For the people who grew up on thriller content such as BBC’s Sherlock and Christie’s novel series of Miss Marple and Poirot, escape rooms are the ultimate games.
Get Me Out of Here!
Firstly, what are escape rooms? They are live-action games where participants are “locked” into a room and in order to escape, as the name suggests, they must find clues to solve puzzles.
The rooms are often themed, such as: solving a murder inside of a moving train (remember the Murder on The Orient Express?), or “Jailbreak” where you have to escape with your fellow mates from a prison cell. In Australia, there are already multiple companies offering escape room experiences in Sydney and Melbourne
Akos Oldal, who runs a hugely popular virtual escape room in Sydney’s The Rocks, PanIQ Room likes to help people believe that they’re really in that situation in the room to make the whole experience much more authentic. He has found an 80-90% return rate of customers who wish to try another room one after the other. Oldal had set up PanIQ with his wife Martina, 30, after first encountering escape rooms in his native land- Hungary.
They were the first when they started building their escape room in late 2014. There were five others operating by the time they opened in January 2015.
Nowadays, more than 40 escape rooms are operating across Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, the ACT, and the country Australia. Their rooms vary with different themes and puzzles to solve. The common point is that most operate for either 45 minutes or an hour, costing $30-$40 per player for an hour.
The Australian rooms have really thrilling names, like Ghost Maze, Riddle Room, Vampire Castle, Butcher’s Burrow, Murder at the Winery, Casino Heist, Mausoleum Madness, and even The Lost Scepter of Tutankhamun.
In the Melbourne CBD, Bryan Low’s Interactive Games Australia has, among many other rooms, Safari Jungle, The Vampire Chronicles, The Slaughter House, which promises “mounting terror” as you struggle to figure out the identity of your kidnapper before they can kill you.
Though he gets many groups of friends and family, most of his business comes from corporations like AMP, BP, Ernst & Young, NAB, and ANZ, which use the rooms for team-building among their employees.
Team Building Revolution
By putting two employees in a room who are not normally fond of each other, they can see them open up and start talking and agreeing together in order to escape the room. It helps people to cooperate as well as solve problems on a deadline.
What these ames essentially mtry to do is unite you and your family, who can play at it together. People are now using escape rooms even for birthday parties and celebrations.
The room is usually viewed via CCTV by the game-master who delivers more clues in case the players are making no headway.
Yet while the games tend to test problem-solving skills along with lateral and critical thinking and ingenuity to the forefront while working with a team, and to see how well people react when faced with a stressful deadline, there can unfortunately sometimes be downsides as well.
Oldal says that sometimes participants can be so engrossed in the excitement of the game that they even start destroying the fixtures and fittings, thinking they’re going to find a different way out. He has seen participants trying to dig out a tunnel or on a light-hearted note, seen participants handcuff their own teammate just because they wouldn’t let them enjoy the game!