Train Simulators

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In Japan, train simulator software has become very popular amongst young and older railfans and there is a great choice of software available. Popular platforms are the Sony PS2 and Nintendo game consoles as well as the Windows PC.In this article I will introduce a few popular titles. Most train simulators come in a 'range', similar packages with different routes and trains. You can also find train simulators in game arcades, and in Japan they are as popular as a Formula 1 simulator! People sometimes have to queue up for a ride! This page will be extended in the future, with a bias towards the 'Densha-de-Go!' range. I have the idea to put in some hints and tips for successful 'driving'. Please let me know what you think of it.

Japanese Train Simulator games, sorted by platform





Densha de Go! by Taito

Platform: Sony Playstation or PS2

Densha de Go! is one of the more popular train simulators and is available for a number of console formats, although the later versions are only available for Sony's PS2 console. The PS2 console will run the older PlayStation software. The strong point of Densga de Go! is that you can use special train-style controllers to control the trains and the realistic modelling of trains and scenery. It's like a model railway on your TV-screen and you are in the driver's seat! Available are (were) the following titles:

PlayStation console trainsims:

Densha de Go! The classic Japanese train simulator. Routes are shortened a bit and you can gain points by obeying the signals, running on time and precise braking. All other Densha de Go! games have this feature. DDG has four different routes with matching trains.

Densha de Go! 2 Has a choice of 8 different trains with matching routes. Quite spectacular is the Akita - Sendai route in a very convincing winter scenery. Watch out for the snow falling!

Kisha de Go! (Steam loco simulator) Were the first 2 simulators featured with modern trains, this simulator goes back in time and features a few different Japanese steam locos. These are harder to drive than the modern trains, as these have poor brakes and you have to 'keep the fire burning' and watch the water level in the boiler.

Kisha de Go! front cover

A screenshot from Kisha de Go! Run the steam loco during winter.

Densha de Go! Professional Maybe the best of the whole DDG range. A wide selction of trains and routes and bonus trains and routes when you are doing well. Front cover of Denha de Go! Professional. You can drive all the trains depicted on the cover1

Densha de Go! Meitetsu A must for Nagoya railway fans. Features anything from a tram to a 'Super Panorama' express. Includes street running and the famous Inuyama bridge, which is shared between the trains and motor traffic!

Front cover and two screenshots of Densha de Go! Meitetsu (Nagoya Railway). The leftmost screenshot depicts the famous Inuyama bridge, which was shared with the road traffic!

The controller that can be used for Densha de Go! Several other types are available, including one for Shinkansen trains and one for trams.

PS2 console trainsims:

Densha de Go! 3 A selection of trains and routes from Kyushu, the Kinki and Kanto regions. The Kyushu section has the widest choice of trains.

The trains you can control in Densha de Go! 3

The controller that is most suitable for Densha de Go! 3. The box has a USB connection to the PlayStation 2 console. I don't like the colours, the older black controller looked a lot better!

Densha de Go! Shinkansen Run Shinkasen trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen line yourself! Choose between a '0' series 'Kodama', a 100 class 'Grand Hikari', a 300 'Hikari' and the stunning 500 and 700 class trains.

Densha de Go! 4 Run trams and light rail trains at home. Very nice is the Enoshima railway simulation, with dense rail and street traffic, crossing pedestrians and bikes a real challenge!

Densha de Go! Professional 2. New routes, New trains! Included are the Seto-Ohashi bridge route, the Kosei line (voltage change!) and Tsurumi line (short line in the Yokohama port area). Taito improved the controls of the game and put in a 'target gate' which should assist you in correct stopping at stations.

Densha de Go! Final. The latest in the Densha de Go! series. Game includes the Chuou and Yamanote lines in the Tokyo area and the Tokaido and Osaka loop line in the Osaka area. This edition is more biased to urban railways with frequent stops. However, there are a few very nice express trains included, such as the E351 'Super Azusa'. New is that you can take the role as conductor as well as driver.

Train Simulator Real by Sony Computer Entertyainment Japan

Platform: Sony PS2

Train Simulator Real (TSR from now on) is a video-based train simulator game. Basically the simulator is video footage of which you can control the playback speed. Train controls are superimposed on the video footage. Advantage of this system is the very realistic image, drawback is the 'stuttering' at very slow speeds. As far as I know two tiltles have been released in this range:

- Train Simulator Real Yamanote Line.

This is a video-based simulation of a communter train on Tokyo's famous Yamanote Line, the Tokyo equivalent of the London Circle line

- Train Simulator Real Keikyu Line

Again a simulation of a Tokyo commuter line, this time the private Keikyu line that runs from Yokohama to Shinagawa in South-Eastern Tokyo. A special feature is the high speed that some trains run, 120 km/h on a route between houses and with many level crossings!

Microsoft Train Simulator by Microsoft

Platform: PC running under MS-Windows 98 or newer. Add-ons available from Microsoft and many 3rd parties.

This computer-generated graphics simulator is supplied with a number of routes, including 2 Japanese routes. New routes and trains can be added later and there are many add-ons available, and Japanese trains and routes are no exception. MS Train Simulator is technically based on the famous MS Flight Simulator, but of course different to operate. You can mix trains and routes, it is possible to let the Flying Scotsman run through the suburbs of Tokyo! For optimum performance your PC should rum at at least 700MHz, preferably 1GHz or more. This is demanding software!

Trainz by Auran

Platform: PC running under MS-Windows 98 or newer.

This more or less a model railway layout in your computer! Again you can choose for a number of trains from all around the world, including Japanese trains. You can create your own liveries and trains with add-on modules. It is also possible to add terrain textures, rivers, mountains and buildings etc.

Boso View Express by Mackoy

Platform: PC under MS-Windows 98 or newer.

This simulator is available for free! The standard version runs only under PCs with a Japanese operating system and Japanese BIOS. Some routes have been translated and will run on a US or European PC. Have a look at Crotrainz for information on how to adapt BVE and its routes for use on non-Japanese PC's.

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