ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Visitors to an Illinois museum will have the opportunity to take a virtual trip along the Oregon Trail, following the path of settlers in 1848 — and possibly experiencing death by dysentery or a broken leg.
Midway Village Museum on Saturday will showcase an interactive version of the Oregon Trail computer game that launched in 1971, the Rockford Register Star reported.
The game puts players in the shoes of a settler moving a family of five from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon. Players at the Oregon Trail IRL event can shoot rubber-band guns, pull team members across tarp rivers and avoid the types of problems that in those days could lead to death. Some estimates indicate around one in 10 explorers died over a 25-year span in the mid-1800s.
If they survive, the teams who get the most points by the end of the game will be qualified for various prizes.
"I'm not sure how our mortality rate in the game will compare to that because I think a lot of people in this game actually want to die," said Caitlin Treece, educator at the Rockford museum. "We've heard a lot of people advertise this to their friends as 'Do you want to come catch dysentery with me?'"
Though the game frustrated students for years, millennials have started to embrace its nostalgia factor. Retail outlets have sold T-shirts that read "you have died of dysentery" in a graphic that is reminiscent of the early days of Apple computers.
Midway Village sought to capitalize on the game's renaissance with its event, which is part of the museum's effort to appeal to younger adults.
"We just kind of sat down and thought about what we, as millennials, would be attracted to, and pop culture and nostalgia type things are very much heart warmers for us millennials," said Alyssa McGhghy, special events coordinator for Midway Village.
Youngsters will play a version that avoids the possibility of fatality.
Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com