I moderated a panel of international escape room owners at ERIC 2019.
The panel consisted of 6 creators from many of Europe’s most renowned escape room companies (and some of my personal favorites):
- Chris Lattner (The Room/ Berlin, Germany)
- Dmitri Varelas (Paradox Project/ Athens, Greece)
- Lukas Rauscher (Crime Runners/ Vienna, Austria)
- Sheena Patel (Time Run & Sherlock: The Game is Now/ London, UK)
- Tomáš Kučva (The Chamber/ Prague, Czech Republic)
- Victor van Doorn (Sherlocked/ Amsterdam, Netherlands)
In the middle of the mostly unplanned conversation, a question popped into my mind:
“Raise your hand if you think record-setting teams have more fun in your games?”None of them raised their hands.
Savoring The Moment
There is a type of escape game that I really believe is best savored.
We mentioned this recently in our review of Rabbit Hole’s Mystic Temple. After realizing what we were playing, we slowed down quite a bit for Rabbit Hole’s second game, Paradox. Sometimes a game has so much detail that the optimal experience is to slow down and take it all in.
This can be a tough transition because we’re encouraged to move quickly by timers and escape room tradition.
I’m not going to tell you how to play your games. If you want to blaze through things, by all means, do it.
That said, I’ve been on many record-setting teams and I find that there’s a hollowness to it when the game was truly special. I can’t help but look back and wish that I had made more of the time rather than put up a good time.
I think that we’re going to start noting this in our “reaction” section.
For An Overview of ERIC
Our friend Stefan from the escape room blog Two Bears Life wrote up a lovely overview of ERIC 2019. I recommend checking it out.
Thank you for sharing this insight.
To be honest, as a game master, I prefer hosting newbies or those who run rooms just for fun. They have a much better time and give themselves over to the experience more than an enthusiast who is either using a critical eye, or trying to beat 9 games in one day, or wanting to set a record.
The architect of our game center is not only an artist, but a Dungeons and Dragons game master. The entire center, including our lobby, has a backstory that most enthusiasts miss.
I believe the reason for the growing popularity of escape rooms is the opportunity to safely escape from reality for a little while, and to share that experience with family and friends.
Those are the guests that not only have the most fun, but are the most fun to host.
One of the interesting things about creating is that you don’t get to say in how people will experience your games. From our own perspective, sometimes we’re the people binging on many games in a day. Sometimes we’re the people out for a relaxing evening of one game and a nice dinner with good friends. We always try to take in the full experiences, but sometimes we do this more successfully than other times. We hope with this piece, we’ve encouraged a few more people to slow down and enjoy your full game center and all you’ve created.