If you have yet to hear about an escape-room craze sweeping the planet, don’t you worry, it’s not as sinister as the name suggests. This might sound like a kidnapping role-play or horror game, but don’t worry it’s more like the Crystal Maze meets Sherlock Holmes.
An average game is a group of two to six players having 60 minutes to escape a themed room. Each room has it’s own narrative and puzzles, with endless results: 50’s detective rooms, laboratories and even serial killers. Sometimes your team has to solve a murder and escape the room before the suspect returns, or find an artefact or try and discover an antidote before your team all die of radiation poisoning – not literally! The difficulty levels are depending on the creators and for the record, I’ve played four and escape just two; whether or not you escape, there is certainly fun to be had.
I recently visited Bournemouth’s latest escape room and spoke to former product designer Steve, owner of Escape-room Bournemouth. The experience is the most theatrical and professional of any escape room I’ve experienced. From the moment of entry, the players are led into a new world and immersed inside a magical narrative that will delight fans of Harry Potter. The room’s design has much thought and care. One can feel guilty about rummaging through the props and spoiling the scene.
How did you first discover escape rooms and what was your experience like?
“I had no idea about escape-rooms. It was a friends birthday present from his family. We all had a great time; it was really fun; it got me thinking…”
What made you want to make your own?
“I started researching escape rooms and dreamed about what I could do. The ideas brought back so many childhood memories of TV shows and movies I loved growing up; I thought I have to do this.
It’s been just over a year of planning and designing and eight months of building the environments and puzzles. We are only at the start of this new adventure so that time will tell! We hope that everyone will have an amazing experience and really enjoy what we have built.”
How did you decide on the theme and narrative?
“We wanted a theme that could incorporate all the movies, TV shows and books that we love and enjoy and have them blend as a whole. My aim was that each puzzle, prop and part of the environment would enhance the experience each adding layers to the narrative of the story. Some details people may never see, but if they did, they would find more depth, a little secret from the story or extra puzzle hint.
I wanted our escape-room to be a little different from others. We have built the whole experience based on a story. The narrative starts from the booking confirmation and lasts until the end of the experience. The players (or volunteers as we call them) can influence the outcome of their experience with the decisions that they make in the room.
We wanted our experience to be as immersive and theatrical as possible and have a wide variety of puzzles so that each player can have a moment where they are the hero!”
What has been the most satisfying puzzle you created and why?
“That is a tricky question as there are a few that were fun to design and make, but there are others that are really fun to watch people solve. It’s fascinating watching people work out different ways to solve the same puzzle.”
Is there anything that you had to change?
“I think we have changed almost everything once… I find it very hard to stop; I’m always trying to think of ways to seek to improve everything!”
What are your hopes for the industries future and your own?
“As an industry, I hope more and more people find out and want to play escape-rooms. I hope that room owners will try to make the experiences better and better for their players as I love to platy other people’s rooms too!
From my own point of view, let’s hope people come and enjoy what we have built and we can keep building more exciting experiences for people to enjoy.
I’ve enjoyed meeting so many fantastic and enthusiastic people, both other owners, and players alike!”
Thanks Steve for letting us play!
Check out their site here, and watch the video below for an extra insight into what to expect at Escape Room Bournemouth.
Oh yeah, for the record my team and I only just escaped with a few hints – it was so much fun!
Also, use this discount code “HTF10” to recieve a 10% discount.