'World's First'

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Spike, 2nd Jun 2016.

  1. Spike

    Spike TS Contributor

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    There always seems to be a jovial mockery towards Alton's love of 'World's First' or 'gimmicks' as many call them.

    My question is - are they such a bad thing?

    There are only a handful of rides that have been - questionably - branded 'World's First': Oblivion (Not technically vertical) Air (Wasn't the first flying coaster) and now Galactica is dancing around the truth with the use of 'Fully dedicated to VR'. I think only Th13teen & The Smiler have the genuine title of 'World's first'.

    For me, I personally don't mind too much, yes they can appear gimmicky but it's all about marketing and getting people through the gates. 'World's First' for me has somewhat more of a draw and more exiting. We live in a dog-eat-dog World where people fight (literally in some cases) to be the best at something or the first to do something - Inventions, World Records, Olympics even military conflicts can be about power and winning. Should a Themepark be any different?

    I like that Alton strive to deliver a Showcase of the World's Firsts or new ride concepts. I mean look at what Alton has brought to the World's stage - Dive machines, Flying coasters, Freefall coasters.

    I hope Alton continue to push the boundaries and bring in new ride concepts to the World stage. :D
     
    Last edited: 2nd Jun 2016
    GeorgeT likes this.
    Posted 2nd Jun 2016
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  2. alee298

    alee298 TowersStreet Member

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    But out of all the rollercoasters at the park, which one did the public decide was the best? Nemesis. Tells us a lot about the "Worlds first" rides, yes they bring in the numbers and seem exciting at the time, but the gimmick gets boring after a few times riding. Solid and exciting rollercoasters tend to stand the test of time and provide a more long term numbers boost as people will want to return to ride the Nemesis style rides of any park.
     
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  3. Spike

    Spike TS Contributor

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    I don't think people visit Alton for just Nemesis to be fair and how many of the votes were actually the general public? I think a lot of enthusiasts voted in that poll.
     
    Posted 2nd Jun 2016
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  4. AndrewH

    AndrewH TowersStreet Member

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    Obviously nemesis wasn't a worlds first but it was still ultimately a gimmick. It was the first in Europe and back in 1994 nobody would have seen anything like it. To your average Joe walking past it might as well be a worlds first as he has never seen anything like it.

    Nemesis was a good example of how to have a gimmick complement the ride and make it better rather than diminishing the ride experience a la th13teen before the drop.
     
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  5. Leah

    Leah TowersStreet Member

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    Towers didn't use the gimmick though. The smiler was the world's first 14 looping rollercoaster, nemesis wasn't Europe's(?) First rollercoaster where you sit under the track, It was just nemesis. If you look at the marketing material (and there was lots, which I think did better advertising the coaster than a gimmicky tag line), non of it goes on about it being inverted, it just advertises "nemesis".
     
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  6. Spike

    Spike TS Contributor

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    ...And it was totally eclipsed that year by 'The World's Tallest Rollercoaster'
     
    Posted 2nd Jun 2016
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  7. alee298

    alee298 TowersStreet Member

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    Eclipsed for that year, but now I'm sure 90% of people would choose Nemesis over The Big One today. Plus, world's firsts/tallest ect always get outdone, making the ride look as if it is lagging behind in the industry to the public. I can see that the gimmicky rides can be good to push the industry on, but filling a park with gimmick rides isn't a good way forwards. In the end, the rides get boring if you can ride a newer and improved version of a ride somewhere else.
     
    Posted 2nd Jun 2016
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  8. Burbs

    Burbs TS Site Team Team Member

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    I feel that the problem with world's firsts are that they always get outdone relatively soon after by other parks. I mean, just look at all the other B&M dive coasters in the world now, with quite impressive layouts etc, whereas Oblivion, as much as I love the ride, is a bit of a one-trick-pony.
     
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  9. Spike

    Spike TS Contributor

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    I do see your point and in some cases that is true, Stealth is rated more highly than Rita (not by me though lol) but unless you venture to Florida - which a lot of the general public do - then are you going to find better elsewhere? We're talking about the UK here and yes there are better dive machines out there but how many of Alton's customers will actually get to ride them?

    As enthusiasts we all want the biggest and best attractions brought to our doorstep and although what Alton invest in gimmicks we do get to experiance these rides before most, I suppose we're guinea pigs in a way lol. I think Alton has an impressive line-up of coasters, better than most of Europe. For me where Alton lacks is the immersiveness and value for money. Even the 'budget' side of Europa eclipses Alton's 'high end' offerings. That said though I prefer quality over quantity and whilst Alton are sitting up and taking note now with putting more thought into the park and the attractions it installs, you can't deny that the range of coasters Alton offers is very impressive in comparrison.

    The general public are more likely to ride something with a 'World's first' attached to it than if it were just a plain install. Nemesis was a fluke and a brilliant one at that, it gained notoriety as there was noting else like it around. I believe it was the 2nd B&M Invert built and word of mouth spread like wildfire when it opened. It was a time when coaster technology exploded and offered new possibilities, The Big One was a terrifying prospect for most back then, maybe not so much now but it still is daunting for most. My Mum rode it once and said "Never again" and this was a women who rode the Grand Nationail for 12 hours straight for charity in the 90's.

    It's so easy to think we know what the general public think and want about rides when in fact we're way off I'd say. That's because these rides do not phase us as we live and breath coasters, a rose tinted lenses effect in a way. One of my ultimate favourite things in life is taking 'noobs' to Alton and gauging their reactions. Each year I organise a trip to Alton for about 20-30 people from work and their friends etc. It's always one of the best days out becuase you bare witness to genuine fear, excitement and reactions. Th13teen we think nothing of, have you ridden with a train full of people un-aware of what is to come? It's incredible as everyone just goes mental, same with Sub-Terra. The Smiler was voted the best coaster on the day with 19/20 people choosing it (1 for Th13teen)

    I suppose what I am trying to say is Alton and other park really are not here to cater for us as their mass market, they are here to get old and new custom through the gates with 'exciting world's first rides' being built here in the UK.

    Ask yourselves this question - Without Alton and their crazy ideas, would you be the coaster enthusiast you are today? ;)
     
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  10. andyramone

    andyramone TowersStreet Member

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    Gotta agree here. I took 6 of my mates to Alton Towers last year for my Stag-Do and riding Th13teen with 6 people who had no idea what was coming was by far the highlight of the weekend. Everyone rated it their favorite coaster. One guy was so scared by Th13teen (it was his first ever coaster) that he refused to ride any more coasters for the rest of his life.
     
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  11. Ted

    Ted TowersStreet Member

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    It largely depends on what the world's first is. I think things like World's first dive coaster for Oblivion, and Drop coaster for Th13teen are fine because they sound appealing and their elements work really well. It's not too bad on the Smiler with its 14 inversions (or for Colossus with its 10), but I always found it would have been better if it was marketed as a recording breaking coaster and not a world's first.

    Now the part where world's firsts annoy me however is when they feel forced. I mean for example "world's first Cbeebies Land". No park outside the UK is likely to ever build one because they probably don't even know what Cbeebies Land is. Now to be fair, Merlin aren't the only company to do this, I know Six Flags did it as well with a DC kiddie land at Over Georgia. But the problem is Merlin just have a very bad habit of doing this. They do it at Thorpe as well with Saw which was the "world's first horror themed roller coaster" which to me also sounds very forced.

    Really, it comes down to way they're marketed, and it has been used constantly in the past few years and it becomes tiresome after a while.
     
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  12. DaveWWFC

    DaveWWFC TowersStreet Member

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    At least the restrictions (and John Wardley) forced them to be creative with it at Towers, rather than just going for the tallest etc.
     
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  13. Spike

    Spike TS Contributor

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    To be fair, although PMBO's layout could have been so much better, it was installed in the most unlikely park and integrated really well into it.
     
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  14. Dar

    Dar TowersStreet Member

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    I think a world first or other gimmick can work, but only if the whole ride isn't designed solely around it. Thirteen has the drop, but not much else, the same with Oblivion.

    Not to mention the money spent on marketing the gimmick that could have been better spent on better, more rounded coaster that people, even people that don't obsess over rides, can tell is a great ride.
     
    Posted 2nd Jun 2016
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  15. Olii

    Olii TowersStreet Member

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    I think the world's first thing used to be a great tool for advertisement, back when the public was generally unaware of coasters that weren't simply sit down steel loopers or woodies, as the internet wasn't as prevalent is today and it wasn't as common to visit theme parks abroad. Imagine first hearing about something like Nemesis or Oblivion when the only other rollercoasters you were aware existed were things like Corkscrew and Grand National. They would have genuinely seemed exciting, groundbreaking, and revolutionary, and they were back then. Towers did some pretty pioneering stuff, and combined with the excellent marketing they pushed out, it made them a real talking point.

    However today, many people have ridden, or are at least aware of, coasters outside the UK that just blow our selection of coasters out of the water. When you've seen/rode things like Kingda Ka, SheiKra, or any number of other impressive rides, it just doesn't work as well on people as Nemesis and Oblivion's world firsts did when Alton claim ever more trivial things like "World's first 14 looping coaster" or Galactica's convoluted and unnecessary advertising tag line that I refuse to even say on account of how ridiculous (even almost untruthful) it is.

    In my opinion they need to drop the world first tag line. It makes them waste a large amount of money on something that isn't really impressive, doesn't work very well, and doesn't even impress the advertising audience like they must think it does. Their money could be spent on producing quality, well themed rides that offer an experience worth returning to the park for. Surely it's a better investment to produce a high quality ride that uses well established technology and ideas, that will attract guests for a return visit, rather than a mediocre ride with something tacked on or forced in that attracts guests for a single visit and gives no reason or incentive to return.
     
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  16. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    As a thrill seeker, for me I'm always chasing that next adrenalin fix. I'm looking for the next big ride that will take me higher, faster and scarier ride than what my body has currently become accustomed to. For me I don't really care that it being the worlds first.

    Nemesis was not the world first, but when they design and built it, they made sure that it was better the original suspended looping rollercoaster.

    For me a good ride need to bring me various elements (not necessarily all in one ride), bigger, faster, taller, scarier, steeper, themed immensely, fun, entertaining, element of surprise, variation in experience to other rides, immersing, but the most important thing is that when I exit the ride, I would want to re ride it again and again.

    The bottom line, if a ride scares me, makes my stomach goes or takes my breath away, then its a good ride!

    Going back a good 30 years or more, rollercoasters were all about the big first drop. The bigger the steeper the better. In recent years, the rollercoaters tend to be build with the first drop as more as a helix and the steep drops seem to no longer be part of the designs.

    Roy :)
     
    Posted 2nd Jun 2016
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  17. CGM

    CGM TowersStreet Member

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    The problem is that as technology evolves, giant steps forward become smaller until it just becomes a case of knife sharpening.

    This is also true for rollercoasters. These days, pretty much all the configurations that you would reasonably want to do with a track and train have been done, so there aren't many significant world's firsts left. It's got to the point where the best we can hope for are subtly different elements or some sort of trick track.

    With the opportunities for world's first claims diminishing, some parks are desperately looking for any area in which they can claim to be first to give themselves a marketing boost. Many of these are so specific they just become meaningless.

    Obviously, there's Merlin with their "Universe's first coaster fully dedicated to VR" nonsense but they're not the only culprits. In the US you get all sorts of ludicrous boasts, most of them geography related. It's always something like "First flying coaster in Indiana." or "First double looping backwards coaster West of the Mississippi!"

    As Alton fans, we've also learned the hard way that first doesn't necessarily mean best. In fact by being first, you usually find yourself paying the development costs for what is essentially a prototype. Then a few years down the line, your competitors get to reap the benefits of all your investment, hard work and months of teething problems when they build something twice the size for the same price that works perfectly from day 1.
     
    Last edited: 3rd Jun 2016
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  18. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    I think @CGM makes a good point and I would largely agree.

    As I wrote in my It's all a tad routine thread, the sheer number of ride/coaster openings since 1994 has meant that a world's first or a record holder is handy to grab the attention of the public and the media.

    That said, there are a lot of parks that don't take this approach and they seem to do ok with things too.
     
    Posted 2nd Jun 2016
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  19. Spike

    Spike TS Contributor

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    Even Valravn at Cedar Point is at it...

    "...the world's TALLEST, FASTEST & LONGEST dive coaster!"
     
    Posted 3rd Jun 2016
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  20. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I think it depends entirely on which way you look at it. Gimmick vs pioneering. For example-

    Oblivion - Pioneering, new design concept and thrill brought to the world by AT, even if it wasnt true vertical.

    Air - Pioneering. Not even a new concept, even if it was the first b&M of its type. Now the design is all over the world thanks to this coaster.

    Thirteen - Gimmick. Certainly a world's first, certainly a welcome addition. An enjoyable coaster as well but built because of the element, rather than just creating a unique experience.

    Smiler - Gimmick. Good coaster, looks stunning, pulls off 14 Inverversions gracefully without feeling forced. However, had it been a bad coaster, it would just be a 14 inverting gimmick. Collosus at Thorpe is a typical example of this, the same Stengel coaster clone found elsewhere with an extremely cheap and shameful heartline at the end that does nothing for the ride experience and is only there to ramp up the inversion count.

    I suppose the point I'm trying to make is, what is the need for the World's first element beyond the marketing? Will it genuinely improve the experience? Is it about trying something creative to further rollercoaster development and lead the way on the world stage?

    As has been mentioned already on this thread, it's the GP that will decide whether these elements are pioneering or gimmicky, NOT us. People will be impressed and visit a Gimmick to check it out, a pioneering development will bring them back time and time again.

    I posted recently in the oblivion thread that it gets overlooked often as the gimmick has worn off almost completely as it's perception is of a short one drop gimmick of a coaster. However I often hear people take back their criticism after riding it. I think that is the perfect example of whether it was a worthwhile world's first or not.
     
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    Posted 3rd Jun 2016
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