Quiz about Oregon Trail
Quiz about Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail Trivia Quiz


A generation of American schoolchildren grew up playing "Oregon Trail" on Apple II computers. Do you have what it takes to get your party safely to the west coast?

A multiple-choice quiz by CellarDoor. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
CellarDoor
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
241,812
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
2276
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 47 (7/10), bernie73 (10/10), rayvendragon (8/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. A game of "Oregon Trail" begins with a choice: as leader of your party, what is your occupation? Your decision affects several aspects of the game, from your available cash to the bonus added to your score. Members of which profession begin with the most money? Hint

Banker
Carpenter
Farmer
The banker and the carpenter begin with the same amount.

2. To many players, myself included, one of the most fun parts of "Oregon Trail" has always been choosing the names of the party members. Including the leader, how many people are there in each party? Hint

4
5
8
2

3. Before you can leave "Independence, Missouri, 1848," you've got to purchase supplies for the trip. At Matt's General Store, a nifty little DOS interface allows you to spend your hard-saved cash on a variety of useful items. What doesn't Matt sell? Hint

Food
Oxen
Blankets
Ammunition

4. It's time to leave Independence and head to Oregon! You've got to decide what month to depart, what pace to set your team, and what rations to give your family. What combination of pace and rations is most likely to result in disaster? Hint

Steady pace and bare-bones rations
Strenuous pace and meager rations
Grueling pace and bare-bones rations
Grueling pace and generous rations

5. After watching the black-and-white, pixellated scenery pass slowly by on your monitor, the appearance of a river to cross adds a great deal of excitement. Based on local conditions (like the depth of the river and resources available), you can choose from several options for the river crossing. Which of these choices is NEVER presented as a way to reach the other side? Hint

Fell nearby trees and build a bridge
Ford the river
Caulk the wagon and float it across
Pay a few dollars to take the ferry across

6. You continue making your slow progress across the country, when disaster suddenly strikes in the text window. One of your party members (let's call her Mary) is suffering from dysentery! Which of these options (by itself) is most likely to help her recover? Hint

Slow the pace of the wagon
Stop the wagon and rest for a few days
Increase rations for the party
Increase the pace so as to get to a doctor in the next town

7. Despite your best efforts, Mary dies from her illness -- she almost always does. So your thoughts have turned to mortality and philosophy (do video game characters go to pixel heaven?) when the text window informs you that you're passing a tombstone by the side of the road. What does this mean? Hint

A historical battle between the U.S. Army and Native Americans occurred here, and you can read about it on the tombstone.
A historical pioneer died at this spot, and you can find his or her biography on the tombstone.
A previous player's party died at this spot, and they left an epitaph for future players to read.
There's a tombstone shop here, where you can purchase one for Mary and a spare in case any other party members die.

8. As your journey progresses, you notice a countdown on your screen: "Next Landmark: 25 miles ... 24 miles ... 23 miles ..." Finally, your wagon arrives at Independence Rock, illustrated by a colorful traveling scene, a change of music, and some new options for your party. What CAN'T you do at Independence Rock and other landmarks? Hint

Decide to settle nearby
Learn about the history of the area
Purchase goods and supplies
Rest before continuing on

9. Your party is running low on food, so you stop the wagon, unpack the ammunition, and go hunting to replenish your supplies. A little stick figure (representing you) takes up a position among a few trees and boulders; you aim your musket using the arrow keys. You manage to shoot three buffalo, figuring they'll feed your party for months; instead, when you leave, you discover you can't take all three. What's the problem? Hint

There's a weight limit on what you can carry back to the wagon.
Wolves or mountain lions (depending on your location) dispute your claim to two of the carcasses.
A game warden appears and writes you a citation for overhunting.
One of every two buffalo is diseased and unsafe for you to use as food.

10. Finally, despite everything "Oregon Trail" can throw at you, you're almost done: you've reached the Columbia River, and all you need to do to get to Willamette Valley is to head downstream. You could take the toll road, but you find yourself short on cash. What is your other option? Hint

Leave the wagon and hike along the riverbank, abandoning whatever goods you can't carry.
Return to the last landmark and sell your belongings until you have enough cash for the toll road. (If you're a carpenter, you can also work for money.)
Leave the road and forge your own trail, keeping in mind the dangers of getting lost in the mountains as winter approaches.
Float the wagon on a raft, steering it down the river while avoiding rocks.


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. A game of "Oregon Trail" begins with a choice: as leader of your party, what is your occupation? Your decision affects several aspects of the game, from your available cash to the bonus added to your score. Members of which profession begin with the most money?

Answer: Banker

Your party's survival depends on the supplies (food, clothing, spare wagon parts) that you're able to purchase at the beginning, so a banker (from Boston) is the easiest to play, followed by the carpenter (from Ohio) and finally the poor farmer (from Illinois). (In later versions, they shook things up by giving the carpenter the ability to fix broken wagon parts.) The less money you begin with, however, the higher your score will be if you eventually make it to the end.
2. To many players, myself included, one of the most fun parts of "Oregon Trail" has always been choosing the names of the party members. Including the leader, how many people are there in each party?

Answer: 5

The names of the party members -- presumably a father, a mother, and three children -- present some fascinating exercises in the psychology of schoolchildren. My female friends and I filled the party with best friends, cousins, and most especially the little boys we had crushes on; most of our male classmates, however, took our lightly supervised computer time as an opportunity to, well, stretch the boundaries of classroom language. I cannot tell you how many pioneers were apparently named "Booger."

As we'll explore in later questions, the party members have only a few roles: they get sick with exotic diseases (Cholera! Typhoid fever! Dysentery!), they drown when attempting to ford rivers, and their early demise lowers final scores.
3. Before you can leave "Independence, Missouri, 1848," you've got to purchase supplies for the trip. At Matt's General Store, a nifty little DOS interface allows you to spend your hard-saved cash on a variety of useful items. What doesn't Matt sell?

Answer: Blankets

Matt sells oxen, food, clothing, ammunition, and spare wagon parts, but no blankets -- I guess you've just got to layer on more clothing. Oxen (he's got one well-stocked general store!) pull the wagon, and nearly max out the farmers' savings. A healthy supply of food, clothing and spare parts will see you safely to Oregon, but ammunition allows you to hunt along the way.
4. It's time to leave Independence and head to Oregon! You've got to decide what month to depart, what pace to set your team, and what rations to give your family. What combination of pace and rations is most likely to result in disaster?

Answer: Grueling pace and bare-bones rations

While the time of year affects the trip (leave too early and your oxen may have trouble finding grass to eat; leave too late and you may be delayed by bad weather in the fall), the effects of pace and rations are quicker and more dramatic. Keeping rations small allows you to save money on food, but affects the health of your party; setting a fast pace lets you get to Oregon on time, if you get there at all.

A large contingent of players has the goal of killing off their entire party as quickly as possible, and a combination of grueling pace and bare bones rations definitely gets the job done.
5. After watching the black-and-white, pixellated scenery pass slowly by on your monitor, the appearance of a river to cross adds a great deal of excitement. Based on local conditions (like the depth of the river and resources available), you can choose from several options for the river crossing. Which of these choices is NEVER presented as a way to reach the other side?

Answer: Fell nearby trees and build a bridge

Fording the river is usually a terrible idea: even if the water is reported at two feet deep, odds are very high that the wagon will overturn. (The consequences of this usually involve at least three ruined crates of ammunition and up to two drowned party members.) Caulking the wagon is somewhat less dangerous, but still flirts with disaster.

When a ferry is available (only at rivers in more populated areas), it's nearly 100% safe, but most wagon parties find the fees impossible to afford. Occasionally you can get away with trading a few sets of clothing for the help of some local Native Americans, which usually gets the job done.
6. You continue making your slow progress across the country, when disaster suddenly strikes in the text window. One of your party members (let's call her Mary) is suffering from dysentery! Which of these options (by itself) is most likely to help her recover?

Answer: Stop the wagon and rest for a few days

Towns are extremely rare in this game, and while they allow you to restock your supplies, medical services (and even medicines) are simply not available. This is 1848, after all, and Mary may be better off without the leeches. While Mary will do better with a slower pace or with slightly more food to eat, she's most likely to get better if the party simply stops and camps for a few days. Just be careful -- if you delay your journey too long, you may run out of food (or into bad weather) at the end of the trip.
7. Despite your best efforts, Mary dies from her illness -- she almost always does. So your thoughts have turned to mortality and philosophy (do video game characters go to pixel heaven?) when the text window informs you that you're passing a tombstone by the side of the road. What does this mean?

Answer: A previous player's party died at this spot, and they left an epitaph for future players to read.

The tombstone commemorates the loss of a previous player's last party member. It never records how the party was lost; usually two or three people drowned while fording a river, and the rest died of dysentery, broken legs, or cholera. When the last person (the party leader) died, the player was allowed to write his or her own epitaph, for the edification and amusement of those who would later play on that computer. (Sometimes this would be the same player; sometimes a sibling; most often a student who had computer class an hour later.) This limited ability to customize the game's landscape led countless students to kill off their parties early, all so as to pass illicit messages to their classmates.

Many nostalgic online reviews of "Oregon Trail" (for example, an undated "Classic Gaming" magazine Game of the Week pick) include a screenshot of one such tombstone, which reads "Here lies andy. peperony and cheese." This earnest (if poorly spelled and capitalized) epitaph illustrates the humor "Oregon Trail" lent itself to: Andy was reportedly responding to the Tombstone pizza advertising tagline, "What do you want on *your* Tombstone?"
8. As your journey progresses, you notice a countdown on your screen: "Next Landmark: 25 miles ... 24 miles ... 23 miles ..." Finally, your wagon arrives at Independence Rock, illustrated by a colorful traveling scene, a change of music, and some new options for your party. What CAN'T you do at Independence Rock and other landmarks?

Answer: Decide to settle nearby

Prices increase dramatically the further you go along the trail, so it might seem as though there's a good living to be made as a merchant at Independence Rock -- but no, the game allows no second thoughts on the part of its pioneers. There's always room for an educational interlude, however, and these periodic stops -- which also include places like Chimney Rock and Fort Hall -- provide relatively unobtrusive opportunities for teaching.
9. Your party is running low on food, so you stop the wagon, unpack the ammunition, and go hunting to replenish your supplies. A little stick figure (representing you) takes up a position among a few trees and boulders; you aim your musket using the arrow keys. You manage to shoot three buffalo, figuring they'll feed your party for months; instead, when you leave, you discover you can't take all three. What's the problem?

Answer: There's a weight limit on what you can carry back to the wagon.

This is one of "Oregon Trail"'s attempts to build environmental consciousness in its players by underlining the futility of overhunting. (In addition, game becomes scarce if you hunt repeatedly in the same general area: going back for more buffalo after this epic hunt, you may find nothing but squirrels!) For many players, however, this seems a lesson in arbitrary rules: why wouldn't the hunter bring other party members to help carry the food, or make multiple trips, or even bring the wagon over to the carcasses after the hunt? I well remember bagging as many buffalo as I could, just so that I could enjoy an increasingly absurdist warning message: "You have shot 3782 pounds of meat, but you can only carry 200 pounds back to the wagon ..."
10. Finally, despite everything "Oregon Trail" can throw at you, you're almost done: you've reached the Columbia River, and all you need to do to get to Willamette Valley is to head downstream. You could take the toll road, but you find yourself short on cash. What is your other option?

Answer: Float the wagon on a raft, steering it down the river while avoiding rocks.

"Oregon Trail" doesn't allow anything as complicated as blazing new trails, abandoning property or working for a living -- but it does provide a rather fun arcade-style mini-game instead. Your wagon/raft (no word on what happens to the oxen) floats down an abnormally straight river at what seems like breakneck speed; boulders appear as you advance, and must be dodged with the arrow keys. In a complete departure from river-crossing experiences earlier in the game, the wagon won't sink or overturn unless you hit a rock -- but a collision generally means that absolutely everything is lost.

On arrival in the Willamette Valley, an idyllic scene is displayed, scores are tabulated (based on how many party members have survived and in what health, on how much is left in goods and money, and on how "hard" the chosen profession is to play), and players wait with bated breath to see whether they've made the "Oregon Trail" Top 10. Congratulations on your arrival in Oregon, and thank you for playing this quiz!
Source: Author CellarDoor

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor gtho4 before going online.
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Most Recent Scores
Nov 12 2022 : Guest 47: 7/10
Nov 12 2022 : bernie73: 10/10
Oct 15 2022 : rayvendragon: 8/10
Oct 11 2022 : sadwings: 10/10
Oct 08 2022 : comark2000: 10/10

Score Distribution

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