Next week, The New Revolution opens at Six Flags Magic Mountain. It’ll be the first of seven roller coasters from Six Flags to implement new Virtual Reality technology.
It makes sense, if only in the sense of superfluity. I’ve ridden over 100 roller coasters and never once had I thought that the experience would be enhanced by putting goggles on to block out the real world. It’s really that same technophobic argument being transposed to the world of roller coasters: “You’re just staring at screens now and not enjoying the actual ride!” is probably the stance I’m supposed to take.
But I’m not. I’m kind of on the side of the technology figuring that roller coasters exist in a world that is itself an extension of the travelling circus. If you look at it that way, then you know that they’re gonna follow the latest trends to get butts in the seats.
The technology itself has got quite a few kinks to work out. The Roller Coaster boards I frequent have stated concern over the extended wait times and the load/unload of the trains and just how the hell you’re supposed to clean all the headsets. I’m mostly just concerned that the headsets are too easily removed and will be chucked off the ride by one of the asshole teenagers that happen to frequent Magic Mountain. When they do dumb shit, I like to imagine them saying, “This is how adults act!”
But, after watching some enthusiasts get down on Daredevil Dive at Six Flags over Georgia, I started to get kind of pumped.
See, while The New Revolution is the only ride to have the moniker, three other rides will run a similar program in which you’re fighting aliens. The other three will run a Superman flight program which will probably be just as sweet.
As a Michael Bay Apologist, you know I’m a huge fan of empty spectacle. This looks like the next step forward with that–and I’m definitely curious to see where VR heads from here and whether or not there’s any way for us to do a live-action capture as opposed to existing completely in computerized environments.
Because the graphics, as they seem in the videos, aren’t that great. They’re pretty 2005-ish but when you consider the fact that it’s an immersive 360-degree experience being powered by cellphones it’s contextually acceptable. One of these days–in the far too soon future–the technology will enhance exponentially.
But right now, this is the first step toward a new type of ride entirely. I don’t think we’ll ever see VR-less roller coasters die out–this seems more like something to use for rides with flagging numbers. But I’m probably wrong: there’s gotta be some great ride out there being built specifically with this experience in mind.
I just hope it doesn’t suck.