Sorry I haven’t been updating the site as regularly as I’ve been, I’ve been pretty busy this past week with some things as well as preparing this fat, three MS Word page post; and yes, MS Word pages are the measuring stick for article length. 1500 word essays are out, it’s all about 3 page MS Word essays now! But I digress…
Last month we took a look at five insane flatrides that each brought some type of baneful attribute to the table. This time around we’ll take a little tour down ‘freak alley’ to check out a sextet of carnival rides that defy any decent description due to either appearance or motion. In other words, these are rides that might make you say “what the hell?!”
6. Flic Flac
Flic Flac is a strange ride made by Huss Rides of Germany; a company that has made such theme park staples such as Top Spin and Breakdance. Flic Flac is kind of like a combination of an Octopus and a Chance Chaos; weird right? The ride features six arms radiating from a center hub with pairs of three passenger gondolas at the end of each arm. The 12 gondolas can freely rock forwards and backwards and each sport a counterweight. So, what the hell is a ‘flic flac?’ Apparently it’s a gymnastics term for a back handspring; basically a back flip.
Once started the gondolas will begin to revolve around the center; they don’t travel too terribly fast though. Next, a mechanism in the hub kicks in rising some of the arms in the air. Finally the hub mechanism starts to spin in the opposite direction of the gondolas, making the arms perform a wave type of motion; this is what I mean when I say that it’s like an Octopus ride, it has that same type of waving arm movement. The free swinging gondolas, now being assaulted by a hectic wave motion, rock wildly and even perform lengthy sets of a flips.
You can find these rides at German and French funfairs under names like ‘Devil Rock’, ‘Mega Dancer’ and other music related monikers. Flic Flac is a pretty cool ride, I really have to hand it to Huss with this one. The one downside is that the ride looks pretty large and seems like it would be very tough to haul around and set up.
Here’s a nice video from one of my favorite thrill ride video YouTubers, Xtremerides.
Italian manufacturer Technical Park has made some fairly odd rides in the past like “Push & Swing” (better known as Maxxx) and…well a ride that I won’t name just yet. But Stargate is one of their premier weirdo rides, a ride that’s so strange that only one has been produced apparently.
Stargate is comprised of a large boom with two wishbone looking prongs on either end. Attached to these prongs are two rows of floorless seats with 8 seats per row for a capacity of 32 riders. The boom is in turn attached to a hydraulic arm which can rise up to a steep angle.
The ride starts with an uneventful rise into the air; no spinning, no nothing. Next the seating areas rotate to the highest point and mechanically flip just for the sake of flipping riders around before the real deal starts. Following the fluff, the boom begins to rotate, and rotate fairly fast! According to the specs, it turns at 12 RPM; that’s not too bad! Considering that riders sit facing outward and in floorless seats, I’m sure some feet will ‘go to sleep’ during a spin on this! To compliment the boom rotation, the seats flip as well which must really provide for some wild negative Gs when the seats point outward!
Just before the ride comes to an end, each row of riders are haplessly dangled above a fountain as the ride op teases spraying them in the face. What’s up with European ride operators and giving riders a face full of dirty ass carny water?
By looking at Technical Park’s site, it looks like Stargate is the second generation version of a ride called Challenger, which was pretty much the same ride only with enclosed, forward facing seats. The gondolas were similar to those on a Kamikaze ride actually. Despite the ride being pretty large, it can rack onto one trailer…nice!
I’m not exactly sure if the term ‘tango’ describes this ride very well because if anything it’s a very harsh and intimidating looking piece of machinery. The KMG manufactured Tango features a trio of arms with 8 seats per arm. The arms radiate from a center hub which is in turn attached to a large boom.
The first readily apparent oddity about this ride are the seats, which barely qualify as seats at all! For all intents and purposes they are basically bicycle seats that riders straddle. When the boom raises, riders are hung in sort of a standup/floorless configuration. I have to assume that this doesn’t feel all that comfortable on the family jewels…
Once started, riders revolve around the center as the boom rises to a very respectable 65 feet; riders are left spinning at a precarious angle for the time being. Finally two more motions are thrown into the mix as the boom holding the arms begins to rotate and the arms themselves begin to flip. The result is rolling aerial ballet of sorts with perfect flowing movements; I almost expect Blue Danube to strike up as I watch the ride in motion…hmm, maybe Tango isn’t such a bad name after all!
What can I say? The ride looks odd, the seating is weird, and the movements are very strange; it easily made the list!
Here’s a video made by none other than myself!
3. Magnetic Storm
Ok, what the hell? This little contraption seems less like a ride and more like a swing set made by the devil himself, which it may very well be since Rides DB lists the manufacturer as “Unknown”. Magnetic Storm simply has a 15 or so foot high, ‘A’ shaped support that holds an arm; the arm features an 8 passenger gondola at the end. That’s it…that’s the ride!
When in motion, the arm swings back and forth and once up to full height the car un-brakes allowing it to flip sideways. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire ride!
I’m not quite sure what to make of this one. I’m not even sure what the Energy Storm name has to do with the ride! But hey, it does have some nice artwork on the back flash; in that respect it sort of reminds me of a Miami type ride where it’s a simple ride supplemented by some neat-o themeing!
Oh, and one last thing…the restraints on this ride do not look fun at all! Oofah, that’s gonna leave a mark!
2. Spin Ball
Oh my…what the heck is this thing? Upon a first glance, Spin Ball looks like an amalgamation of various ride elements that messily sits atop a platform. It’s quite the departure from little old Magnetic Storm at #3!
Looking a bit harder, we see that the ride platform resembles one that would be used on a Round-Up; riders sit in a circular configuration with small harnesses to keep from tumbling out. The platform is attached to a center span which is in turn attached to a pair of arched supports. The arched supports are themselves attached to another span at the bottom. Got all that? I know I didn’t! Anyway, when in the loading position the circular platform simply plops right down onto loading platform.
Okay, this is going to be a toughie to explain…the ride begins by having the supports lift the circular platform into the air; the platform then begins to spin, as does the the span at the bottom. Once up to full height, maybe 15 or so feet high, the span holding the platform will begin to rotate sideways, flipping the entire platform. Uh, err…I think the video below can explain it more thoroughly!
Now here’s the real kicker about this ride: it was built in house by showmen Jan & Wil Van Der Beek. Only one was ever produced in 1994 and was eventually sold to a French showmen where it still operates today. However Top Fun Rides made their own version, also called Spin Ball, which can be seen at many traveling funfairs in Europe.
Here’s the van der Beek Spin Ball in all its freakish glory…
Once again Technical Park makes the list with a ride that looks like some sort of object left behind by space aliens. The monster carnival ride that is Vortex consists of a large, triangular shaped center support that sports two even larger arms. Each arm has a square-ish looking 16 person gondola at the bottom and a counterweight at the top. Depending on the model, the seats either face inwards or outwards. The inward facing version’s seating is a bit weird with 16 riders stuffed into a small gondola; riders also have the luxury of staring at an un-shielded spinning hub for the whole ride.
The motion of this ride is almost like the product of trying to add as many different elements as possible into one ride. First an arm raises the massive ride structure onto an angle as the gondolas revolve around the center; the gondolas themselves also spin for added measure. The final movement sees the arms flipping in a Kamikaze/Loop-o-Plane fashion, taking riders in every which direction.
Odd motion aside, the ride gets another nod for its appearance. Like for one, the seating area seems very small compared to the rest of the ride and just gives it this disproportionate appearance. Also, the way that the arms and center support are configured make it look like some giant, dumb, gaudy robot with wildly swinging arms…I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. It’s undeniable though that this is one odd ride!
As with the previous list, we have some honorable mentions…
- Zipper: once again, Zipper makes the honorable mentions list and for similar reasons. The Zipper is a weird looking ride with a weird motion; it’s practically the measuring stick for all odd rides. I didn’t really want to include such a well known odd ride…especially since I have a whole page about the Zipper already!
- Hard Rock: I never knew that this was a real ride when I first got the game Roller Coaster Tycoon 3; it makes an appearance in the game under the name “Whirling Dervish.” A few years later I saw a picture of its real life counterpart and couldn’t believe it was real! Yeah, it’s an odd one…
- Heartbreaker: Kind of like a combination of a Top Spin and a magic carpet type of ride. The main boom rotates sideways while the gondolas flip around on their own. Odd and many of its synonyms can describe the ride.
So has anyone been on any of these rides; if so, how was it? Does anyone know a ride that should be on the list? By all means drop a comment below!