Don't feel bad if you never heard of Taito's Densha de Go! series before; as video games go, it's the kind of series that comes to mind when one wants to give examples of what a niche title is. Train enthusiasts however will know all about the series whose name translates to "Go By Train!". Like most of Taito's franchises it began in the arcades with several entries of the game featuring faithful reproductions of many of Japan's iconic trains and railways, with the cabinets replicating the dashboard of the train engine, featuring pressure gauges for both throttle and braking. As the virtual train conductors it was your job to keep the train running on time and under the speed limits while sounding off the horn before bridges and crossings.
With the 3D revolution on home consoles came the home ports of the franchise, with unique controllers that mimicked their bigger, original arcade counterparts. The Nintendo 64 was blessed with Densha de Go! 64 in 1999, a game we rather enjoyed. It is unique in the system's library because it was one of two titles that supported the Voice Recognition Unit, a feat shared with Hey You, Pikachu!. If you knew your Japanese correctly, you could shout to the microphone numbers that would allow you train to adjust its speed on the fly. Mind you, both the VRU and the conductor controller where not mandatory to fully enjoy the game, so even a loose cart will deliver the full experience at home.
Being such a unique and niche series, none of the games ever made it to the West officially - at least until a couple of days ago when Zoinkity and mikeryan released a complete, unnoficial English localization patch. We were cautious at first since this could be an elaborate April Fool's prank but upon further investigation we were gifted with an incredible and extensive translation project that no only makes all the text into English but also changes the VRU to support English! You read that right, if you happen to have that illusive N64 peripheral, you can now shout the your desired train's speed in English and the game will act accordingly. Purists of the series need fear not since all the voices remain in Japanese, part of the game's original charm. Tremendous fan effort here, one that might not only shine some new light into this series but also help western Nintendo 64 owners hunt down all of the game's many, illusive Easter Eggs.
Do you like trains? Are you a fan of the series? Would you like to see a modern Densha de Go on your Switch or 3DS? Shout your instructions in the comments section.