ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Heightened amusement park dark ride interactivity and creativity made possible with highly integrated technology

By Ray Dominey, Rick Simon, Doug Wong
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 2, No. 2]

DOI: 10.1145/1008213.1008235

At Six Flags Belgium, a new interactive dark ride called Challenge of Tutankhamon takes visitors on a journey deep into a replica of an ancient pyramid where the tomb of the legendary pharaoh, King Tutankhamon, was hidden from the world for thousands of years. The riders' challenge is to enter the uncharted passageways of the tomb and find the treasure. The ancient god Seth -- Lord of Disorder and Chaos -- has vowed to protect the sanctity of the tomb, and has unleashed the mystical terrors of the curse. The visitors' journey involves an interactive mythological battle with 3,000 year-old gods and demons that still protect the tomb of the pharaoh. We believe that the realism, interactivity and unique, individual riders' experience of this ride, created by Sally Corporation, together with many other amusement park dark rides, has advanced substantially in the last five years. The new dark ride phenomenon is being created by highly innovative companies utilizing major developments in technology that have enabled the enhanced interactivity, sophistication, and overall experience of these rides. Where rides once provided limited interactivity and clumsy movements powered by multiple types of systems and truckloads of cables with questionable reliability, they now give visitors complex interactivity that is achieved with a highly integrated and reliable solid-state audio and control system. This new approach replaces the bundles of cables with simple serial cable runs. Because the controllers are 100% solid-state, they can be reprogrammed on a moment's notice.

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