Yes, I am in fact posting about a computer game. It’s just that I’ve been having so much fun with London Underground Simulator, and I figure anything transit-related is fair game on this blog. I’m not sure if this particular type of feature will work, but tell me what you think in the comments section below. I might be able to cover other transit-related games in the future.

London Underground Simulator is the third installment of the World of Subways series, which is about realistic simulations of subway systems around the world (the first two games were the New York-New Jersey PATH Train and the U7 line in Berlin). This game allows you to drive the Circle Line on the London Underground. There are representations of all 35 stations on the line, and your character is free to get out and explore them (although you’re not allowed to leave the stations). There are passengers that get onto your train, although they often graphically glitch. You can even turn on automatic announcements on your train.
This is an actual screenshot from the game.

Unfortunately, the people at Aerosoft (the company behind the game) don’t seem to want you to play it. In order to download it onto your computer (unless you get the boxed version, where you might not have to do this), you have to also download the impossible-to-find Aerosoft Launcher (trust me, this link will save you a lot of time). It’s a good thing I found it, because when I inquired about the matter to the customer service at Aerosoft, I got a completely bogus email response that said, “Duplicate.” Absolutely appalling service.

However, the game is very fun once you get it installed. The game has two modes: Drive to Schedule and Missions.When you Drive to Schedule, you can choose the route variation (either the whole Circle Line, or a smaller trip), the weather, and even what point in the schedule you wish to drive at. Then you drive the route and get a score at the end (more on that later). The Missions are sort of the meat of the game, offering challenges ranging from having to deal with bridge maintenance to taking the train as a passenger, then taking over at a certain station. The problem with the missions is that they’re rather unforgiving, making you restart the whole thing if you go over the speed limit (something I’m definitely guilty of) or run through a red light. However, when playing for the first time, I recommend you do the first mission, “Briefing,” so you can learn how to play from “Inspector Danny.” The developers made this very realistic, meaning all of the controls in the train cab can be very confusing for some people. “Briefing” helps explain all that.
This is where you drive.

When you’re driving the train, it’s probably good to stay within the speed limit (although you don’t “lose” if you do it in Drive to Schedule). You also have to be very careful of red lights, because you instantly fail if you go past one in both Drive to Schedule and Missions. When doing a Drive to Schedule, you should also stick very close to the schedule. If you don’t, it will show in your final score. When I completed my first Drive to Schedule, I only got a 44% score. Apparently, I broke the speed limit (hey, I was behind schedule), didn’t line up my train perfectly at the station (that’s hard to do), didn’t let all the passengers get in the train (they were just standing there as far as I could see), and was late (I’m blaming that on the passengers that took too long to get onto the train). In my defense, it was my first completed route and I was driving at rush hour. But you should learn from my mistakes. My first time driving to schedule, I did the whole Circle Line perfectly, and then came into Hammersmith (the final station) too fast and crashed.

Some passengers in the train.

Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t work, although that’s probably just my computer. The characters glitch as well, and the time to load up the game can be torturous. The missions are also much too unforgiving, as well as your score at the end. The game also crashes periodically on my computer, but after restarting it, it works fine. Note that depending on your computer, the game can be dreadfully slow. On my laptop, the animation is very choppy, but I got used to it. It’s also a bit weird how your character is constantly lolling his head around, but again, I got used to it. Despite its flaws, the game is very addictive and fun (although probably not for people who aren’t transit geeks), and if you have the right type of computer (see link above), it can be a great time. Oh, and you might want to have a map of the system nearby. You’ll probably need it.

Final Verdict: 8

This is probably my favorite image from the game on the internet.