I wrote this bit ages ago, a rebuttal for some smarty who gave ten reasons while Microsoft Train Simulator was better than model railroading. Isn’t it amazing what you can Google up on the slow work week between the holidays when the boss is on the other side of the world?
Why model railroading is better than MSTS.
1) I can buy engines or rolling stock, take them home, set them on the layout and run them in any way (and in any activity) I want. I don’t have to modify files to make them work.
2) When people come over and I show them my sceniced layout, they might think I’m a bit of a kook. This is preferable to me booting up my “game” and having them think I’m a geek.
3) I might not have 100 miles of simulated trackage on my railroad. But then again, I don’t grind on for miles and miles looking at trees going by. Most model railroads are the highlights of the run.
4) You shut down a model railroad throttle and the train instantly stops. While that’s in no way realistic braking, it doesn’t pretend to be (like MSTS).
5) Switching in model railroading involves car routing, waybills, car-identification, run arounds, and interesting complications. Switching in MSTS involves backing identical cars into a spur.
6) Operations in model railroading involves rulebook knowledge, understanding of the route and timetable, and a complete comprehension of how real transportation systems operate. Operations in MSTS involve watching the track monitor box and reading dialogs.
7) At the end of a model railroad ops session, you and up to thirty friends have played a grand co-operative game. At the end of a MSTS session, you can pat yourself on the back.
8) When a model engine stutters, I clean the tracks. When a MSTS engine stutters, I defrag the drive, reboot my computer, and back down on the scenery settings.
9) When something goes wrong with my model railroad, I can fix it. But when something goes wrong on MSTS, I’m left looking at the screen wondering what to do.
10) … And the top reason model railroading is better than MSTS… it doesn’t involve Microsoft!