IF YOU GO
Six Flags Over Georgia is west of Atlanta on I-20 outside of I-285 (275 Riverside Parkway, Austell).
Open weekends starting March 12, 2016 during spring, plus spring break April 4-8, 2016. Open daily May 21-Aug. 7, 2016, then most weekends through October. Hours vary; check website for details.
General admission at the gate is $64.99 for adults and $44.99 for children under 48 inches tall, but discounts abound; save $20 on adult tickets at www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia. AAA and some credit unions also sell discounted tickets. Season passes are on sale through April 10; check website for details. Children 2 and younger are admitted for free.
For more information: 770-739-3400, www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia
Virtual reality technology has turned the Dare Devil Dive roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia into a virtually new ride. Slip on the 3-D headset, and you’re no longer at an amusement park. The New Revolution at Dare Devil Dive has begun.
You now find yourself sitting in a fighter jet, ready to take on aliens invading Earth. Look to your right, or up, or down, and you become immersed in a new world. It’s like stepping inside of a video game.
You no longer are riding a roller coaster. Instead you are flying through the air, diving under bridges and maneuvering around burning buildings. And you get to save the planet.
The imagery is beyond realistic; it seems you can reach out and touch everything. Turn your head and the view changes seamlessly. There’s almost too much to keep up with and absorb during the ride. You are immersed into a completely new, unbelievable yet realistic world.
The headset feels awkward at first, but you quickly become accustomed to it. I found myself not really noticing that I was wearing it. And the images are perfectly synchronized to the movement and motion of Dare Devil Dive. For example, not only do you see yourself diving off the top of a skyscraper, you feel the speed and motion and wind in your face.
Is the experience for everyone? Probably not. If you are prone to motion sickness, the New Revolution is probably not a good idea. But the visuals of the ride themselves do not seem to be causing any problems for riders.
Also, you must be 13 or older to experience the virtual ride. Those younger can still ride if they meet the 48-inch height requirement, but they cannot wear the headset. (Only 2016 season passholders will be able to experience this high-tech ride during opening weekend at Six Flags Over Georgia, March 12-13. The virtual reality coaster will open to the public on March 19.)
Is this the future of roller coasters? It’s a little early to say that, but the New Revolution certainly changes everything. The technology is transformative and seems limited only by imagination.
Tom Kelley is a lifelong roller coaster and amusement park fan. He grew up in northeast Ohio near Cedar Point, an amusement park recognized for its collection of rides and roller coasters. He is a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts and has ridden more than 300 different roller coasters.