Get Away From It All! (Then Find Your Way Back.)
Has the global pandemic caused you to never again want to deal with being stuck in a confined space?
Hold on there; consider the wonders of an escape room.
They are fun, frustrating – and addictive. I recently read The Escape Room by Megan Goldin just because of the title. It was a fun read that begins at the end with deaths you discover in advance as you jump back and forth. And the stakes in this escape room are quite a bit more critical than the norm.
Like any good story, an actual escape room puts you into a themed room with a backstory, a goal, and a time limit. (But fortunately, no actual deaths.) In order to win, there are many tasks that must be completed. Part of the fun can be working with a group of people – co-workers, family, friends, or strangers.
While I can’t say that “everything I needed to know I learned in an escape room,” there are life lessons to be found:
- Good escape rooms provide a variety of tests. So does life. Learning different strategies can help overcome what life throws at you.
- Anything can be important. In an escape room it may be the key to solving a puzzle. In life, it can be an experience, a meal, a memento, or just appreciating the day.
- Two (or more) heads are better than one. A group can offer a variety of perspectives. Plus, both life and escape rooms can be easier and more fun with friends.
- Hints help. When you’re at the end of your rope, there are often clues available to help you along. It goes to show you that mercy and grace are important – and that it never hurts to ask for assistance. (Libraries are good for finding answers, too!)
Escape rooms take a variety of forms:
Physical rooms. My first escape room took place on a rainy afternoon in Knoxville. Since then I’ve tried (and usually been successful) in escaping rooms across the Show-Me State in Columbia, Branson, and Kansas City as well. As these reopen again, read about their history and strategies at theescapegame.com/blog/what-is-an-escape-room . For a directory of escape rooms in the United States, visit worldofescapes.com.
Kits and games. Many libraries, including this one, offer escape room programs for those on the lookout.
You can purchase an escape room kit for groups or couples or subscribe to regularly receive them (see CrateJoy options ranging from $15 to $36.67 per month). Reviews can be found at escapeadventurer.com.
Or, try a board games such as Escape Room the Game, Unlock!, and EXIT.
Books. Escape room-themed books often require you to write, fold and otherwise interact with them, so these are best purchased. Examples of some of the more popular titles include Journal 29, Trip 1907, and Codex Enigmatum.
Online. Online escape rooms – such as Neutral Escape Games, Escape the Prison, and The Crimson Room (some require Flash) can be found at escapefan.com and makeuseof.com/tag/ultimate-list-escape-room-games. Or download an app like Can You Escape the 100 Room, or 50 Rooms, or more listed at techwiser.com/best-escape-games-apps. These require clever clicks and puzzle solving.
Alternatively, a library created a Hogwarts-themed digital escape room in four hours using Google Forms that has received more than 150,000 hits worldwide. You can find other examples, courtesy of The Verge.
Whatever form your escape takes – and there are plenty of options – remember to have fun.