“The Oregon Trail” Game with More Accurate Representation of Native Americans
A generation of children grew up playing settlers heading west on the Oregon Trail. They remember it mostly for the moment their party died of dysentery. Now, a new spin on the wagon train game focuses on more accurately representing Native Americans and includes new storylines and playable Native American characters. The company Gameloft tackled the redesign of The Oregon Trail for Apple Arcade as worldwide play increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The updated game came out in April. Its target audience: the now-40-year-old original fans and their children. To root out historical inaccuracies and clichés about Native American culture, Gameloft’s creative director involved three Indigenous historians. They listened to early test music for the game and said, back off the drums and flutes. They also said, don’t use broken, stilted English. The team of historians also came up with more appropriate names for game characters and advocated for new roles for Native Americans, not just roles as guides or trappers. The flutes are gone, but one old moment remains in the new version—players can still die of dysentery. View the app in the Mac App Store.
With the new Mission to Marsapp for iOS, users can drive a rover, walk the Martian surface, and play robot geologist, all in augmented reality. The Mission to Mars appoffers seven experiences, starting with an overview of Martian geography.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum provides unique fieldtrip opportunities for teachers and students to engage with the museum’s content online. Among the museum’s offerings are “Earth and Its Place in the Universe” (grades 5–12); “Finding Our Way: Geography and GIS” (grades 6–8)); “Living Through History” (grades 1–8); and “Paper Airplane Design” (grades 3–8).