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p. 235: Nemesis Reborn announced for Spring 2024!

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Somehow this article has slipped under the radar!


Psychologists set to unveil 'the most terrifying roller coaster ever', using scientific know-how to scare thrill-seekers (and giant hypodermic needles!)

Psychology experts and New Scientist magazine researchers used knowledge of mind tricks to come up with the design.

Uses hypnotic swirls, flashing lights and other distractions to fool the mind so it doesn't prepare you for the ups and downs as it normally would.


A new roller coaster promises to terrorise thrill-seekers in a whole new way after it was designed with the help of psychology experts and scientific researchers.

Alton Towers' Smiler opens in May, with plunging drops of up to 98ft and maximum speeds of 53mph.

But it is the roller coaster's psychological effects that are set to push thrill-seekers to their limits, and the designers promise to 'blur the line between illusion and reality'.


Scream if you want to go faster: The Smiler will feature five 'tricks' that it plays on the mind


Fear injection: Huge needles and hypnotic swirls all combine to distract and disorientate



Katherine Duckworth, one of the team who came up with the concept for the ride, explained: 'This ride will put not just your body but also your mind through its paces.

'We want people to get off the ride and not know what is real.

'There are five different mind effects, which are all designed to mess with your head. You shoot towards giant syringes, spinning hypnotic wheels, and flashing lights, among other things.'

These props are more than just background scenery. Each is a psychological trigger, set to keep the passengers on edge by disorientating and misleading them.

The ride blasts towards huge needles and what looks like a drive-through car wash but, of course, the threat they present is only in the mind.

But while worrying about whether you are about to be impaled on a giant spike, your brain isn't preparing you for the huge drop just around the corner...


Blinding: Strobe lights will dazzle you... alongside other secrets that are set to catch out passengers


'There is more track per square metre than any other ride in the world,' adds Katherine.

'It is twice the size of Nemesis and each ride lasts two minutes and 45 seconds. This is a very big roller coaster ride. When you get off, you wont know what is real.'

Researchers from New Scientist magazine were involved in Smiler's design. They found anticipation is a key factor in ensuring a thrill and that they worked best when presented as stories or narratives.

As such, Smiler even comes with its own back-story - that it was created by the Ministry Of Joy, a secretive organisation that has been conducting top secret experiments on mankind for years.

New Scientist editor Jeremy Webb said: 'All the experiences we use to generate thrill involve an element of fear.

'The emotion is triggered by either something physical, such as pain, or a mental one - most commonly the anticipation of danger.

'Thrill is a combination of fear and the euphoria we experience after everything has ended.



'It is like a good play or horror movie when the excitement builds and your heart starts pumping and then everything is OK at the end.

'Rollercoaster designers believe the best possible thrill is created by testing people both mentally and physically.

'Physically, The Smiler will be a better ride than ever but there are going to be those added mental components too.

'Once the 'coaster is opened, Alton Towers will certainly want to be able to say it's the most thrilling ride in the world.'

John Wardley, a ride consultant at Alton Towers, said: 'The Smiler is set to be one of the most thrilling rides in the world.

'To heighten the feeling of excitement we needed a ride with a variety of mental cues.

'The Smiler will be different from other traditional rollercoasters in that it will combine intense physical effects along with unique mental elements.'

The Smiler has a track length of 3,840ft and cost £18million to construct. It will open in May.


Sounds familiar.... but very exciting!


Lets hope they pull out all the stops.

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A new promotional picture has surfaced as part of The Sun's annual ticket giveaway.


The Sun's ticket offer begins tomorrow which, going from previous years, means we'll be getting the 2013 map very soon. Also...are those lapbars?


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^ Yes those look like Lab Bars. Hope that's the train looks good and lap bars are kind of a must for this ride, if you ask me.


Edit: Someone els thought of this car right here? I almost the exact same. This makes me believe we have our trains completely with Lab-Bars.

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Don't get your hopes up until we see actual photos of the trains, please.


It's better to keep your expectations low, that way you'll be happy when they are exceeded.

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This might be as irrelevant as anything, but on the Smiler logo, there are 15 slash marks(or "teeth") by the mouth part. Could that possibly be something the park hid/hinted under radar as the total number of inversions? I know it probably means nada, but was just curious.

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What do 'near misses' have to do with lap bars vs. shoulder restraints? They would have designed the ride with what ever clearance is needed to be safe.


Well, I know Space Mountain Paris has restrictive shoulder bars because of the tight clearances throughout the layout. However, based on what we're seeing, I don't think there are any clearances as tight as SM:MII that warrant restrictived arm movement.


Gerstlauer has been one of the companies openly willing to put lapbar a on their looping coasters (Dare Devil Dive, SDL Trains, and Iron Shark), so I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a large waist-hugging lap bar instead of shoulder restraints.

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