Appalachian Trail Game Launches on Android and iOS
Calling all thru-hikers, thru-hiker hopefuls, and Oregon Trail aficionados. We now have a chance to send a hapless digital hiker through the trials and tribulations of an AT thru-hike, with death being the only option aside of finishing. Thru-Hiker’s Journey is now available on Google Play and the iTunes App Store. The game challenges the player to complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail by making the same decisions as real hikers.
Gameplay was originally inspired by the classic educational game, Oregon Trail. However, the game primarily builds off of the web-based Appalachian Trail game released by Brad Allmendinger in 2013.
Thru-Hiker’s Journey was designed, developed, and produced by Allmendinger, the one-man team of Headlamp Studios over the course of nine months. It is the first game released by the studio.
“The AT community was so awesome receiving the web game I made, despite the obvious flaws, like the ugly graphics. I really wanted to give them a version of the game that is worthy of playing,” he says.
We sent the beta version to one of our writers who has thru-hiked the AT, and is always looking for a reason to play on her phone. The game is a fun balancing act….like hiking the AT. You need to be careful with your food, miles, zero days, and resupply. The end result of running out of necessary things like energy? Death, and getting to watch your little hiker do a dramatic faceplant onto the trail.
The game itself is fun and entertaining, and the landmarks are remarkably accurate as your watch your hiker happily traverse the trail while the miles count down towards the next shelter and town stop. The shelters are all listed by name, and the miles tick by in each state. (Unless, like our writer, you try to push your miles and die in the middle of Tennessee). Death is the only option for leaving the trail, which could conceivably be an accurate mindset for many thru-hikers.
The new game includes all of the most requested features that the original game was lacking. The graphics, game saves, southbound option, and a bunch of small things like state welcome signs are huge improvements in the gameplay.
Thru-Hiker’s Journey is free to play on both platforms. It includes optional ads and in-app purchases as a form of monetization. The developer has pledged that 10% of all profits from the game will be donated to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
“I hope the game does well so that I can pursue making more games in the future,” says Brad, “But I also appreciate all the work the ATC does to keep the trail accessible to everyone, and want give back to the trail if I’m able.”
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