Have you ever looked at the room you are sitting in and said to yourself “You know, I bet I could trap people in here and make them solve puzzles using my laundry, my DVD collection, and my recycling as puzzles”? No? I’m not surprised, I wouldn’t want people messing with my laundry either. But that is kind of how this whole escape room thing got started. If you are a newbie or even just interested in knowing more about escape rooms and what they are this is the blog for you. So, sit back relax and read on to get the 411 on escape rooms.
Allow Myself to Introduce Myself…
Let’s talk about who I am and why I feel I can discuss this with all of you. My name is James Kirk (yup, just like the starship captain. Feel free to call me “Cap” as you are reading, everyone else does.) and I am the General Manager for Escape Games Live located in York and Lemoyne. I have been hosting rooms for over two years now and have been involved in some fashion with the design of 5 of our rooms. This is a young genre of entertainment so we are all still learning as we go but I can tell you we have certainly gained a wealth of knowledge through experience.
Escape Rooms 101
The basic make up of an Escape Room is to design a room to reflect a specific genre or time period or location. Inside the room, elements of that theme are incorporated into designed puzzles that must be solved by the people in the room, working against a clock to find some means of escaping their locked in predicament. This is as basic as I can describe them.
Escape rooms, at their core, are about fun. Not just the generic happy you get after going around a few times on a Tilt-A-Whirl kind of fun but the kind that gets in your skin and makes a home and makes you want more. The kind of fun that makes you feel like if you do anything else you are settling kind of fun. They’re kind of like McNuggets. You can down 20 of them and wonder where the time went but yet want more the next day.
It’s Not All About You
Now that we are all hungry, think about a Friday night dinner with friends. Better yet, think about a double date or some kind of group activity. Escape Rooms give you the chance to socialize and cooperate in the same environment. You can learn things you didn’t know about your friends like “I didn’t know you were good at math.” Or “we both like cheese. How about that?”
Escape Rooms are a chance for everyone to have a spotlight moment. Your group leaves the room remembering when Jake figured out what to do with the series of tin cans or when Daisy cracked the jumbled letter code that moved the team forward. Everyone can contribute and get a sense of accomplishment from a job well done. Now, of course, not every group gets out in under the time limit every time, but every group comes out smiling and laughing with the shared memories of togetherness. Escape Games are about doing something together and in person.
But Wait, There’s More!
Another great thing about escape rooms is that they are all different. Each one is its own experience and there isn’t another one like it. There is always a new adventure waiting for you. Maybe you even start forming a team and doing small road trips. Bonding and spending more time together. Movie theaters and mini golf courses can’t do that. In fact, I have seen mini golf ruin some friendships or at least cause an incident that gets brought up again during family dinner three years later.
I used a word above I want to repeat which is the word “experience”. This has several meanings for Escape Rooms. The room can be called an experience because it is its own unique world and provides different circumstances for each room that is experienced by playing. Also isn’t it better to experience rather than just watch something. We’re looking at you, movies. You can always watch an adventure but how cool is it when you get to become part of that adventure?
My Shameless Plug
I’m telling you all of this because if you have played one before I hope you are able to think back on your time and find that you got more out of it than you thought. If you haven’t done one before I strongly encourage you to find one and go play it. This is where I tell you in a completely independent and non-biased fashion, that you should consider Escape Games Live for all of your escape room needs. The most important thing though, is that you do it. Have an experience you can talk about and laugh about three years from now instead of pulling out a grudge over a mulligan.
James is a super nerd that has been playing games at a table or on a screen or with the sanity of others since he was about 6 years old. Some time may or may not have passed since then. James has been hosting Escape Rooms for over two years and also manages both locations for Escape Games Live as the GM. He has also played numerous escape rooms and has learned much through personal experience watching and playing rooms. In his time away from work he enjoys life with his wife and daughter as well as volunteering time with The Bodhana Group, which is a local organization that uses tabletop gaming as a form of adjunct therapy for those in need of their services, helping to develop critical thinking, planning and strategy, social skills and building self-esteem and identity by exploring each individual’s “character”. He is a fan of all things nerd which is good because his name would be a waste otherwise.