Expeditions

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Atari 8-bit cover.

Expeditions is a compilation video game developed and published by MECC for the Atari 8-bit in 1983, and later for the Commodore 64 and TRS-80 in 1984. The game is an updated port of the 1980 title Elementary Volume 6 for the Apple II. Each of the games appears to have been written in the BASIC respective to each port's platform.

The three games in compilation include Furs, Voyageur, and Oregon. Each is a travel simulation where the player must trek through the wilderness and reach a destination while trying to stay alive. In Furs, you play a Native American taking your furs in a small flotilla of canoes along a waterway to sell. In Voyageur, you play a trader taking supplies from Lake Superior up river to a trading post at Fort St. Pierre in Canada. In Oregon, you play a frontier family traveling from Missouri to Oregon to setup a new homestead. Oregon is an updated port of the original The Oregon Trail games, but not as impressive as the 1985 remake.

Status

I do not own this title, but I have beaten all three games on the Commodore 64 port.

Personal

In my elementary school, each classroom had a computer desk with a Commodore 64. Throughout the school year it would be loaded with different educational software. I remember watching several kids play this game, and even trying it out myself at least once. I was a little unimpressed by the shooting mechanic in Oregon, and the fixed events in Voyageur. Even as a young child, I was interested in critiquing game mechanics. Three decades later, I was trying to find all the old software I played as a child. I had a hard time finding this title, not just because there are so many more sites dedicated to the 1985 Apple II release, but also because it's in a compilation. I did eventually find it in 2019. In my memory, I only played Oregon, but, after replaying the games and remembering some of the random events and cut scenes, I realized that I had seen all three games and just confabulated them. I replayed the games and beat all three on 2020-08-27.

Review

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2 2 2 1 4

Best Version: Commodore 64

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The original manual came with several pages that teachers could use to quiz students who played the game.
  • Each of the games certainly looked better than the original Apple II versions in Elementary Volume 6, and this was the most impressive port of The Oregon Trail to date.

Bad

  • The games are all pretty low fidelity for 1983. The graphics appear to be just modified text characters. They're poorly drawn and suffer from jittery animation. The sound is limited to beeps and very short jingles.
  • Although there are three different games, they're all very similar. It would have been nice to have more variety.
  • Voyageur has some annoying unavoidable encounters, like Indians giving you a bag of toxic blueberries right at the onset. It's interesting the first time, but you see it in every subsequent replay, and you can never refuse to take them.
  • The decimal values in Voyageur don't make sense. They should have just multiplied everything by 10 and stuck with integers.

Ugly

  • None of the games are very fun and play, they're more like bookkeeping. Since each game is very random, luck is a major factor in victory, and, without much player control, you basically have to discover the optimal play style and stick to it.
  • There is very little variety to the random events in each of the games. You end up hitting the same events several times in a single play through. And many of them are passive: things happen to you, but you can't do anything about any of them.
  • The only action moment is the shooting in Oregon, but it's so poorly designed, you will very quickly discover when you need to fire resulting in near perfect shooting the entire time.
  • Despite the designer's intent, there is very little educational value to be had. All you really learn is a general geography and the fact that trail life was dangerous.

Media

Cover Art

I can only find a box for the Atari release. It's a terrible box. In addition to it just being stock photos, you never actually see a capital building, you never travel by ocean vessel, and you never meet Eastern cultures. I'm not sure if the Commodore 64 or TRS-80 ports had boxes.

Documentation

Screenshots

Play Online

Videos

Gameplay - Commodore 64 - Furs.
Gameplay - Commodore 64 - Voyageur.
Gameplay - Commodore 64 - Oregon.

Credits

Role Staff
Designer - Furs and Voyageur (Atari) Shirley Keran
Design Suggestions - Furs and Voyageur (Atari) Carolyn Gilman
Lead Programmer - Furs and Voyageur (Atari) Cynthia Schroeder
Assistant Programmer - Furs and Voyageur (Atari) Lance Allred, Tony Prokott
Designer - Oregon (Atari) Don Rawitsch
Programmer - Oregon (Atari) Lance Allred
Design Suggestions - Oregon (Atari) Shirley Keran, Keran Hoelscher

Links

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