The Excitement of Driving a Public Bus Around Tokyo. Very Slowly.

Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Japan has a long and storied tradition of developing games where you are a train driver. Doing very little but going forwards, backwards and slowing down at stations. If that sounds a little too pedestrian for your tastes, well, there's always Tokyo Bus Guide.


Released around the turn of the milennium on the Dreamcast (and in Japanese arcades), TBG - developed by Fortyfive (who made Swat Kats on the SNES!) - had you get behind the wheel of one of the Japanese capital's metropolitan buses. And it was serious about it.

While theoritically giving the player more flexibility than train sims, given you're on the road, its guidelines were just as rigid: stray from the road or fail to obey even minor traffic conditions and that was it.

Gameplay was thus resigned to...driving a bus. Slowly, and stopping at a lot of red lights, with missions lasting up to twenty minutes at a turn.

Don't get too judgemental. While it looks and sounds boring as hell, there's a hardcore market for this kind of simulation. Why? Remember: not everyone fantasises about being sci-fi solders or sports stars. Some people just like to kick back and pretend they operate public transport.


Meanwhile in Germany...