Joker: 6 Flags over Texas

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Offline Bullethead

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Joker: 6 Flags over Texas
« on: August 23, 2018, 06:03 PM »
As mentioned elsewhere, I went to 6FoT last weekend.  When I bought the tickets online, the park's website said the Joker was temporarily closed (and I think still says that) after an incident in late July when a train got stuck at the top of the lift.  Fortunately, however, the ride was up and running when I got there.

Looking at the ride from off it, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it.  Most rides with spin involved tend to slam my head around painfully.  But I'd never seen, let alone ridden, a coaster with such a weird design, so I had to try it.  Turned out I liked it a lot and rode it several times.

For them as don't know, Joker (of which numerous examples exist) has a track with several layers stacked vertically directly above each other, so has a tiny footprint (see the pics at RCDB)  The trains consist of 2 cross-arms both with 2 seats on each end facing each other, so 4 riders per arm and 8 per train.  Each pair of seats is free to rotate around its end of the arm independently of the other pairs of seats, but the rider weights in all seat pars affect the rotation of the other pairs, so that even if you ride with the same person beside you multiple times, your seat will spin more or less often, and in different directions and at different locations along the track, each time.  Due to the random seat rotation facing you in different directions along the bunny hops and drops each time, the ride experience can vary from good-but-not-great to awesome each time you ride.

The biggest drop is between the 2nd and 3rd layers of the track.  One time, when sitting the one of the rear seat pairs, my seat started a slow backflip just before going into this drop, so that I went down it headfirst and also backwards due to the outward curve of the track there.  Knowing where I was on the track and realizing what was about to happen, I was worried about the pull-out from the on-coming dive redding me out.  However, this didn't happen and this head-down plunge turned out to be one of the coolest things I experienced at the park.

So all in all, I was quite favorably impressed with this unconventional coaster.  I usually don't enjoy rides where the seats spin on any axis but the design of Joker eliminates the nausea-inducing inertial cross-coupling and the restraints are comfortable throughout with no painful head-banging, even with the MASSIVE and VERY forceful ejector air time you often get as the seat spins.
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