Organs, Oregon, and Old Yeller

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Ever wanted to relive your favorite childhood gaming nostalgia, but with, ya know, a lot more cool stuff.  Like zombies, and strippers, and several references that would fly right over the head of a young child?  Well, you probably never actually wanted that, but now that you hear it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, right?…Well, if you said yes, (you’re probably a bit sadistic, maybe you should talk to a professional) then Organ Trail is your cup of tea.

Yes, that is Organ Trail, not Oregon Trail, although the basic game play is similar this rehashing of the classic game and is everything you remember (at least vaguely) but involves a lot more violence.  Still not convinced?  Here is the true (not at all true) story of the game and why you should play it:

“Originally developed many years ago as a teaching tool for students, schools across America used the game to prepare children for the impending zombie apocalypse, and dysentery. But what the public doesn’t know is that the released version does not follow the program director’s original design. Before they tried to have him killed, he stole all the code and it has taken him 40 years to program the game in his own vision. Unfortunately no one uses the Apple-II anymore, so he’s putting it on those newfangled phones.”

This project started as a simple idea by The Men Who Wear Many Hats from Chicago.  Like many other indie projects, Organ Trail was crowd-funded via a Kickstarter campaign.  Offering rewards such as T-shirts, statues, and in-game zombification, the project was extremely popular and the donations came rolling in.  Organ Trail went from an in-browser endeavor to a full production across many platforms including PC, ios, and Android.  I picked up the Android version and it did not disappoint.

As I had stated before, the game play is very similar to that of the classic Oregon Trail.  You control a small party of people in a wagon (station wagon) who are traveling across the US, in this case, to a zombie-free zone.  Along the way you stop at several ruined cities in which you can complete odd jobs such as killing bandits or retrieving lost items from zombie-infested areas, and barter with the locals.  As you travel from coast to coast there are several random events and people to meet along the journey which you can decide to investigate or leave behind without remorse.  ALWAYS INVESTIGATE!  If you are just concerned with making it to the end, you aren’t enjoying all that Organ Trail has to offer.

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One of my favorite parts of the game is how brutal it can be.  The art style would make you think this is a “cute” zombie game that is meant more to update the original game, but I found out once one of my party members “Rambo” (named for my dog) was bitten and I could no longer keep her (yes, Rambo is a girl) alive.  There is an option while stopped on the trail to kill one of your party members.  I imagined I would choose this option and our party would simply press on without them, I was sorely mistaken.  After selecting to kill Rambo I am presented with a screen showing myself holding a gun and pointing at Rambo.  I then have to pull my finger back from the gun (the shooting mechanic) and literally shoot my party member.  The kill is not obscenely graphic, but does change depending on where you shoot your target (a little bonus).  If you’re squeamish, a shot to the foot does just as much as a facial.

This game is good, cheap, fun.  It may not have the highest replay value, but is not the type of game meant for you to pour hours into each sitting.  I recommend that you pick it up for mobile, then you can rescue your friends and destroy the undead at a moments notice.

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