Wouldn’t it be fun to get locked in a room with nine of your co-workers for the night? No, probably not. But what if it also involved solving cryptic clues to try and secure your freedom? Now you’ve got a game.
Escape the room” games have been a sensation in Japan and China for years, but New York City has only embraced the craze this year — and now it’s taking off. Obviously, Metro had to round up a group of volunteers to try it out.
We visited Escape the Room NYC, run by the mysterious Victor Blake, a math major who went on to work in finance before giving up his career to pursue the world of real-life gaming. Blake has several rooms running at any given time, suitable for various group sizes, with multiple themes, all regularly updated to keep things fresh.
Our group consisted of 10 people, a mix of friends and colleagues and their dates. Blake tells us that it’s better to have a “self-selecting crowd,” since corporate team-building events usually include “that one guy sulking because he voted for karaoke (again) and was outnumbered (again).” In fact, Blake reveals, it’s even better when the groups comprise random ticket-buyers. “Friends have power dynamics established,” Blake tells us. “People listen more when they don’t know each other.”
Once we arrived at the nondescript address we were assigned, we went upstairs to meet up with the gamekeepers, who took most of our possessions for safe-keeping (and lack of distraction). Then we were locked inside of a small office space with only one door leading to the outside world. Once we were inside, that door was locked and the clock started. Our group had one hour to riddle our way to freedom — or not.