I had noticed many of the friends on my Facebook list checking into a place called “ESC-IT” in the past couple of months. When I clicked on the link to the Facebook page, it was categorized as an “entertainment service”. At first, I thought it was a club, but it was also located uptown in Richmond Hill and I knew that a lot of these friends weren’t into clubbing and especially not in an uptown location so it definitely piqued my interest.
Recently, more and more friends have been checking into this place and commenting on how fun it was. Since then, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to visit this place to see what all the hubbub was about. Finally, I had the chance to try it out this past weekend when I joined several other first-timers at this activity/game centre. 😀
Basically, the premise of the game is simple: You get into a team with up to four other people (you can play in a team of 2-5 people). You pick one of the five themed rooms that are available (I love these themes: Cursed Library, Code War, Bedroom Nightmare, Storage of Secrets, and the brand new Cryptic Cellar). For 45 minutes, you are “trapped” inside the room; the goal of the game is to escape. Cool, right? It’s a real life puzzle based on an electronic app/game! Each room provides various clues and puzzles that you have to solve with your team in order to escape. Critical thinking skills and excellent teamwork are both crucial to escaping together in the allotted time.
My team and I, five people in total, were trapped inside the Code War room. The organizer, upon telling us the back story of the room and before locking us in, informed us that there was an emergency key to come out if we felt claustrophobic at any time (the room was about the size of a tiny bedroom with just enough space to fit a desk and drawers). However, upon leaving the room at any time or asking for help/a clue, we would be considered failures and banned to the “Wall of Shame”. She then put the timer on for 45 minutes and left.
My team consisted of a very outspoken individual who decided to take charge and steer us in her direction of thinking. Whenever these games require teamwork, I am more apt to quickly run through a plan of action and then delegate tasks to each person so that we’re not wasting time.. especially when we only had 45 minutes to solve the clues and to get the number of the lock that trapped us in the room! Long story short, we didn’t use the 45 minutes as productively as I thought we could have since a lot of time was spent deciding how to solve the puzzle in a single method. Despite our best efforts and intentions, we weren’t able to solve the lock combination in time. When we were down to the last 10 minutes, we decided to ask for help — it confirmed that we were going in the right direction, but we still didn’t have enough time in the end to escape. Ah, well. It was a fantastic experience and I definitely had a lot of fun regardless. We took a picture as a team and were put up on the wall. We were apparently 65% close to our goal.
This ESC-IT place is definitely one of the smartest ideas to come around in the recent years. It’s simple yet challenging, involves teamwork on a social level (none of that online/lack of interaction stuff), and fun! It only cost us $14.50 per person to play for 45 minutes. Well worth the money, I think! (Also, what a great business idea on their part! They’re rolling in the dough considering how popular this place is and how little effort is needed to run this place..IMO). I usually like to try things once and then move on to something else, but in this case, this was so fun that I definitely want to return again with a different group of friends to solve a different room. I wonder what the Cursed Library is like? Or what about the new Cryptic Cellar? Hopefully we can avoid the Wall of Shame next time! 😀