By now you’ve no doubt noticed the cultural phenomenon that is Escape Rooms. Sometime between Conan O’Brien’s foray into the world of escape rooms and an episode of The Big Bang Theory featuring an escape room, the idea of a real-world brain challenge via a puzzle-filled venue hit the cultural mainstream. But if you’ve never tried one, escape rooms can seem a little confusing. You might find yourself wondering: ‘Why am I paying to get locked in a room?’
The answer is simple: because it’s fun. Escaping is a challenge; the kind of challenge most of us let fall by the wayside when we were young, save for those of us who can’t resist a good riddle. They take us back to the good old days of imagined adventures when you could be a super sleuth detective or a fanatical treasure hunter in the span of an afternoon.
An escape room can be compared to a live-action video game: you enter an environment where you are assigned a goal and a time limit. To win, you must perform a series of tasks to overcome challenges, achieve your objective, and ultimately make your escape before the clock runs out. Throughout your experience your Gamemaster will have your back, slipping you helpful hints and clues to point you in the right direction. The real fun of an escape room is the rush you feel when you finally crack a tough puzzle or untangle a particularly tricky clue—and of course the elation of opening up that final door and making your victorious exit!
These rooms provide you with an interactive adventure brought to life by practical effects in a way that no other gaming industry delivers. In an escape room, you get the chance to pull on a lever and hear the sound of complex clockwork mechanisms creaking all around you, as a wall shifts on its enormous axis to reveal a deep and ‘ancient’ vault. Just like a book or movie, they can be filled with any kind of experience the creator dreams up; from the dastardly whodunnit murder mysteries to dangerous forays into ancient temples and magical ruins.
I know some of you are still wary of such an unusual experience. But if you’ve never been to one, find a friend who has, and ask them how they felt stepping over a mundane threshold and into an unreal world. I bet their answer will do a lot more to convince you than I could ever type! In the end, the only way to truly understand what makes escape games so addictive is to gather up a few friends, muster your courage, and give it a try for yourself.
Nicholas Tonelli is the General Manager and Gamemaster of Spellbound Escapes. When he’s not locking people in rooms to subject them to traps and challenges, Nick enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, so he can imprison them in dungeons and subject them to traps and challenges.
He can occasionally be spotted in full pirate regalia attending one of the many events where it is appropriate to do so, and occasionally the not-so-appropriate events, too.
You can catch Nick and his outrageous moustache at Spellbound Escapes in Tanger Outlets, Foxwoods Resort and Casino.