Six Flags to add virtual reality to nine roller coasters this season

Posted Thursday, March 3, 2016 10:19 AM | Contributed by slithernoggin

Already highly regarded for its arsenal of kick-ass thrill machines, Six Flags will up the ante by repurposing nine of its roller coasters as ride systems for what could prove to be delirious, out-of-this-world VR experiences. It will take immersive storytelling to new heights – literally.

Read more from USA Today.

Friday, March 11, 2016 9:56 AM

I will be trying superman VR on Tuesday at sfne and i will post my opinion of it. I tried it last year for WC and thought it was very good but the park decided to wait for this year to add it to superman.


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Friday, March 11, 2016 10:06 AM
OhioStater's avatar

It looks totally fun to me.

I'm not as prone to the "eeeew gross" factor; think of all the countless sweaty bodies that just sat in your seat and used your seatbelt and touched the hand railings and held onto the lapbar and put their head back on the headrest and...well...you get the idea (and *GASP* they don't even make an attempt to wipe those things down unless someone pukes).

Unless you are one of the aliens from War of the Worlds, you'll pull through.

Very cool way to make a ride new and fresh for riders who want to try something different.

And here's the best part; if it's not your thing, it's optional, and it won't interrupt your coaster riding experience in any way.

I will definitely give this a shot, at least, if I come across it.

Last edited by OhioStater, Friday, March 11, 2016 10:07 AM
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Friday, March 11, 2016 4:11 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

slithernoggin said:

But if I can't see that I'm actually falling, what difference does it make whether I'm actually or virtually falling?

maXairMike covered it pretty well.

There's definitely a difference between actually dropping on a coaster and virtually dropping on a simulator. How much of a difference that makes in terms of being strapped into VR goggles remains to be seen, I suppose.


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Friday, March 11, 2016 4:45 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Indeed. Take rides like Soarin' or Star Tours (or Body Wars!); with very limited actual movement one can certainly feel immersed in the experience.

I'm really curious what it does to the VR experience to be actually dropping, twisting, flipping, etc., when very well-timed limited movement already produces an enjoyable result.

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Friday, March 11, 2016 6:57 PM
Vater's avatar

One other aspect is that on a coaster you know the exact route you're going to take because the track is in plain view. With a creative VR video, you will take some unexpected turns and drops.

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Friday, March 11, 2016 7:42 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

.... I just am not, I think, going to be able to wrap my ASD brain around this. I just can't make sense of it in my brain.

T-R of V-R is going to relax and just enjoy the discussion.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Friday, March 11, 2016 10:48 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

Vater makes a really good point 2 posts up.

4 differing perspectives:

1) I've never ridden Daredevil Dive. Were I to visit SFOG, however, I would most certainly ride the coaster "normally" first, and then would almost certainly ride it again with the VR, because I am curious to try it for myself.

2) SFNEs SROS, I'm pretty familiar with the layout, but do not have it completely memorized in the second half. In this case, I think it would be fun to try and match the VR image with what I know as the layout of the ride.

3) One of the Arrow Loopers getting VR. Not sure I'd even want to try this. The rides are painful enough even as an "experienced Arrow rider." Not being able to see and brace for the bumps is a complete dealbreaker.

The fourth example, my most familiar coaster, of course is not getting VR, but just for discussion's sake...

4) Mil. Force, which I've ridden hundreds of times and have completely memorized, would almost seem pointless to me. I'd know what my plane/spaceship was going to do well in advance. Of course, I'd try it once, but probably not care for it.

I will violate the Coasterbuzz Commandments by saying, right here and now, that I do not expect to like it.

TL;DR - "SUCKS" ...probably.

Last edited by Tommytheduck, Friday, March 11, 2016 10:57 PM
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Friday, March 11, 2016 11:56 PM
LostKause's avatar

I'm at least beginning to understanding why this would interest some people. I still think I will prefer the real deal, but that doesn't mean that this couldn't be a cool experience for others.


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Saturday, March 12, 2016 7:47 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

MiceAge reports on The New Revolution.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Saturday, March 12, 2016 7:45 PM
Fun's avatar

When I think of motion simulators, my interest is usually in the story behind it. While a roller coaster ride is still bound by real world physics, there is a certain degree of escapism that a simulator or themed attraction can provide. To me, the motion of the ride is secondary to the themed experience and the storytelling.

So when I look at this offering at face value, I'm underwhelmed. Sure, the motion is going to be great, far superior to a standard simulator. But without the storytelling, visual experience and theming, I can't get excited. There is no suspension of disbelief- a key ingredient to what makes a simulator fun. We know we are riding a roller coaster for the next two minutes with a cell phone display attached via greasy headband.

With that said, there's still money to be made here. VR is still a novelty attraction. People will ride things they haven't in years, just to try out something new. I think this is something that lasts a few years and is dropped once this fad wears out.

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Monday, March 14, 2016 10:12 AM

This a cool add on But I am waiting for a ground up build using this tech.Imagine an empty building with these headsets and Spiderman type cars (pitch and Yaw ) Now think they build 6 of them with 3 different films .they could even swap films and some que props and run 3 of the same ride (depending on popularity)

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Monday, March 14, 2016 11:29 PM

Fun said:
When I think of motion simulators, my interest is usually in the story behind it. While a roller coaster ride is still bound by real world physics, there is a certain degree of escapism that a simulator or themed attraction can provide. To me, the motion of the ride is secondary to the themed experience and the storytelling.

So when I look at this offering at face value, I'm underwhelmed. Sure, the motion is going to be great, far superior to a standard simulator. But without the storytelling, visual experience and theming, I can't get excited. There is no suspension of disbelief- a key ingredient to what makes a simulator fun. We know we are riding a roller coaster for the next two minutes with a cell phone display attached via greasy headband.

With that said, there's still money to be made here. VR is still a novelty attraction. People will ride things they haven't in years, just to try out something new. I think this is something that lasts a few years and is dropped once this fad wears out.

That's the thing. This is all still in it's infancy. We'll look back on this current VR version and laugh at how clumsy and bulky this looks.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 7:28 AM

So last night at Max&Ermas my partner, who had visited a high school in Whitehouse, Oh yesterday, said "Hey, I got the opportunity to try one of those things today, what do they call em? VR? Anyway, it was freaky." And I said "Did you puke?" He said "Almost!". So I got out my phone and showed him the split screen video. When he was done watching he said "I'm not sure how I feel about this. Why would you want this when you're already on a roller coaster anyway? And how do you keep from getting lice?"

I said "Maybe you should join the discussion..."

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 12:30 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Emily24 said:

Do you want lice? Because this is how you get lice.

RCMAC said:

When he was done watching he said "I'm not sure how I feel about this. Why would you want this when you're already on a roller coaster anyway? And how do you keep from getting lice?"

I just think the lice comments are funny. :)

Regarding the general hygene of this - how is it any different than any VR-style helmet that's been in use at arcades and theme parks for two decades? Why is it suddenly gross on a coaster? Or have we become such germaphobes that the culture in general has changed?

Loosely related, I remember trying the Virtual Reality at CP (near the front of the park, IIRC) 20 years ago.

It was mostly dumb. I did not get lice.


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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 12:35 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Loosely related, I remember trying the Virtual Reality at CP (near the front of the park, IIRC) 20 years ago.

It was mostly dumb. I did not get lice.

Yeah, I remember that too. In '97, and in the arcade, I want to say. Similar experience to yours - dumb, no lice.


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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 12:55 PM
kpjb's avatar

Better than bedbugs, I guess.


Hi

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 1:59 PM

Or.... Never mind.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 2:10 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

I don't think this is a good idea at all. Not because of the ride experience, but because of what others have said. Why would they think someone would be excited about someone putting something on their face that has been worn by countless thousands of people. And, I am guessing the replacement cost of replacing those devices will be very expensive. For something that might be just a huge let done. Like most non disney simulators are,

The thing I worry about most is gum. Has anyone ever seen the gum trees at Cedar Point, or the gum wall on batman the ride at Great America. Hundreds, if not thousands of pieces of gum every year. I see these goggles as good places for spoiled kids to leave their gum. I have put my hand in gum on a roll bar in the blue streak at Cedar Point. GROSS!!!

Really stupid idea.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Tuesday, March 15, 2016 2:10 PM

I didn't do it! I swear!!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 2:37 PM
rollergator's avatar


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 2:50 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Why is it suddenly gross on a coaster?

I suspect that it's not suddenly gross on a coaster, but that it's possibly gross on a means of using VR in a way different then we're used to (at the arcade). A person might not think about how many heads have worn the VR arcade helmet at the arcade -- out of sight, out of mind -- but will be seeing X number of people strapping these headsets on in the station.

Or have we become such germaphobes that the culture in general has changed?

Could be.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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