Newest Thrill on Six Flags Coasters? Virtual Reality

Prototype Samsung Gear VR googles for Superman: The Ride.
Prototype Samsung Gear VR googles for Superman: The Ride.

In the past decade, I’ve seen big changes at Six Flags New England, the park closest to me. It’s been improved each year, especially in the coaster department, with the addition of Goliath two years ago, and the Wicked Cyclone last year.

This year, two rides have been added to the park, including yet another thrill ride, but what has me most excited is the revamp of Superman: The Ride.

Already one of my favorite coasters, the coaster formerly-known-as Bizarro will come this year with a 360-degree virtual adventure, courtesy of Samsung Gear VR headsets. The VR adventure will be perfectly synched to the coasters. During ascent, riders can test fire their weapons, and then the fun begins.

From Six Flags press release: “Riders will be transported to the city of Metropolis as they soar alongside Superman battling the evil Lex Luthor and his Lexbots through three hairpin twists and turns, loops and dives of the coaster, ultimately defeating Lex & his Lexbots on the return to the station.” This will premiere in the summer of 2016.

It’s not just New England riders who can experience this. The VR plus coaster will also be available on Superman: Krypton Coaster in Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and Superman: The Man of Steel at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro Maryland, again, all premiering in the Summer of 2016.

The prototype VR googles have padding of the same anti-bacterial material as airline seats. Photo by Corrina Lawson
The prototype VR googles have padding of the same anti-bacterial material as airline seats. Photo by Corrina Lawson

During a press day last week at Six Flags New England, I had a chance to check out a 3D Virtual Reality story with the Gear Googles. Not the story for the Superman ride, that’s still in development, this was for the VR simulation on six other coasters across the Six Flags’ parks, including Shock Wave in Six Flags Over Texas, Dare Devil Dive at Six Flags Over Georgia, The New Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Ninja at Six Flags St. Louis, Steamin’ Demon at The Great Escape in Lake George, New York, and Goliath at La Ronde in Montreal.

It was impressive (and disorienting) to feel so immersed in this fictional reality featuring an elite fighter squadron. The goggles allow control over firing at targets visible in the VR and, at one point, I was sure I was flying–though I was sitting still. I can only imagine right now what being on a coaster will add to the experience, but it promises to be trippy and amazing. There is no additional charge for the coasters featuring VR, though I suspect the lines might be long.

The ascent on Superman: The Ride. photo by Corrina Lawson
The ascent on Superman: The Ride. (That’s the Connecticut River in the background.) photo by Corrina Lawson

At this point, “New Revolution” has been rolled out at Six Flags Over Georgia, with the others to follow. Check your local part for when it debuts.

But the VR isn’t all that’s new at Six Flags New England site. First, there’s Fireball.

roller coasters, six flags
Fireball, one of the new rides at Six Flags New England, photo by Corrina Lawson

The Six Flags page for Fireball blithely states “this ride goes upside down.” It also halts while riders are upside down and has multiple 360-degree revolutions–including one in reverse, during the two minutes of ride time. Well, then. Notice the car back there? That’s a classic Chevy, for proper effect.

New family ride at Six Flags, New England, photo by Corrina Lawson
Rock n’ Rodeo, a new family ride at Six Flags, New England, photo by Corrina Lawson

Also opening will be Rock n’ Rodeo, a spinning family ride, located right next to Goliath in Crack Axle Canyon.

The New England location has also revamped Primo’s Pizzeria in the Kidzopolis section, enclosing the restaurant and allowing for seating inside.

Six Flags New England will open the weekend of April 9. Season park passes range from $60 up to $150 each, depending on whether they’re on sale or not. Daily tickets are $46.99 each.

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.