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Hi-yah! Legoland ninja ride to use karate chop hand gestures

A first-of-its-kind dark ride coming to Legoland California in 2016 will let riders use karate-chop hand gestures to shoot fireballs at ninja warriors on giant video screens.

The high-tech Ninjago: The Ride will feature sensors on the front of each ride vehicle that register the hand movements of riders who zap color-coded fireballs at digital screens populated with animated Lego figures.

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Based on a line of ninja-inspired Lego toys and a spin-off television show, the dark ride will be the centerpiece of a new Asian-inspired Ninjago themed land featuring test-of-skill games, a restaurant and a retail store. Visitors will undergo “ninja training” before boarding the new ride to reinforce the new hand-gesture controls.

Legoland is teaming up on the project with Montreal-based Triotech, which previously worked on the Wonder Mountain Guardian hybrid coaster-dark ride at Canada’s Wonderland outside Toronto and the Voyage to the Iron Reef shoot-em-up dark ride at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park.

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Digital-based rides with video-game-like features are attractive to theme park operators because the computer-generated imagery can be updated with the latest advances in technology and the back story can be changed with the flip of a switch.

Theme park attractions are increasingly adding more video game elements. While most play-at-home game consoles require players to hold a controller, some video games like “Disney’s Fantasia: Music Evolved” on the XBox One system put emphasis on gesture controls.

An identical version of Ninjago: The Ride is also expected to debut in 2016 at Denmark’s Legoland Billund.

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