I recently finished a fascinating book, The Happiness Hack, by Ellen Petry Leanse. While it never mentions “Escape Rooms”, it does focus on happiness and our brain. The author recognizes just how detrimental our addiction to our electronic devices is killing our happiness. Fortunately, she also sheds some light on activities that can and does increase our overall happiness.
So now that we have run almost 1,000 rooms as “game masters”, we have compiled a list of personal observations that we thought were interesting, and somewhat entertaining. Most of these gaffes or fails could easily be avoided by watching the intro video, reading the overly large waiting room sign, and listening to the slightly redundant host speech prior to gameplay (I say redundant because everything we say has already been covered by the video or the sign). Here goes:
After now running an “escape room” business for just over a year, we were thinking about why people enjoy these types of activities so much. It can’t just be the tension of trying to “escape” from a locked room, because (spoiler alert)… in our three different rooms at Quandary, you are not locked in any of the rooms. Yes, there is certainly positive stress created from having to accomplish a mission or achieve a goal within the time constraint of an hour (or for those who reserve two rooms, playing against another “team”).
This adage applies to many things, but in this post, we are focusing on your brain. In a prior blog, we discussed how the brain is a like a muscle that responds positively to exercise — at any age. As we mature, this becomes even more important. When we were younger, we had to learn and acquire various skills, such as learning to speak, learning to walk, riding a bicycle, and so on. As we matured, the skill sets continued: learning to play a sport or an instrument, typing on a keyboard, driving a vehicle, etc.
While we recognize it is every business owner’s responsibility to try to make his or her customers happy, there are certain things escape room players can do to make their experience as fun as possible.
I have noticed a recent trend in the promotion of websites, books and magazines devoted to the subject of exercising the brain in an effort to retain mental acuity over a longer period of time. While usually geared toward seniors, recent studies have shown how the benefits apply universally — that is to say not just limited to older folks, but across the board. Like any other muscle in the body, the brain needs regular positive stimulation in order to keep it at peak efficiency, not to mention longevity.
According to the website Room Escape Artist, there were 22 escape rooms in the United States at the end of 2014. By mid 2015, the number quadrupled to over 100. By the end of 2015, it quadrupled again to over 450. As of mid 2016, it had doubled to over 900! Who knows just how many there are as we approach the midpoint of 2017, but there is no denying the increasing popularity of this phenomena.
The term “red herring” gets thrown around quite a bit in the escape room (ER) business, and, like pornography, everyone seems to have a different definition and opinion of it. The history of the term red herring is quite old; internet legend claims when our early settlers hunted, they would leave red herring along their trail because the strong smell would confuse wolves, hence creating “a false trail.”
Having had the benefit of watching many groups go through our rooms, it’s been interesting to see the difference between the teams that are successful and the teams that are not. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when playing…