The Oregon Trail
Play a piece of history, smile, and learn nothing in the process.
My peers and I have such fond memories of a game called "The Oregon Trail", originally developed back in the 1970s, and released on massive floppy disks in 1985. I have memories of playing this game in middle school, in a small room filled with likewise young teenagers playing it on Apple IIe computers.
The Oregon Trail was inspired by the real-life Oregon Trail and was designed to teach schoolchildren about the realities of 19th century pioneer life on the trail. The player assumes the role of a wagon leader guiding his party of settlers from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon's Willamette Valley by way of the Oregon Trail via a Conestoga wagon in 1848.
In reality, the game fails to do any real educating, with the exception of the daunting reality of settlers dying on the trail, and the excessive extermination and waste of America's buffalo and natural resources—"You shot 893 pounds of meat, but you can only carry 100 pounds back to your wagon."
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the (still awesome) game is to name party members after your friends and family, so that when something tragic happens, it's all that more entertaining. Also, the game is short, and takes only an hour to complete from start to finish.
I really have to give a nod to my brother, Glenn, who sent me a hyperlink to a Web site where you can play The Oregon Trail in your browser (as well as sending me another hyperlink where you can play most every Nintendo game released). To enjoy this vintage piece of entertainment, visit http://www.virtualapple.org/oregontraildisk.html, or read more about the game on Wikipedia.