Train Simulator: Chūō-sen (201-kei), the sub-title loosely translated to "Chūō Line, 201 Series" and known in-game as Train Simulator Vol. 1: Chūō-sen, is a train driving simulation game developed and published by Ongakukan for Macintosh computers in Japan on August 19, 1995, with a Windows PC release on May 17, 1996.
The first installment of the Train Simulator series tasks players with driving a 201 Series electric train through the Japanese railway Chūō Line in Tokyo, from Nakano Station to Toyoda Station. The game also includes bonus travel information about each station in the route and a quiz mini-game.
The game was unique at the time for combining live-action full-motion video with an interactive 3D-modelled train cab replica (allowing both keyboard and point-and-click mouse control) to give the illusion that the player is driving an actual train through the actual route. The video itself, taken from the front of the train, adjusts its playback speed to match the train's speed, although the audio itself is mixed-in separately. This technique was later used for numerous other train driving simulators, including Unten Douraku, Hassha Yoshi, and Testudou Nippon!.
As shown on the box art for the original series' games, the games are "directed" by Minoru Mukaiya, who was the CEO of Ongakukan and was best known at the time as the keyboardist for the jazz fusion band Casiopea.
The route was later revisited with the game's 19th and 28th installments.
During gameplay, players must utilize the throttle and brake levers of the train cab to travel from station to station. In the game's main Shiken ("Exam") mode, players are tasked with driving through their current unlocked route while stopping at each station's correct position, both within an approximate timetable and without overadjusting the brakes (as indicated by the "BR"). Unlike later games in the series, players are not tasked with following the speed limit.
Each player starts the game at Level 1, which only includes the first destination. As they progress through each of the four Levels in "Exam" mode, they unlock additional destinations for their route, with Level 4 including the entire route. Later Levels also increase the difficulty, giving them stricter requirements for the arrival time, parking position, and "BR". Completing Level 4 unlocks a bonus Level, known simply as Free Soukou (or "Free Practice"), which allows players to customize the route by choosing which stations to stop at.
The game also includes an Unten ("Drive") mode, which allows players to swap between stations at any time to practice specific parts of the route, without any restrictions from the game's "Exam" mode. However, the route in this mode is limited to the current Level, requiring players to reach Level 4 if they want to casually run through the entire route.