REDMOND, Wash., June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- When Johnny Cash sang "I hear the train a-comin', it's rolling 'round the bend," he likely could not have imagined that 45 years later, his senses might have been confused by another machine -- powered not by steam or coal, but by a computer. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced that its latest PC game, Microsoft(R) "Train Simulator," a product delivering the sights and sounds of famous trains past and present, is rollin' onto store shelves. According to the National Model Railroad Association, there are over 1 million model railroad enthusiasts in the United States, and approximately 1.5 million domestic freight and passenger rail cars in operation today. Now Microsoft "Train Simulator" will give enthusiasts the opportunity to climb into the cab of a realistically detailed locomotive, with accurate, fully functional gauges and working controls. "Microsoft has over 20 years' experience building the best PC-based flight simulation products in the market, and we were committed to ensuring that Microsoft 'Train Simulator' meets the same exacting standards of quality and realism," said Stuart Moulder, general manager for the PC Games Division at Microsoft. "While appealing to the existing core market, we are confident that Microsoft 'Train Simulator' will also inspire a whole new generation of train enthusiasts." That sentiment is echoed by Richard Russack, vice president of corporate relations for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Corp., one of Microsoft's railroad partners in the project. "BNSF is especially pleased to partner with Microsoft to give everyone the opportunity to become an engineer and experience the challenge and thrill of driving one of our freight trains through the Rocky Mountains in Montana," Russack said.
Featured trains include the following: -- The Venice-Simplon Orient Express. Players can visit the Austrian Alps in the 1920s, from Innsbruck to St. Anton, for the ultimate in romantic European steam train travel. -- The Flying Scotsman. Enthusiasts can race along some of England's most beautiful countryside in the 1920s, from Settle to Carlisle, in what was once the world's fastest steam locomotive. -- Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. Users can experience the challenges and awesome power of moving modern-day freight over Marias Pass in Montana -- a vital East-West freight link across the spectacular Rocky Mountains. -- Amtrak Acela. Gamers can run the busy U.S. Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia with Amtrak's new high-speed bullet train. -- Odakyu Railway Co. Players can navigate one of the busiest commuter lines from Tokyo or take in the breathtaking scenery of Mt. Fuji traveling to the famous Hakone Hot Springs. -- Kyushu Railway Co. Enthusiasts can explore the mountainous Hisatsu line on Japan's southern island of Kyushu with a challenging switchback system and loop.
As the engineer, players are in charge of the regulator on a steam engine or the air brake system on a modern diesel, working to safely meet the schedule come rain, snow or shine. Players travel busy urban corridors and treacherous mountain passes, facing scenarios that demand engineering skills. In addition to the realism of the fabled trains themselves -- including the distinctive sounds of whistles, brakes and tracks -- Microsoft "Train Simulator" recreates more than 600 miles of rail to mirror the real-world scenery, industry and towns along these routes. For nearly 200 years, since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, railroads have captured the hearts and minds of millions. The magic and mystique surrounding passenger and freight trains have become emotionally ingrained in cultures around the world. They touch history buffs, who identify places or eras that the railroads helped create and shape; engineering aficionados, who marvel at the technology, from the earliest coal-burners to the most modern commuter lines; and even bystanders who enjoy the awesome shaking of the earth as 12,000 tons of steel rumbles by at more than 60 mph. Whatever the reason, trains continue to inspire people across all cultures, countries and ages. Microsoft "Train Simulator" is available in stores now or by calling Microsoft at 888-218-5617 or on the Internet at http://shop.microsoft.com/ for an estimated retail price of $54.99 (U.S.). More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/games/trainsim/ . Microsoft "Train Simulator" can be seen at the NMRA National Train Show in St. Louis from July 13-15, 2001. More information about the event is available at http://www.nmra.org/convention/trainshow.html .
About Microsoft Games
Microsoft's Games Division is recognized as one of the world's leading games businesses in four key areas: PC and Xbox(TM) game development and publishing, Zone.com, SideWinder(R) game devices, and the Xbox video game system. Microsoft games developed and published for the PC and Xbox platforms target hard-core gamers and casual players. Zone.com ( http://www.zone.com/ ) is the Internet's largest multiplayer gaming site, and SideWinder is the best-selling brand of game devices in the world. Xbox is Microsoft's future-generation video game system, scheduled to ship in fall 2001.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device. The information contained in this press release relates to prerelease products that may be substantially modified before their first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the products when first commercially released. This press release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to this press release or the information contained in it.
NOTE: Microsoft, Xbox and SideWinder are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Amtrak(R), Acela(SM) and the Acela(SM) design logo are the registered trademarks and service marks of the National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak(R)). The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.