I imagine these are quite quick to put up, anyone know how long the others took to build/their timelines?
I couldn’t be more excited to ride this next year!! I love this as my home park, our top three now is extreme!!Well this settles it then
It seems weird to think that this would be considered the coaster that finally gives SFMM a good lineup, considering it has the most coasters in one park on the planet, and has been churning out record breakers for several decades by now. Then it struck me: when you look at SFMM's coaster history, there are so many coasters it built to be the first or biggest of their kind, only for something to happen a couple years later that made them somewhat obsolete. It's as if every time they shot for novelty or a new record, the coaster type went extinct shortly afterwards, or industry developments overshadowed them just a few years later. For instance:I couldn’t be more excited to ride this next year!! I love this as my home park, our top three now is extreme!!
You just said this so much more elegant than I did. This was actually a discussion we started to have on the newest episode of The Drunk Riders and I'm definitely going to steal this for the next oneIt seems weird to think that this would be considered the coaster that finally gives SFMM a good lineup, considering it has the most coasters in one park on the planet, and has been churning out record breakers for several decades by now. Then it struck me: when you look at SFMM's coaster history, there are so many coasters it built to be the first or biggest of their kind, only for something to happen a couple years later that made them somewhat obsolete. It's as if every time they shot for novelty or a new record, the coaster type went extinct shortly afterwards, or industry developments overshadowed them just a few years later. For instance:
Granted, a LOT of these are chicken-and-egg situations. And somebody have to be the first to build everything, even if later instances of the coaster type develop in a new and more exciting direction. It wouldn't have gotten there without the first mover. Would TTD ever have been possible had not Superman: The Escape been built first? And you can't blame the park for wanting to build something nobody else had at the time, even if everybody else got the same thing a few years later. The strategy has also been successful at several times, often overlapping with the overshadows and duds. Even if Steel Vengeance was a more exciting RMC conversion than Twisted Colossus, doesn't mean that TC isn't a great ride. I've heard good things about Full Throttle too. The park is still remembered for having the first (practical) vertical loop. Despite all the problems with X, it's widely regarded as a great coaster. And Tatsu was a smashing success. So my point isn't that SFMM builds bad coasters or somehow always jumps on a trend right before it dies. Rather, it has been a park that set the trends and influenced the entire industry. It's only that sometimes, the lesson the industry learned was "ouch, don't build this, build that instead", or "Whoa, this was cool! Can we build this, but, like, better?"
- Building Viper only three years before B&M revolutionized the sitdown looper. Today, Kumba still looks like a modern coaster, while Viper is absolutely archaic with its strange loops and inside-rails track. The two were designed three years apart.
- Building Batman: The Ride as one of the world's first inverted coasters ... meaning that many bigger and more exciting layouts were created in the following years, leaving Batman somewhat old-fashioned. The fact that it was cloned to heck and back (and to Kuwait, lest we forget) also makes SFMM's Batman less outstanding.
- Building Superman: The Escape a few short years before Strata coasters were invented, leaving the reverse freefall shuttle a bit obsolete. As in, nobody built anything like it ever again (until BGW next year, that is). The centrepiece of SFMM is now a monumental example of a dead end in coaster development.
- Building the world's largest stand-up coaster, sure to be monumental for this exciting new coaster type ... by being the second to last stand-up B&M ever did, because everyone realized how inconvenient and painful they were shortly afterwards. It doesn't help either that the existence of Scream! makes a floorless conversion unfeasible.
- Building Goliath just before B&M and Intamin taught the world how proper hypercoasters were supposed to be built.
- Building X, surely the most ambitious coaster ever conceived ... we all know how well that one went.
- Dejà Vu, AKA "I feel like I've experienced this break-down several times before".
- Building Full Throttle, one of the first big, full-circuit coasters with a swing launch ... right before Intamin completely revolutionized that concept by adding a track switch and spike, negating the need for that strange braking dive loop.
- Converting Colossus into Twisted Colossus just as RMC were starting to find their form. While by no means a bad ride, one could wonder how it would have been different if built just a few years later. Then again, probably not much, given how the conversion was likely restrained by its budget more than RMC's creativity.
- Building the world's largest ZacSpin, sure to be monumental for this exciting new coaster type ... only to realize they were the last customer before somebody came up with a much better design for the concept, to the point that Intamin's version died with Green Lantern.
All that being said, in a hypothetical universe where somebody else made all those experiences and Six Flags could wait a few years before making its purchases, things could have gone very differently:
So yeah, SFMM's strategy of being on the cutting edge has probably paid off, and it has given the industry some valuable lessions, but the problem with cutting-edge coasters is that they rarely turn into classics. Either the "prototype" is a stunning success and a new iteration comes along elsewhere that does the same (or better), or it turns out to have a flaw that turns the ride into a bit of a dud. They hit the bullseye with Tatsu, they got a really remarkable coaster out of X when they finally got it running, and neither Goliath, Twisted Colossus, nor Full Throttle (nor many of the others) are bad as much as they are outdone. It's just that in surprisingly many instances, one can look at old SFMM coasters with the benefit of hindsight and say "man, something better than this really came along just a few years later, and what the park has feels kinda obsolete by comparison".
- As mentioned, B&M made a model that left Viper in the dust. Had Viper been a B&M from 1993 instead of an Arrow from 1990, it would probably have enjoyed quite a different reputation, even to this day.
- Batman: The Ride built for Six Flags' flagship park in 1996 wouldn't have looked anything like the mass-produced model introduced in 1993. This was the year of Montu and Orochi.
- Instead of a large straight-forward-straight-up shuttle coaster currently overlooking SFMM, they would probably have gone for something akin to TTD when they shot for the speed and height record (provided Intamin would even build it without the experience from The Escape)
- Broadly speaking, there are two eras of hypercoasters: before and after Millennium Force. Imagine if Goliath had belonged to the latter. It could have been the west coast version of Superman: Ride of Steel. Strangely enough, S:RoS and Goliath were built at the same time and opened only three months apart. But it's clear that the first of the Intamin hypers represented a marked jump in quality over the last of the Giovanola hypers. Granted, SFMM could have ended up with the Darien Lake version of Superman too, in which case Goliath might be preferable.
- Having seen the debacle around the Arrow 4D coaster, SFMM probably wouldn't have touched a concept like X with a barge pole. That being said, the park enthusiasts in this hypothetical universe would probably have envied ours in this particular instance.
- Same goes for Dejà Vu. It probably wouldn't have been built if its reliability issues had been known beforehand. Not sure if we'd miss it, though. It's gone from the park now anyway.
- Imagine Soaring With Dragon in the US. That's what the cutting edge of shuttle launchers looked like three years after Full Throttle.
- Three years after Twisted Colossus, Steel Vengeance was open, and we all know how that went. SFMM probably couldn't have afforded something quite on that scale anyway, however.
- No way Green Lantern would have been ordered if the S&S Free Spin had been around at the time. Then again, would the S&S Free Spin have been around at the time if it hadn't been for Green Lantern? And would a mass-produced Free Spin clone have been a more exciting fit for the park than the towering, semi-unique structure of Green Lantern?