NHN Japan will develop virtual Plarail toy railway

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

For generations of Japanese children, their first model railroading experience came courtesy of the inexpensive, easy-to-assemble Plarail blue plastic tracks.

Now, all grown up, they can continue playing with Tomy Co.’s toy railway in a virtual world.

NHN Japan Corp. has signed an agreement with T-Entamedia Co., which manages the character business for Tomy, to develop an online game based on the Plarail railway.

NHN Japan will make full use of its expertise in online games to develop the train simulation game tentatively titled “Plarail” for personal computers and smartphones, it said.

The game will be released through the popular Hangame online game portal by the end of 2011, it added.

The Plarail was created by the forerunner of Tomy Co. in 1959.

With rolling stock sharing the same gauge for more than 50 years, Tomy has introduced about 900 models and sold about 136 million units.

NHN Japan is a subsidiary of the South Korean company that operates Hangame, which also offers community services.

NHN Japan set its eyes on the Plarail because it is widely known among many generations.

The company said it will add new attractions to the toy series in the online game adaptation. It also intends to stimulate Hangame by introducing a train simulation game to its lineup.

Visit the Plarail’s official website at (http://www.takaratomy.co.jp/products/plarail/) and Hangame’s at (http://www.hangame.co.jp/).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.