Truth be told, we’re not too sold on the appeal of roller coaster simulators. Half the fun about getting on a roller coaster is that very small risk of things going wrong and leaving you seriously injured (if not dead). Simulator machines are entirely devoid of that. That’s why the ROCO doesn’t simply offer a simulated roller coaster experience, it lets you design your own coaster on the spot, allowing you to partake in the wildest rides your imagination can concoct.
Billed as an “interactive roller coaster,” it’s an arcade-style machine designed to mimic the sensations you will get from a roller coaster ride, recreating every rise, drop, and turn using a combination of a large display and a motion platform. Except, you know, it lets you design the actual tracks as if you’re playing RollerCoaster Tycoon, so you can create the kind of rides that would otherwise subject people to unbearable conditions – the kind you just don’t get from any traditional roller coaster (because… no one wants to get sued).
The ROCO has two side-by-side seats mounted on a motion platform, which, we imagine, works similarly to the motion platforms they use on racing simulator machines and flight simulator rigs. There’s a handlebar in the middle front section of the two seats, with a small touchscreen on top that allows you to interact with the machine, as well as a physical Stop button below it . From the touchscreen, we’re assuming you can choose which tracks to ride if you want to get on pre-designed coasters, since we doubt anyone will get on and immediately design one from scratch.
Of course, the big selling point is the custom track design, which you can draw directly on the touchscreen using your fingers. You can also select which environment you want the custom coaster to be situated, so you can experience the ride while surrounded by trees, mountains, or whatever other environments you desire. Since you’re not likely draw something precise and exacting on the fly, the machine will take whatever drawing you do, then automatically fill in the level of elevations and angles, so that the resulting coaster is, at least, semi-realistic.
The ROCO delivers the visuals using a 75-inch 4K display situated a few feet away from the seats, with the sound provided by integrated speakers. It can play out rides lasting up to two minutes each, which should be just enough coaster sim to get you dizzy, but not enough to make you throw up, even with the craziest rides. How realistic is this? We don’t really know. However, it does offer an experience you can’t get with regular coasters, in that you can design the exact tracks that you’ll be riding on. Other features include a maximum weight of 260 pounds per passenger, integrated seatbelt on the seats, and a machine weight of 1,620 pounds, so you won’t be moving this around at a whim.
The ROCO won’t actually be available for sale. Instead, the company is partnering with amusement parks and similar businesses that want to install one in their locations, with the intent of splitting the ride revenues it generates.