Livin’ On A Prayer at Hughes High
Location: New York City, NY
Date Played: October 21, 2018
Team size: 6
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $40 – 100 per player (the event was a fundraiser)
What’s Going On?
Time of Your Life: An 80s Prom Escape Room was a hybrid immersive theater/ escape game put on as a fundraiser for EMIT.
Educational Mobile Immersive Theatre (EMIT) is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing immersive theatre experiences to all learners.
Upon arriving, we were treated to candy, 80s pop music, and conversation with Susie, an excitable and devoted member of the prom. Once the party was in full swing, Kimberly, the prom queen, informed us how much she hated all of us… and that she had boobytrapped the school. If we couldn’t solve her game and prove that we were smarter than she thought we were, we would die at prom.
From there, we broke off into teams based on the color of our glow bracelets and started puzzling with one of the show’s characters as our guide through Hughes High.
Time of Your Life had humor and heart.
This event took us through 4 stations where we spent 8 minutes puzzling on each challenge. When the bell rang, we had a couple of minutes passing time in the hallway while we were ushered to the next station.
Each puzzle presented a good group challenge and solved a portion of the final puzzle. These were real and fair puzzles; it was possible to fail at them.
The biggest issue we encountered in gameplay was an unevenness in the puzzle complexity, which threw off the pacing. A pair of the puzzles could easily take the full 8 minutes. We cracked another puzzle in about a minute. The third puzzle fell somewhere in the middle.
From an aesthetic standpoint, there wasn’t a lot going on. There were 4 spaces (gymnasium, science lab, library, & office). While each space included a few props to represent the set, it was ultimately a collection of bar tables and chairs. If you’re playing escape rooms for the set, this one will be a hard pass.
Finally, the performers were fantastic improvisors. They kept things silly and amusing. They rolled with whatever the players threw at them.
Time of Your Life wasn’t a fancy party; it was a humble and funny performance with a handful of solid puzzles. If that sounds like an alluring combination, and you’re the kind of person who’s happy to buy a more expensive ticket to support a good cause and some lovely folks… then keep an eye out for the next remount. We hear that an encore is in the cards.
If we were going to do it again, we’d probably go in costume. I’m still not sure why we didn’t think to dress the part.