Further to my last post about using game mechanics in events, exhibitions etc I should really talk about Escape Rooms, a craze that has been gaining popularity over the past few years.
Escape Rooms are also known as Escape Games, Locked Room Games and Exit Games. The idea is that a team of 2-5 people are locked in a room and it's their task to escape within an hour. The rooms are usually themed, such as a prison cell, and are full of clues which may or may not aid escape. The team has to decipher puzzles to open combination locks, answer riddles to find the whereabouts of keys and a whole host of other puzzles.
From the humble begnings of literally being trapped in a room with lots of puzzles to solve, the trend in creating an Escape Room is now to make them as immersive as possible, creating an overwhelming experience to provide the ultimate escapism for an hour or so while telling a story. As you can see, there is an obvious overlap here with my work and I am already working with clients within this industry. I am also toying around with the idea of creating my own Escape Room, giving me the excuse to indulge in some weird and wonderful ideas I have been thinking about for a while now…
The striking thing about playing Escape Games is how they make you feel. Players become animated and excited, feverishly exploring things and even trying to take things apart that are not designed to be disassembled, all in the name of winning the game! Even if your team doesn’t manage to escape though, the aftermath of the experience is filled with elation and excitement as everybody excitedly shares their experiences. This excitement also continues beyond the team as they become a kind of game ambassador, telling everybody they meet that they must take part, spreading the word without prompt and harnessing the power of positive word-of-mouth.
As you can imagine these games are popular as team-building exercises within the corporate world as well as companies using the idea of escape games for their promotional value - check out this example from Ford.
As well as being releavnt to marketing activities, the idea of Escape Rooms is valuable to anyone who creates spaces they want people to gain something from. Game elements (or even a full-blown Escape Room) can be added to any event or exhibition to get people thinking about a brand, theme or period of history. As I've talked about many times before, people emotionally invest in space they can interact with and the endorphins such games produces boosts any communication, whether it's for marketing, an event or a museum. Now my circle of collaborators includes game designers, this is somehting I can offer alongside my usual services.
So, if you are yet to visit an Escape Room and are curious of the effect they have on people, I thoroughly recommend giving it a go - you wont look back! Check out this website to find one near you.