Two Exclamation Marks!!

Densha De GO! was a 1996 train driving simulator that let you experience all the grind and tedium of menial work for the low, low price of ¥100 a credit.

It went through thousands of console ports that shipped with plastic replicas of the heavy industrial train controls used by actual on-rails wage-slaves.

You may wonder, in your day-to-day, where your life is going. Train driving avoids that angst: where your life’s going is clear. It’s going along the same goddamn rail it goes along every day.

But here’s something fresh. Densha De GO!! – with TWO exclamation marks, mind you – came out in December 2017. Whereas in 1996 you could simply turn your head to escape the siren-song hold of jaggy sleepers, the new millennium shows no such mercy. Three wide screens flank you like Jurassic Park velociraptors and the game itself is a floor-ceiling-four-wall cabin.

Your dashboard is vast, with context-dependent controls on a touchscreen display to go with the clunking levers and pedal.

It’s awe-inspiring progress. It’s total immersion. And it’s the same goddamn rail.

Oh and it’s ¥200 now.

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people