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Gameloft goes west

Gameloft releases two western-themed applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The Oregon Trail, an Apple II classic, is coming to the iPhone and iTouch. The original Oregon Trail computer game was developed in 1971 by Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger. The game taught school children about the realities of 19th century pioneer life. The player assumed the role of a wagon leader guiding his party of settlers from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon's Willamette Valley along the Oregon Trail via a Conestoga wagon in 1848.

This old-school, side-scrolling voyage was entirely remade to take advantage of the multitouch display on the iPhone or the iPod Touch. The game incorporates the iPhone/iPod Touch accelerometer into some of the minigames and combines that with updated graphics and sounds, with the end result being a nostalgic, fun, and educational journey. Priced at $5.99, it would make a great gift, or an inexpensive self indulgence.

All of the decision-making and problem-solving fun of the original game, plus additional features, take the Oregon Trail experience even further than before. It has eight skill-based minigames like hunting, fishing, wagon repairing, river crossing, rafting, telegraphing, gold panning, and berry picking. Random events, such as disease, bandits, and hitchhikers, that the real pioneers faced increases the challenge. Side missions add more depth to your journey and affect your westward trek. The game has been completely updated with colorful and animated graphics. To prepare for your departure, you select the members of your party, choose your departure date, and purchase supplies.

Maintaining its western motif, Wild West Guns is another Gameloft release, and unlike The Oregon Trail, this game requires quick hand-eye coordination to remain alive in this shooter. Do you think you have the fastest thumbs in the west? If so, put up or shut up with 18 challenges featuring typical western environments like saloons, deserts, and trains, plus diverse targets and enemies including cowboys, sheriffs, and vultures. The game also has interactive backgrounds that allow you to shoot elements to earn more points. This app is selling for $4.99 in the iTunes App Store.