Escape Room Design Links from That Guy With The Puzzles

Brett Kuehner, also known as That Guy With The Puzzles, maintains a modest-looking website at www.thatguywiththepuzzles.com. Behind the link labeled Escape Room Design Links lies a gold mine of information about escape room design.

Homepage of Brett Kuehner's That Guy With The Puzzles website includes a list of links and a photo of many beautiful puzzle boxes.

A basic Google doc contains more than 110 links to articles, books, and blog posts from many different authors. These cover everything from general game design to escape room tech, hinting, and playtesting. The breadth and depth of relevant information all in one place is really remarkable. This is a valuable resource that more people need to know about.

There is something for escape room designers of all levels. Some of the sections include:

  • General Escape Design Principles
  • Puzzle Design
  • Problematic Themes
  • Design Process
  • Escape Rooms in Education
  • Immersion and Narrative
  • Videogame Design and Storytelling
  • Technology
  • Fabrication
  • Puzzle Creation
  • Puzzle Examples
  • Accessibility in Escape Rooms

I asked Brett a bit about his collection.

What is the purpose or goal for maintaining this list of resources?

Brett Kuehner: I do escape room design, tech for control systems, and teach classes on design, so I do a lot of research. When discussions on these topics came up, I found myself recommending the same articles again and again. It made sense to make a single location for that information, and it makes it simpler for me to share. I think it is helpful to have a curated list. I only add things that I’ve read and which I think are high in information content.

How do you find all of these different posts and articles? 

Brett Kuehner: I follow a bunch of Discords, Facebook groups, and blogs. Plus I do searches for information on various topics when I’m working on a project or a lesson.

Why do you use the simple Google doc format?

Brett Kuehner: It is the lowest-overhead way for me to make the information available. I can add a new item in seconds, and readers can make comments and suggest additions using the standard Google docs interface. 

Brett Kuehner: The “Puzzle Design” section is a favorite, especially the articles by Errol Elumir and Rita Orlov. They are both thoughtful and experienced puzzle designers, and I learn a lot from reading (and playing!) their work.

Brett Kuehner: Another section I want to draw attention to is “Immersion and Narrative.” I think most designers agree that the way forward in escape-style games involves a much greater focus on immersive storytelling. I suspect many designers would also agree that it is a hard thing to achieve, and that we all need to learn more about immersive techniques. Haley ER Cooper (of Strange Bird Immersive) has written some terrific articles about how Strange Bird accomplishes this in their room The Man From Beyond.

Brett is actively seeking more articles for the collection, so feel free to suggest additions by commenting in the document or emailing him at brett@thatguywiththepuzzles.com

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