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Virtual easter eggs, a practice also known as easter egg, have been accompanying us for years through video games, movies, computer programs and even web pages. Seeking to pay homage or refer to other works or events, they are almost always funny or striking details that make you smile, but as this example shows, this is not always the case.
Rollercoaster Tycoon, the famous construction and management game of amusement parks which has not a few sequels, has the unpleasant honor of having one of the most macabre easter eggs that have passed through my hands. To understand it, however, another story must first be explained, that of the fateful roller coaster accident Big Dipper.
The first great amusement park in history
When London held its Festival of Great Britain in 1951, one of its main attractions was the creation of a luxurious amusement park called Battersea Park Fun Fair. Due to his resounding success, he remained permanently installed to delight young and old who came there looking for surprises and a trip to another world made of wood and papier-mâché.
To get an idea of the revolution that it entailed at the time, it is enough to remember that the parks Disney They had not even been inaugurated – they would do so four years later – so that large-scale fair was one of the first amusement parks in the world as we understand them today.
Lakes where you can ride a boat, bumper cars, themed areas as if you were in medieval England… But without a doubt, its most famous attraction was the one that, due to its imposing height of 15 meters, could be seen from anywhere in the world. park: the big dipper roller coaster.
Thrill seekers knew this was where they needed to go, leading to long queues as those lucky enough to make it up filled the area with shrieks as they descended its rapid descents and entered a dark tunnel to the delight of attendees, especially children and adolescents.
At a time when security measures and legislation on this type of park were conspicuous by their absence, 22 years after its inauguration and having gone through several renovations and changes, on May 30, 1972, the roller coaster Big Dipper he made his last tour with fateful consequences.
The fateful accident of the Big Dipper
To give you an idea of the moment we are in, it should be noted that, unlike what we can find today in this type of attraction, an operator stood behind the second car who, manually, would be in charge of to brake the attraction with a lever to be able to control its speed in the turns.
After the classic initial curve that can be found in most attractions of this style, the Big Dipper he began his first ascent thanks to the cable that pulled him, but when he reached the highest part of the ascent, the cable fell off and the cars began their descent back to the station without the brakeman being able to do anything to prevent it. .
Among the attendees that day, some say that at that moment they turned smiling to look at the operator thinking that they were being the object of a joke organized by him, but seeing that he was fighting desperately to try to stop the wagons, they knew that something was wrong. about to happen.
Upon reaching the curve, the wagons began to derail, also destroying part of the wood that supported the structure and causing it to collapse. Of the eight bottom stops that were supposed to prevent that from happening, four had been removed and another three were rotten, so the small remaining piece of wood was unable to stop the disasterand.
While the emergency teams and the assistants tried to rescue the bodies that had been thrown and those that had been left under the structure, the park remained open and with the music playing as if nothing had happened. The accident left 13 seriously injured and five children dead, two of them on the spot.
RollerCoaster Tycoon’s ghoulish easter egg
Whether it was as a form of awareness or as a tribute to what was one of the first great amusement parks in our history, the Atari team of Scotsman Chris Sawyer decided to include in their brand new amusement park management game, Roller Coaster Tycoona questionable homage to the Battersea Park Fun Fair on the Bumbly Beach level.
In the form of a park that you must make grow and improve to achieve the objectives of the level, the detail became even more evident by including a pre-built roller coaster that, in addition to maintaining a similar structure and route, was named dipper.
As those of you who have approached the game already know, the pre-constructed attractions in this type of level can be a double-edged sword, since they start the game with the minimum and, in the case of structures that can cause problems, they force you to do a first investment to renew security systems or hire mechanics to check their status every few minutes.
Otherwise, just like the roller coaster dipperas the game progresses and the park grows, the flow of visitors would end up causing a disaster capable of ruining the mood of the attendees and, therefore, also the game.
In the case of this attraction, on the other hand, the failure of its structure and subsequent derailment of wagons had a completely different connotation. If we didn’t resort to those aforementioned improvements at the beginning of the level -something quite common since it was the first scenario of the game and we still didn’t control its unwritten rules 100%- we were destined to recreate the biggest disaster in the history of amusement parks macabre and unconscious.