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Six Flags St. Louis (SFStL) Discussion Thread

p. 550 - Hallowfest trip report!

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Oh also, another question for HarleyGuy- was the sound system installed? How'd that work for you? I remember reading somewhere (probably here) that the visuals would be supplemented with speakers placed throughout the track, which seems sorta weird.

 

Also, super7 - on the "typical Six Flags gimmick," isn't Alton Towers at least reasonably well respected? Galactica benefits from having more stylized/abstract visuals, but that wasn't included in your list of complaints.

 

And, look, what you get excited about is obviously subjective. If you don't like video/motion hybrids, that's your business, and I won't tell you that you simply must be excited for this. But why exaggerate? I have no idea what you're talking about when you say you can find an experience similar to a VR coaster - or the better rides at Universal - at an arcade. Hell, I'm amazed you can even find an arcade these days.

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I just want to make a comment for those who say "you don't know until you try it." I just hope this VR crap is not a growing trend, because it is completely possible to have absolutely no interest in this what so ever. I prefer the somewhat 'raw' experience that roller coasters provide, which is why I don't even care for rides that are too heavily themed. I have about as much interest in VR technology on roller coasters as I do Cardinals baseball. However, unlike Cardinals baseball, VR isn't a threat to changing what I already enjoy in its more pure form.

 

Let me preface this by saying that I don't mean to exaggerate this idea or blow it out of proportion. That being said, I believe some people are against VR, because it is a threat to changing the way in which people enjoy roller coasters as a way to squeeze a few more dollars and cents out of a current investment. Although I don't believe (or hope) it will ever catch on to where all coasters will have this option I partially share this fear. It's much like when I was a child and a popular sentiment was that in the near future roller coasters would be pretty much completely replaced by Universal Studios type virtual reality rides. People are most offended by what they fear. Call it what it is.

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Yeah, virtual reality sucks, unless I'm home on my couch. If I'm out in the world experiencing cool things, actual reality is plenty good enough.

 

The same with simulator rides. Yeah, they're fine when they're done well. But let's not depend on them too much. Because a future with no new attractions with practical effects or animatronics is no future I have any interest in...

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My biggest fear is that simulators will ultimately replace the concept of an attraction. There are a billion business, economical, and enviromental advantages/benifits of simulators vs. real rides.

 

While simulators likely won't ever entirely replace theme parks, I reasonably fear that more parks will add them as virtual effects improve. That would mean a decline in real rodes being built and/or a lack in physical creativity.

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My family and I went to the park today (Wednesday). Since it was a weekday early in the season, the park was dead. Little to no lines.

 

We arrived at opening and went straight to Justice League. We got the second car! Unfortunately we stopped in front of the Joker and had to be walked off the ride. We did ride two times later in the day with no issues (15&20 min waits)

 

Here was our final list of rides:

Log flume x 2

Moon cars x 2

American Thunder

Justice League x 2.5

Thunder River x 4

Pandamonium x 3

Carousel

Mine Train x 14 - my daughter loves this ride

Joker

Sky screamer

Batman

Tsunami soaker x 2

 

The Ninja was down in the afternoon.

 

We also saw the Miss Kitty's show "Pardon me boys"

 

Closed down the park.

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My biggest fear is that simulators will ultimately replace the concept of an attraction. There are a billion business, economical, and enviromental advantages/benifits of simulators vs. real rides.

 

While simulators likely won't ever entirely replace theme parks, I reasonably fear that more parks will add them as virtual effects improve. That would mean a decline in real rodes being built and/or a lack in physical creativity.

 

 

I kind of see what you mean. Like a cheap alternative.

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Oh also, another question for HarleyGuy- was the sound system installed? How'd that work for you? I remember reading somewhere (probably here) that the visuals would be supplemented with speakers placed throughout the track, which seems sorta weird.

 

I don't recall hearing audio.

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All this VR stuff is a gimmick. They are trying to inject new life on old, stale attractions. It won't last because technical issues will ensue and the 'experience' probably isn't that cool anyway.

 

On another note... I live down by South County Mall and the local carnival is back. I don't see their Fireball attraction up this year, wonder if Six Flags asked them not to put it up? They have had the Fireball attraction every year (except this one) in recent memory.

Hmmm

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Let me preface this by saying that I don't mean to exaggerate this idea or blow it out of proportion. That being said, I believe some people are against VR, because it is a threat to changing the way in which people enjoy roller coasters as a way to squeeze a few more dollars and cents out of a current investment.

 

I actually think widespread adoption/acceptance by the public would be a huge boon for roller coaster riders, even "purists" like yourself. If the tech becomes a thing that's frequently used on roller coasters, you're looking at a brand new revenue stream where there was none before. An aging coaster is now a new draw, providing more money for the park. This allows parks to be more aggressive in their coaster investments, since their investment will provide two bumps in attendance; one the year it opens and one five years down the line (or whenever) when they debut a VR experience on it.

 

It's not as though parks will ever force every rider to wear the headset. There are too many people who can't use the tech for various reasons, to say nothing of the people that just want to look around from the top of the lift hill.

 

The same with simulator rides. Yeah, they're fine when they're done well. But let's not depend on them too much. Because a future with no new attractions with practical effects or animatronics is no future I have any interest in...

 

My biggest fear is that simulators will ultimately replace the concept of an attraction. There are a billion business, economical, and enviromental advantages/benifits of simulators vs. real rides.

 

While simulators likely won't ever entirely replace theme parks, I reasonably fear that more parks will add them as virtual effects improve. That would mean a decline in real rodes being built and/or a lack in physical creativity.

 

It's ironic that both of you are talking about the sky falling when prozach pointed out that this was a fear literally 25 years ago.

 

It's much like when I was a child and a popular sentiment was that in the near future roller coasters would be pretty much completely replaced by Universal Studios type virtual reality rides. People are most offended by what they fear. Call it what it is.

 

I'm sure people were worried about Back to the Future and Star Tours scooping traditional coasters, but clearly we're all still here enjoying new and creative rides (maybe not at SFStL...but you know). There have been and always will be advantages to physicality and barring something truly bizarre, we're not going to see it go away any time soon.

 

One thing I've noticed is that the VR graphics look cheap and will probably be outdated in a few years. Is this a long term attraction?

 

I'm sure it's planned to be reasonably long term; they can always refresh the graphics if the thing has legs (see also: Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man). I also posted about this a while back - quoting myself because that's the kind of guy I am.

 

Kotaku (I know, I know) just recently wrote a little op-ed about this, actually.

 

tl;dr - it's really really hard to communicate how good VR experiences are. I don't think I've really heard much bad about the current-gen VR rigs except "that one time I played for 5 hours in a row I got a headache," and that includes games that have relative primitive graphics.

 

I do absolutely think it was a mistake not going with something more stylized. Pay less for texture art, pay more for model rendering. The introduction to Galactica looks stunning and has less texture detail than TNR.

 

All this VR stuff is a gimmick. They are trying to inject new life on old, stale attractions. It won't last because technical issues will ensue and the 'experience' probably isn't that cool anyway.

 

It's a theme park. Everything is a gimmick. Flipping upside down a few times on this hunk of steel is a gimmick. Cyborg talking to you is a gimmick. Bugs greeting you at the gate is a gimmick. But people like these things and pay money to experience them.

 

Again, if VR isn't your bag, if you personally have no interest in trying it, that's fine, not everything is for everyone. But to suggest that Six Flags is somehow acting improperly for trying to inject new life on an old, stale attraction (look how I don't even have to re-phrase) makes no sense to me.

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I posted a quick TR from one of our surrounding parks, WOF, if anyone is interested:

 

http://themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=46024&p=1703791#p1703791

 

I think it's really interesting that WoF seems to have what we all claim Six Flags needs, a legit hyper. But when it comes down to it you still say it doesn't have one of those rides that really grabs you and makes you want to come back. Makes me wonder if SFSTL ever did build a hyper if it would calm the masses, or if its just been seen as another geneceric or clone.

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^That is because Mamba is a snoozefest. Don't get me started about comparing B&M and Morgan airtime (which MANY people would lash to say neither exisit)... but B&M's are more interesting.

 

I'm trying to put this in a way where we don't have complaining.

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I posted a quick TR from one of our surrounding parks, WOF, if anyone is interested:

 

http://themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=46024&p=1703791#p1703791

 

I think it's really interesting that WoF seems to have what we all claim Six Flags needs, a legit hyper. But when it comes down to it you still say it doesn't have one of those rides that really grabs you and makes you want to come back. Makes me wonder if SFSTL ever did build a hyper if it would calm the masses, or if its just been seen as another geneceric or clone.

 

I understand what you mean, but just going by the statistics isn't enough to compare roller coasters. Imagine taking cars with similar track/performance times and saying they offer similar driving experiences, because they are close on paper. My WRX had almost identical stats to my 350z, but they offered very different driving experiences. Morgans are just kind of "meh" in my book compared to B&M's or Intamin for that reason.

 

I'd also be perfectly content with riding Goliath (SFoG) from sun up to sun down, where as I'm pretty much done after a couple laps on Mamba. Morgans just look and feel so much more dated to me. Even though they aren't that old, they just feel dated. Everything from the bulky ugly trains to the loud nails on a chalk board lift hills.... eh.

 

You're probably at least a little right, though. I'm sure if we do get something modern and large scale some people will still complain.

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My biggest fear is that simulators will ultimately replace the concept of an attraction. There are a billion business, economical, and enviromental advantages/benifits of simulators vs. real rides.

 

While simulators likely won't ever entirely replace theme parks, I reasonably fear that more parks will add them as virtual effects improve. That would mean a decline in real rodes being built and/or a lack in physical creativity.

 

I don't think you need to fear that much because the motion simulator fad kinda went away only a few years after it started, so VR fad is probably going away too.

 

On another note, why is that one restraint different than all the other restraints?

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I think it's really interesting that WoF seems to have what we all claim Six Flags needs, a legit hyper. But when it comes down to it you still say it doesn't have one of those rides that really grabs you and makes you want to come back. Makes me wonder if SFSTL ever did build a hyper if it would calm the masses, or if its just been seen as another geneceric or clone.

 

Prozach - and everyone who regularly posts on an internet forum dedicated to talking about theme parks - does not represent the masses. It's very possible the general public doesn't like Mamba (I'm not familiar with WoF so I really can't even guess), but I'm not sure that's related to whether an enthusiast likes it. Like, everyone here scoffs at Boomerang but there's always a fair line for it, at least when there's a train on the track.

 

I don't think you need to fear that much because the motion simulator fad kinda went away only a few years after it started, so VR fad is probably going away too.

 

I don't think motion simulators went away, exactly, they just evolved. Rides like Adventures of Spider Man, BfM, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey fairly clearly represent evolutions of the tech pioneered by Star Tours and BttF.

 

VR has room to grow through things like augmented reality, greater interactivity, and tighter theming between the ride and the experience. Not saying it'll necessarily get there - goodness knows tech innovations have flared out before, including virtual reality back in the 90's - but there's creative space.

 

Here's a question for the thread - would you be warmer on trying a HMD if it was an

experience? You can see around you but extra effects are happening. It's worth noting that the modular nature of Gear VR would allow for swapping in this sort of experience when the driving hardware is able to produce this sort of action without latency (I'd wager whatever Galaxy they have strapped in there now couldn't handle it).
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While it's an interesting discussion, the talk about VR and simulator rides, and how (to paraphrase) they aren't really rides compared to roller coasters, shows exactly how disconnected from the reality of running a theme park enthusiasts are, whether it's a regional park like Six Flags or a monster like Universal Orlando. The fact that JLBfM always has huge lines compared to anything else in the park (yes, I'm sure they'd be a bit shorter if the loading process was more efficiently implemented, but still, it's obvious that the ride is a huge hit), even with all the problems with the ride and the fact that the ride is in its second year, shows what it is that the general public is interested in. And while waiting in line for it I frequently overhear people talking about how great it is that Six Flags has a family-friendly new ride like JL instead of another one of those huge roller coasters that the kids can't ride and the adults are afraid of. Yes, I have overheard variations on this conversation many many times while in line. Now, by no means am I saying that giant thrill rides are a bad idea as many people like them too. But the idea that high tech rides that use simulation technology instead of, for want of a better phrase, practical effects are to be put down and hoped to go away is utterly divorced from the real world. The non-enthusiast, general public LOVES these kinds of rides. They aren't going anyplace, nor should they. The fact that the monster parks like Disney and Universal are relying on them more and more shows what non-enthusiasts want. These parks are in business to get maximum attendance, they have monster budgets, and they will use them to build what they think will attract the maximum number of people. How many giant roller coasters does WDW have? Well, I certainly wouldn't call the Rock'n Roller Coaster anything particularly dramatic, and it's the biggest one there. And what kind of coaster did Disney recently build when they wanted to expand? A hypercoaster on a DIsney budget? Nope. The "7 Dwarves Mine Train". That's right, they figured they'd get maximum attendance from a large-scale kiddie coaster. Universal, which markets itself as edgier than Disney, has a whopping four large coasters, none of which are hypercoasters and two of which are larger versions of B&M's Batman. The fact is, a large percentage of the general public is frightened by large coasters and doesn't consider them a reason to go to a theme park at all. VR, simulator, 3-D glasses, etc. provides a unique experience that can be infinitely customized and, more importantly, doesn't frighten people. I'd love love love to see a hypercoaster at SFStL but I'm not deluding myself into thinking that building JLBfM was not a much smarter investment of a large amount of funds.

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^

 

I think you're not comparing proper parks here. In no way does Disney or Universal tote itself as a "thrill park". Instead they are THEME parks. There is no room at all for Disney, a 100000000% kid/family park to build a B&M hyper; it makes no sense at all. Now, how does someone like Cedar Fair attract more people? : Banshee, Fury, Gatekeeper, Valravn.....see the connecting dots? Universal and Disney rely on technology because they immerse you in theming and make you a part of the action/story/movie. Six Flags and Cedar Fair don't care about theming; ever. So to say you don't expect Six Flags STL to get a hyper because the JL is such a hit, doesn't make much sense; no offense. I think we need to make sure we're comparing apples to apples.

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