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Web Japan > Kids Web Japan > What's Cool > "I Want to Become a Train Driver!"—Learning about Railroads while Playing 2

What's Cool

"I Want to Become a Train Driver!"—Learning
about Railroads while Playing

Part 2

Becoming the Railway Company President

 Railway companies in the real world increase the number of passengers by means such as building a residential area around stations and rail tracks or managing amusement parks. In Japan, there is a unique video game that is modeled after such railway companies called the "Momotaro Dentetsu." In this game, you become the railway company president and enjoy increasing your wealth by purchasing attractions and specialty shops in each region while advancing over tracks throughout Japan and across the globe. From 1988 to today, more than 20 variations of the video game have been created for TV and portable game consoles with a total of over 10 million units sold. There is also a mobile phone version, which is helpful for studying geography like the name of places, local specialties and attractions around Japan.

The game The game
The game "Momotaro Dentetsu" in which you become the railway company president and enjoy increasing your wealth.

"Densha de Go!" launched in arcades © TAITO CORPORATION 1997 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 On the other hand, the video game “Densha de Go!” is another series with a large fan following allowing users to experience the job of a train driver, which they had longed for. This game first gained popularity in 1997 as an arcade version, and a version for home video game consoles was released later that year. Shinkansen and electric tramway versions have also been created. Their characteristic is the ability to operate the speed and brake levers while admiring the landscape visible form the driver's seat of a real train. Not only will you be deducted points if you cannot arrive to the station according to the timetable while observing the speed limit, but also if you cannot stop the train right in the stopping position of the platform. By playing this game, the difficulty of a train driver's job to accurately run a train that does not stop easily once picking up speed can be felt clearly.

Unique Stationery

"Den Pen Case," a writing case characterized by its elaborate design with illustrations such as of the driver's seat and passengers seats in the inside © TARGA

 There are also many products that are modeled after the railway in stationeries, which are used every day by children. The "Den Pen Case" is a writing case that is modeled after the Shinkansen. Inside, there are lifelike pictures of the driver's seat and passenger seats, making it fun to take out and put in writing instruments. Other than the writing case, this manufacturer also has the "Den Pitsu," which creates a 16 car Shinkansen by connecting three pencils and fitting a cap in the shape of a lead vehicle in the front and back, as well as a measure in the shape of the Tokyo Station, which was built approximately 100 years ago with red bricks.

 The variety of railway items in Japan play the role not only of simply providing a play tool but also making it enjoyable to learn the mechanisms of society and filling dreams with many possibilities.

(September 2013)