Listen to Austin 360 Radio

This updated Oregon Trail game has craft beer and yoga instructors

Arianna Auber
Players of the Travel Oregon: The Game can choose to explore regions of Oregon like the Willamette Valley.

Don’t worry: You can still die in a new version of the beloved but brutal Oregon Trail game. But instead of falling prey to a snakebite or coming down with cholera — or failing to safely ford a river, like I always did — you can die of more modern troubles. Like a food coma. Or too much kombucha.

That’s the cheeky premise behind the Travel Oregon: The Game that Travel Oregon has released for people to play through Dec. 31, anyway. The Willamette Week publication recently played the game to discover all the myriad and wonderful updates that Travel Oregon made to reflect the way Oregonians currently live.

“Travel Oregon's game uses the MS-DOS aesthetic of the original game, but the journey is modern. Instead of being a banker, you can be a fly-fishing guide, yoga instructor, winemaker, surfer (ugh), ski pro or apple farmer,” according to the publication. “We started playing, and also learned that you start with $1,200 and can purchase artisanal coffee, snow chains and craft beer.”

And you can actually visit a brewery, too, and pick pints from choices like Deschutes Abyss Russian Imperial Stout or Cascade Rose City Sour. 

Which got us thinking. What would an Austin Trail look like? There are an unlimited number of pop culture comparisons between the equally quirky Austin and Portland, so yeah, we’re a lot alike. We’d probably drink too much kombucha, too. But we’ve got enough of our own #firstworldproblems weirdness that the games would likely have distinct differences. 

Here’s what an Austin Trail game might include.

  • Instead of purchasing our supplies at a general store, we’d be sourcing all of our locally made or grown goods from a farmers market: things like agua frescas, fresh tortillas, pounds and pounds of brisket. And we’d have to decide between spending the money for a Yeti cooler to store all our Topo Chico bottles or for a French press to make steaming cups of Cuvee Coffee in the morning.
  • It doesn’t really get truly cold here, so while snow tires would be an unnecessary purchase, we’d come to really regret it if we didn’t pack a swimsuit for dips in Barton Springs.
  • On the Austin Trail, we’d have the option to visit places like the wineries of the Texas Hill Country, live music venues on or near Red River Street, and the shops and restaurants along South Congress Avenue. And if we didn’t go back and explore one of those areas, we’d get FOMO. Which, at least, isn’t quite as bad as dysentery.
  • Players of the Austin Trail would also have a roster of local craft beer to choose from, but these would be the Celis White, the St. Elmo Carl Kolsch, Jester King Brewery Atrial Rubicite, Hops & Grain River Beer, the AGBG Rocket 100 Pilsner or Pinthouse Pizza Electric Jellyfish IPA.
  • At the start of the game, we’d have some career options beyond bankers, too: barista, software engineer, peach farmer, professor, distiller and politician. 
  • We’d also be able to choose our means of transportation, ‘cause the Austin Trail encourages not taking your car everywhere. So prepare to travel by bike, kayak, bus or by a hybrid Prius ?if you insist.
  • We’d all die when the Tacodeli stash runs out.

Oh, and by the way. The original version of the Oregon Trail game, the one that introduced many a kid to the computer in the 1980s and ‘90s? We can still play the old-school MS-DOS version online