Densha de Go!

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Densha de Go!
Dengo-hfinal-title.gif
Logo of Densha de Go!! Hashirou Yamanote Sen
Genre(s)Train simulator
Developer(s)Taito, Unbalance (PC only), Ongakukan (in cooperation with Taito), Square Enix, Gree
Publisher(s)Taito, Square Enix
Platform(s)Arcade, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3PlayStation 4, WonderSwan, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Neo Geo Pocket Color, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch, mobile
First releaseDensha de Go!
1996
Latest releaseDensha de Go!! Hashirou Yamanote Sen [1]
2020

Densha de Go! (電車でGO!, "Go By Train") is a Japanese train simulation game series originally produced by Taito and more recently by Square Enix (who purchased Taito) and Railfan Holdings Co., Ltd. The game originates from a 1996 arcade version and was first released for the PlayStation in 1997. There are also PC versions released by the Japanese publisher Unbalance. All of the games in the series are exclusively available in Japanese. As for the celebration for the 20th anniversary of the game series, Square Enix released two games, the first one was released for Android and iOS in winter 2016, and the second was released for the arcade in 2017.

Overview[edit]

Each Densha de Go title contains actual train (or tram) routes based on real services in Japan. For the most part, the user's task is to drive the train and adhere to a very exacting timetable, including stopping at stations to within as little as 30 cm of a prescribed stopping point, ideally within half a second of the scheduled arrival time. While the specifics vary slightly between versions, generally speaking along the way, the user is expected to obey speed limits and other posted signs, sound a warning for work parties along the track, arrive at between-station waypoints on time, and perform similar tasks.

Densha de Go varies from the Train Simulator series from Ongakukan primarily in that while the Ongakukan series uses video taken from cameras mounted to the front of real-world trains for its graphics, Densha de Go titles rely upon computer-drawn graphics.

History[edit]

A Densha De Go!! (2017) arcade cabinet

The last major title in the series, Densha de Go Final! was so named to signal that this was to be the last in the series. While still popular in an absolute numbers sense, the series had lost the novelty of its heyday while development costs for individual titles continued to climb due to the detailed virtual worlds that needed to be created.

However, Taito and Ongakukan have subsequently released a few co-produced titles for PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, and iOS with the title Railfan. Taito also divided the four routes in Densha de Go! Final into separate titles and released them on the PSP system.

In April 2010, 5 years after Square Enix acquired Taito Corporation as a wholly owned subsidiary, Densha de Go! Special Version -- Revived! Showa Yamanote Line was announced for the Nintendo DS on July 22, 2010.[2] This was a departure from the traditional publisher and distributor of Densha de Go, Taito. Densha de Go! Special Version—Revived! Showa Yamanote Line offers a variety of trains to control, from the early Yamanote Line up through the current rolling stock. Exclusive to the Nintendo DS, reportedly the controls are completely stylus driven, unlike the variety of custom controls offered in non-handheld versions.

In June 2011 a version of the game also covering the Yamanote line was released for Apple's iOS (only available in the Japanese App Store). There is the option of using a simulated "master controller" on the screen or using touchscreen buttons to move the lever up and down.

Unbalance, who had long supported the franchise by publishing ports of each title to the Windows platform in Japan for over a decade, discontinued the last of its released Densha de Go! titles from retail as of August 2011. The company had been steadily discontinuing titles beginning with the "1480¥ Series", so-called due to their price point and comprised the earliest titles, in late 2010/early 2011 as supplies depleted. Later-released titles in the series—the "1980¥ Series"—were the last to be discontinued as of August, 2011. A line of custom USB controllers for the series had been discontinued even earlier and now command a large premium on sites such as Yahoo! Auctions Japan. Support through Windows 7 compatibility guides, FAQs and patches remains available through the Unbalance site, however.

In 2017 Taito, which is owned by Square Enix, released a new arcade cabinet in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the game series. According to an article from Geek: "The cabinet includes four displays, three of which act as windows showing the track and simulated outside world, whereas the fourth forms the dashboard the player sits at. All the buttons from a real train are present, as are the two physical controls required to make the train move."[3] They also released a new mobile game for Android and iOS in Winter 2016.[4][5][6]

Densha de Go! controllers[edit]

Densha de Go! Type 2 Controller

A large number of hardware train controllers were available for a number of platforms (PC, PS, PS2, Saturn, Wii, etc.) for which Densha de Go was available. This included versions that had buttons, levers, and pedals to suggest real-world train controllers, including traditional brake-and-throttle train controllers, "mascon"-type controllers (single lever for throttle and brake), shinkansen controllers, and tram controllers (ostensibly similar to the traditional brake-and-throttle style, but with different styling).

One of the most extravagant controllers for the Densha de Go! series was the Shinkansen Controller, which was released with the Densha de Go! Shinkansen EX game for both the Wii and PS2. The Shinkansen Controller for the PS2 comes with a LED screen display of speed and controls and a foot pedal to blow the horn, whereas the Shinkansen Controller for the Wii lacked these features, replacing the LED screen with a representative sticker. The Wii version of this controller commands much higher prices than the PS2 version only by virtue of relative rarity.

The Type 2 Controller is compatible with most titles. The Type 2 Controller reportedly works with Railfan by connecting its USB lead into the PlayStation 3.[citation needed]

Versions[edit]

Title Details

– Arcade
PlayStation
PC
WonderSwan
Game Boy Color
Notes:
  • This is the first game in the series.
  • Coverage: San'in Main Line (Sagano Line), Keihin-Tōhoku Line, Tōkaidō Line (JR Kyoto Line) and Yamanote Line (portions of each of these).
  • By the standard of later titles, this game was very strict, demanding that the user memorize routes. This strictness was caused by the fidelity of the PS1 and PC versions to the arcade version, where it was generally hoped normal users would not play for more than a few minutes per payment for economic reasons.[citation needed]
  • The Windows port also includes the longer version of the Sagano Line from the EX version (see below), as well as an additional variation of the Tōkaidō JR Kyoto Line.
  • It received a "Gold Prize" from Sony in May 1998, indicating sales above 500,000 units in Japan.[7]
Densha de Go! EX

– Arcade
Sega Saturn
Notes:
  • An additional route was added to the Arcade version, where a section of the Sagano Line that was skipped in the original is fully playable.
  • The Densha de Go port for Sega Saturn was based on this version of the arcade original.

– Arcade
PlayStation
Nintendo 64
PC
Dreamcast
Game Boy Color
Notes:
Kisha De Go!

– PlayStation
PC
Notes:
  • This version of the game allows players to drive a steam train, rather than an electric train like the other entries.
  • The coverage included portions of the Keihin-Tōhoku Line, Shin'etsu Main Line and Ban'etsu-Sai Line.
  • Much of this was taken from the original Densha de Go, and seemed rushed as the quality is not up to the standard of previous or subsequent routes using the same technology.
  • The controls were made slightly more complicated to reflect steam operation.
Densha de Go! Nagoya Railroad

– PlayStation
PC
Notes:
  • Featured railways belonging to the Nagoya Meitetsu private railway company.
  • Coverage: Meitetsu Nagoya Line, Meitetsu Inuyama Line, Meitetsu Minomachi Line and Meitetsu Monkey Park Monorail Line.
  • This was the first version to feature a monorail.
  • This version also featured a Meitetsu hybrid light rail route which ran both on regular train lines and as a sort of urban tram on special lanes in city streets. Part of the gameplay of this required the user to stop for regular traffic signals and avoid car traffic. This was the Densha de Go player's first opportunity to drive a vehicle much lighter (and thus shorter stopping distance) than standard trains.
  • In this version, the driver must sound the horn before beginning to accelerate out of a station. This is unique to this title.
  • The gameplay, physics, and strictness of this version were all somewhat relaxed compared to previous versions.


Densha de Go! Professional

– PlayStation
PC
Notes:
  • Same lines as Densha de Go! and Densha de Go! 2 Kōsoku-hen, as well as some Kantō area portions of the Tōkaidō Line
  • Reduced some of the strictness of the previous games through a number of features, including the addition of a panel at left which allowed the user to see a map of the upcoming track segment, including showing speed limits, which greatly reduced the required amount of track memorization, and allowed the player more time to react. The overall reduction of strictness in the game reflected Taito's shift in emphasis from arcade to home-play versions as time went on.


Densha de Go! 3 Tsūkin-hen

– Arcade
PS2
PC
Notes:
  • Coverage: Sasaguri Line, Kagoshima Main Line, San'yō Main Line (JR Kobe Line), San'in Main Line, Chūō Main Line, and Chūō-Sōbu Line.
  • Was the first version to use a new, much improved 3D graphics engine with different GUI, better models and textures, and more realistic depiction of truck features, including signaling and game world overall. This engine however was not used in subsequent titles. This gives this title a rather distinct look compared to other titles.
  • While previous versions of the game allowed for the same route to be run during day or night, this was the first version in which the user could see the time of day dynamically changing as the ride progressed.
  • The overall feel of this title is unique for the series. Timetable restrictions, for example, are fairly relaxed and the user had significantly more choices as to difficulty settings compared to before - there are in fact 3 distinct gameplay modes.
  • The game was later rereleased as Densha de Go! 3 Tsūkin-hen Daiya Kaisei.
Densha de Go! Shinkansen Sanyō Shinkansen-hen

PS2
PC
Wii
Notes:
  • Coverage included the Sanyō Shinkansen and Hakata Minami Line
  • Again, this version featured a significantly different graphics engine.
  • Innovations included graphic interludes which showed routine passenger activities and the optional ability to see both the train from the outside and see a detailed, 3-dimensional cab view from the inside.
  • Breaking the trend to this point, this title demanded more exact driving by the user - often as little as half a second to correctly respond to speed limit change indications.
  • Despite the intrinsic appeal of being able to drive a train at over 300 km/h, this version suffers from somewhat repetitive gameplay, as the Sanyo shinkansen consists of a fairly monotonous series of tunnels and viaducts.
  • Also available as Densha de Go! Shinkansen EX Sanyō Shinkansen-hen (電車でGO!新幹線EX 山陽新幹線編), for Wii.
Densha de Go! Professional 2

PS2
PC
Notes:
Densha de Go! Ryojōhen

– Arcade
PS2
PC
Notes:
  • This version focused on trams and light rail.
  • Coverage: Iyotetsu Matsuyama City Line, Enoden Line, Randen Arashiyama Main Line, Randen Kitano Line, Hakodate City Tram Line Route 5 and 2.
  • While apparently sharing much of the same graphics engine with Densha de Go Shinkansen, the user interface of this version was on the other hand quite different, taking a significantly gentler approach.
  • Trams could be viewed externally and also in a cab view.
  • In this version, the player is also responsible for making station announcements and opening the door on the correct side.
  • Due to the overall gentler nature of this game, it is hard to get a harsh game over message here as it was usual in early Densha de Go versions. Continues are plentiful and, while timetables exist, they can be stifled completely or simply looked at generally for much of the basic play. That said, unlocking some tram variants requires accurate completion of some scheduled routes.
  • There is a significant amount of extra multimedia content in the game.
Train Simulator + Densha de Go! Tōkyō Kyūkō-hen

PS2
PSP
Notes:
Densha de Go! Final

PS2
PC
PSP (As separate titles for each line)
Notes:
  • Coverage: (the complete) Yamanote Line, (Rapid) Chūō Line, (the complete) Osaka Loop Line, and (much of the) Tōkaidō Main Line (specifically, the JR Kyoto Line and JR Kobe Line). The (Rapid) Chūō Line as modeled represents the period during which the tracks west of Mitaka were undergoing substantial engineering work connected to the eventual (and now completed) track elevation project.
  • At first glance, features more arcade-like gameplay, due to its system of chained points; despite of that the gameplay is relaxed.
  • Features a large number of trains and the most advanced & detailed graphics of the series (although many textures look artificial and undersaturated).
  • Trains can be seen from external views, but there are again no internal cabs.
  • Gameplay innovations include conductor mode where the player acts as station announcer and door opener rather than driver. This requires the user to have memorized (or have readily available) a list of the stations.
  • There appears to be relatively little time and intra-station compression in this game - distances are more prototypical. Furthermore, scheduled routes and timetables are more prototypical.
  • Each line was ported to the PSP as an individual game, under the Densha de Go! Pocket titles.
Densha de Go! Special Version—Revived! Showa Yamanote Line

Nintendo DS
Notes:
  • Covers the Yamanote Line's historical rolling stock through present along with several other tacked-on trains and lines.
Card no Renketsu Densha de Go!

– Arcade
Notes:
  • An arcade game released only in Japan that can be playable through collectible cards, they are inserted in the machine and unlock a train, each card has a different train.
Densha de Go!!

– Arcade
Notes:
  • A continuously updated arcade game created in Unreal Engine. It has three screens for a panoramic view of the line.
  • Coverage: Yamanote Line (Harajuku to Ueno), Chūō-Sōbu Line (Ichigaya to Akihabara), Osaka Loop Line (Morinomiya to Ōsaka), Hanshin Main Line (Daimotsu to Kōshien), Chūō Main Line (Ōzone to Nagoya), Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line (Jingū-mae to Sakō), Keihin–Tōhoku Line (Shinagawa to Tabata)
  • A "Reprint" mode was added that lets players play the first two games, Densha de Go! and Densha de Go! 2 Kōsoku-hen 3000-bandai.
  • Both a full size DX cabinet and Compact version are available.
Densha de Go! Plug & Play

  • JP: 2018 / 2020 (re-issued)
– Stand alone unit
Notes:
  • Features the trains 103, 201, 205, 207, 209, 223, E231, E257, NEX 253, 281, 485, 681 Series, E2 and E4 Max Yamabiko series shinkansen (bullet train), Class EF66 Akatsuki and Suisei sleeper trains.
  • Featured routes: Yamanote Line, Chuo Line (Tokyo-Takao), Osaka Loop Line, Kyoto Line / Kobe Line (Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe)
  • This is a self-contained HD version port of Densha de Go! Final housed within the controller hardware itself.
  • Some licensed audio from the original game (like station departure melodies, announcements and musical horns) was removed.
  • The original 2018 release was available in yellow (with blue buttons and handles) and black (exclusive to Ebten). The 2020 re-issue is only available in dark grey.
  • The initial release suffered from a number of bugs and performance issues. These were resolved with the v1.13 software update, requiring existing owners to return their units to Taito to perform the update. Newer units include the v1.13 update as standard.
  • Comes with audio CD with 2 tunes, 'By train Go by train! GO! GO!' and 'By train Go by train! GO! GO! (1997 LIVE at SHIBUYA ON AIR EAST)'
Densha de Go!! Kids

– Arcade
Notes:
  • A version of the 2017 arcade game designed for children.
  • The cabinet features a bench with room for a parent to sit with their child.
  • Gameplay features colourful cartoon obstacles such as leaves that must be wiped off the window or birds that must be alerted with the horn.
Densha de Go!! Hashirou Yamanote Sen

PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Notes:
  • Based on the 2017 Arcade game Densha de Go!!
  • Includes the full Yamanote Line,[8] Chūō–Sōbu Line (Ichigaya to Akihabara), and portions of the following lines running parallel to the Yamanote Line: Saikyō Line,[9] Keihin–Tōhoku Line,[10] Ueno-Tokyo Line[11] and Narita Express.[12]
  • In addition to the E235 and E231 Series 500 trains from the arcade version, the home version includes historical 205 series and 103 series Yamanote Line trains.
  • Home console exclusive modes include a brand-new "Driver's Way" objective-based mode, Daily Roulette mode, and a free-play mode.
  • Popular Yamanote Line and Chūō–Sōbu Line missions from the arcade release are also included.
  • The PS4 version supports PlayStation VR for selected missions.
  • The Nintendo Switch version features some touch screen functions from the arcade version.

Other versions:

Parodies[edit]

A doujin manga and game series, Densha de D, is a parody crossover of the series in combination with the auto racing-based franchise Initial D; it is popularly associated with a meme regarding "multi-track drifting".[13][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Romano, Sal (September 9, 2020). "Densha de GO!! Hashirou Yamanote Sen announced for PS4, Switch". Gematsu.
  2. ^ http://www.square-enix.co.jp/densya/
  3. ^ Humphries, Matthew (February 8, 2016). "Taito has created the ultimate train driving arcade cabinet". Geek.com. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  4. ^ http://www.4gamer.net/games/351/G035198/20160808009//
  5. ^ http://www.famitsu.com/news/201608/08112900.html/
  6. ^ http://kotaku.com/japan-still-makes-the-best-train-games-1785015249/
  7. ^ Johnston, Chris (May 18, 1998). "Sony Awards Top PlayStation Games". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 8, 2000.
  8. ^ Tokyo Yamanote Line - E235系 - Full Loop - Densha de GO!! [PS4] on YouTube
  9. ^ Tokyo Saikyō Line - E233系 - Ikebukuro to Ōsaki - Densha de GO!! [PS4] on YouTube
  10. ^ Keihin-Tōhoku Line - E233系 - Shinagawa to Tabata - Densha de GO!! [PS4] on YouTube
  11. ^ Ueno-Tokyo Line - E233系 - Shinagawa to Ueno - Densha de GO!! [PS4] on YouTube
  12. ^ Narita Express - E259系 - Ikebukuro to Shinagawa - Densha de GO!! [PS4] on YouTube
  13. ^ "Here are my highlights from the European Speedrunner Assembly". Destructoid. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  14. ^ "Trolley Problem Memes Present New Dilemma With Multi-Track Drifting". The Daily Dot. 2017-02-13. Retrieved 2019-04-28.

External links[edit]