Gold Rush! was one of Sierra’s odder adventures, but what made it so strange?

From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett wrote Crapshoot, a column about rolling the dice to bring random games back into the light. This week, can an enterprising soul make a fortune, or will the vagaries of adventure gaming in 1988 take their toll?

Gold Rush! doesn’t sound like it’s going to be one of the odder games from the Sierra On-Line catalogue; the company that after all gave us games like Manhunter and Leisure Suit Larry 2. It actually just sounds like, well, a pretty good idea. What better historical adventure could there be than leaving one’s life behind to take an all-or-nothing gamble on the California Gold Rush, a time of great change and great fortune? The Oregon Trail was a staple at schools for a reason—the call of the frontier still loud and booming, even in an era of planes, trains and automobiles, and many other memorable comedy movies as well. But then you play it. And in a word… whooooooooooooooooooooo!

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