The story of The Oregon Trail’s creation and off-the-charts proliferation turned out to be pretty engrossing—and some of the key statistics downright staggering.
Consider, for example, the ballpark number of copies that needed to be sold for the program to be a hit (according to the industry at the time): 50,000.
Then consider the total number of copies sold: 65 million.
Egadz! And so, asked Don, why aren’t we all having this meeting at O’Hare at the hanger of my private jet? Because the total gross profit Don made off the project, including all royalties and fees was and is: zero.
And though it made me sad to realize how little recognition Don’s received over the years, I couldn’t help but feel like he was a kind of early champion of open source software—and content to give ownership of The Oregon Trail to the millions of users who love it.