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Who is offering $20,000 for the next Oregon Trail game?

Answer: The Library of Congress.

A young boy sitting in front of a laptop smiling while using the mouse.
If you went to school in the U.S. in the ’90s or early 2000s, you probably remember The Oregon Trail. Or perhaps more accurately, you remember repeatedly dying before you managed to complete The Oregon Trail. Either way, it was a surprisingly fun video game that students actually learned something from.

Well, the Library of Congress has also been inspired by The Oregon Trail, so much so that it is willing to pay someone to develop the next one. In a June 6 blog post, the Library called upon video game developers to enter a challenge to create the next Oregon Trail. The goal is “to help improve public knowledge of civics — that is, the rights and responsibilities of citizens — by asking video game developers to create fun, lightweight video games related to civics that incorporate Library of Congress resources.”

The Oregon Trail is “a reminder of how fun learning can be in the right context. We hope this challenge inspires game developers to create fun, lightweight video games in the spirit of Oregon Trail,” said Robert Brammer, chief of external relations at the Law Library of Congress. The deadline to enter is Nov. 27, and the top three games will receive cash prizes up to $20,000. The winning games will also be accessible to the public on the Library’s website.