Pharos Games has created a computer game that is both fun to play and a way to study U.S. history. The player explores a ghostly trail filled with strange characters from Cherokee legends and history. In fact, at the annual Shareware Industry Conference in Rochester, New York, last month, The Shareware Industry Awards Foundation presented its 13th Annual Shareware Awards and named Cherokee Trails the best shareware "Educational Program or Game" of 2004.
The first European settlers found Cherokee Indians living in the mountains of what is today the Southeastern United States. The territory of this proud people had, at one time, extended over 40,000 square miles. For a time, the settlers and the natives were able to coexist more or less peacefully. This became increasingly difficult as the colonists began to push westward. Gradually the Cherokee territory shrunk, and when gold was discovered in the region of what is now Georgia, prospectors overran the former Cherokee lands. Finally, the Georgia legislature began to plan a removal of the remaining Cherokee people.
In 1838, soldiers forced the Cherokee to walk 900 miles to what was then called Indian Territory; today it is known as the state of Oklahoma. The conditions of this journey were hazardous, and many Cherokee did not live to reach their destination. They called the long walk nuh NO hee doo no glo HEE luh, or "Trail where they cried." It is better known to Americans today as the Trail of Tears. The game Cherokee Trails is based on the Trail of Tears.
Cherokee Trails features 3D graphics and animation of the 19th-century American Southeast with beautiful river views, log cabins, horses, and period artifacts. You will hear Cherokees named Raven, Rabbit, and Bear tell their own stories in 3D animated sequences. In order to ensure that Cherokee Trails was as authentic as possible, the game's producers enlisted the assistance of Cherokee Storyteller Choogie Kingfisher and Cherokee linguist George Stopp. The music for Cherokee Trails was written by well-known Cherokee musician Lisa LaRue, who is also the Resource Coordinator for the Arts for Cherokee Nation. You can see screenshots of Cherokee Trails Version 2 at http://www.pharosgames.com/cherokee/screenshots/.
Cherokee Trails is an excellent method of learning history while playing games. The program requires Windows 95 or later. Memory, disk space, and CPU requirements are all quite modest; any Windows computer built in the past six or eight years will probably support this game.
Cherokee Trails Version 2 sells for $19.95. A special network version is available for schools in which students can compete with or cooperate with each other. The network station sells for $5.00 per workstation with a minimum of ten workstations. You can download a free trial version of the earlier Cherokee Trails 1.0 game from http://shareware.pcmag.com/product.php[id]60804[SiteID]pcmag
For more information about Cherokee Trails, look at http://www.pharosgames.com/