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A-Train (1992)

Posted at 04:39 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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A-Train is a railroad-themed city-building game with a heavy business-management focus originally created by Japanese developer Artdink and published in English by Maxis in 1992. Although part of a popular series in Japan, enjoyment of this title is sometimes hampered by a smattering of design flaws, which notwithstanding, still make for an entertaining and engaging city-builder that is under-known and underappreciated. Despite this, A-Train failed to capture the imagination of the English-speaking world and was relegated to a legacy as one of Maxis' lesser known titles forever in the shadow of Sim City and its cohorts.


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Posted at 04:52 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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In Sim City you assume the role of public servant charged with growing the city and ensuring it runs smoothly for the public benefit. In A-Train the player's chief concern is (supposedly) first and foremost to turn a profit and any public benefit of doing so is probably just incidental (although the A-Train manual speaks to this and tries to spin it from a much different perspective).

Very interesting point, though philosophically speaking, would you really say this should make a difference? What is a corporation? I mean originally, before turbo-capitalism took over everybody's mindset? It's really nothing but a group of people coming together to ensure their personal social well-being, isn't it? Much like an organized community (i.e. a city). The perfect corporation, in my mind, would balance it so that it makes exactly zero profit, but manages to keep its participants well fed. Which makes the whole concept of shareholders etc. (i.e. "owners" of a corporation who have no active stake in it) so baffling to me.

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The cheapest of the rest of the trains are basically not profitable at all and the mid-range ones are very moderately profitable and you'll probably just end up replacing them with AR-IIIs anyway. The manual fails to explain how fares are computed but it does tell you that the AR-III is the best train to use. Why'd they even both to design the other trains?

This is actually one of my pet-peeves within many games of this genre, too. I would love to build a more realistic transport network with smaller, slower trains feeding long-haul high-speed lines etc., but rarely is there ever a world simulation in which this makes sense.

P.S. I believe The Dreamers' Guild also developed the Amiga port.
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 04:55 on January 23rd, 2017
Posted at 04:56 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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ID: 544
Title: A-Train
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Language: English
Disks: 3.5" HD (1440kB) x 3
Protection: ?
Format: Raw (.IMG)
Status: Modified

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Posted at 04:57 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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ID: 124
Title: A-Train
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Language: English
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Posted at 04:57 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted at 04:57 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted at 04:57 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted at 04:57 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted at 05:00 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted at 05:01 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted at 05:01 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Posted at 09:18 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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In Sim City you assume the role of public servant charged with growing the city and ensuring it runs smoothly for the public benefit.

No. In Sim City your goal is
-1:
… to accomplish any goals you set for yourself.
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Posted at 15:50 on January 23rd, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by MasterLee at 09:18 on January 23rd, 2017:

No. In Sim City your goal is
-1:
… to accomplish any goals you set for yourself.


Absolutely, I agree completely. This was part of the point that I was trying to make that both games are really open ended which is kind of Maxis' hallmark. This is the main reason that I think the $50 million win condition was kind of silly.

That said, there's a difference between goals and roles and both games are structured, at least roughly, around different real-world concepts. I think its fair to say the powers and responsibilities of the A-Train player look like that of someone running a private firm (maybe a COO) while those of the Sim City player look more like a Mayor, town council, or just a city-planner. This was the only other point I was trying to make and I still think its apt. It's still a game and you can always play how'd you like but it could be inline or not inline with how you might expect real-world individuals in such positions to behave.
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Posted at 11:49 on September 6th, 2017 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I would love a detailed how-to-play and earn money in A-Train. I tried to play it again a few months back, but never could get used to the monetary dynamics and grow the map and make money. Seems like I was always in the red! It was fun creating areas, but the bank can only loan so much money. :P
Posted at 08:07 on March 30th, 2019 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Title: A-Train
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Format: Raw (.IMG)
Status: Restored

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Posted at 12:14 on April 22nd, 2020 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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This game is a classic. I remember playing this when I was just 9 years old, on my Commodore Amiga, for long hours before going to bed. I just revisited it recently on my MS-DOS machine. It is still as good as in the 90's :D
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