26 Jun 2019

Germany: Crazy Bats – Phantasialand Opens New VR Coaster Experience for the Whole Family


Yesterday saw the opening of a new VR roller coaster experience called “Crazy Bats” at Germany’s Phantasialand theme park, which according to its own statement is the longest VR coaster in the world. The four-minute experience was installed on the former Vekoma indoor roller coaster “Temple of the Night Hawk” (from 2001 to 2018), which went into operation back in 1988 under the name “Space Center”. The new family adventure already begins in the attraction’s station, even before departure, when the guests enter the train and put on their VR goggles.

“With Crazy Bats we can show what VR on a roller coaster is really capable of,” says Thomas Wagner, Managing Director of VR Coaster, the company responsible for the technical implementation of the VR experience. High-quality VR goggles from Pico Interactive are used, equipped with two displays. “We chose Pico because these goggles are designed for continuous VR operation – unlike smartphones, which are prone to interference,” explains Phantasialand project manager Sebastian Jonas. In addition, a fully automatic tracking system is used, which works with motion capture technology to capture passengers and align their VR goggles accordingly. An elaborate rendering process makes it possible to show three different film variants per ride, depending on whether the guests are sitting in the front, middle or back seats of the train. The accompanying film adventure, in which passengers embark on a journey through a castle together with three crazy bats, was produced for Phantasialand by Hanover-based Ambient Entertainment company. A matching soundtrack was composed for the attraction as well.

In contrast to VR roller coaster experiences in many other theme parks, guests at Phantasialand do not have to pay anything extra for a ride with Crazy Bats, it is already included in the admission price. (eap)