Alternatives is the tagline feature for other forms of entertainment outside of discussing literature. These posts may encompass television, movies, games, and music with a randomized flavour of the moment approach to each post.
Interactive Games – Escape Rooms
(This isn’t the place I visited but it gives a good visual example of what to expect with these escape rooms…even if it looks slightly cheesy.)
Monopoly is the board game that ruins friendships. Escape Rooms are the interactive games that make you want to murder them. Well, maybe.
I finally got the chance to endure two escape rooms after many months of unreasoned delay. Our group of seven (3 girls, 4 guys) tackled Prison Break (beginner) and Haunted Hospital (advanced) at the Mystery Room in Toronto (Downsview location). For most of us, it was our first time tackling these puzzle rooms so we opted to start off with the beginner room (in hindsight—it’s not completely necessary to do this). The two rooms did cost us an arm and a leg (calculated per person similar to most establishments; roughly $15~20 per) but it was a fun and grueling two hours of entertainment with great company.
What is an Escape Room?
In a nutshell, it’s a mind-bending game where players are trapped in a single or set of rooms and need to escape within a time constraint (typically an hour or less). These levels are often themed and follow a narrative while players tackle puzzles and find clues in order to unlock their way to freedom.
I’ll detail a bit a pseudo play-by-play of the types of puzzles we had to conquer in each room without giving too much away (even though 99.7% of you don’t reside in Toronto anyways). Thankfully, our group survived both rooms, so we didn’t pay to fail. Players weren’t allowed to bring electronics into the rooms and players were given flashlights (most rooms were fairly dark).
This level featured four rooms with puzzles and clues involving finding a key hidden away under a bed, reading clues revealed under black light, and listening for Morse code-type owl hoots on an audio track and matching its corresponding letter to images on a wall to break the lock of the final door.
This level featured four-ish rooms of greater difficulty with more time-consuming puzzles than the beginner level. Some quirky conundrums involved four sets of rotating coloured doors (for which you had to rotate-to-match red on door 1 with door 3 etc.), bouncing a laser beam into a sensor from a beginning room into one of the later rooms using scattered mirrors, clues hidden under blacklight, x-ray images under the light box, and a lot of arithmetic problems.
(Long story short: we had all the clues solved from the rotating doors but we couldn’t find ONE CLUE hidden under black light on a wall we didn’t check until one member blindly flashed the blacklight against a particular wall. So lame. We could have beat the record time too.)
All in all, succeeding in these escape rooms was enjoyable (and perhaps a bit elating). Is it a form of entertainment I’d throw my money at often? Probably not, but I can definitely see the appeal for companies to use these games as a team-building exercise. I’m glad my group was filled with calm, rational thinkers. Can you imagine going in with a bunch of hard-headed individuals? Yeah, goodbye friendship.