REPOD S4E1 – Reconnecting with RECON

We’re kicking off Season Four of Reality Escape Pod with a RECON Boston recap! David and Peih-Gee are joined by Lisa Spira and Theresa Wagner. RECON was an incredibly special event with brilliant talks, amazing lobby parties, and some very special escape rooms. Magic was definitely in the air.

man and woman smiling together, both in purple shirts in front of a decorative bookcase with the recon logo. There are also framed images of a smiling young woman, and a smiling asian woman.

We recap the talks from industry leaders and discuss the amazing ARG (alternate reality game) created especially for RECON. David and Lisa give us insight on some of the aspects designed to help the convention run more smoothly. We look back fondly on the lobby parties, and Peih-Gee talks about her nefarious goal of making David cry at RECON (and how it backfired). We listen to voicemails from attendees, discuss our top secret special guest, and replay his incredible imitation of David.

RECON was truly a magical experience, judging by the response from attendees. It was a celebration of the escape room community, an experiment, and a knowledge share… We look forward to making more RECON magic in the future.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

We are immensely grateful to our sponsors this season: Morty App, World Escape Room Championship (ER Champ), and Buzzshot. We truly appreciate your support of our mission to promote and improve the immersive gaming community.

Morty

Morty is a free app for discovering, planning, tracking, and reviewing your escape rooms and other immersive social outings.

Special Badge for REPOD listeners:

You can learn more at MortyApp.com/REPOD to sign up and get a special badge for our listeners (works for existing users also).

Logo for the Escape Room Championship. white trophy with a red star over it against the background of a blue shield. there is a grey padlock outlined in red at the bottom

World Escape Room Championship (ER Champ)

ER Champ is a global competition for escape room players.

Details:

  • Held virtually this year
  • Free Entry
  • Elimination round on November 5, 2022
  • Each member of the winning team will receive a Nintendo Switch Lite
Buzzshot logo featuring a rounded square with a white "Z" surrounded by stylized z shaped graphics

Buzzshot

Buzzshot is ‘Customer Satisfaction Software’ for your escape room business. Streamline your marketing and grow your escape room business with pregame and postgame features including robust waiver management, branded team photos, and integrated review management.

Special Discount for REPOD listeners:

Use our link when booking a demo for 20% off your first three months.

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • David talks about the new recording equipment we invested in for the podcast. [2:43]
  • David and Peih-Gee talk about this podcast season’s theme: featuring escape room creators from different countries. They give a teaser for some of the upcoming guests. [3:36]
  • RECON Boston Recap: RECON is an escape room convention for owners, creators, and enthusiasts. [8:27]
  • Lisa shares the story of why they chose Boston and why they capped the event at 250 people. [9:05]
  • David talks about how two of the larger events, Level 99 and 100 Earth Days didn’t even exist when they were planning the original RECON. [10:27]
  • Theresa talks about why Boston was an ideal location for an escape room convention. [11:17]
  • David talks about some of the experimental risks they took when planning the format of RECON. Some of these included different types of games, having fewer speakers, and asking their speakers to take a few unusual approaches to their talks. [13:36]
  • David talks about Caro Murphy, who did a session on acting for participation. [15:23]
  • Lisa and Peih-Gee talk about how they noticed participants incorporating some of the techniques they just learned during the convention. [16:55]
  • David discusses Haley and Cameron Cooper of Strange Bird Immersive, who did a talk on the magic circle, which was all about where the world begins for the players. [17:19]
  • We recap the talk from Mayor Christenson and Kevin Duffy from the City of Malden. They talked about how the Malden Gaming district came about, and gave valuable advice on how to work with your local government when it comes to getting your escape room facility opened. [18:21]
  • We then discuss the talks from Victor Hung of Boxaroo and Matthew DuPlessie of Level99 and 5 Wits. Victor gave a tech talk that was not about how to build the tech, but rather, how to think about what you need to build. [19:54]
  • We talk about the tech behind Storyteller’s Secret‘s reset mode. [20:51]
  • David discusses the talk from Matthew DuPlessie about creating larger scale facilities in the escape room and immersive gaming space. [22:07]
  • We discuss the talk from David and Lisa, which covered the player journey, particularly things that happened before the game and after the game. They also gave a proper send off to the directional lock (RIP). [25:04]
  • We talk about the ARG (alternate reality game) that you could play at RECON. [28:26]
  • Peih-Gee mentions some of the details she appreciated about the ARG including how the puzzles were location dependent, the beautiful set used as a photo booth backdrop, and the social aspect. [29:22]
  • We recap day two: the Birds of a Feather discussion groups and workshops, led by Marie Huber from Red Fox Escapes, who talked about puzzle design, and Stuart Bogaty from trap’t Escape Room Adventures who talked about building a brand identity. [30:56]
  • Lisa and David talk about some of the things they implemented to help the convention run more smoothly, including the design of the badge. [32:39]
  • We discuss the social aspect of RECON, including the lobby parties. [34:09]
  • Peih-Gee tells the story behind the surprise custom RECON puzzle box gifted to David and Lisa from the RECON team. [35:52]
wooden puzzle box with decorative carvings, and the RECON logo carved onto the top
  • Peih-Gee tells the story of filling the box with notes from the attendees, and her nefarious plan to make David cry onstage in revenge for trying to murder her in an audio escape room podcast and how it backfired. [37:01]
  • David talks about the emotional impact and response of RECON, not only on the team, but the participants as well. [38:55]
  • Lisa reads a few of the notes from RECON attendees. [40:11]
  • We listen to voicemails sent in from attendees to the REPOD Not-So-Hot-Line. [43:41]
  • David talks about some areas of improvement they are working on for the next RECON, including the discussion groups, the sponsor experience, scheduling escape rooms (it probably won’t happen again), and better organization for host timing and set up. [55:36]
  • We talk about our special guest, Neil Patrick Harris, who introduced David and Lisa on stage. We also have a clip of his fantastic impersonation of David. [57:44]
  • We discuss our favorite parts of RECON, including the gathering of the four Rachels, the ARG bringing people together, and the lobby parties. [1:00:26]
  • Theresa tells a story about getting feathers from Haley. [1:01:35]
  • Peih-Gee talks about a high moment when she finds David at the lobby party. [1:02:24]
  • David talks about how he tried to have intimate conversations with as many people as he could during RECON, and Peih-Gee notes that RECON felt special because of the values reflected from its creators. [1:02:53]
  • David and Lisa tells us about the Lisa and David Ice Cream Index as a stress level indicator. [1:05:04]
Reality Escape Pod mission patch logo depicts a spaceship puncturing through the walls of reality.

Leave us a voicemail

Got a question or thought for the podcast? You can submit a voice recording by calling the Room Escape Artist not-so-hotline that always goes straight to voicemail (551-227-7273).

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

About Lisa Spira

Lisa in a REA shirt holding a large ice cream cone in her hand, she has an eager look on her face.

Lisa Spira, Co-Creator of Room Escape Artist and Producer of Reality Escape Pod

Whether she is editing REA’s content, leading the Hivemind, or wrangling the logistics for RECON or the Escape, Immerse, Explore Tours, Lisa is the reason that everything runs like clockwork. As a linguist and data expert, Lisa also leads our Industry Data efforts and is responsible for our annual Industry Reports. Lisa is the heart of REA and also bakes all of our escakes.

About Theresa Wagner

smiling woman with bangs and long brunette hair in a black sweatshirt posing with a paper fox mask

Theresa is a chaotic neutral goblin from Washington, DC, who has trusted strangers to lock her in rooms 328 times. When not trying the same code 8 times in a directional lock (of course the combo is right!), she can be found playing Warhammer, video games, board games, Magic the Gathering, or looking up videos of Mariachi bands playing for beluga whales. She used to compete in Super Smash Brothers Melee and Rainbow 6 Siege, but now focuses her video game energy on speedrunning, including Portal 2 and Sly Cooper. She also writes reviews for Room Escape Artist. Oh, and she also has a bird named Wally.

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