Kids of the ‘80s would have killed to be a Ghostbuster—and they almost got the chance.
In a 2013 interview with 2600 Connection (which was discovered last year by /Film and started making the rounds on the Internet again earlier today), Roger Hector—who managed Atari's Advanced Products Group and later worked with companies like Electronic Arts, Walt Disney, Sega, and Namco Bandai—revealed that a Ghostbusters ride, called The Hauntington Hotel, was designed for Six Flags theme parks in the 1980s. The two-and-a-half-minute-long attraction was a combination dark ride and video game and, according to Hector, the first of its kind.
At the beginning of the ride, theme park visitors would have climbed into a Ghostmobile, which had a pull-down lap bar that was equipped with ghost-busting guns. The riders would then be told that they’d been recruited by the Ghostbusters Agency. Their first assignment? Clean up a hotel infested with ghosts. The ride took visitors down the hotel’s hallways and through its rooms, all peppered with ghostly targets that riders would have to eradicate, which "would react to being hit so the player could easily know when they got 'em," Hector said. At the end, they’d be scored on their ghostbusting performance.
“It was a huge game that required many plays to learn and master,” Hector explained. “The target ghosts were a combination of physical animated props with CG displays that were combined through mirrors, and they reacted/exploded when hit. The guns were a combination of laser pointer and IR emitter that kept track of hits and displayed the player's score.”
The game’s concept was storyboarded by Don Carson, and the ride was designed and prototyped by the R&D company Sente Technologies. Roller coaster company Intamin was on board to build the ride. “We built up the hallway ghost in our office to test the guns and supporting control systems,” Hector said. “The others were designed and were waiting for the green light from corporate.”
The Hauntington Hotel was slated to debut at a Six Flags in Texas, and then be rolled out to other theme parks. But then Six Flags was sold by its parent company, and, Hector said, “the project fell into a corporate black hole, never to be seen again, which is too bad, as it was really pretty cool, even by today's standards … Intemin had taken the ride system pretty far as well, so this disappointed us all. That's show biz…”
You can see tons more concept art at 2600 Connection.