Gaming- My Time in a Museum and on the Oregon Trail

Gaming- My Time in a Museum and on the Oregon Trail

I spent my morning on a project for my digital humanities class. The project was to play a historical computer game from the 1990s. After looking around for some time, I chose to play the game Museum Madness. The story of the game involves a boy and the museum robot, MICK. The boy enjoys exploring the museum’s website but the robot lets the boy know online that he has a computer virus and something has gone wrong in the museum. All the artifacts are creating chaos and he hears a dinosaur roaring. He asks the boy to get to the museum ASAP. The boy decides to help MICK but waits until it is safer in the morning to venture out.

Upon reaching the museum he finds the door locked. Clicking the screen allows the player to see script of what is happening, which is told by the boy, and give clues on how to proceed. There is a panel above the door with symbols (a magnifying glass appears as your cursor allowing you to take a closer look). Another sign said that the museum is closed for renovations and people can use the side door. Once inside the side door, the boy needs to enter a code to open the door, which ends up being the same symbols that were above the museum door. Once inside the museum basement, the game gets a bit boring, wandering the halls, looking for key cards to open doors. Finally I found the key to the museum door, which I enter to meet MICK.

MICK lets the boy know that he needs batteries, which I found but the game glitched and I could not get the batteries in the backpack to give to MICK. Unfortunately, I had to end the game without interacting with the museum artifacts.

The premise of the game seems fun. Obviously updated graphics, increased speed of the game and use of voiceover instead of reading would make this game fun for 2019. Who doesn’t want to run from dinosaurs in a museum (I know Jurassic Park recently did that which was an equally disappointing experience).

I next tried The Oregon Trail. I played the deluxe version from 1992. The graphics on this game were dated but I did not mind it as much as the outdated graphics on Museum Madness (granted, museum madness had more moving parts and complexities that The Oregon Trail did not). This game is straightforward and easy to follow without much guidance, meaning there is an easy learning curve. The “talk” icon provides information and clues of how to get through the trail safely. Although, you cannot prevent snack bites apparently since my party was bit almost constantly. It is definitely a game that the player learns from and can use that information to have more success the next time they play. I did feel guilty about killing buffalo for food, which I stopped doing and started killing elk and deer. Sadly, my one remaining ox died 2 miles from the fort. I wished there was an option to walk to the fort and bring an ox back, however, I did not see that option and had to end my game.

I like the simplicity of this game. It could be updated with newer graphics, more purchasing and trading options, and include historical information in the playing of the game itself in more obvious ways than having to click on icons to find the information. Even including a diary that the player can keep for subsequent journeys would be helpful or a fun option to write letters back home about the journey (they can also burn in the fire too to make it more exciting). All and all, it is a fun, interactive, educational game that brings the player back to play again!

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