The suffocating jungle foliage opens up to reveal an expansive waterfall dropping over a cliff. As you leave the lingering scent of the jungle behind, you feel as if you are actually free falling, an integral part of the curtain of water that has nowhere to go but down. As you enter the pool below, water splashes your face and the mist at the base of the waterfall begins to cloud your vision. Your confusion amidst friends is funny so you laugh and turn to interact with your environment a little more. The 4D technology that has driven this ride into existence has become a representation of solace, comfort and relief for you today. Envisioning yourself within this alternate story is intimate and engaging. It’s memorable and enticing to relive. But why?
Across our global history, certain themes of humanity remain consistent no matter what socio-economic status you’re a part of, no matter what your career is, no matter what kind of personality you have or what kind of family you came from. People will always need a release from the complexities of our every day.
Isn’t it fascinating that no matter how simple and streamlined our lives become, we still crave an escape?
The Russian Mountain (or simply put: the beginning)
The emergence of entertainment technology begins with pleasure gardens during the early Industrial period. Stemming from the fairs and expositions that began during the Elizabethan period, pleasure gardens took a more direct path towards entertainment by adding thrill based rides (wooden inclines with wheeled carts, carousels, etc) to the fair culture. Like the fair, these parks were centrally located within the cities to give access to the many that lived there. Designers of pleasure gardens centered on the theme of ‘escape’, escape from the stark smoke stacks and factory buildings that lay against the familiar pastoral lands.
Apart from needing an escape from the smoke filled cities, expositions were going on all across the US full of engineers applying new industrial and railroad knowledge to these fun filled rides. Engineers began tinkering with sudden drops, longer and larger dips and turns and pushing the physics of the roller coaster to heights never before achieved. This popular and engaging pastime repurposed the pleasure gardens from a source of recreation to a source of excitement and entertainment. Thus the birth of the amusement park.
Entertainment gave way to utilitarianism during WWII and at the beginning of the post war era, the T.V. started popping up in everyone’s living room. This satisfied our entertainment needs replacing the demand of inner city amusement parks with the little screen at home. This, along with the rise in suburban city planning, gave us the sufficient space we needed away from the unappealing city that birthed the demand for amusement parks in the first place.
The Rise of Story
Wanting to drive the demand back to the amusement park industry, innovators started integrating story lined themes into all of their amusement parks, renaming this new trend the “theme park”.
Thus story book villages were born. The focus on integrating an actionable experience, rather than thrill, into every corner of their new theme park’s architecture captured the attention of the public and brought ticket sales back to their originally high heights. Ever perfecting their strategies for creating the perfect story escape, theme parks are now investing in 4D technology to enhance stories told through short films or integrated into new thrill rides that weave 4D effects into the ride platforms and environments.
Adding the element of engaging story to the theme park created a level of intimacy that thrills could not. Story, being the very fabric of our existence, has the power to teach, sculpt and change our world. It is through story that we come to truly understand each other. But becoming engaging storytellers is an art that must integrate the reality of now (weather effects, scenting, smoke and fog effects) with the memories and impressions from the past. Trend leaders have always been aware of these facts and consistently add new technologies that deliver the kind of encompassing and unforgettable stories into their theme parks. Because it is by engaging the sensory system that story becomes unforgettable. As our society has become more intellectually complex our need for escape has grown, our demand for authentic storytelling is more veracious than ever.
The trends in theme park 4D technology have changed our sources of recreation and replaced them with characters and plots that not only engage our minds but our memories. This shift is not just due to progression in innovation but because our need for escape will never disappear. Withstanding time, fads and even trends, theme park 4D technology has come to learn how incredibly satisfying and necessary story is to our over-all well being.