Why Forgotten Trail is my favorite game

Having a favorite game is not like having a favorite child. It’s okay, really. The favorite game, not the favorite child. Forgotten Trail makes me think of a lot of kids I have met – and of me, as a kid. The world is full of people who are not expected to be anything more than ordinary.

Forgotten Trail has been in beta for a while, as we haven’t had the funding to build out this particular game. We’ll get it done.

It’s not just the potential of an unfinished design or the story line that makes this my favorite. It’s the character of Angie herself and the way she views traveling over 1,000 mile, on foot, figuring out how to eat, where to sleep, along the way. She says,

It will be an extraordinary adventure!

As I head to Startup Chile, I am channeling my inner Angie.

The story

Angie and Sam, two teenagers from a small town in North Dakota decide to prove they are something more than just ordinary. Learning about the Ojibwe migration in school, they decide to retrace the path their ancestors traveled – on foot – from what is now the Maritime provinces of Canada to the upper Midwest in the United States. On their journey, they pass through Minnesota, Ontario, Michigan, New York, Quebec and finally arrive in Nova Scotia, meeting up with elder relatives and friends along the way who challenge them and tell stories of their history.  At each level, there is a new game – canoeing down river to meet an uncle who can help them, scavenging in the woods and avoiding the rabid skunks, making it through a maze set up by yet another crazy relative who has a map. We fit in the cultural part through stories and flashbacks. If the player spends the night with an aunt, she might tell them the story of how the Ojibwe got the dog. An old uncle will tell them the history of the Red River cart and even build them one, if they help him out first.

The characters

The personality and back story of the characters are based on many real students that I met when teaching for seven years in rural communities. These are the “Angies” that no one much notices or the “Sams” that are thought to be no more than “a strong back and a weak mind”. I made this game in the hopes that it would give those kids who played it a little encouragement to start thinking of themselves as bigger than the box people had put them in.

The math

Currently there are 19 standards taught and assessed in Forgotten Trail, of which 17 are standards for grades 4-6. There s 1 at the second-grade level, 1 at the third-grade level, 6 each at the fourth- and fifth-grade levels and 5 at the sixth-grade level. Forgotten Trail is in the beta stage, which means we’ll be adding a few more levels, as well as polishing existing ones. The focus of the math in Forgotten Trail is on fractions, measurement and data and statistics.

CLICK HERE to download the pdf file listing all of the math standards addressed in Forgotten Trail, by grade level and where each is found in the game.

The cost

Because Forgotten Trail is in beta, you can buy it for under $5 for a single student, under $50 for an entire classroom or $125 for your whole school.

Forgotten Trail runs on Mac, Windows or Chromebook, plays in any browser. No download required.


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