A playable demo of train driving simulator Railroads Japan! Nagara River Railroad Compilation was recently released on the Nintendo eShop for 3DS, for train fans to try out the latest title to shine light on the hundreds of train lines that criss-cross Japan. The demo allows players to drive between the Seki-guchi and Seki stations, stopping in between at Hamanokaikan-mae station, racing to match the real world version’s three minutes.
Such train simulator games put players in the role of the driver, a particularly valued job in Japan. Train drivers, in their immaculate uniforms and almost military codes for such tasks as handing over the conductor’s briefcase, are considered a job that isn’t particularly terrible.
The goal of the game is to allow players to feel what it’s like to take control of realistically modeled trains such as Nagaragawa’s and guide them from start to finish along their route. The difficulty lies in learning how to keep to specified speeds so players do not overshoot curves and potentially derail. Stopping at just the right spot smoothly for high scores, getting into the station at just the right time—not early, nor late. One additional danger is tipping over, since much of its route runs directly next to the Nagara river. These are games about achieving perfection.
Nagara River Railroad Compilation features the Nagaragawa River route down in Gifu prefecture, and the game replicates the route in its entirety with stereoscopic 3D available. Players can enjoy two different views—one from within the driver’s seat and one without—to fully enjoy the scenic route the train runs along. If, for some arcane reason, your house is along the route, players can spot their home as they drive by.
(As an aside, Nagaragawa Railway is the only railway line plying the route of 38 stations. Despite this, declining populations and frequent national disasters are said to be bringing the line to dire straits.)
Railroads Japan! Nagara River Railroad Compilation is available now for Nintendo 3DS in Japan. If you feel like trying it out, it’s available on the Japanese eShop, and the controls are simple. The direction buttons control acceleration speeds, while the face buttons control brake speeds. Note it can only be played five times