Trains, eh? A fantastic idea for a Nintendo 64 game in 1999. And Let’s Go By Train! 64 was at the cutting-edge of train sims.
A Bit About Densha de Go! 64
Taito’s title was a Japanese-only affair. It actually came out on the Dreamcast first. Sega’s last console launched in late 1998 over in Japan.
And this title was on the system as Densha de Go! 2 Kōsoku-hen (電車でGO!2 高速編—”Go by Train! 2: High Speed Volume”).
Taito then decided it was far too essential to not have it on the Nintendo 64, so the world got Densha de Go! 64 in 1999. Well, not the world. But Japan got its vehicle simulation game.
The point of the game is to act as a train driver. And you blast around Japan’s impressive railway system taking in the sights.
So, the point of the game is kind of a chilled relaxation type affair.
Japan’s trains are legendary. They’re lightning fast and work like magic—a remarkably efficient system where, if one is late, it can make front page news across Japanese media.
We get the impression the country is proud of this efficiency. And rightly so.
Compare that to life in England, where privatisation has left British rail devastated. Massively overpriced, massively unreliable, packed out to the rafters, and just generally crap.
So, yeah, it kind of makes us dread the sight of trains. However, we’d still love to head to Japan and give the whole shindig a whirl.
As for Densha de Go! 64, we must say we can see the appeal of it. This genre of games is pretty relaxing to get involved with.
There are 13 trains and 16 missions to complete across railway lines such as the:
- Hokuhoku Line
- Akita Shinkansen Line
- Ōu Main Line
- Tazawako Line
- Keihin-Tōhoku Line
- Yamanote Line
- Tōkaidō Main Line
Just sit back and tour around a virtual Japan, eh? Not too shabby a gaming experience.
Due to its Japan-only status, Densha de Go! 64 has gone down in history as one of the more obscure and unusual Nintendo 64 games.
It actually took advantage of the console’s Voice Recognition Unit (VRU), one of the few games to do so. Another being Nintendo’s Hey You, Pikachu! in 1998.
That allows you to announce stations to passengers as and when you arrive, adding a little bit of extra realism to the shindig.
Taito did a good job with it, too, as the legendary game mah Famitsu handed the title a solid 32 out of 40. Good going! Choo choo!
The series continued on, with Taito’s last effort in 2004 called Densha de Go Final!
And Square Enix released a bunch of 20th anniversary celebration titles in 2016. So, this type of thing is still popular.
And there are loads of vehicle simulation games around these days. But, back in 1999, one could take a whirl on your Nintendo 64, which was pretty unique for the time.
Even if you had to live in Japan to do so. Choo!