PopLurker Plays: DOS FX – Oregon Trail

By Aaron Russell


Hello. Welcome back to DOS FX.

For this sophomore episode, I wanted to highlight the venerable classic and pop-culture joke factory, Oregon Trail. You can’t have a video game review series without addressing it. It’s the Abbey Road of computer games. Everyone has died of dysentery at some point.

Pictured: pre-dysentery Beast Boy

And if you’re like me, you first got to play this jewel on your grade school’s Apple II computer, on a rolling cart, in the hallway outside of class. And if you’re still like me, then you usually played this game in the style of “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” and received multiple detentions for laughing too loud.


So, in that spirit, let’s play this beloved game as your typical 6th grader would and see what fortunes await….


The following are excerpts from the journal of Mr. Pump, a poor teacher with no discernible travel skills, as he sets off with his four companions on the Oregon Trail.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – March 7, 1848: Attempted to caulk my wagon and float across the Kansas River with disastrous results. I lost two spare axles. Fucking Kansas.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – March 9, 1848: I decided it was time for a hunt. I proceeded to slaughter 10 buffalo, 3 deer and 4 squirrels totaling a whopping 2785 lb! Unfortunately all I could carry back in one trip was 200lb. The armadillos claim the rest before I can get back to it.

Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – March 10, 1848: Getting antsy. We change our pace from steady to grueling. The Lord do loveth Him a grueling pace.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – March 17, 1848: Scrotum Hair is suffering from exhaustion and Penis Vein has dysentery! Damn this grueling pace! But what can you do?


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – March 18, 1848: One of the oxen is ill. Turn your heads kids. This isn’t going to be pretty.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – March 22, 1848: Penis Vein is well again! We quickly put her back to work.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – March 30, 1848: Never mind. She’s dead. I probably shouldn’t have put her back to work so soon. We laid her to rest in the old Indian burial ground. It was the least we could do.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – April 2, 1848: Got up early and decided to wipe out more species today. I laid buckshot into 14 deer and 1 fox. Claimed 200 lb. of fresh kill but the other 1,500 went to the Gila monsters.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – April 15, 1848: Scrotum Hair broke a leg. Had to amputate.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – April 15, 1848(cont): This is indeed a dark day. Not only has Vagina Lips contracted cholera, but now Anus Wrinkle is suffering from exhaustion. The lazy bastard will have to rest for a few hours. Vagina Lips will have to take over his duties, cholera or no.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – April 18, 1848: Maybe I shouldn’t have made Vagina Lips do all that work while she was sick. Unfortunately, we lost her today. We pray the badgers do not dig up her remains and get a taste for human flesh.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – April 20, 1848: Anus Wrinkle has this annoying habit of sleeping on our hunting kills. Says it’s good for his rheumatism. Unfortunately, his body heat has caused 14 lb. of our meat to go bad. We decide to tell Scrotum Hair it’s the only food we have so he’ll eat it.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – April 24, 1848: I guess we shouldn’t have fed Scrotum Hair all that rotting meat. Sadly, we lost him today.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – April 30, 1848: Some perverted rustler in rambler cowboy jeans ran right off with four of the oxen last night.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – May 3, 1848: Anus Wrinkle’s sleeping on carcass days have finally caught up with him. He succumbed to the cholera this morning. I’m all alone now. He smelled like dead animal, but at least he was someone to talk to. It’s just me and the oxen now. I’m thinking about asking the second one on the left to dinner tomorrow.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – May 16, 1848: Dinner did not go well. The second ox on the left did not like my advances and ran off.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – May 26, 1848: So very sick. The dysentery’s got me. I’m hallucinating. I see my dear departed companions taking care of me. But…I must go on.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – June 11, 1848: I’ve made it to the river. It will take me to Williamette Valley! I must use my last bit of will and strength to forge these rapids of uniform speed with evenly spaced, identical boulders, because I have no money for the ferry.


Mr. Pump’s Travel Log – ????:  I’ve made it! All sense of time has been lost in this magical, marvelous and majestic realm. I’ve befriended Paul Bunyan, his family, and some grizzled prospector named Randy Savage. I feel bad for giving them all dysentery.


Poor Mr. Pump, 30 years later and still only a Greenhorn.

Still, it can be said that this game has definitely stood the test of time and will remain a pop-culture icon for many years to come. If you’d like to die from dysentery too, feel free to visit here to begin your mystical journey.

This reviewer gives this game a score of Ten Thousand Dead Buffalo*


*On a scale of Ten Thousand Dead Buffalo being the best and One Thousand Dead Buffalo being the worst


Aaron is on the Twitter trail. He also has a website devoted to his Photoshop hilarity.

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