A room escape is a puzzle and a fiction that only has to capture you for 60 minutes.
Las Vegas is famously opulent and frivolous. Everything is large, glittery, and glows. It’s mostly venire, but the illusion doesn’t have to last long or withstand scrutiny.
So much potential
Vegas seems the perfect location for a room escape game. It has a rich history of crime, decadence, hedonism that is the stuff of legend, and the basis for some amazing fiction. Take a stroll down the Strip at any hour, and you can find dozens of things to inspire a puzzle based on this manic town.
This is not what I found during our Las Vegas room escape experiences.
“Live [Name] Escape” Las Vegas!
Sunny Las Vegas, Nevada is home to two room escape companies:
- Live Game Escape
- Live Room Escape
I’m not kidding.
Both companies claimed that they were the first to open in Las Vegas.
Really. I’m not joking.
It doesn’t really matter, but I have no idea who is telling the truth.
Passionate game designers
Both of the room escape companies have friendly and passionate designers/owners. I spent a fair amount of time getting to know them. Both of them have designed games that have charm and some unique elements.
They clearly care about their work.
A legal limitation
Las Vegas room escape companies cannot legally lock you in a room; they have to leave a door unlocked for you. It’s the law.
Both companies found reasonable solutions to the problem, but it’s an interesting limitation that they have to work with.
Competition & operating hours
It’s clear to me that both Live Game Escape and Live Room Escape see one another as their competition, and they are correct.
What I don’t think they realize is that they are also competing with everything on the Strip.
Both companies open in the mid afternoon (3 or 4pm) and stay open late. They are 10 to 15 minutes by car off the Strip (and work very hard at customer service to make up for this).
This means they are competing with dinner reservations, shows, casino games, and your debauchery of choice.
This is the core problem with these games. I am about as rabid a room escape fan as you’re ever going to find, and when faced with the choice between seeing Penn & Teller, Cirque Du Soleil, dinner at the SW Steakhouse, or one of Vegas’ room escapes, the room escapes are losing the battle for my time and money.
I had planned to escape another room or two on Monday, but after trying both companies, decided to go see a Cirque show and eat a steak instead. I just didn’t feel like venturing off the strip later in the day when there were so many wonderful things within walking distance of my hotel.
Step it up
As harsh as this sounds, this is not coming from a bad place. I’m pointing this out because I want these companies to step their games up.
When I come back to this town, I want to play some unique, interesting, Vegas themed games.
I so wanted to love these rooms.
Here are the reviews of the two Las Vegas games we played:
Update June 14, 2015 – Live Room Escape has renamed itself, “Countdown Live Escape Game.”