The Oregon Trail video game will now see an unusual resurgence thanks to a movie musical adaptation. The Oregon Trail was originally conceived as an educational video game series in 1971. The game took off in popularity, especially gaining a following throughout the 1990s. It continued to be popular in the early 2000s, played on home computers or in-school desktops. The Oregon Trail continues to be followed today through memes of its classic lines.
The objective of The Oregon Trail is simple. The main player is a 19th century wagon leader guiding settlers through Missouri to Oregon. Along their journey, they will face various obstacles, including passage through water, inclement weather, attackers, and disease. The Oregon Trail became known for its bluntness in its factual accuracy regarding the threats of illness in the time period. Members of the settlement can and do die, and when they do so, straightforward lines like “You have died of dysentery” flash on the screen.
According to Collider, The Oregon Trail is now set to be developed into a movie musical. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile directing team Josh Gordon and Will Speck tell the outlet that they already have a plan in place. Gordon and Speck share a love of The Oregon Trail with superstar songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The four creators decided they wanted to team up to craft a musically-infused adaptation of the educational game. Gordon and Speck want to explore the comedic potential of The Oregon Trail, and may make the film PG-13 or R rated in order to strike a proper tone with audiences.
Can A Musical Oregon Trail Work?
Gordon and Speck are not strangers to the musical genre. The directing duo recently undertook the adaptation of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which will be released in theaters later this week. A musical adaptation of The Oregon Trail, however, would be an entirely different ball game, especially in the way that Gordon and Speck describe it. Unlike Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which is a family-friendly, PG-rated children’s book adaptation, The Oregon Trail’s PG-13 or even R rating would make it stray significantly from the content of its original source material.
This is not necessarily a bad approach to an Oregon Trail adaptation, however. Though it is possible to play The Oregon Trail on some sites online today, the game is largely obsolete from its original form. Its former players are now mostly in their 30s and 40s. Taking an ironic, almost satirical approach to an adaptation of The Oregon Trail could be a fantastic move for Gordon and Speck. Furthermore, they have two stellar songwriters in their corner with Pasek and Paul, the creative team behind projects like The Greatest Showman and Dear Evan Hansen. They have won numerous awards for their collaborative work in songwriting for both film and the stage. With this team of Oregon Trail lovers uniting, perhaps an adaptation of the much-adored video game can amass as much of a cult following as the game itself did.