Video Introductions For Room Escapes [Design Thoughts]

Video intros: Some escape games have them; most don’t.

Should they be more common?

Pre-Game Information

The pregame message is important:

It includes safety instructions and sets the boundaries of play. At worst, players who don’t understand these instructions will get hurt. But more often, they simply won’t have fun… And they’ll probably break stuff.

The pregame message also introduces the story for the game (if there is one), and it eases the players into the immersive experience.

Should a game open with a video?

Yes: the case for videos

We focus when a video plays; we stop talking, stop fiddling, and pay attention. As long the video doesn’t contain airplane safety instructions, videos effectively convey information. Videos standardize information regardless of locations and staff members.

No: the case for human interaction

We experience increasingly few personal interactions, but a real-life, not-in-front-of-a-computer game demands human contact. A personal introduction conveys enthusiasm and passion, and establishes a personal connection.

Video intro guidelines

A successful video introduction should be the professionally edited quality that we’ve come to expect from our screens… However it should never be the high point of the game. If your video intro is cooler than the experience, then you’ve made a terrible mistake.

The bottom-line

Ultimately, an escape game allows players to experience a different world; a room escape is about physical interaction, mental engagement, and human contact.

Either form of introduction is the teaser not the experience. Choose what fits.

2 thoughts on “Video Introductions For Room Escapes [Design Thoughts]

  1. It’s funny you should bring this up, because I was just blogging about an escape room that I went to the other day that used video in a very disappointing way. In their case it was because the video told a background story that we’d just been told by the host…, and the video lacked any excitement.

    I’ve only seen two uses of video intros in the fifteen rooms I’ve visited. One was in a TV studio escape room, the other in a cinema related escape room. I think that’s the right formula – you need to make them fit with the theme of the room. I definitely wouldn’t want to watch a “here’s the instructions for playing an escape room” video unless you could make it part of a larger video sequence (e.g. one that gives the back story to the room).

    In the end, if you need a host to watch and give clues, then I’d argue that you might as well get them to present the intro EXCEPT there are a lot of hosts that are mediocre, so maybe I don’t really believe that…

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    1. I think you’ve come to much the same conclusions that we have. This hadn’t been a topic on our radar, but after we saw a few very different video intros, it seemed worth a discussion. I’m glad to hear that others have had similar reactions. It should be interesting to see whether this becomes a proliferating trend in the industry or remains restricted to particular design situations.

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