“Since you’ve played so many, do you ever get bored of room escapes?”
-Someone whose name I cannot remember at the Chicago Room Escape Conference
This question, and different forms of it, have been cropping up. The short answer is “no.” The long answer is a bit more nuanced.
There are more than a few things that we over-experienced players are tired of seeing.
When we walk into a room, Lisa and I can see a lot of game elements coming. We’re rarely surprised by trap doors. We can spot RFID chips that are poorly mounted in the bottoms of objects. We can frequently determine how to approach a puzzle simply by reading the wear and tear on a room.
There is also a host of cliches which we’re all too used to encountering.
What’s been interesting is that for all of the repetition we’ve seen, we’ve also seen so many concepts used in different and unusual ways, which keep things fresh.
There is a ton of creativity in the mid-to-high end escape room market.
One thing that sets experienced players apart from a new players is the ability to recognize brilliance.
An inexperienced player will play a great room and have a good time.
An experienced player will be able to see incredible design for what it is. When we see something amazing, it’s far more special because we know that it’s wonderful.
We have way more fun in an excellent room because of our experience.
On the other end of the spectrum, the low end of the market is far more frustrating than it used to be. The more we play, the more painful it is when we realize that we’re trapped in a poorly crafted game.
The frustration and tedium hit a lot harder than they used to.
It isn’t fun to look at a poorly crafted puzzle and realize that we’re never going to pull together the pieces. Also, in a shitty room, the hints that come after we finally give up on a puzzle are generally as frustrating and tedious as the puzzle was.
Lisa and I are both pretty level individuals, but the more we play, the more the bad games get us down.
So… do you get bored?
It’s rare that rooms are truly boring. We think of enjoyment plotting out more on a graph with axes ranging from frustrated to fun and predicable to fantastic.
Sometimes you really enjoy things because you know about the industry. There was a puzzle I played recently where they had a place to hang all the keys that you’d found. In order to complete the game you had to fill up all the slots at which point it would trigger a mechanism to allow you to retrieve the ultimate goal. The puzzle was obvious and simple. Novices would have found it nothing more than a curiosity but for me it was a moment of brilliance – getting the players to collect up all the keys for the owner and ensure that no one accidentally went home with one in their pocket.
I agree with the rest of what you say too. I can get fatigued by rooms if I play too many in a short space of time (not lots in one day but a small number over an extended period). I stop appreciating things so much. I’ve never got bored of them. I’m constantly amazed and delighted by how pretty much every room seems to have something new.
Yeah, I totally agree with you Ken.