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Gaming History You Should Know – There Was a Final Fantasy Roller Coaster April 26, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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I love video games and I love theme parks. When I was a kid in the 90s, Universal Studios Florida was the coolest place ever. I could ride a cable car while King Kong was attacking, get in a boat while Jaws terrorized the water, or ride a Deloroan Time Machine in Back to the Future. In the decades since then, Universal’s theme parks have opened all over the world, and one of their parks currently resides in Osaka, Japan. I know what you’re thinking, this video is going to be about the upcoming opening of Super Mario World, a new land where tourists can enter their favorite Nintendo video games, but if you’ve looked at the title you’ll know that is not what we are going to be talking about today. Today, I’m going to bring you back to 2018 for an event I’m shocked did not receive more attention here in the states.

It’s Sunday! Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content from across the Internet that focuses on the history of gaming. So sit back and relax as I tell you the story of what I think could be one of the coolest (but short-lived) experiences designed to make people feel like they are actually inside a video game.

Every year Universal Studios Japan hosts an event they call Universal Cool Japan where they highlight some of their favorite national properties that are…cool. In 2018, Universal Cool Japan would feature Detective Conan, Sailor Moon Monster Hunter…and Final Fantasy.

In 2018, for just a few months, Universal Cool Japan brought a Final Fantasy themed roller coaster, the Final Fantasy XR, to life. Final Fantasy XR was an indoor roller-coaster augmented with Virtual Reality (VR) footage. To make the coaster, Universal Studios Japan took their already existing Space Fantasy coaster and gave it a full Final Fantasy facelift. To give you an idea of just what went into this, YouTube Channel Edamame took some great footage of their experience with the ride. Take a look!

I think the Edamame video does a great job setting the stage for the ride with really high quality video (and subtitles) but if you’re looking for something more detailed I recomend this video produced by Yukendoit.

Sadly, no on ride footage was included in that video but some high-quality snippets of it has found its way online. As far as I can tell, the VR/AR footage used for the ride and the preshow videos were developed by Square Enix. Here’s some of the best on-ride footage I could find online mixed with a virtual model of the track.

If you’d like a bettet look at the ride’s preshow please check out this video. Sadly, it isn’t subtitled in English but this was the best quality video of it I could find.

There was also an incredible amount of exclusive Final Fantasy XR merch and food. Take a look at all this with envy!

Since Cool Japan 2018 wrapped, Final Fantasy XR has remained closed. As for what happened with the Final Fantasy XR content, its only legacy seems to be the footage that people took of the Cool Japan 2018 event. Final Fantasy would not return for Cool Japan 2019 or 2020, so the 2018 event might be the only time it will ever be shown.

Ironically, this was not the first, nor will it be the last time that a video game property would receive a real-world theme park ride, and perhaps we will talk about other times in future installments. Until next time, stay safe Kupo!