Just in case you had any doubt that virtual reality was back on the rise, check out the Dare Devil Dive Roller Coaster now debuting at Six Flags over Georgia. Riders strap in and don a VR headset powered by Samsung Gear VR and Oculus before being transported to an aerial laser battle in the middle of a chaotic alien invasion. This technological addition, officially dubbed The New Revolution Virtual Reality Roller Coaster, makes Dare Devil Dive at SFOG the first-ever coaster of its kind in North America, but similar expansions will most likely be popping up at amusement parks all over the first world before long.
To be clear, simulated interplanetary warfare is an optional feature. Theme park goers with a hankering for a more nostalgic roller coaster experience can kindly decline the use of the headset and proceed as usual. However, the rest are taken to a “staging area” where they’re briefed and given the equipment free of charge. With a total of approximately 200 headsets available, many potential customers will be pleased to know that they’re all cleaned after use and rotated.
The virtual ride begins in a fighter jet hangar with a vertical lift. During this time, the rider learns how to use their laser gun by pushing a button on the headset and aiming at small red targets. This is not unlike the beginning of video games like Halo, where time is spent getting the player acquainted with directional controls. As the video below shows, things get a bit overwhelming from there.
The point of view spins and twirls in sync with the coaster, and depicts destruction with the same disregard for public property that’s displayed in just about every Hollywood blockbuster franchise getting released these days. The viewpoint even crashes through the midsection of a skyscraper only to deposit the viewer safely onto a computer-generated aircraft carrier as more amusement park riders line up to continue combat. Some early reviewers are crying out for audio to match the shooting and explosions, but one thing at a time.
“There is so much to look at, and you see more stuff the more times you ride,” said Drew Baker of ThemeParkReview.com. “After the drop, it’s just total chaos induced by alien robots and planes, which is awesome!!! This truly knocked my socks off. You feel like you have traveled across an entire city when you have really only traversed the relatively small coaster. To all the nay-sayers out there, just try it before you say anything, because this is legit and an incredible enhancement to the ride.”