Fun then thought-provoking.
Location: New York City, NY
Date Played: July 17, 2019
Duration: 45 minutes
Price: free (limited availability)
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Risa Puno is a skilled creator of unusual, purposeful games. She’s also an escape room player. These traits immediately emerged when we first interviewed Risa about her Creative Time-supported project, The Privilege of Escape. Risa didn’t choose the escape room format because it was trendy. She selected it because she liked the medium and wanted to do something special with it.
Nevertheless, we were a little skeptical that The Privilege of Escape would find a non-threatening, inoffensive way to demonstrate its thesis. It would have been easy to create a game that worked only for individuals who accepted its premise at the onset. We’ve experienced a lot of mediocre immersive theatre that falls into this “preaching to the choir” rut.
The Privilege of Escape avoided this trap. It elegantly demonstrated its thesis.
As an escape room, The Privilege of Escape had a fantastic variety of puzzles, locks, and technology. The set had a clean yet unique look. The experience included in-character staff. Above all, it was entertaining and challenging.
The Privilege of Escape‘s premise was that we entered a study conducted by “The Institute.” We were split into two groups. The groups raced against each other to complete the challenges. Saying more – or any deeper critique – would spoil too much.
When all was said and done, the game’s intent and thesis became clear. It leaned heavily on show rather than tell; that’s why it worked… that and it was free. This would not be a commercially viable concept.
This was a smart game on so many levels. When its run concludes, I look forward to breaking down in more detail how and why this experience worked (and a couple of things that could have been improved upon).
If you could get tickets (and at this point you probably cannot), you absolutely should experience The Privilege of Escape.
Tips For Visiting
- Parking: It’s Midtown Manhattan; use public transit.
- When you enter the address, walk to the center of the building and down a flight of stairs to find The Institute.
Book your hour with Creative Time’s The Privilege of Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.