Announcing Indie Band Oregon Trail, The Hardest Videogame Ever
Playing Punk Rock Oregon Trail
Planning: The game has two difficulty modes: Sellout and DIY or Die. In Sellout mode, you hire a booking agent and a publicist to book your tour and hype you up. In DIY or Die, you do it yourself, taking personal risks in trusting people in other states to come through for you.
Different parts of the country are accommodating to different party compositions. A band with a BoBo and a Virtuoso character might do better in the northeast. Slackers do well in the Northwest, etc. This should be considered when choosing tour routes.
Budget: Your party composition determines the amount in your initial band fund. Before you set out for tour, you spend money on supplies as well as merch which you sell at shows (band T-shirts can also be diverted into the clothing supply).
Courtesy Erin Caldwell
Money is used to purchase gas, food, repairs for the van, and other necessities, but can also be used to purchase drugs and alcohol, which may help ease tensions that develop between band members but also can have unintended consequences such as nights in jail and people doing things in New Mexico that they will regret for the rest of their lives.
Hitting the Road: Travelling is pretty much identical to Oregon Trail, except that you'll have to sometimes alternate drivers. You press a button to set off and travel on to the next destination or interruption. Ration settings during travel are "dried ramen", "trail mix", and "Clif Bar." There is an option to drive with the windows down if you don't want to spend money to fix whatever is emitting noxious fumes in your van.
Resting: Oregon Trail had forts where your party could rest safely. This game has squats and punk houses which you can choose at your own risk of catching scabies. If you have the BoBo in your party, he sometimes knows a former classmate who is now an investment banker and will let you crash on his $2,000 divan.
Diet: Veganism is treated like a curse in this game, but not because it limits food options--the Taco Bells that line the American interstate system have plenty of vegan options. What veganism does is makes vegan characters feel compelled to spend precious band income in every town at a vegan pizza place that is inevitably unfulfilling. You don't get to choose who's vegan; it is either randomly assigned at the start, brought on by a random "maybe I should go vegan" event in mid-game, or spread by evangelizing vegan members.
Going Broke: If a promoter rips your band off or no one feels compelled to buy your new 7", you may run the risk of going broke. What happens in this situation depends on party composition. If you have a merch guy, the rest of the band will usually pressure him into calling his parents and having them wire some money, along with some shame.
This can also happen with the BoBo, but his parents will be happy that he is out in the world discovering himself. If you have neither class in your party, the slacker will sometimes know a person nearby, from the time he lived in that part of the country two years ago for completely unstated reasons. Alternatively, you can play the busking mini-game.
Next: Beating the game and Replay value.