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Playing with Trainz

You remember the first time when you were a kid and saw your first model train chugging around a small-gauge track. It could probably puff smoke and make steam-whistle sounds. You were enthralled.

You didn't mind that the train had virtually nowhere to "go." It just chugged and chugged around the same track and you anticipated seeing it turn the corner toward you again and again. The same papier-mache adults were standing along the tracks, with one hand up in a pose to wave at the train passing by.

You imagined yourself at the helm of that big beast -- the engineer, watching for stray cows and the next stop along the line.

It is that rememberance that the makers of the game Trainz are banking on. Trainz, a 3D simulator. Trainz is by no means a new game -- it has been around since 2001, but it has been given new life with a new version, called Trainz: A New Era.

The original Trainz was a simulator, much in the realm as Microsoft's Flight Simulator. It was a boxed piece of software that let you create and operate your own railroad without any interference -- or aid -- from anyone else. Trainz Next, however, plows deeply into the 21st Century, adding a subscription model and network play, so multiple players can sing "I've been working on the railroad."

Trainz followers have proven to be very vocal about their needs and desires, and the maker of the software, Australia's N3V, has tried to give them what they want. The Trainz website has a very active forum and the members putter around in a variety of hard-working trains, including the recently retired Chinese steam locomotives. They've even got their own Twitch channel.

In all, Trainz is trying to stay up with the latest video game advancements, while still maintaing a foot in the nostalgic past. You can see much more by going to their website at http://www.trainzportal.com.

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Born at a very young age with no foreknowledge of the event.