bone is important since it doesn’t exactly rob the seriousness of the moment, but rather makes it clear that people are able to endure and look back with a grin to show that the world didn’t break their spirit entirely. I know that’s a bit grandiose for such an occurrence as the trail that brought so many to the west, but like anything else in this world, it’s all about timing and the manner in which the comedy is introduced.
If people are offended by this, then they might need to check their priorities.
It almost feels comical to think that people might be offended by this subject and by the attempt to turn it into a comedy of any sort. But if one really wants to point out the hypocrisy (if they can find it worth their time), then pointing out such movies as A Million Ways to Die in the West and many other movies might be necessary. There are quite a few subjects that are satirized and turned into comedy for people to enjoy, subjects that some might feel aren’t worth laughing at. But recalling the many times that playing The Oregon Trail brought a lot of us to growls of frustration makes it feel as though turning this project into a comedy is a natural step in the right direction.
It might be a good idea to keep expectations low.
Seriously, it doesn’t sound as though this idea will be the biggest thing to come along, but depending on how it’s presented, it could be a sensation to pay attention to whenever it’s completed. If nothing else, it might bring back a few memories as people recall how many hours they spent trying to beat this fakatka game.