RCT is a pretty good learning tool/stepping stone into the coaster world. I certainly went from 'mildly interested' to 'enthusiast' courtesy of the original. I was obsessed with RCT2 for it's entire lifespan and it definitely served as a good tool for understanding blocking and generally getting a grip on 'correct' coaster operation. I merely tolerated RCT3...for a while. As far as I can tell it served no useful purpose as a learning or entertainment tool. I'm still annoyed and moreso amazed that they (Atari? Frontier?) could screw-up such a sure thing.
I take no sides in the 'inversions turn people away' thing. All I know is that on any given day at any given park the ridership seems to be equal for inverting and non-inverting coasters.
A more interesting trend to me is the way I've seen smaller rides scare people from bigger rides. For example a park like Dorney has Laser. We all know how sick those Schwarzkopf loops are. I've seen on many an occasion people use the logic that if a 'small' ride like Laser with two simple loops feels like that, then what must Talon with it's wilder inversions feels like. Or what Steel Force with drops twice as large must be like.
I think a fact that's lost on a certain segment of GP-types is that the oversized rides are also quite often overengineered to reduce the forces to levels that are quite often equal to or less than their smaller or older counterparts.
For whatever reason, people seem to fear the biggest coaster in the park (especially if it's the newest) more than the other coasters, regardless of how big the biggest actually is.
Yea, this could be true. If a ride "looks" more intimidating, then people might tend to shy away from it more.
A good example is SFGAdv. You have Medusa and BTR. Medusa looks more intimidating, since it's taller, longer, faster, and loopier :) But we know that BTR definitely packs a meaner punch.
Of course, the GP still like Batman. That thing seems to get a longer line than Medusa sometimes. Maybe those GP are hungry for Gs!
Also in my colleges classes, even in Tampa, the amount of people know who Cedar Point is incredible to me. The first thing they ask is about Dragster or Millie, but they all thought the new coaster looked awesome despite its lack of height. Everyone seemed to love the idea of a mid course launch as well.
Then, us coaster geeks can be like walking advertisements for the parks :)
Hey, come check out my latest iPod video--the new coaster/ride for (insert local/reginal park here)!
Yea, I'm a coaster geek, but isn't that why most of us are here, anyway? Oh, and iPods rock :)
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