Monday, April 18, 2011

Backstories: Oblivion at Alton Towers Part 1

Here is a transcript of the queueline video which plays at Oblivion - the world's first vertical drop roller coaster, themed as a secretive government test facility in the X Sector land of Alton Towers. The video can be watched here on YouTube.


Welcome. You have been designated for Oblivion. The decision to come here was not your own. It was ours. The thought was implanted in your brain by auto-suggestion. What you are about to see will prepare you physically and psychologically for the most intense ride experience ever devised. If you wish to survive Oblivion, we advise you to observe the screens at all times.

This is the world’s first vertical drop rollercoaster. During the ride, you will freefall face first into blackness. A freefalling object is something which falls under the sole influence of gravity. Unfortunately, in this instance, that object will be you. Freefalling objects accelerate as they plummet downwards. This is a ticker tape trace of a ball falling taken at 0.1 second intervals. The fact that the distance the ball travels is increasing shows it is speeding up. Unfortunately, unlike the ball, people do not bounce. When there is air resistance, large objects fall faster than small ones and as you’ll be falling vertically on a ride car which weighs more than a large elephant, this could be some cause for concern. In fact, if Newton’s second law of gravity is applied to your predicament, this could mean you are about to be trashed.

During the drop into blackness, the gravitational pull may exert excessive force on body tissue. For instance, you may experience a reduction in skin moisture. Dehydration may lead to an evaporation of essential protective brain fluid. This may cause the brain to rattle around in the skull a bit. In stressful situations such as these, the body’s fight or flight response system is activated. Muscles tense. Heart rate increases. And there is an increase in body temperature. For those about to ride Oblivion, extreme anxiety may even cause spontaneous combustion. Make sure you are wearing flameproof underwear. At the same time, adrenalin levels also rise and the brain’s chemical messengers go into overdrive. Adrenalin junkies may O.D. on the excitement.

G-Force is another factor. Take a pilot for instance. The maximum G-Force a human being can withstand is plus or minus 9g. 9g means that a pilot is undergoing a force nine times that of Earth. If he weighs 200 pounds he will suddenly feel as if he weighs 1800 pounds. The force involved makes blood flow to the feet and the pilot will experience a grey out where he is unable to discern any colour, or even a temporary black out, or if the plane is upside down the increased blood flow to the brain may cause a red out, where his vision is replaced with a red screen. The maximum G-Force experienced on Oblivion is 4.5g. This is not drastic enough to experience a grey out, a black out or even a red out, but it may be enough for some people to experience what is known as - a cop out. This psychological state usually occurs when the moment of truth arrives and it’s their turn to drop into Oblivion. False bravado is replaced by weak excuses at the prospect of a sheer vertical drop into the abyss. If this happens to your friends it means they have zero g tolerance, or that they’re just soft.