Today we head to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to experience their new "New Revolution Galactic Attack" VR coaster experience! Billed as the world's first mixed reality VR coaster, this new attraction uses Samsung Gear VR and Oculus technology to bring the experience to life. The experience is choreographed to the twists and turns of the park's Kong, and also stands as the only suspended coaster in the entire Six Flags chain to use VR technology.
An info-graphic provides waiting riders with loading information on their upcoming experience.
The boarding process does take significantly longer than before, but it's well worth the added wait!
The Samsung Gear VR headsets sit near the main operator's podium, and are hand-cleaned by employees after each use. Even with this process, my headset was still visibly dirty (think little eyebrow hairs and eyelashes). This may have been an anomaly for my ride, but it was still a bit unsettling.
The timing of the ride's graphics are very precise, and specific headsets are provided for each row to ensure proper synchronization. The headsets are distributed based on which side (Left or right) and which general area (front, front middle, middle, back middle, back) the seat is located at. This can make the headset assigning process slightly more complex and time consuming, but it is well worth the added precision.
Ride operators individually help guests secure and calibrate their headsets, which is greatly appreciated. Many safety and calibration checks are necessary for the experience to operate, and the personal attention helps keep the ball rolling.
Now for the experience itself. The mixed reality aspect of the ride provides an unique accolade for this experience to boast, and is significant. Seeing visuals of your environment during the station and lift hill portion of the ride will likely be familiar sights for previous Kong riders, and help sell the effect by blending old sights with the new. Guests view their normal surroundings through the headset's camera from the station to most of the lift hill portion of the ride, and then the virtual reality kicks in. A wormhole opens up on top of the familiar coaster track and envelops you into the galactic world, and stays this way from the initial drop to the train's return to the loading station.
The graphics are pretty stellar and convincing. The multiple panes of glass and plastic your eyes pass through to view the screen do cause slight blurriness, but this also eliminates the possibility of seeing any pixelated visuals and strengthens the experience. The synchronization of the graphics to the ride is unequivocally flawless. The ride doesn't have any audio, but it doesn't need it. The encapsulating technology of the Gear VR headsets force the inter-space wars to be your only line of sight. So much, in fact, that I almost forgot I was on a coaster so familiar to me. Taking all of this into account, the ride felt like a refreshing, totally new experience.
The ride is billed as featuring an "interactive gameplay" feature, which allows guests to fire missiles at digital targets during the ride by either pressing a button on the headset or "staring" at the object. But, honestly, this feature is pointless. The limited mobility of the restraint makes pressing the button difficult, and the forceful motion of the coaster makes "staring" a target down to fire almost impossible for the system to truly track. Luckily, this pointless gameplay feature doesn't distract from the rest of this stellar experience.
Overall, this is a very innovative offering from the park that shouldn't be missed. The experience is not just a quick gimmick, and exceeded my expectations of what a plastic headset and smartphone can do. Though no definite time period for the experience's engagement has been released, it will be running for a "limited time only". That means you need to plan a visit soon!
That's all for now from Theme Park Overload. Make sure to "Like" our Facebook page for Breaking News Updates and Exclusive Content (Including our recently posted photos of currently on-site Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth parts!) Facebook.com/ThemeParkOverload My name's Nicholous, and thanks for reading!