Real life room escape games have been cropping up around the United States with greater frequency over the last two years. These stylized escape games which pit creative problem solving against a ticking clock started in Hungary and took off in Japan where they are extremely popular. In our own area there are currently no less than five puzzle room companies in Seattle and at least one that I know of in Redmond, with many in Portland as well.
Theatrically speaking there is a spectrum to the experience. On one end of the spectrum there are simple puzzle rooms that are filled with a variety of puzzle types. Small teams of people work together to figure them out until each puzzle leads them to meta puzzles which leads you to the means to leave the room.
On the other end of the spectrum are thematic escape rooms. These carry a story or plot line along with the necessary puzzle solving to make the escape. They are immersive to a place or time and can heighten the urgency of the clock. Think a prison break or escape from a mad scientist’s lab.
It is this story driven type of puzzle and escape room that I will be bringing to Tacoma (in conjunction with some great local partners). I wanted to create something that would be a combination of stage play and puzzle room, with the idea that plotting, story line and stagecraft such as lighting and special effects would enhance the experience.
At its core it will still be type of physical adventure game in which people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. But there will also be a plot, characters and a story line added to the experience.
It would be possible to put it together today and run a beta of it next week (and I was tempted to). However, I would rather up the quality as much as I can. This means more time and money to build a dedicated set, create special puzzles and purchase props. So I am going to run a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a higher end product through perks that will include first patron advance ticket sales, puzzle sponsorship and hopefully some cool swag. At the very least, this will give me the opportunity to spread the word, find some beta testers and up the quality of the experience.
If you are interested let me know, and look for the upcoming campaign.