Six Flags Amusement Parks Add Immersive Virtual Reality To Roller Coasters…and Blow. Our. Minds.

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*One of my greatest surprises after moving to the west coast seven years ago was the discovery of Six Flags amusement parks. I grew up just a stone’s throw from the midwest’s Cedar Point, which is widely known as the roller coast capital of the world. I still cherish the memories of my annual treks there as a kid, and didn’t imagine being close a park that could match the thrills I’d experienced at Cedar Point.

Then, I found Six Flags.

The one in my neck of the woods, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, was always a thrill, but got better in recent years with the addition of rides like Superman Ultimate Flight (which is the first ride I hit when I enter the park!) and The Joker, a new hybrid coaster that repurposed the foundation of one of the park’s old wooden out-and-backs and turned it into a scream machine that left me hoarse for the balance of my day there last summer.

During THAT ride, I had to suppress my repeated “F*** me!” screams, as there were small, impressionable children aboard.  (I can’t wait to ride it again!)

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And now, two Six Flags parks are poised to blow it up again with a hybrid of another sort: they’re combining floor-less, looping thrill rides with fully immersive virtual reality!

Oh. My. God.

According to Six Flags’ official release:

“Six Flags Entertainment Corporation and Samsung Electronics America, Inc., the “Official Technology Partner” of the world’s largest regional theme park company, just announced its renewed collaboration on virtual reality roller coasters with the unveiling of a bold, innovative twist on the experience at Six Flags parks. The New Revolution Galactic Attack makes its world debut at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Six Flags Magic Mountain, offering park guests a thrilling, fully immersive ride as they battle to save the planet from an impending alien drone invasion.”

Shut UP!!!!! I need a ticket to one of the parks NOW!

“Six Flags is proud to be partnering with Samsung to develop the newest, most innovative thrill ride experience in the theme park industry,” said Brett Petit, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “This mixed reality technology is truly groundbreaking and like nothing our guests have ever experienced. Six Flags and Samsung changed the game last year with VR on twelve roller coasters and now we are breaking new ground yet again.”

The description of the twisted death trap continues:

“When riders board the coasters and don their Samsung Gear VR headsets, they will be introduced to the device’s passthrough camera functionality, instantly making riders aware of their surroundings, by allowing them to see the “real world,” including the person seated next to them— along with virtual content. As they get settled into the ride, a heads up display overlay on the passthrough camera view will show data like current status of weaponry, time codes, fuel cells, and a countdown clock. Cresting the lift hill, a massive, swirling wormhole comes into view. As riders drop at high speeds, the mixed reality view changes to a completely immersive, virtual reality environment and a fighter spaceship cockpit materializes and envelops the riders into a tunnel of light. At the bottom of the first hill, riders are launched into the middle of a space battle, coming under attack from flying drones firing lasers and missiles. After swinging through tight channels, narrowly dodging drones and artillery fire, riders are brought into one of three drone bays, each of which offer a completely different gaming experience and three different endings.”

I have heard all I needed to hear! See you there!

Information on the new virtual reality coasters, and all Six Flags parks and attractions, is available at sixflags.com.

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Michael P Coleman is a freelance writer and a roller coaster maniac! Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP.

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