Sitting within the GEL residential community that spans some 40-ish regions, GEL Park is billed as an all-mesh public amusement park that offers some 26 different rides for the enjoyment of all who visit. It grabbed my attention after appearing in the Recently Added section of the Destination Guide, so over the weekend, I suggested to Caitlyn we hop over and take a look.
Utilising the entire ground level area of a Full private region and extending into the air overhead, the park is laid out in the manner of many a physical world amusement park – as anyone who has been to the likes of Disneyland, Six Flags Alton Towers and so on will likely recognise. There’s the familiar “main street” style of entrance next to the landing point, complete with mini arcades and store spaces (some of which are available for rent), with the rest of the region divided into five areas: Space, Adventure, Imagine, Yesterland and Funland. There’s even a cable car to help give the sense of arriving from a distant car park.
Most of these areas carry something of a theme to them. For example, Space has a distinctly futuristic look to it and features rides related to rockets, etc., that culminate in the region’s version of Space Mountain. Meanwhile, Yesterland takes a trip into the past with rides themed on ancient Egypt, Vikings and Atlantis. However, there is some degree of cross-over: Funland for example, includes Torgon’s Space Ride, whilst it is hard to miss the Stagate franchise references in a couple of Yesterland’s ancient Egypt themed rides.
While there is a lean towards rollercoasters, the park does offer a good mix of rides large and small, and anyone who enjoys amusement parks in the physical world will feel right at home among the dodgems/bumper cars, drop rides, pendulums and spinning rides, and so on to be found here.
The rollercoasters themselves come in both of the common varieties: those with cars on the track and those with cars suspended from the track. Some have apparently been specially built for the park, others are commercially available and some have a touch of history to them. Torgon’s Space Ride, for example, first appeared at SL13B, and I can recall riding it there and am pleased to say it is as enjoyable now as it was then.
There are a number of different approaches taken in how the different rides operate. Several will start automatically, waiting a number of seconds before setting off; some require you manually start them either via chat or the use of a supplied HUD, and some are triggered through the use of a local experience.
The latter are generally the rides that are located on sky platforms above the region, the experience intended to move you relatively seamlessly between ground and ride and back again. You’ll be asked to join it the first time you pass into the ground-level entrance for one of these rides (indicated by an area of deep shadow you’ll need to walk through); thereafter the experience will freely move you back and forth as required without any prompting or clicking.
The best way to appreciate most of the rides is to switch to Mouselook view, as this gives a more realistic sense of actually being on the ride (screen allowing), although a couple can result in a certain motion-induced giddiness, so a little care might be needed. Some rides will automatically drop you into Mouselook when you sit on them, others may require you to toggle it yourself.
This being SL, some of the rides can have the odd case of the jitters or have one or two small oddities (one rollercoaster is so compact, part of it seem to slice through you as you ride it!) but none of these hiccups actually prevent enjoyment of any given experience. My only real niggle was that I found the Haunted House ride in Adventure to be just that little bit too long (but then, I also feel the same way about LL’s annual Haunted House ride that rolls out each October).
Should the rides all get a little much, the north-east corner of the region presents Imagine, a garden space to wander within. This is home to paths, sculptures and water features, with places to sit and just unwind for a bit. It is also home to the Imagine Theatre, which I assume is home to dance productions and events – there is a auto-subscription board to one side of the theatre stage for the Imagine Dance update group (touching the board again will allow you to unsubscribe).
Amusement parks are not new in Second Life (I’ve covered a number previously in these pages), and can be hit-and-miss events for visitors. However, GEL has a clean, open design that makes for an easy, fun visit, and aside for the minor hiccups mentioned above, all the rides worked for us.
- GEL Park (GEL Community 38, rated General)