We thought we might learn a few things on our recent trip to the big O. We did, but, it's not what we expected.
We had some family going to see the Mouse for a few days so Jen and I took off for Orlando to see them and do some escaping. When we play escape rooms, we usually try and hit the "small" shops. That is to say, we like to give our business to the "mom and pop" escape rooms out there. That's for a few reasons, #1 that's what we are and that's what we like to support, #2 it's usually a better experience overall. See if you own it, your heart and soul is usually in every drop of it, and that makes the visit better overall. You also get to meet the owners most times and chat with them about business and the like. Heck, maybe even make new friends.
Well we broke from our norm this time and hit some of the "Big Players" in the escape room world. You know those mega escape room companies with locations through out the country. It was...kind of a mistake. A mistake in one sense, a learning/reassuring experience in another.
We've done quite a few escape rooms so when we pick random games to play, we look for things you don't see everywhere. They are usually little things we notice in the descriptions or reviews. We've never done a room where "X" happens before, that kind of thing. With that in mind, we chose two rooms at two different "Big Players" on two different days.
Day #1: Big Escape Room A
Just Jen and I in this room. The scenery was really good, there was a logic leap or two but overall, a pretty good room. It didn't blow our minds or anything but it was fun and kept the two of us busy for most of the hour.
As we finish the game, we realize something strange. From the beginning, through the rooms story, we were told that there were several of two types of items that were really important. We found those items in different places through out the game and carried them with us thinking they were going to be key to solving the final puzzle. One of the sets of items was unusual in that each one was magnetic, normally they wouldn't be magnetic so we figured those were super important. Guess what, none of those items did anything or had any sort of importance in any way shape or form! I hesitate to call them red-herrings but. Nope never-mind one of those sets was a huge red-herring and towards the end we could have wasted a bunch of time trying to work with them based on other things in the room that related. Thankfully we didn't or I would have been less than thrilled. More on red-herrings later.
This room was the real reason we came to this place. The room was reported to be loaded with tech and it's stated to have "0 locks used". Again, great scenery. This time Jen and I were joined by a nice lady and three young boys...see how I said the lady was nice and only mentioned the boys were young, can you see where this is going? Let's just say that this was not a good "playing with strangers" experience. I think the design of the room played into this quite a bit. Due to all the tech and the way it was laid out, it was very much a stand directly in one spot and figure it out while entering the solution in the same spot. Most of the "puzzles" were done in a way that no more than one person could be involved in even attempting to help with the solution at any given time. So lots of tech, yes, no locks....eh, no pad locks but..... More on non-private games and making claims that aren't exactly true later.
Check back in a few days and we'll sum up our day at Big Escape Room B. Then we'll go over what we learned as both players and owners, I mean I'll rant about some things.
Keep on escaping!
Ryan and Jen