This year at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, the latest incarnation of the colossal Dr Archibald: Master of Time virtual reality ride is among the offerings.
After making its London debut in 2018, the ride returns in refreshed ‘Vol. 2’ form, but retains its remarkable, colourful, steam punk-esque exterior façade.
Dials, cogs, gauges, creatures and plants adorn the ride’s exterior, while vintage reading lamps, bookcases and dinosaur fossils feature in an internal scene of the ride’s queue line.
At £9 per ride, joining the Master of Time on his journey has a dreadnought price tag to match the ride’s grandeur theming.
The new VR video is stable, well-synchronised and of good quality. As you pass through various ‘portals’ to different time zones, dinosaurs are among the animated surprises that lunge at you.
While there are no real forceful changes of direction or steep drops on the ride, the cars’ movements do work fairly well with the video footage.
The level of immersion is so good that it comes as a surprise when the ride operators remove your VR headset at the end of the journey.
Somehow on a portable, travelling scale, Dr Archibald achieves what many other permanent VR rides and attractions haven’t.
The ride also combines both the vintage and psychedelic. The latter is best demonstrated by the ride exit, where a water-filled swamp is traversed via spring-loaded, ultraviolet mushrooms serving as stepping stones.
Yes, the Master of Time simply needs to be experienced to be believed.
This season’s Hyde Park Wonderland runs until 2 January 2023.