The Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is an indie game developed by The Men Who Wear Many Hats. The Organ Trail was initially released on their website for free. It was modeled after The Oregon Trail, an educational computer game released in the 1970s that taught schoolchildren about life on the Oregon Trail in the 1800s.
Interest in the “zombie” genre is at an all-time high, and the Oregon Trail is a well-beloved game that evokes a sense of nostalgia for many adults who played the game as a child. Marrying these two seemed like a perfect recipe for success. The Organ Trail quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of playthroughs, and one fan suggested that the developers release the game on mobile platforms.
The owners, Ryan Wiemeyer and Michael Block, listened to their fans and took their project to Kickstarter for funding on December 20, 2011. 495 backers contributed a total of $16,339, far surpassing their goal of $3,000. The new Director’s Cut version of the game, which contains enhanced scenes and features, was released for the iPhone, Android, Mac, and PC this January, after roughly a year of development. The Organ Trail has attracted the attention of the mainstream gaming media; outlets like Gamespot, PC Gamer and more have featured or reviewed the game.
The gameplay of the Organ Trail will be instantly familiar for those who have played the original Oregon Trail. Hunting, traveling, and party management still play a large role in the gamers’ journey west to escape the zombie apocalypse, except now there are also zombies (and zombie bites) to contend with. Be warned, the game is not easy; mismanaging your resources is a surefire way to lose all of your party members. Scavenging is also more challenging. Unlike the animals you encountered in the Oregon Trail, the zombies in the Organ Trail will attack you on sight! The Organ Trail has received mostly positive reviews since its release. If you love the Oregon Trail, zombies, and indie games, give this one a shot!