Locks as External Memory [Player Tip]

Here’s a simple yet advanced escape room player tip for remembering letters and numbers in games that don’t provide note-taking materials.

Two word locks. One reads "MORE" the other "BRAIN."

The Problem

You’re playing an escape room that requires you to derive letters or numbers one at a time and then recall them for a code. To make matters worse, you aren’t even sure what order these digits will go in.

You haven’t been provided with note-taking materials.

You’ve got digits and you know they are important, but for some reason the game designer believes that this puzzle should also be a memory test.

The Solution

Grab a discarded lock and input the digits that you need to remember. Now you have a portable external memory device. Tote it around with you until the problem is solved.

If you don’t have a used lock, save the digits on an active lock. However, keep these few things in mind if you’re using an active lock as external memory:

  • Communicate to your team what you’re doing. Active locks tend to get shuffled.
  • Remember that the active lock might get solved before the puzzle you’re attempting to save the digits for.

How Often is this Useful?

I can’t say that I have had to do this all that often in the three or so years that this trick has been in my back pocket. However, it’s been especially useful when playing escape rooms with fewer people than the recommended team size.

Earlier this year, Lisa and I played a game where we had to derive a series of 9 digits to input into a keypad. To get to these digits, Lisa solved a logic puzzle and correlated her answers to items spread across a large space. There might have been other steps. I put the first 5 digits in a lock and brought that over to the keypad. After I punched these in, she only had to recite the last 4 digits for me. We were in!

It may not be an every-game trick, but I’ve always been happy to have it when I’ve needed it.

Locks as External Memory is one escape room tactic. For more tips, check out our Player Tips section.

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