At random intervals over the past 48 hours, I have been doing one of 2 things: shaking my head while facepalming, or exclaiming out loud to no one in particular, “OMG, that was SO MUCH FUN!!” The reason? Escape From The Mysterious Room – Toronto!!!
It’s like being in a real, live action video game – in fact, that’s how the whole “room escape” phenomenon began. Some dude in Japan saw how addicted his friend was to this type of video game and realized that he could create a live version, which he called Real Escape Game (SCRAP Entertainment). From Japan, it spread to other countries, and eventually to San Francisco. The Toronto iteration was brought here by Company & Company and it’s apparently a very close replica of the San Francisco version, and there are promises of more to come.
It was the most fun I’ve ever had with a group of strangers and that’s saying a LOT, because I’m pretty introverted. Myles and I went with two of our friends and were teamed up with 6 other people. We had to introduce ourselves and name one skill or attribute that we thought we could contribute to the group. I offered up my puzzle game skills, which I really hoped would come in handy. One person in our group didn’t think she had any relevant skills, but she ended up being awesome at finding clues!! Every few minutes I heard her yelling out, “found another one!”
There’s not a lot that I can write about the experience itself, because I don’t want to spoil anything and you really want to go in as blind as possible. We were nervous and excited as we waited to get locked up, our adrenaline was pumping and it felt like we made really great progress. But, we were among the many, many teams, worldwide who failed to escape the room in the allotted time (1 hour). That’s okay, though. The room only has a 3% success rate!!
I suppose that is what is so impressive about the experience – you know that very few people succeed, and yet you sign up anyway! You’re even hopeful or optimistic about joining the elite group of escapees…that is, until the clock starts ticking down and you realize that you are still several steps away from the final solution. When your time is up, the game master walks you through all the things you missed, and you retroactively think, ‘OF COURSE!! DUH!!!’ I faceplam every time I think of the one thing that was keeping us from advancing to a crucial part of the game because the solution was found in the exact same way that I would normally solve that type of puzzle under less stressful circumstances. That extra 15 minutes could have made all the difference!!! Afterwards, we went to a bar to unwind and recount our best/worst moments. You have a lot of pride in the stuff you did right, and feel really stupid about the ones you missed.
I have been telling everyone I know to sign up for the game, and I desperately wish that I could try again, but there is no ‘do-over’ option. I will have to wait for the next one, which I think will be coming out in November.
Until then, I guess I’ll *have* to keep playing games to be better prepared. Failing has never been so fun and motivating!!!