Game of the Week: Organ Trail

Hey folks! Well, The Last of Us, isn’t getting here any sooner than my little grubby fingers can get a hold of – but while I wait for it [ for months and months on end! ] I can at least simulate the plot line right? Right? Absolutely! – well, sort of, anyways let me explain. This week I’m going to be posting up MORE THAN ONE Game of the Week. Yeah – I know! Two, Three, Four – for the price of one – you don’t know how many I have in store – and thus it begins!

You are isolated, stranded in a station wagon somewhere in the middle of an infested town. You and your buddies are all that are left standing in a world filled with zombie mutants – and you run on MSDOS programming. What are you? Why you’re none other than a nostalgically accessible indie game from the developers The Men Who Wear Many Hats. No, I’m not just saying they like hats, that’s actually their company name [ though they actually do like hats.] The game is called Organ Trail and it’s reminiscent of one of my favorite games growing up as a kid – Oregon Trail.

Now what’s different here? Well take the you + a team of friends concept that’s in Left for Dead. Toss in MS-DOS 8-bit graphics and a chip-tune soundtrack – and you have a road trip of awesomeness ahead of you!

The gameplay mechanics are simplistic, and for the most part one-handed. The only requirements for this game are that you get a list of options to choose from and you pick a choice based on the corresponding number. There is no timer so you can take as long as you like, and shifting from menu to menu is as easy as the enter button. The the only problem players may face is the scavenging sections as that requires two hands really to navigate precisely, due to the WASD keys for movement on the computer version and use of the spacebar to fire the gun. The coloring is a bit off putting – lots of bright neon colors over a black asphalt floor, so it may be a bit odd for color-blind gamers. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have a text to speech function for blind gamers, but other than those minor issues the game is pretty accessible overall.

I’m not sure how the functionality will change when the game is ported to iPhones, but all I can say is this game is fun, and it’s overwhelmingly accessible. If you love vintage games you should try this out. The game is simple, but addicting fun. There’s nothing like seeing one of your best friend’s names pop up like ” ________ has contracted cholera.” or ” _______ has been bitten by a zombie” – plus there’s an option to kill off infected party members just like in Oregon Trail.

Now why do I bring this game up you ask?

“This game seems archaic when I could easily be at home playing Zombie’s mod on my Black Ops disk.” Sure. You could – but it wouldn’t nearly be as cool as the ability to carry the game around with you on your PHONE!  Yep! The Men Who Wear Many Hats has used Kickstarter to license their product to iPhone App stores everywhere – I assume that it will probably come out for an Android market too, but I wasn’t able to find that out as of yet. You don’t have to have a phone to play though, shoot you don’t really have to have any friends. You can just play here on your browser for free till the game comes out for you to carry around.

Organ Trail:

http://hatsproductions.com/organtrail.html

Just wait. Eventually you’ll be out and about in public, playing Organ Trail on your phone, and you’ll disturb some fast food restaurant by screaming out “Aww! Really?! I contracted Typhus from the drinking water!” – and thus many a hilarious lawsuit may commence. Enjoy your 8-bit zombie killing escapades folks. I hope your party lives through the night in this 8-bit indie rebooted masterpiece. Much love Men Who Wear Many Hats. Thanks for bringing back one of my favorite vintage games and putting an incredibly accessible spin on it!

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