Battle for Eire production, which debuts this spring at the Virginia theme park.Busch Gardens Williamsburg is mashing up virtual reality with motion theater shows with its new
Virtual reality offered amazing promise for theme park attractions when designers first started adding the technology to thrill rides a few years ago. If all you could do with VR was walk around, that greatly limits your narrative potential. But on a roller coaster? Now you can fly.
Sounds great, right? Well, if you've been on a VR ride, you've probably discovered the downside to this once-promising tech. Clumsy attempts to put on the required equipment slowed lines and inflated wait times, sucking much of the joy from the experience. So designers' holy grail has been to find a way to help people put on their VR headsets faster once they get to load. And to that end, the team at SeaWorld has come up with... this:
Oh, my goodness gracious.
I am assuming the idea is that guests put on the headgear in a pre-show area, allowing them quickly to snap the VR screen into place once they find their seat in the theater. But thinking about that strap under my nose is triggering me, hard. Yes, the park has promised to clean and sanitize the units after each use, but setting aside the hygiene concern (which I think is generally overblown), this set-up just looks uncomfortable enough to make me think twice about the show.
Which is the kiss of death for any theme park ride or show. The word "attraction" has meaning, because theme park rides and shows ought to entice you, to attract you to want to experience them. Of course, the 300-foot hill that attracts some riders to certain roller coasters while repelling others. But I can't imagine that Busch Gardens' VR set-up would attract anyone other than the extremely limited audience of leprechaun Fifty Shades of Grey fans.
That's my $.02, of course. Who knows? Maybe this will be a comfortable solution that finally solves the problem of VR attraction load times. We won't know for sure until the ride opens.Tweet
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