The AT Thru-Hike Game: The Oregon Trail Meets the Appalachian Trail

There’s a new Appalachian Trail themed game sweeping through Internet.  It’s called The AT Thru-Hike Game, and it’s awesome.

The game is reminiscent of The Oregon Trail – hikers first pick their profession (retiree, professional, or student) which dictates their beginning budget, and type of gear (UL, REI, or Wal-Mart) which impacts the amount of energy a hiker expends in a given day.  Players then select when they’d like to embark (March, April, or May) given they must finish their hike by October 15th where a later start date grants better weather.

As a hiker marches toward Katahdin, the player must mind four variables: Health, Energy, Food, and Money.  Players hike until they reach a shelter or town, where they are given the option to continue hiking or sleep (at a shelter), resupply and hike, sleep at a hostel, and/or take a zero day (at town).  Sleep restores energy, but drains food.  Energy is fully restored with a zero, but is a drain on Money.  Along the way, randomized events can have a negative or positive impact on the variables, i.e. “A Kid Asks for Your Autograph: +10 Energy” or “A Monster Blister on Your Foot: -5 Health”.

Just be careful not to let your energy or health reach zero, or else:

you died

Unfortunately I don’t know what happens when you reach Katahdin- apparently I’m better at real-life thru-hiking than video game thru-hiking.

There are a few small holes to poke at the game, such as you’re not given the option of how much food to resupply when reaching town (impacting weight, and thus energy expenditure), but overall the game does a great job of capturing and gamifying (not a word) the conditions of a thru-hike.  Although the game doesn’t take quite as long as an actual thru-hike, be forewarned, it can and will consume hours of your day.

The game’s creator, Brad Allmendinger, is a self-described “28 year old guy with a passion for the internet industry“.  You can find Allmendinger on Twitter here.

Play the AT Thru-Hike Game here.

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