2016 Golden Lock-In Awards

2016 RoomEscapeArtist.com Golden Lock-In Award - golden ring around the REA logo turned into a lock.

We played and reviewed 152 room escapes in 2016.

These 13 rooms are the games that we wish we could play again.

There is no such thing as the perfect escape room, but these are the ones that still make us smile long after we escaped.

That isn’t to say the 139 other games we played were bad; many of them were great too.

In the end we considered 20 games for the award and these 13 rose to the top.


    1. We only considered games that we both personally played in 2016.
    1. We both had to agree to award the room the Golden Lock-In. (We did not consider either The Basement or Palace Games because only one of us visited these companies.)
    1. We established no arbitrary minimum or maximum number of rooms that could appear on the list.
  1. A company could only win once for the year.

2016 Golden Lock-In Winners

Listed chronologically in the order in which we played them.

Escape the 1980s

Steel Owl Room Adventures – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The bubblegum pop of escape games, Escape the 1980s felt like a living museum. It was brimming with joy, nostalgia, and VHS tapes.

Senator Payne

60 Out Escape Rooms – Los Angeles, California

With a killer ending that remains one of our favorite escape room moments, Senator Payne felt like living an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In Memoriam

The Enigma Room – Sydney, Australia

The only tender escape room we’ve ever come across, In Memoriam was full of feels and femininity in this largely masculine genre.

The Vanishing Act

Locurio – Seattle, Washington

Intrigue, magic, and superb puzzles: Locurio’s homegrown yet polished mystery started simple and escalated to a dramatic conclusion.

Firefighter Rescue

Escape From The 6 – Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Created by an actual firefighter, Firefighter Rescue managed to entertain, haze, and teach us a thing or two in this massive two-story adventure.


Escape Games Canada – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Beautifully designed and constructed, Escape Games Canada’s foreboding technological marvel was a psychological thriller with choice and consequence.

The Alchemist

Insomnia Escape Β – Washington, DC

This mystical heist elegantly wove puzzles throughout an intricate environment without losing the thread of gameplay. Clever technology and game design showed us a memorable adventure.

The Experiment

Escape Games NYC – New York, New York

Far more than a blank white room, The Experiment hid all manner of cleverness in its seemingly simple design.

Mystery of the Magician’s Study

Boxaroo – Boston, Massachusetts

Tricksy and theatrical, Boxaroo adapted stage magic principles to toy with our senses as we solved their mystery.

Shelter R

Brooklyn Escape Room – Brooklyn, New York

This video game-inspired, post-apocalyptic adventure was light on puzzles, but heavy on atmosphere and badass moments.

The Hex Room

Cross Roads Escape Games – Anaheim, California

The Hex Room cast six players as different horror film archetypes. Cross Roads innovatively blurred the line between team and solo gameplay by adding a heavily individualized element.


Countdown – Los Angeles, California

Countdown married elements of horror with escape room-style puzzling to create something that will satisfy both thrill-seekers and adventure puzzlers.

Gangster’s Gamble

Team vs Time – Berlin, Connecticut

It wasn’t just the room that felt like it was lifted from 1952; the experience that Team vs Time built around the game truly sold the drama.

Congratulations to the 2016 Golden Lock-In Winners!


  1. 152 room escapes in one year? (Hello, Mr. Ripley?) I would tell you guys to get a life, but I know you actually have lives, and rich ones. Happy 2017!

  2. Wow, so many rooms. (I am proud to say we did exactly half of what you guys did though!) Thanks for this list, the only one we have been to is the Alchemist, which is still our #1 favorite room. You just gave me 12 more must sees (well, probably not getting to Australia anytime soon though…) Look forward to next year’s list!

  3. I’m amazed and envious, but not envious in an evil way, just in an, “I want to tag along with you guys” kind of way. Curious how you two can afford to travel so much (maybe you are internet billionaires, haha?). I traveled to one escape room last month an hour away, and the cost of the room, gas and dinner alone made me cringe. πŸ™‚

    1. We do this on a fairly low budget. We both travel for work with each other and tack on days.

      Most of our other travel this year was for friend’s weddings… which we then turn into escape room fests.

      And three of the winners were from our honeymoon. That was special and extravagant travel.

      1. Have you visited any rooms in the suburbs of DC? We have one in Leesburg, VA that we would love you to come see.

      2. Kathryn, we haven’t played a ton of games outside of Washington, DC, but we hope to later this year.

  4. Oh so cool! As owners ourselves, it’s now nearly impossible for us to travel until we get a staff we can trust with keys, alarm codes and major management decisions. One day, though. Maybe Russia and Hungary – you guys want to come with? πŸ™‚

    1. Would love to. There are so many places we’d love to visit for escape rooms, food, history, architectural and natural wonders.

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