The crew from Alton Towers is at it again. For their new roller coaster, The Smiler, they have commissioned the help of people from The New Scientist to break down what the optimum "thrill factor" of any ride actually is. Upon further research, The New Scientist is an actual English-based non-peer reviewed scientific magazine. In their "Thrill Report," they describe what types of happenstances on a ride lead to the greatest amount of enjoyment for the rider. They equate the entire experience to that of a well written play. The first part is the exposition where guests are exposed to the ride's branding and theming. Next, is the rising action that happens when the coaster ascends the lift hill. Third is the climax/crisis that starts as the ride speeds through its first drop. The falling action comes after where terror turns into catharsis where more smoother elements are experienced. Finally, is the dénouement where rider can talk about the ride and of course buy an on ride photo.
Jeremy Webb, New Scientist editor, says, “All the experiences we use to generate thrill involve an element of fear. This ancient emotion is triggered by either a physical stimulus, such as pain or being thrown around, or a mental one, most commonly the anticipation of danger such as the rising action on a roller-coaster. Roller-coaster designers believe that by pulling both our mental and physical strings, it is possible to create the best possible thrill."
The Smiler is set to open in may of 2013 and features 98 foot drops and speeds reaching 52 miles per hour. Alton Towers is also highlighting specific psychological elements that they feel will elicit a specific form of fear to reaches guests on an individual level that will in effect "marmalise" them. Some of these elements include "The Inoculator" which provides a stab of happiness as one passes, "The Tickler" that tickles you, "The Flasher" that blinds you as you speed past, "The Giggler" that supposedly releases "laughing gas," and "The Hypnotizer" that disrupts your self-awareness. Each of these five psychological effects are designed to maximize the thrills each rider experiences.