Roller Coaster Factors, The Oblivion Story

Alton Towers: The story of Oblivion at Alton Towers, which explains the factors of modern coasters.

From Mark Walker
Posted June 1, 2006 at 12:42 PM
I got this idea from Adriel’s ‘Biggest roller coaster intensity factor’. In that thread, people sent in their comments about what they thought had the biggest effect. But no one has come up with a conclusion yet. That’s where I come in, just to make things a little easier. I have found all the factors on a typical modern day roller coaster. By that I mean a vertical drop roller coaster, and the example I used is none other than the first ever vertical drop roller coaster: Oblivion at Alton Towers. What I have done is viewed a queue line video on a website and have copied everything down. Some of you might find this interesting so if you have the patience, read on and enjoy!

Oblivion queue line video:

The screen is black, but it starts fizzling and then an intimidating man appears. Then he tells you all about the ride and its affects. While a lot of physics is involved, the good news is he uses humour as well to keep us entertained, and we like our entertainment.

Mystery Oblivion Man: Welcome, you have been designated for Oblivion. The decision to come here was not your own, it was ours. The thought was implanted in your brain by auto – suggestion. What you are about to see, will prepare you physically and psychologically, for the most intense ride experience ever devised. If you wish to survive Oblivion, we advise you to observe the screen at all times.

This is the worlds first vertical drop roller coaster. During the ride, you will freefall face first through blackness. Freefalling objects are objects that solely fall through the influence of gravity. Unfortunately, in this instance, that object will be you…

(Oh great, here comes the physics lesson, this is going to be tedious)Freefalling objects accelerate as they fall downwards. When you drop a ball, the ball speeds up as it freefalls. Unfortunately, unlike the ball, people do not bounce. When there is air resistance, larger objects fall faster than smaller ones, and as you are falling vertically on a ride car that weighs more than a large elephant, this may be some cause for concern. In fact, if Newton’s second law adds to your predicament, this could mean you’re about to get trashed.

During the drop into blackness, the gravitational pull may exert suppressive force on body tissue, for instance, you will experience a reduction in skin moisture. Dehydration may lead to an evaporation of essential protective brain fluid. This may cause the brain to rattle around. In stressful situations such as these, the body’s ‘fight or flight’ system activated…muscles tense…heart rate increases…and there is an increase in body temperature. For those about to ride Oblivion, increased anxiety may even cause spontaneous combustion (what?). Make sure you are wearing lain proof underwear.

At the same time, adrenaline levels also rise, and the brains chemical messages go into override. Adrenaline junkies may O.D (That means over-dose) on the excitement. G force is another factor. Take a pilot for instance, the maximum G force a pilot can take is + or – 9 g’s. 9g’s mean that a pilot is undergoing a force 9 times greater than that of earth. If he weighs 200 pounds, he will feel that he weighs 1800 pounds (Mega obese). The force involved makes blood flow to the feet and the pilot experiences a ‘Grey out’ where he is unable to recognise any colour, or even a temporary blackout. Or if he is upside down, the blood flows to the brain, where the pilot may experience a ‘Red out’ where his vision is replaced by a red stream. The maximum force on Oblivion…is 4.5 g’s.

This is not enough to experience a Grey out, a Black out or a Red out…but this may be enough to experience what some people call, a ‘Pop out’. This moment occurs, when the moment of truth arrives, when it is their turn to drop into Oblivion. False provardo is replaced by weak excuses (Adrian’s good at this) at the sheer prospect of a vertical drop, into the abyss. If this happens to your friends, then they have 0 g tolerance.

Or they are just soft…

(Queue line video 2): We have heard all the physical effects that riding on Oblivion can have, but what about the psychological aspect…will you ever be the same again once you have ridden the most awesome ride of modern times. According to experts, it’s all a question whether one does, or does not look done. If you are of a nervous position, then we advise you not to look down. But be warned…if you choose to close your eyes, this may be taken as a sign to your friends, THAT YOU HAVE NO BOTTLE!

For us to fully understand what you are about to experience, we must first analyse how you feel about heights. Do you suffer from vertigo, do you suffer from acrophobia, the fear of heights. Do you dream about falling, most people wake up when they hit the ground. If you do dream about falling down a long, dark tunnel, or a bottomless pit, baaaad news. You may be about to experience a feeling of ‘Déjà vu’. Typical acrophobic symptoms are…increased heart rate…churning stomach…dizziness…sweaty palms. If you are experiencing these symptoms now, YOU MAY BE A COMPLETE BASKET CASE BY THE TIME YOU GET ON THE RIDE! Of course you can always telephone the Oblivion helpline, but unfortunately, I do not have the number.

So…is the Oblivion experience anything like dreams of falling? The answer to that is unfortunately NO! This is the most technologically advanced ride far deeper, and far darker than your worst nightmare! After riding Oblivion, some may wish to wipe the event from their memory. We should point out that hypnotherapy is not available at Alton Towers. Those who do ride Oblivion, may have to relieve the experience in their mind… over…and over…and over…and over…and over…and over…and over…and over……

(Queue Line Video 3)

(This time, the menacing man dressed in black splits in 2. The menacing guy in black goes to the right side of the screen. His other clone dressed in white goes to the left. The black suited guy remains as menacing as ever but he sounds a bit calmer, but the white suited clone is tense and panicky.)
Black suited man: This ride is perfectly safe, everything has been designed for your comfort, and enjoyment.
White suited man: If this ride is so safe, why is it called Oblivion?
B: Relax, sit back and enjoy the experience.
W: Don’t listen to him! What happens when the ride goes underground? Have you ever seen anyone who has survived and come out the other side?
B: It is natural to have slight feelings of anxiety at this point, just relax and enjoy the pleasurable experience, there is no cause for concern.
W: Have you heard the screams!? I’ve heard that some of the ride cars go MISSING!
B: This ride is perfectly safe-
W: How do we know? How do we know that some people haven’t disappeared!? Don’t listen to him! He’s trying to lure you into a false sense of security!
B: Just stay calm. It will all be over quicker than you expect.
W: What will be over exactly? The ride, your life, possibly both! HAVE YOU ANY IDEA WHAT YOU’RE LETTING YOURSELF IN FOR?
B: This ride is perfectly safe, everything has been designed for your comfort, and enjoyment.
W: Get real, this is the worlds first vertical drop roller coaster, freefall, straight down! You just get to the edge and that’s it, you won’t see what’s coming, you don’t know what’s down there and you may not be coming back-
B: Just sit back, and enjoy the experience.
W: This is it…you’re nearly at the point of no return (Dueling Dragons anyone?), asta leveista baby, goodnight Vienna, GET OUT NOW! WHILE YOU STILL CAN!
B: Have a pleasant trip…see you around…bye…(screen goes black)…(maniacal laughter)…

When you board the ride, the ride car slowly climbs the lift hill and when you get to the top, you wonder whether you should have listened to the clone in the white suit…

Thanks for reading! Feel free to respond and don’t forget to check back for stories of ride Legends and in a few weeks time, ‘Back From Florida, The return Of The Best Article’! I hope you’ve learnt something today, because I certainly have: Those who don’t ride Oblivion or Sheikra, HAVE NO BOTTLE! Thanks again!

From Gareth H
Posted June 1, 2006 at 10:21 PM
I rode Oblivion the first summer it opened at Alton Towers.
Myself and about 6 friends made the pilgrimage from London, on a Disgusting tour bus up there, taking about 4 hours due to a few pick ups on the way.

Once at the Park we all headed straight to the queue. Now this was early summer, the kids had broken up from School for the summer holidays and the place was packed (Alton Towers is the best UK theme park hands down).

We got to the queue and its said it was 150 minutes long, now everyone had gone straight there so there was no hope it would be any quieter later in the day, as we all know the popular rides can only get busier, and the end of day run to the best ride option was out as we'd come on a coach.

Anyway, as luck would have it (I'm being sarcastic), it took us 3 and a half hours to get on the damn ride. We got loaded up, all in a the same car, and, after being physched up from the videos (See post) we were pretty excited and the adrenaline was pumping like never before.

We went up the lift, turned the corner and started to go face down, then we stopped.

That pause lasted maybe 5-10 seconds, all you dared to look at below was the black hole with the smoke pouring in, and the people standing around the hole looking up in amazement, awe, fear and sheer confusion at why someone would want to do something stupid.
It felt like an eternity..
Then.... It happened, that 1.5 second drop, straight down into that hole. I swear now, with the adrenaline, the smoke, which turned out to be a cool mist and the pitch darkness, I though I was dead.
I really thought I'd died and was sitting in some weird limbo so my brain could decipher what had actually killed me.

Again, this feeling seemed to last for ever, until the light at the end of the tunnel grew bigger and we were shot out, back into the scorching daylight (In england, go figure) around to the left and back into the unloading station.

This will be always be the ultimate adrenaline rush for me. The only thing I think could ever come close is if I get to go into space on the back of a rocket.

My plan for this summer is to take a trip down to Busch Gardens, Africa, and ride their version, but althought it seems better, I don't think it will ever stand up to Oblivion, Alton Towers, United Kingdom!

From Dustin Kern
Posted June 2, 2006 at 2:15 PM
We need one in the States here. Maybe that's what Cedar Point is putting in?

From Gareth H
Posted June 3, 2006 at 8:26 AM
Go to Busch Gardens in Tampa....

From Derek Potter
Posted June 3, 2006 at 9:32 PM
You gotta love the psychology play and the theater by the ride designers at Alton Towers. There is a park that knows what to do with a limited amount of space and height restrictions. If you can't build them big, then at least make people think that the coasters are bigger than they really are. The compact smooth design of the track and theming of Nemesis and Oblivion are what make these coasters good. Without those attributes, they would be otherwise normal creations.

All that being said...I would like to see a park do an over the top theme treatment to one of these supersized coasters. Imagine cresting the hill of Millennium Force and dropping 300 feet in the total darkness of some space-themed cave, and going through all of it's elements at 90 mph with the theater and set pieces of an Expedition. Everest. Such a ride would cost a filthy amount of money, but hey we can all dream can't we.

From Audrey Hamlin
Posted June 8, 2006 at 7:34 AM
Yowza. I'd never heard of such a ride, but I agree that we need one in the states. Sounds awesome!

From Gareth H
Posted June 8, 2006 at 7:57 AM
Sheikra, Busch Gardens Tampa.

Its already there...........

Go now, and fill your life with excitement

From Mark Walker
Posted June 25, 2006 at 12:09 AM
O.K. Usually I don't like bringing back old topics, but this should be my only exception.

I don't have much time left so I'm going to type this as fast as I can. I'm going to Alton Towers today which means a nice 3 hour drive from London to Stoke - On - Trent. I don't have time for a full trip report 'send off', so that's why I brought this old report back.

Basically, I'll be stopping at a hotel nearby Alton Towers and I will be actually in the park on Monday, and I won't be able to get back until Tuesday.

Hopefully the park should be less crowded on Monday because everyone in England should be distracted by the England vs. Ecuador World Cup match. I promise (Hopefully one I can keep this time) that I'll post a trip report on Wednesday.

So I'll see you all then and yes Adrian will be helping me out again as he is coming too. Oh, gotta dash!

P.S. A bit off topic but ENGLAND WILL WIN THE WORLD CUP!

From megna buntingua
Posted January 23, 2007 at 7:58 AM
I went with school to Alton towers and went on oblivion first, great ride but scary my stomach went to my head! the queue is WAY too long 2 hours!! photos are cr*p BETTER RIDE ON AT!

From megna buntingua
Posted January 23, 2007 at 7:58 AM
I went with school to Alton towers and went on oblivion first, great ride but scary my stomach went to my head! the queue is WAY too long 2 hours!! photos are cr*p BETTER RIDE ON AT!

From Mark Walker
Posted January 31, 2007 at 11:03 AM

Thought I'd never see this topic again...

This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.

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