VR roller coasters are quickly becoming a hot trend in the amusement industry, and now one has opened in one of the biggest parks in the US.
Six Flags New England is rebranding one of its best attractions today. Superman The Ride, a steel coaster that originally opened all the way back in 2000, has integrated Oculus and Samsung’s Gear VR into its carriages. Each passenger will put a unit on their head and then be taken on a thrill-ride that’s synced to the movements on the track itself.
In VR, they’ll be following Superman himself in a battle with his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor, across the fictional city of Metropolis. Apparently Luthor is armed with an anti-gravity gun, which is pretty convenient for a roller coaster ride. It explains why you’ll be racing around, flipping upside down and twisting as you go.
The original ride is one of the highest rated in the country, having repeatedly been placed as the best in the world at the Golden Ticket Awards since 2003. It’s said to be the world’s tallest, fastest and longest coaster, as passengers reach heights of over 20 stories, travelling at speeds of 77 mph. Park President John Winkler called the VR integration a “game changer for the entire theme park industry”, highlighting that this is one of the first such rides to launch in the US.
This isn’t the only Superman-branded ride to get the VR treatment at a Six Flags park recently. Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags America in Maryland is also now VR-ready, and Superman: Krypton Coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas will also get the HMD treatment.
Expect to see plenty more VR coasters pop up in the next few years; it’s an easy and relatively accessible way to drum up some new interest in an old attraction. Over in the UK, both Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, two of the country’s biggest attractions, already have VR rides, though one didn’t get off to the best of starts. China, meanwhile, has just struck up a deal that will see both VR and MR integrated into some of its biggest parks.