Densha de Go! (loosely translated to "Go by Train!") is an electric train driving simulation game developed and released by Taito for arcades in Japan on March 1997.
The first in a series of arcade train driving simulators, Densha de Go! tasks players with driving an electric passenger train through parts of four real-life Japanese train routes: the San'in Main Line in Kyoto Prefecture, the Keihin-Tōhoku Line between Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefectures, the Tōkaidō Main Line between Kyoto and Osaka Prefectures, and the Yamanote Line in Tokyo Prefecture.
As train drivers, players must adhere to a strict timetable while obeying the speed limit and arriving to each station as cleanly and close to the "stopping point" as possible. The game uses a time-based penalty system, where players have 30 seconds of penalty time that depletes when certain penalties occur (such as failing to observe the speed limit or arriving in an unsatisfactory way) and ends the credit prematurely when it reaches zero.
The game features a unique control panel stylized after a train driver's cab (more specifically the cab of a 205-series train), featuring a five-stage throttle lever, a nine-stage brake lever, a horn button, and several decorative gauges (with a "working" analog speedometer and signal light). It also features a seat that vibrates when the train crosses certain areas. Two versions of the cabinet were released: a compact one housing a 29-inch screen and a deluxe one housing a 50-inch screen.
The game later received an update on September 1997, known as Densha de Go! EX. While it mainly focuses on bug-fixes, it adds some new hidden EXTRA versions of some routes (adding rainy weather). The original version was later included in an update to the 2017 arcade game Densha de Go!! (as a bonus game mode, known as "Fukkoku-ban").
The game includes four main routes, each using a particular type of train. Two of these routes (San'in Main Line and Tōkaidō Main Line) have hidden "EXTRA" versions, while the remaining two routes (Keihin-Tōhoku Line and Yamanote Line) only have hidden EXTRA versions in the game's EX update. The PS1 and GBC versions omit all EXTRA versions.
- San'in Main Line (KiHa 58-series) - Runs eastward from Kameoka Station in Kameoka to Kyoto Station in Shimogyō-ku. The original version of the route is the game's only beginner route and has no bonus mini-game. While the EXTRA version includes the entire route, the original version is very short and omits the segments between Saga-Arashiyama Station and Tambaguchi Station.
- Tōkaidō Main Line (221-series) - Runs southward from Kyoto Station in Shimogyō-ku to Ōsaka Station in Osaka. Unlike other routes, this one is a "rapid service" that skips multiple stations along the way, allowing for much faster speeds. The EXTRA version starts farther ahead, at Takatsuki Station, but stops at additional stations along the way.
- Yamanote Line (205-series) - Runs clockwise from Shibuya Station to Tokyo Station. The EXTRA version is the same, but with rainy weather.
Ports & Re-Releases
The game received two console ports, each with special controller peripherals made for the game:
- The original version was ported to the Sony PlayStation on December 18, 1997. While it does not include the EXTRA route versions, it adds an introductory mode that follows only one segment in the San'in Main Line (between Kameoka Station and Umahori Station) with no restrictions. This version later received a re-release as part of D3Publisher's Simple 1500 series of budget games, as Simple 1500 Series Vol. 103: The Gansho Densha Utenshi - Densha de Go!, on January 30, 2003.
- The EX version was ported to the Sega Saturn on October 1, 1998. This version features two unlockable modes: Free Mode (which starts the player with 999 seconds) and Snow Mode (which uses snowy weather).
The original version of the game was also ported to Windows PCs (by Unbalance on April 23, 1999) and received two handheld adaptations: one for the WonderSwan (on March 4, 1999), and one for the Game Boy Color (by CyberFront on December 10, 1999).