I’ve never played Oregon Trail. Not even once. Not when I was a kid. I’ve never played it. I’ve never seen Oregon Trail anywhere aside from a compilation of “things you loved about being a kid in the 90s” and I don’t know what the point of Oregon Trail is. I’ve been lying this entire time. The truth is I’m a good liar and whenever anybody would bring up their favorite parts of the game play I’d laugh, agree, and change the subject. I had seen countless “You have died of dysentery” screen shots online, so it’s the only part of the game that I know exists, and the only part of the game I reference. I don’t know how you get dysentery in Oregon Trail, I don’t know who gets dysentery in Oregon Trail, I just know someone gets dysentery in Oregon Trail.
I can only assume this game, made so popular by The Internet’s latest 1990s nostalgia kick, is a game about crossing America during the colonial period. At one point, you probably walk a trail located within Oregon. Again — all speculation. It’s probably not historically accurate, nor especially fun to play, I think it’s just one of those things people like talking about for the sake of talking. I really don’t know what I was doing while everyone was so busy playing Oregon Trail. Sure, I took plenty of computer and typing classes, but all I ever played was Math Blasters and Putt Putt Saves The Zoo. Clearly no one sent me the Oregon Trail e-vite. Maybe I was unknowingly put in the dumb class where it was assumed that none of us could handle the dramatic game play or 8-bit images of Oregon Trail.
I’m glad everyone’s having such a great time talking about that moment in their lives when they achieved an all-knowing state through a computer game. Hey, I’m really glad countless new relationships were forged on the basis of mutually enjoying a game you played on a now defunct operating system. I’m not even upset that I have to run to the bathroom and Google “Oregon Trail best parts” in a bar to save myself from being left out of a jovial conversation about gaming and youth. Fine, all the cool kids who played Oregon Trail and ate Cool Ranch Doritos didn’t invite me to their stupid club. It’s not even a big deal. You know, things on my end aren’t so simple either. Lying about Oregon Trail is a full-time commitment. It’s tough for a guy my age to maintain a fib of such detail and depth. I’ve had to create a completely new fictional persona — an alternate timeline where I jumped the Oregon Trail wagon (#pun? #unsure) before everyone else and finished in first place. Can you even get first place in that game?
Pop culture isn’t going to save my soul, but it does lead to sex with attractive women. The modern one-night stand isn’t born on the dance floor, it starts in front of the computer. You meet someone cute at a bar and talk to them about BuzzFeed’s newest 1990s nostalgia list. They tell you their favorite Power Ranger, you sing the theme song to Captain Planet, then BOOM, you’re 69ing in the back of a stretch limo with Puff Daddy. I should rephrase that, you’re not 69ing Puff Daddy, he’s just there with his crew drinking Moët. Pop culture knowledge is 2013’s answer to 1960s courtship. Kids don’t gaze into each other’s eyes at the soda shop anymore. There’s no gentle hand-holding as you’re watching the sunset on Lover’s Lane. Instead you get finger-blasted listening to Weezer’s The Blue Album.
On principle alone, I never will play Oregon Trail. Nope, this guy is going to maintain that lie for years to come. Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite part of the game was, I’m going to continue to laugh and say “oh man, when I would die of dysentery!” The time has come and gone for me to be a part of that crew. I guess that’s a big part of growing up, when you really stick to your guns. Some men are lovers of Shakespeare who can quote a sonnet from memory, others are doctors who can name every bone in your body, me? I just lie about playing a video game to get in your pants. You just died of dysentery.