Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

A-Train

A-Train
A-Train

SystemDOS
Floppy (3.5")3

Maxis

DOS

0  46357  01620  2

Release Date: 10/1/1992
Manufacturer: Maxis
 
Donated By: John Gallagher, Mark Smith
 
Take the A-Train III (known internationally as "A-Train") is the third game in the A-Train series. It was originally developed and published by Japanese game developer Artdink for Japan, and was later published by Maxis for the United States. It was originally released in December 1990 for the NEC PC-9801, FM Towns Marty, Sharp X68000 and TurboGrafx-16. The USA version was release in October 1992, and the Japanese version was re-released in March 2000 for Windows 95 and 98.

The game places players in command of a railway company. There are no rival companies; the player controls the only one in the city and the game is resultingly fairly open-ended. A-Train III is the first game in the series to use of near-isometric dimetric projection to present the city, similar to Maxis's SimCity 2000. There are two types of transport that the player's company can take: passengers or building materials. The former is more likely to be profitable, but building materials allow the city to grow.

Wherever the building materials are delivered, they can be taken and used to construct buildings for the city. These start with houses, but eventually, as an area grows, roads, and shops and other buildings are built. These can provide extra revenue for a passenger service, but also allowing the city to develop and grow can be seen as a goal in itself. As well as the buildings built by the computer, in response to the materials being present, the player can construct their own buildings, such as ski resorts and hotels, and make profits from them if the conditions are right.

The game was tremendously popular in Japan, thus motivating Maxis to license it for US distribution as A-Train, available for DOS, Macintosh and Amiga platforms. It was released in October 1992, though it sold poorly. Even the release of an add-on pack for the game failed to stir up any real support amongst the gaming community. The game was the first major failure from Maxis.

In spite of the PC version's commercial failure in the US, Maxis later released a PlayStation version in 1996, based on Artdink's AIV: Evolution Global. The PlayStation was a relatively new platform at that point and the game suffered many limitations, such as requiring an entire memory card (expensive at the time) to store a single map. Like the PC version, it proved unsuccessful.

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