Release Date: April 11th, 2024

The Story of The Oregon Trail originally began in 2019. I had made contact with most of the original creators and even interviewed them on camera. Then COVID happened, which shut down most of the archives and museums I needed to visit to complete my research. I decided to put this video on hold. Four years later, in 2023, I made a goal to finish this project. I rarely use video interviews in my work, so incorporating three of them was quite a challenge. Not only that, but I had to figure out how to play old versions of Oregon Trail from the 1970s!

I knew I wanted to take my time with this video. Oregon Trail is one of my favorite games and really fueled my passion for history and video games. I didn’t give myself a deadline and just kept telling myself “it’s done when it’s done.” This is my longest video to date but I also believe it is my best. Hope you enjoy it!


Bouchard, Philip. Philip Bouchard Interview. Video, November 15, 2019.
“Classic Game Postmortem: Oregon Trail – YouTube,” March 15, 2017.
Dillenberger, Paul. Paul Dillenberger Interview. Video, June 3, 2019.
Halvorsen, Donna. “Kids Mosey to Mall to Hit New Oregon Trail Cybergame.” Star Tribune, February 26, 1995.
Heinemann, Bill. Bill Heinemann Interview. Video, June 4, 2019.
“History at GDC: Don Rawitsch on The Oregon Trail.” History Respawned
Inskip, Leonard. “Giving Minnesota’s Computer Agency a Chance to Compete.” Star Tribune, April 4, 1984.
“MECC, The Company That Launched Educational Gaming,” October 18, 2017.
News. “Carl Creators of Oregon Trail Celebrate 50th Anniversary – Carleton College.” “The Making of The Oregon Trail: An Interview with Don Rawitsch,” October 22, 2015.
Rankin, Joy Lisi. A People’s History of Computing in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2018.
Rawitsch, Don. Don Rawitsch Interview. Phone, September 24, 2019.
———. “Letters from Readers – Computer Program.” Star Tribune, April 1, 1979.
reddit. “R/IAmA – I Am Don Rawitsch, a Co-Inventor of the Original Oregon Trail Computer Game. AMA!,” February 1, 2016.
Singer, Dale. “Students ‘travel’ the Old Oregon Trail via Computer.” Star Tribune, March 18, 1979.
Smithsonian. “How You Wound Up Playing The Oregon Trail in Computer Class,” July 22, 2016.
Whitaker, Robert. “He Created The Oregon Trail.” Slate, November 17, 2021.
Wills, Kendall J. “WHAT’S NEW WITH NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.” The New York Times, May 5, 1985, sec. Business.
Wong, Kevin. “The Forgotten History of ‘The Oregon Trail,’ As Told By Its Creators.” Motherboard, February 15, 2017.