THE UPC (AND DOWNS) OF VIRTUAL REALITY COASTERS

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REALITY COASTERS

Among the more popular experiences available on www. By strapping on headsets, Users can take simulated riders aboard thrill machines while remaining firmly tethered to their living room couches. What is the virtual reality coasters? How we can enjoy the coasters? Where it is? etc. will solve with this article.

 But what if passengers aboard actual roller coasters wore virtual reality goggles? that’s the idea behind VR coasters, a novelty that had its moment in the spotlight, but has mostly (although not wholly) been dismissed as a fad that never quite lived up to its promise. 

Rather than simulating roller coasters rides on terra firma, VR coasters use the physical sensations and G-forces of real roller coasters and marry them to visual (and, in some cases audio) content to create high-thrills, virtual journeys. At least, that’s the concept. The experience is often less optimal.

Virtual reality coasters are somewhat similar to motion simulator attractions, such as Star Tours at the Disney parks and despicable Me minion Mayhem at the universal parks. The use of motion bases that move in tandem with point-of-view media to create the illusion that guests are participating in high-speed action sequences. Instead of personal VR goggles, motion simulator attraction project the media onto large screens.

Parks and designers experimented with VR coasters, but the concept really took hold in 2016 when six flags began offering VR as an option at many of its parks. Among the riders that included VR was superman the Ride at six flags New England Massachusetts and new Revolution at six flags magic mountain in California. None of the six flags parks now have VR coasters. Another high-profile VR coasters were Kraken unleashed at sea world Orlando, which took riders aboard the floorless, looping coasters on an underwater journey to encounter the mythical Kraken creature. The park has since removed the VR option from the ride.

THE PROS OF VIRTUAL REALITY COASTERS

If it’s done well(and that’s a big if) virtual reality coasters can realistically transport passengers to alternate realities and turbocharge the experience with the kinetic sensation of a real thrill ride. They can combine the best of both worlds by delivering a kick-ass coaster ride with a convincing story based experience.

Motion simulator rides can blast riders into space and mimic a freefall off of a skyscraper (like universal’s spider-man ride). But the motion bases on a simulator attraction never.

Actually move more than a few inches in any director and do so at relatively slow speeda. Coasters, on the other hang, can really climb the height of a skyscraper and then plunge as well as reach speeds that would warrant a ticket on most highways. And they can turn passengers in any number of directions, including upside down.            Part of the appeal of VR coasters is that they allow parks to take existing coasters, overlay them with a VR story, and market the rides as “new” themed attractions. By changing out the storyline from season to season, the same ride could be the focus of multiple marketing campaigns.

THE CONS OF VIRTUAL REALITY COASTERS

 
In practice, VR coasters have presented a number of challenges:

  • Perhaps the biggest drawback is that VR coasters can be an operational and logistical nightmare for parks, and therefore for their visitors. One of the critical metrics for an attraction is its throughput-that is, the number of people chat can ride it each hour.
  • Other technical and practical problems can occur as well. For example, pints of reference can shift during a ride; although riders may be facing forwards, their virtual perspective may drift a few degrees to the left or to the right,   which can be disconcerting. Headsets can fall mid-ride, Leaving passengers in the dark with blank screens. Between the high speeds and focus that coasters deliver and the problems inherent in using a One-size-fits-all headset for passengers, the equipment can come loose and even fall off of passengers during rides.
  • While VR technology has advanced the imagery can often appear primitive, low-resolution, dark, blurry, or have any number of other qualities that render it less than convincing.

WHERE TO RIDE VIRTUAL REALITY COASTERS

Ride Experience

While many parks tested the waters with VR coasters and subsequently removed the technology, a few remain. In the U.S, there are a couple to try:

  • The Greate Lego Race at Legoland Florida; passengers are transformed into Lego mini-figures and race against other figures in vehicles on the ground an in the air. Note that while the coaster has a 42-inch height requirement, riders must be 48 inches to ride with the VR headset.
  • The Big Apple Coaster Virtual Reality Experience at the New York New York casino; Riders chase alien invaders who have entered the airspace above the vegas stripe. The casino charges $20 to ride the VR coaster. That’s $5more than the already hefty price it costs for boarding the coaster without the VR option. It’s worth noting that we think the Big apple coaster is a terrible ride.
    Beyond the U.S, there are more VR coaster options. Among the choices are;
  • Europa Park in Rust, Germany was the first park to offer a VR coaster, and it continues to provide VR on its Alpenexpress coastiality and Eurosat coastiality coasters.
  • Dubai drone at VR Park Dubai in the United Arab Emirates
  • Gods of Egypt- the battle for Eternity at Lionsgate Entertainment world in Guangdong, China.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum at Parque warner in Madrid, Spain 

parks and ride designers have incorporated virtual reality on other rides with varying degrees of success. These include drop tower rides, spinnin rides, and motion simulator attraction. VR has met with more critical success and guest satisfaction when it is used in custom-made, free-roaming VR experiences such as once offered by The Void.

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