Juliet Bennett Rylah reviews escape rooms in one of the country’s hottest markets: Los Angeles.
As a writer for LAist.com (Los Angeles’ sister site to New York’s gothamist.com), Juliet has covered room escapes on three separate occasions:
- Get Locked in a Room for Fun: 6 Real Life Escape Games in Los Angeles, December 2014
- Escape Games: More Rooms to get Locked in for Fun, April 2015
- Even More L.A. Escape Rooms for You to Solve, December 2015
Once she started playing, the companies started opening faster than she could visit and they started asking to be reviewed (problems we can relate to).
We recently spoke with Juliet about how she found escape rooms, why she keeps playing, and why LAist keeps letting her write about them.
How did you find your way into escape rooms?
The escape room industry borders other forms of entertainment: video games, tabletop games, theater, and haunts, to name a few.
While covering Halloween events for LAist back in 2014, Juliet came across Trapped in a Room with a Zombie. She had a really fun time as this not-so-scary zombie tried to thwart her puzzle solving.
The puzzles differentiated it from typical horror events she would cover, but she has always enjoyed point and click puzzle games, and this genre tied these interests together.
She was hooked, so she looked for more games like it.
What makes a good escape room?
Juliet’s top criteria for an escape rooms:
(1) The puzzles make sense and there is a logical flow. The game is not purposely misleading – unless there is a reason for it.
(2) The game is well produced. Not everyone has the money for over the top production, but on any budget, good games have a solid theme, story, and set pieces that fit the narrative.
(3) The game is fun!
What are your favorite types of escape rooms?
Juliet’s favorite games still return to her roots: horror themes.
She finds that horror-themed games are generally more immersive.
In a truly immersive game, the players spend an hour as part of the world of the game. These are the best experiences the industry has to offer.
Having spent a fair amount of time in Halloween experiences, which often succeed in a gritty, bare bones form, Juliet stresses that these games don’t need to be big budget productions.
Why does LAist cover escape rooms?
People really got into the LAist immersive Halloween stuff. People had fun in experiences where they could suspend their reality for a little while and scare themselves. They wanted to find more.
There was interest there; the people kept clicking.
With Juliet’s first escape room roundup, and the subsequent reviews, LAist could steer its readers toward these new games, and specifically to the ones they would enjoy most.
If people keep clicking and sharing on escape room content, then she’ll keep getting a green light to write about them.
And the people are clicking. They aren’t only interested in Halloween activities; they are also interested in straight-up escape rooms. Her first article on escape rooms is one of the most read pieces from the last year.
Juliet tells us that escape rooms need to be a labor of love. They need to be fun. The games that aren’t will turn people off from this whole industry.
She stresses that it’s ok for the games to be inexpensive, and set up quickly with purchased puzzles, as long as they are fun. And while she is pushing for the industry to grow, because escape rooms can be so much more than a simple setup, the growth shouldn’t lose track of the end goal.
Juliet continues to play these games because she has fun.
She continues to write about them so that others have fun.
People keep clicking on her stories in order to find that fun.