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Thorpe Park | Derren Brown's Ghost Train | VR Attraction

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
I didn’t like the addition of actors and the whole ‘remember the code’ section in recent years - but I still like the iteration I’ve been on (v2 with the demon scene), even if the headsets were very low quality and disappointing.

I love it conceptually (as a low burn, confusing chiller - particularly think it’s clever that people get different videos) but ultimately, it’s just not the ride people were hoping for and for most I can see how it lacks re-ridability because of its fiendishly slow queues.

The solutions from my perspective are:

- better headsets
- better ops, however achieved
- less ‘am-dram’ (actors)
 
I mean the answer is obvious to me given Thorpe's love of celebs and IP.

Turn it in to Francis Bourgeois' super fun train time. He already has a show on channel 4 and is all over tiktok and the other socials. Seems like the perfect celeb endorsement
 

Joelpagett

Mega Poster
The whole concept of DBGT is flawed. From the VR which was in it's infancy (I would still say it is) to the mid-journey 'scare zone' - the whole thing is a massive waste of time and money. I understand what they were trying to achieve, but it could have been executed without the VR to much greater effect.

I've ridden it 5 or so times over the years and the most unnerving thing about it is when a member of staff walks down the train and strokes your leg!

I believe I read somewhere (don't quote me) that the maintenance team had to start working on it at 6:30am to get it open for 12pm as they had to test all the headsets. The thing must hemorrhage cash.

I would go as far to say it was the biggest failure in the Merlin portfolio as far as IP acquisition and implementation.

It has been a colossal waste of resources from the moment it opened. The problem is it cost so much money they can't just close it, so you know whatever is coming 'down the line' is going to be just as terrible as there isn't going to be the CAPEX to fix the glaring issues with it.
 

CSLKennyNI

Giga Poster
Has the VR hardware ever been updated/renewed since opening in 2016? Because if not yikes that alone must be a nightmare and already feel quite outdated. With such fast developing tech you need to keep on top of it (or better have waited in the first place a bit to use it until the quality was further developed).
 

Joelpagett

Mega Poster
Has the VR hardware ever been updated/renewed since opening in 2016? Because if not yikes that alone must be a nightmare and already feel quite outdated. With such fast developing tech you need to keep on top of it (or better have waited in the first place a bit to use it until the quality was further developed).

They updated the film slightly the year after it opened to tie in with the Rise of the Demon theme - but I don't think the physical headsets have been updated. It seemed pretty poor quality when I rode it in October, so I would say the headsets hadn't been updated.

I like being proved wrong however if anyone knows otherwise!
 

gavin

Administrator
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I'll never understand why they built something which relies on tech that was destined to be outdated by the end of the first season.

Decent hardware is never going to go out of style.You can leave it in a park for decades and it will still be popular.

If you order a B&M invert, hyper or looper, apart from minor tweaks, you're going to get the same thing you would have got if you'd ordered it in the '90s. Those rides built in the '90s are still major, popular attractions with loads of reride value.

VR is crap. It just is. It's sold as this "immersive" (f**k that word) experience, but you can never get away from the knowledge and feeling that you've got a heavy contraption strapped to your face and you're looking at a screen with (usually) cheap, crappy graphics.

You can shove VR on coasters as a gimmick, and it doesn't matter if it's sh**e since it's a temporary curiosity, but why the hell would any park build a whole, extremely expensive attraction around it when, for less money, they could've built something with way more longevity?

Did the ride bring people into the park when it opened? Probably. Is it bringing people in now? Doubtful. Will it be bringing people into the park for years to come? Absolutely f**king not.
 

Heth

Mega Poster
Using the example I did earlier, physical sets are much more immersive. Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967 in Dosneylamd and feels less date than this ride opened in 2016.
 

Bowser

Roller Poster
Using the example I did earlier, physical sets are much more immersive. Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967 in Dosneylamd and feels less date than this ride opened in 2016.

Agree. Look at Gruffalo at Chessington which is a rebranded Bubbleworks, over 30 years old and still one of the most popular rides in the park.

I don't even enjoy rides with 3D glasses tbh.
 

AidanCKY

Roller Poster
I'll never understand why they built something which relies on tech that was destined to be outdated by the end of the first season.

Decent hardware is never going to go out of style.You can leave it in a park for decades and it will still be popular.

If you order a B&M invert, hyper or looper, apart from minor tweaks, you're going to get the same thing you would have got if you'd ordered it in the '90s. Those rides built in the '90s are still major, popular attractions with loads of reride value.

VR is crap. It just is. It's sold as this "immersive" (f**k that word) experience, but you can never get away from the knowledge and feeling that you've got a heavy contraption strapped to your face and you're looking at a screen with (usually) cheap, crappy graphics.

You can shove VR on coasters as a gimmick, and it doesn't matter if it's sh**e since it's a temporary curiosity, but why the hell would any park build a whole, extremely expensive attraction around it when, for less money, they could've built something with way more longevity?

Did the ride bring people into the park when it opened? Probably. Is it bringing people in now? Doubtful. Will it be bringing people into the park for years to come? Absolutely f**king not.
I think VR is great for people at home, who are "into" it and looking after the equipment, playing games they specifically like etc.
For a theme park its just the worst idea, attaching a fragile expensive bit of kit to people of all shapes and sizes and then relying on it entirely to make something fun.
Merlin must have gotten a really good deal on the ride or something cos I dont see why they built it otherwise.
 

Sandman

Giga Poster
In the context of a 'dark ride', I don't necessarily think that VR is as bad an idea as it is on something like a rollercoaster. That said, it would have to be a well-thought-out concept with expensive VR goggles and graphics to stand a good chance.

For me, what makes the Derren Brown experience poor is jumping from VR into a 'scare maze' style experience. Going from virtual reality to reality. The contrast is too stark and it becomes so unbelievable that as good as some of the theming is, I'm just not immersed. It becomes quite awkward and cringeworthy and too stop/start. It was poorly conceived and executed.
 
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