WRITER | CHRISTINA FORD
Imagine being locked in a room without a key. The only form of escape is solving a series of puzzles to find a solution to a fictitious circumstance…all before time runs out! The name of the game is Escape Room. It is the newest form of breakout entertainment that is sweeping the nation. And you are going to want to join the bandwagon, because it is an experience that will have your heart pounding and your adrenaline flowing. Escape Rooms were originally inspired by the “escape-the-room” video game genre and have been around for nearly a decade. However, they have made their way to the United States over the last five years.
During your dream vacation backpacking around Europe and exploring the prodigious monument of Stonehenge and the beautiful canals of Venice, your group decides to trek the haunted forests of Romania. Locals warn you not to hike here during the night because there is a devilish creature lurking about, ready to prey on unsuspecting visitors.
Despite the warnings, you decide to venture into the forest and see the spectacle for yourselves. Suddenly, a storm develops, and you search for shelter. You see an ominous-looking structure in the distance and, as you approach, you discover it’s an old castle. With no cell phone service and a long return hike, you decide to enter the castle and wait for the storm to pass.
After deducing that the building is abandoned, your group decides to explore. As you wander deeper into the castle, you come across a dark room with a mysterious inscription on the wall that claims the nocturnal resident will rise at sundown with a thirst for blood…You look around the room and see a coffin, ancient manuscripts, and mysterious artwork. Feeling uneasy, you head for the door to leave, only to discover that it’s locked!
The sun sets in one hour – you need to escape and save yourselves before the tales become reality!
Step into LiCastro’s Lair, at the Grand Rapids Escape Room, and you will embark on an experience that will leave you feeling as if you’ve infiltrated a virtual reality game. The above scenario, designed as a precursor in establishing the mission of the Lair, is one of several themes this Escape Room offers. Escape rooms are built around hundreds of different stories and motives; science laboratories, prisons, kidnappings, bank heists, and haunted houses are just a few examples that will immerse you in the game. Each room is thematically decorated, enhancing the escaper’s sense of immersion and isolation. Some rooms contain minimal furnishings, while others involve elaborate sets. It all depends on the Escape Room creator’s vision for the players to have a genuine experience.
Tick Tock! Tick Tock! You have only 60 minutes to escape the room! It may seem like a lot of time, but when you are under pressure, the clock winds down faster than you realize. At the Grand Rapids Escape Room, a video presentation inaugurates your journey, and then the timer begins. But don’t worry. You are monitored by employees who can communicate with you, offer clues, or even release you from the room if you run into trouble. On your mark… get set … escape!
Seriously. People are paying $30, on average, to be voluntarily locked in a room from which they will attempt to escape! What? It’s true. There is something that draws individuals to the challenge, and it is an experience that is different from other activities out there. People enjoy working toward a shared objective using their collective problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills. With video games, iPhones, and computers so prevalent in our society, it’s no wonder Escape Rooms are taking over. They provide a way to interact with people on a whole new level.
Brainteasers, hidden objects, and mysteries galore. Each room houses clues, hints, and puzzles that help you obtain the key to your freedom. A science-themed room, for example, may contain laminated charts, enveloped clues, lab reports, and the periodic table. You may have to find black lights hidden in locked drawers, figure out the combinations of locks, or scan the room for a secret door. Some puzzles are fairly easy, while others might have you all putting your heads together to figure it out. But do not fret; special skills are not needed! Just communicate with each other, search the room carefully, and, if you get stuck, move on to another area or a different puzzle.
Whether you are planning an office party, a date night, or a fun time with friends or family, Escape Rooms have become the latest trend in entertainment. Gather 2 to 12 players, your creativity, and your thinking cap and experience the fun! Only one question remains… “Will you escape?”