The world was in love with Ghostbusters back in the 1980s, and Bally had teamed up with Six Flags theme parks to try to capitalize on it — until it all fell apart. Here's the weird, wild theme park ride that was never actually built.
The project would've essentially been a branded spin on Disney's Haunted Mansion, but would allow riders to participate by shooting at virtual ghosts. That's right — it would have marked the first interactive videogame/theme park ride combination in history. It was ambitious, and extremely '80s, but we really wish this thing had come to fruition. It looks weird, but all kinds of awesome.
So what happened? Corporate shakeups, which pushed the project into development hell, from which it was never to be heard from again. In an interview with 2600 Connection, Atari's one-time Advanced Projects Group Manager Roger Hector offered some insight into what could've been:
"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."
Do you think this ride-hybrid would've been a success, or was it just too far ahead of its time?