History 306 Gaming and Critical Play
A Student’s Adventure in History Gaming
What is the narrative structure of the game and how is it told? The narrative of the game in Oregon Trail is to entail the dramatic experience of individuals who embarked on an adventure to reside on new territory the American government acquired in the Mexican American War. The game shows how life and death was an everyday worry for these migrants and it could strike at any moment for the potential settler going West. In addition, the creators incorporated many geographical and historical facts providing an edutainment for the gamer. Many emigrants who trekked the long adventure to the west were consumed by the negative narrative that Native Americans were savages and they were more prone to attack potential settlers on their lands. The natives are portrayed in the video game, to a degree as the agitators instead of a group of people who were defending their land.
This game is tailored for adolescents and the obligation becomes the question of what part of history should be told and left out. History in video games, textbooks and television shows all have the same commonality which is to give a narrative that makes their audiences exposed to a fell “good-history.” For example, the relationship between the Pawnee and Sioux are mentioned as mortal enemies and will kill each other with no hesitation. To a degree, this is true but does the Pawnee tribe warrants to be portrayed as an aggressor with little context to provide why the hostility exists? In some cases, when the gamer decides to choose to talk to the inhabitants in the area, the gamer can have a conversation with the Natives who expresses concern over his land. For example, “The White man first crossed our lands with few wagons…now they crowd the trail…my people talk of moving.” The narrative structure of the game is to make the gamer indulge in completing the Oregon Trail while at the same time find a foe to easily demonized which makes the game playful. Overall, the objective of the game delivers on giving the player to be informed on the real-life experiences these emigrants endured crossing the great plains to the West to reside in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah but fails on exposing different perspectives in a hostile social and racial climate.
What is the primary historical argument for the game? The primary argument for this game is to express the danger, the responsibility and necessities to travel such long distance. Oregon Trail gives the individual the opportunity to experience a fraction of what it took to make such adventure. The process of gather resources such as pounds of food, clothes, extra wheels and when resources have been exhausted the modern individual must take on the role as being a hunter and gather to survive the unforgiving deserted land. The video game does not make the gamer physically endure the process but exposes them to understand how people migrated to the West. How is the West represented? The West was represented as new land that attracted primarily white people to escape the over congested urban areas in the East. Many people had the notion that the weather in the West could cure tuberculosis or bronchitis. Personally, does the game mentions that or not but that was part of the reason for people who traveled to the West. Also, get away from black people. Gamers who play Oregon Trail will have the presumption that people traveled to start a new life and that was the primary goal for the creators crafting their historical argument for the game.
How does the game treat women and people of color? So far playing the game which I did not reach far but as read the content that was provided in the conversation option, people of color were not depicted with common stereotypes such as, lack of articulation or using Ebonics. The women were caretakers and I was their caretaker. My main responsibility is making sure their welfare is accommodated. They do not contribute to the venture at all and I make the decisions whatsoever when the opportunity arises.
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