On Tuesday night I was invited to try out a new real-life escape game. If you have ever played games like Escape the Room or The Room on iOS and Android, then this concept will be familiar to you. If not, what happens it you get locked in a room and have 60 minutes to solve a puzzle and escape. How you do so in the room is completely up to your problem solving skills. The room requires a minimum of 3 people to participate in it, in this case we had 6. Think of it as those freaky horror films you watch and play on PlayStation, but in real life. Trust me, it is awesome!
The room we were placed in was called “Closure” and was set in a haunted house where a lady has been haunting the rooms for some time now. We needed to find out what happened to her and how, which would, in theory, open up the door we came in and set us free. All we had was a notebook and a pen, and a room riddles with locks, keypads, keys and other freakishly exciting mechanics. Although mentioning any of these puzzles would spoil the experience for those who enter the same room, just know that every time we thought we had our heads around something, we were far off from our goal.
Some of the puzzles however included deciphering of codes found around the room, and one even included getting rather dirty to find the next step in the path to freedom. Not once did any of the puzzles come across lackluster or boring and the creators behind the room, Chris and Startis, really did a great job piecing it together. The constant blowing of chilly aircon really gave us that abandoned haunted house feeling. One of the best parts about it, is that when you are in the room you really feel like you have been transported into a good novel, and not in some office block on Norwood.
While we were going about the puzzles, there was a TV screen which would show us the time we had left remaining. When we were stuck in a pickle with no idea what to do next, lightning flashed and cracked which showed a hint on the same screen. Needless to say, we finally completed the room with exactly 45 seconds to go.
At first I was really nervous going into the room, I had no idea what was in store for me. I dd not know if I was going to get hit over the head with a frying pan and sold to the highest bidder. This is because as much as the creators want to give you all the details possible, they are very shady about it, but for you own good. The less you know the better.
Now why am I making a big deal about this experience? Well this weekend at Geekfest, #Escape will be there with smaller rooms set up for you to try out. I have no idea what these rooms will be like, and even if I did I would not tell you- so there! If you are coming past Geekfest this weekend, then be sure to check them out and give them a go. If you are not, then you can visit them in Norwood, Johannesburg. They are at 39 Grant Avenue, Norwood. You can also visit them on Facebook.
A room experience will set you back R200, so bring bring friends with to help you along the way, trust me, there is nothing better than seeing your friends try and solve something. Right now there are two available rooms in Norwood, Closure, which I played, and The Rebel Room, which I am going to try very soon.
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