Meriwether: An American Epic

By: Andy Hull

On: December 8th, 2012

Meriweather

I’m guessing most of you learned what dysentery was at a young age, and I’d also bet that your teacher wasn’t the reason why. MECC found a way to incorporate real history and fun gameplay into a groundbreaking educational game to teach players not just what happened, but what it was like to be there. What The Oregon Trail did for the Oregon Trail, Sortasoft’s Meriwether aims to do for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to travel across the United States to the West Coast. They were to catalog and study the plants, animals, natural resources, and geography along the way. They were also charged with establishing trade and U.S. sovereignty over the Native Americans along the Missouri River. Helping them in these endeavors was a small group of volunteers known as the Corps of Discovery.

Gameplay in Meriwether consists of two types of levels. In Lewis levels, the player will be navigating handcrafted levels focused on storytelling and dealing with situations that faced the actual expedition. In the travel mode, players will control the entirety of Meriwether’s Corps of Discovery through procedural wilderness as you gather resources, discover wildlife and ration whiskey. In both modes, Sortasoft seems committed to delivering a historically plausible account of the expedition. They have even gone so far as to have a Lewis and Clark historian involved in the project. However, Meriwether isn’t meant to be just a fun experience for history buffs, but for anyone looking for an entertaining survival/exploration game.

I actually had a chance to play this game about a year ago and found it extremely involving, even at such an early state. From the looks of their Kickstarter page, the game has improved by leaps and bounds since then. Check it out for tons more information on the project and the expedition itself. Who knows, you might even learn something!

  • http://delandloper.com E. A. Bartholomew

    I’m really excited for this. I hope the Kickstarter succeeds.

  • Jayjay

    I was just wondering about US early colonial history (I’m from the UK and know jack about this period).
    I didn’t even play the oregon trail.

    We had ‘granny’s garden’ instead.

    BACKED.

  • http://www.bywombats.com Ryan Szrama

    fwiw, our early colonial history predates this game by about 200 years. Will give you a pass, but you might check out Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage for a great look into this particular trip. Turns out expeditioning is hard work – those guys ate upwards of 12,000 calories a day just to row upstream. Pretty sure my stomach would explode week one. : D

  • http://ohnotokyo.blog.com/ Sebastian Alvarez

    Looks pretty interesting but my only complaint is that they look they are full on sprinting with that speed. Needs a heavy duty sprint cycle

  • -.-

    But my teacher was the reason why I know what dysentery is! D:

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.debonis Joshua DeBonis

    We agree totally. The art is still a work-in-progress, and the walk animations will be greatly improved once we switch to Unity 4′s new animation system.