Here is my in-depth review of Roller Coaster by Hanson Chien & Yao
When I review a product, I’d like to judge the product by itself alone. I will try to put myself into readers’ shoes and give the most honest review.
If the product is good, I say it out loud. At the same time, if there is bad about the product, I don’t hesitate to say it.
I believe by giving you the most transparent information, you will have better knowledge to judge.
Helping my readers is my biggest goal with this review.
WHAT YOU GET?
You will get 2 coasters: 1 gimmicked and 1 ungimmicked.
The coaster’s diameter is 10cm.
Though the creators said the coasters are 2mm thick, the gimmicked coaster is actually 4mm in thickness; while the ungimmicked one is 3mm in thickness.
You will receive one little thing to help you to set up the effect.
A link to the online tutorial is included in the box.
QUALITY OF THE COASTERS
The coasters are made with durable material. The surface is made of Tyvek®, which is waterproof.
It is thick enough that it’s hard to bend. Thus I suppose it can withstand rough handling.
The coasters come in 4 designs. And there is printing on upper side and blank at bottom side. The printing is top-notch and it is beautiful to look at.
However, the gimmick can not withstand close inspection.
QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK
The gimmick is well built in the coaster. However, as I mentioned above, something can be seen by spectators upon closer look. Therefore, the gimmick is cleverly disguised in the thinness of the coaster, but not perfectly hidden.
Upon setting up the gimmick, a 5mm gap is seen at the back but not visible at the front of 180 degree angle.
For a couple of times, my gimmick accidentally activates. I don’t think it’s a general issue but it may be annoying during live performance.
The gimmick is built with durable material, but it is not unbreakable. I haven’t done enough performance yet but I will doubt it can withstand 300 performances. The paper part and the upper gimmick will surely deteriorate for prolonged use.
QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL
The effect is well explained in the 40:13 long video.
Length (minutes) of the main parts:
Basic Performance- 7:47
Advance Performance- 9:16
Performance Angle- 2:44
In Basic Performance, 3 methods are provided. They are practical and probably are the ones used by most performers. Explanation is clear and nice. In Advance Performance, 3 more methods are given.
For Examination, it’s about how to let onlookers examine the coasters. In other words, this part is about switching technique of coasters. 2 methods are given. Personally, I think none of them are very ideal. They are interesting moves but carry other risks. And the justification of the first method is quite bad. I doubt the creators actually use it often in real performance. That being said, switching is not necessary to do the routine. This part of video is good for reference only.
The tutorial also comes with ‘Glass Selection’ and ‘Gimmick Repair’. Those are very helpful.
ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECT
I will include my analysis of the effect in my product review. In this analysis, I will present my view on the strength and weakness of the effect. And will also go deeper with magic theory in mind.
First of all, ‘Coin through Glass’ is an amazing effect per se. In the history of coin magic, it is generally done by either sleight-of-hand or gimmick coins. Though Roller Coaster’s gimmick is not an original idea, it makes the effect much visual and stunning.
However, there are some inherited issues in adding a coaster.
First of all, Roller Coaster is too well-built that it doesn’t look like a normal coaster people find in a bar or restaurant. In other words, the performer has to justify its existence in the effect. Though the creators have mentioned that audience will suspect the glass and coin more in the first place, but when these 2 items can be borrowed, the only suspect must be the coaster.
For a good magic, the performer has to fool the minds of the spectators. If there is logical reason for the spectator to suspect the coaster, the effect is not good enough. That has explained that why the creators have to include tutorial teaching you switching the gimmick. If the coaster can withstand suspicion in the first place, there is no place for switching. You can go into the effect directly and end dirty with the gimmick. No one will suspect a thing. But that is not true in this case. You take out a coaster suddenly and put a glass on it to do an effect, there must be something about it. That’s the weakness of Roller Coaster. It’s nothing about the quality of the product (which is very great) but more about its existence in the effect.
So, does it mean the effect is bad? NO!
In my view, performers have to find a way to justify the presence of the coaster in the first place.
Here is one idea: you write a short paragraph/poetry or math formula to predict a card, a word, or a number. Then do an effect with the prediction. After the effect, leave your drink on the coaster. When you go into the coin-through-glass, you can naturally use the coaster without even mentioning it. The aim is to eliminate the existence of this coaster in spectators’ minds.
PROS ABOUT THE EFFECT:
1. Very visual
2. Easy to do
3. Great tutorial
4. Durable product
CONS ABOUT THE EFFECT:
1. Gimmick is not too well hidden
2. Presentational issue with the coaster itself
3. Hard to repair if broken
4. Cannot be done in slow-motion with good camera. Try it yourself. (I point out this because the trailer said it can)
I love the effect. In fact, I have Tenyo version years ago and have been playing with it a lot.
However, it’s the kind of magic that looks very good on video but suffers from spectator-is-not-stupid issue as I mentioned above. They know there is something about the coaster, they just don’t know what that something are. Unless you can prepare similar coasters and put them in front of everyone on the table, the uniqueness of the coaster is its biggest weakness. It doesn’t differ much from using the Tenyo or those Chinese cheap versions. To be honest, if the ‘existence issue’ holds true, Tenyo version may be better in this case cos it can be inspected right after the effect, without switching out the gimmick.
That begin said, I am satisfied with the product and will surely play it more. But if you asked me, if I was given a second chance, would I get it? My answer is, probably not. The reason is, as a standalone effect, it has the problem I mentioned above. At the same time, it’s also hard to be incorporated into a bigger routine. We magicians maybe super excited about this effect because it is super visual. But when we think deeper, the easier it can be done, it’s harder to do it well as a piece of magic (unless you are ok with doing a good trick, but not magic).
All in all, I recommend this effect to anyone who loves visual trick. But performers have to use their brains to make it not a trick.
Product Quality: 8/10
Effectiveness of Tricks: 8/10
Cost Performance: 7/10
Final Score: 7/10