Being that April Fool’s was just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but assume this was a joke on the level of mine from 2011. But it wasn’t, which makes the following story even more cruel… Six Flags Amusement Parks almost had a Ghostbusters ride! It was to be similar to the Toy Story and Men in Black rides that grace Disney and Universal, where the rider would become a Ghost Buster and shoot ghosts in a hotel that looked like a newly constructed “Haunted Mansion.” It was ingenius. And there’s dozens of concept art pieces to prove it. What I would have done for this (and another round of Slimer gum)…
In an interview with 2600 Connection, Roger Hector, who started at Atari way back in 1976, reveals that he had been developing a Ghostbusters-themed attraction that would have opened at Six Flags Amusement Parks.
“The Hauntington Hotel was a complete design for a Ghostbusters-themed dark ride that was produced for Six Flags (another division of Bally). It was another “first” of its kind as it was the first interactive theme park game/ride, giving its riders a ghost busting gun mounted in front of them, and a variety of sophisticated “ghost” targets to shoot at, and receive a score and prizes.
In this way, it was a huge game that required many plays to learn and master.
The target ghosts were a combination of physical animated props with CG displays that were combined through mirrors, and they reacted/exploded when hit. The guns were a combination of laser pointer and IR emitter that kept track of hits and displayed the player’s score. The whole thing was created, designed, engineered, and prototyped at Sente, and the ride system was in the hands of a prominent roller coaster engineering company, Intamin. But before it could be rolled out in the Six Flags parks (1st one was slated for Texas), Bally sold the Six Flags division in 1987, and the project fell into a corporate black hole, never to be seen again, which is too bad, as it was really pretty cool, even by today’s standards.
I hadn’t seen anything like it until 20 years later when Disney installed the “Toy Story Midway Mania” ride at Disneyland in 2008. I don’t think any of it has ever been seen before outside the company. We had a very strong concept & storyboard artist named Don Carson, and below is some of his work, along with some of my sketches. This is far from complete, but it’s all I could find. The photos below only show some of the many scenes & features. Howie and his team prototyped the technology, and the layouts and sets were all there. At least you can get an idea for it.”
Clearly they were ahead of the game and could have delivered one of the all-time greatest rides in the history of theme parks – back in the ’80s (when it mattered most). What’s even more painful is knowing that a successful ride could have spawned “lands”, new products and even more Ghost-bustin’ action. I feel robbed. At least I lived in a time where I got to enjoy the incredible Ghosbusters “show” at Universal Studios Florida. Watch that beauty below the images.
Click here for a complete walk through of the ride and an explanation of the below imagery!