Unscheduled New Thing: The Live Escape Room

If you've never thought about taking several of your friends and paying good money to spend an hour locked in a room together, you should probably reconsider. Because, it turns out, it's actually a really good idea.

There's a new thing- maybe it's a fad, but hopefully not because it's super fun- sweeping the nation (so cheesy, had to say it): Live Escape Rooms. I've never been one for video games but allegedly that's where it started- kind of a video game brought to life, maybe? In any case, yes. Live Escape Rooms. It's a game. You're locked in a room and you have a set amount of time to, well, escape. There are clues, riddles, and puzzles to solve. There might even be math. It sounds kind of weird, and I guess it is, but it's so fun!

My friends and I went last week to the one in town. Oh my gosh you guys, it's totally like you're Nancy Drew or something. The person in charge...let's call her the game master, because it sounds cool, explained the rules to us- No cell phones. There's nothing in the couch. Don't tear anything up.- and we were off. 60 minutes to figure out who murdered the starlet, how, and at what time.

It's hard to know what's important, because there are so many things that might be clues. 2 clocks, both stopped, both set to different times. Do we need to know that? Maybe! Better write it down. There's a phone number written in this book, with a name. Is that important, or just what happens when you buy random set pieces from Bookmans? Is that just a price tag on the bottom of the chair, or will those numbers be the combination to open that locked drawer? At first we were careful, not totally sure what we were looking for. Books were flipped through and placed neatly back onto the shelf, art was examined and hung back in its proper spot on the wall. Then we solved the first puzzle- I think we used some numbers to open a combination lock which led to a key which opened something else, and we realized, TIME IS WASTING!, at which point we stopped trying to maintain order and got down to business.

I'm having a hard time explaining to you how fun this is, or why, even. I don't think that we were particularly clever- we had to use all 3 of our free hints, plus maybe one or two bonus hints- and we still made it out with only a minute to spare. There's just something about the whole experience- the momentum of one clue leading to another and then another, of everything coming together at the last minute, and then the frantic mad dash to get the right combination to the last lock as the clock winds down- that is unlike any other activity. At least any other activity that's legal, affordable, and can be squeezed in on a weeknight after work and when it's 110 degrees outside.

In the end, we solved the crime, we escaped, we got the souvenir magnets and took the photos with the props. And now we can never, ever go back. Because we know the answer, after all! But you can go. And you should. I really think it's good for everyone. Well, some might be scary, although ours was not. Oh, and the one we went to allowed groups of up to 8 people, which I think is about 4 people more than should really be crammed into a little room. So these are details you might need to look into, but anyway. Yes. Escape Rooms. Do it. You won't be sorry.

Unless you can't escape, I guess. Then you might be sorry. Most likely you'll just be sad that you're not a clever Nancy Drew-type like my friends and I, but still. Worth it.


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