Train Simulator series
Train Simulator (トレインシミュレータ, Torein Shimyurēta or abbreviated "TS") is a Japanese train simulation game series produced by Ongakukan. The game is significant as it was one of the earliest of its kind since the series started in 1995. No versions were licensed outside of Asia, therefore all of Train Simulator games are only available in Japanese, except Railfan: Taiwan High Speed Rail which is also translated in Traditional Chinese and English.
The original Train Simulator series (1995–2000) was designed from technology which was previously used to develop the Ongakukan product "Touch the Music by Casiopea", which synchronized video with audio. This particular game was based on Rhythm and music from the Jazz-Fusion band, Casiopea, whose at-the-time keyboardist (Minoru Mukaiya) was, and is, also the CEO of Ongakukan. With Train Simulator Ongakukan filmed video from the cab of a train on the desired railway and recorded sounds from that train. Later when the simulation had been completed and is running on a PC, the video would be displayed in a silver metallic box and the sounds would be played according to what is happening at that particular moment in the simulation. The video for the original Train Simulator series of games was 308x156 pixels at 30 frames per second using Intel Indeo 2 video compression and AVI file container.
Each game contains Japanese lines and trains, with the exception of four episodes located overseas, in Germany, France, United States of America and Taiwan. Video shot from the cab of the train synchronized with the computer is used as a basis for simulation. Ongakukan have endeavoured to produce true to life simulation with much technical details, and since 2005, Ongakukan has started producing professional simulators for driver training.
Six distinct series of the game have been produced through a decade:
Train Simulator (1995–2000)
- 1995.08.19: Train Simulator JR East Chūō Line 201 Series
- 1995.05.21: Train Simulator JR East Tōhoku Main Line 211 Series
- 1996.07.19: Train Simulator Odakyu Railway Odawara Line 5000 Series
- 1996.11.21: Train Simulator Sagami Railway Main Line 9000 Series
- 1997.03.21: Train Simulator German Railway Rhine River Left Bank Line
- 1997.05.16: Train Simulator Nanbu Jukan Railway (Also released as a Collector's Edition)
- (Shichinohe - Noheji)
- (Shinagawa - Misakiguchi)
- 1997.09.19: Train Simulator JR Shikoku 1
- (Takamatsu - Kotohira, Takamatsu - Kojima)
- 1997.12.17: Train Simulator Seibu Railway Shinjuku Line
- (Seibu Shinjuku - Honkawagoe)
- 1998.04.17: Train Simulator Nagoya Railway
- Nagoya Main Line, Inuyama Line (Kanayama - Shin-Unuma), Hiromi Line (Inuyama - Shin-Kani), HSST-100 Test Track  (Ōe - Higashi-Nagoyakō)
- 1998.07.17: Train Simulator Hanshin Electric Railway
- (Umeda - Kosoku Kobe)
- 1998.09.18: Train Simulator JR Hokkaidō (1)
- (Yoichi - Sapporo)
- 1998.12.18: Train Simulator JR East Yamanote Line (also released as Train Simulator DVD 1999.12.17)
- (Osaki - Osaki, anti-clockwise)
- 1999.07.07: Train Simulator South France (also released as Train Simulator DVD)
- (Abenobashi - Yoshino)
- 2000.03.17: Train Simulator JR East Keihin-Tohoku Line
- (Kamata - Omiya)
Train Simulator Plus (2000–2001)
The Train Simulator Plus series was designed for the Windows system and its releases were limited to Japan. The first episodes were published by Pony Canyon while the last one was published by Ongakukan.
- 2000.07: Train Simulator PLUS: Keihan Electric Railway
- (Yodoyabashi-Demachi Yanage)
- (Shinjuku - Odawara)
- (Kokusai Kaikan, Takeda, Kintetsu Nara)
Train Simulator Real (2001–2002)
Released by SCE on PlayStation 2 system.
- 2001.10: Train Simulator Real: THE Yamanote Line
- (Osaki - Osaki, clockwise)
- 2002.10: Train Simulator Real: THE Keihin Electric Express Railway
Train Simulator (2003–2005)
Released on PlayStation 2 system.
- 2003.10: Train Simulator: Midosuji Line
- Osaka Subway (Nakamozu - Senri Chūō)
- 2003.12: Train Simulator ＋ Densha de GO!: Tokyu Line
- (Sakuragicho - Shibuya, Shibuya - Chūō Rinkan, Oimachi - Futako Tamagawa)
- 2005.08: Train Simulator: Keisei, Toei Asakusa, Keikyu Lines
- (Haneda Airport or Ueno - Aoto - Narita Airport)
- 2005.10: Train Simulator: Kyūshū Shinkansen
- JR Kyūshū (Shin-Yatsushiro - Kagoshima Chūō, Kumamoto - Minamata, Kumamoto - Shin-Yatsushiro)
Mobile Train Simulator (2005–2006)
Released on PlayStation Portable system from 2005 to 2006 and available in Japan and Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore). The first episode was co-developed with rival series Densha de Go! producer Taito. (Taito by themselves have also released 4 editions of Densha de Go for PSP).
- 2005.02: Mobile Train Simulator ＋ Densha de GO!: Tokyo Kyuko Line
- (Sakuragicho-Shibuya, Shibuya-Chūō Rinkan, Oimachi-Futako Tamagawa)
- 2006.02: Mobile Train Simulator: Keisei, Toei Asakusa, Keikyu lines
- (Haneda Airport-Aoto, Ueno-Narita Airport)
The latest series was renamed Railfan, it started in 2006 and was designed for the PlayStation 3 system. The first episode introduced in December 2006 was developed by Ongakukan and published by Ongakukan in Japan, by Sony Computer Entertainment in Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore) and by Cyberfront Korea in South Korea.
- Chuo Main Line (Mitaka-Tokyo), Keihan Main Line (Demachiyanagi-Yodoyabashi), Chicago Brown Line (Fullerton, Loop, Fullerton)
Railfan Taiwan Koutetsu released in Japan late 2007 for PlayStation 3, published by Ongakukan. The game simulates the early-2007 high speed rail line in Taiwan, from Taipei to Saei. The game provides a simulation of a train moving at 300 km/hour and details of 300 locations.
A number of external controllers with realistic controls have been manufactured for use with the games:
- Train Mascon (uses serial port to connect to PC or Macintosh)
- Master Controller II for Trainsimulator (USB)
- Multi Train Controller (PlayStation 2)
- "Train Simulator for Pro-use" in Ongakukan website
- "Gaming Life in Japan". IGN. 26 October 2007.
- "PlayStation Premiere: Railfan Heads to Taiwan". IGN. 17 July 2007.
- Official website (English)