In Season 4, Episode 12, David and I reflect back on a season of podcasting with global escape room creators. I am continually impressed with all the guests who were brave enough to come on a podcast and chat with us in a language that’s not their native tongue.
After recording this season, one of the most noticeable trends was the rampant imposter syndrome that affects even the most brilliant escape room designers. David and I have a long chat about what causes it, and how to embrace it as a secret superpower. We also noticed some creators shying away from the term “puzzle,” and we spend some time exploring what makes for a puzzle.
One of the things I appreciated most about this season were all the guests who were willing to come on the podcast and candidly share stories of their struggles as escape room business owners. Hopefully this will go a long way towards eradicating that pesky imposter syndrome we keep seeing.
Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you enjoy the game at the end of the episode. I make David play “Guess that Podcast” where he must guess the podcast episode using only emoji clues. This podcast has really helped us both grow, not only as podcasters, but also as players and humans. We are humbled by the love and support of all our patrons and listeners.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
We are immensely grateful to our sponsors this season: Morty App, Escape Tales from Board and Dice, and Buzzshot. We truly appreciate your support of our mission to promote and improve the immersive gaming community.
Escape Tales is an acclaimed series of tabletop escape room games— each featuring a unique blend of mind-bending puzzles masterfully woven into thought-provoking, robust narratives.
Special Discount for REPOD listeners:
Use code “roomescapeartist” for 25% off all Escape Tales products and Books of Rituals on Board & Dice.
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.
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Topics Discussed in this Episode
- David and Peih-Gee take a look back and talk about their own growth as podcasters and players. [1:56]
- David mentions that the banter has improved. It feels like he and Peih-Gee have gotten more in sync, and Peih-Gee mentions the behind-the-scenes coordination they do via a Google doc. [3:13]
- David talks about how Peih-Gee has helped him put himself out there a bit more, and Peih-Gee talks about how being on Survivor helped her with being more vulnerable and accepting of herself. [4:56]
- David and Peih-Gee talk about “imposter syndrome” and how it’s rampant even in the most brilliant and prolific creators. [6:16]
- Peih-Gee wonders if this “imposter syndrome” is what’s pushing some of the best creators to be even better because they’re constantly dissatisfied and keep pushing for greatness. [10:32]
- Peih-Gee shares a story about the time she felt intimidated while speaking at an immersive conference, and what it took for her to overcome it. [12:27]
- David muses that this feeling of imposter syndrome may come from the fact that we are surrounded by incredible people in this community that we admire, and that’s a good thing. [13:43]
- Peih-Gee brings up the topic of “what is a puzzle?” She mentions past guests who don’t consider themselves to be in the escape room sector, and how they insist that they don’t have puzzles in their experiences. [15:16]
- David and Peih-Gee discuss different types of puzzles and what makes something a puzzle, including video games and even dog slow feeders. [15:49]
- David discusses some possible reasons why there is pushback on the term “puzzle.” [18:28]
- Peih-Gee talks about how the podcast has changed how she plays escape rooms, including making sure the team is gathered around before triggering something cool, and keeping everyone on the team in the loop about which puzzles have been solved, and how she’s working on trying to slow down the pace of gameplay to appreciate unusual mechanics in escape rooms. [23:19]
- David mentions that the way he interacts with people even outside of interviews has become more inquisitive, for the better. Peih-Gee talks about how she’s constantly thinking of things–even puppy training–through the lens of escape room mechanics. [26:18]
- David talks about their next escape room tour, which will be going to Montreal, Canada, in May 2023. He talks a bit about how they’ve optimized the schedules for the games so that everyone gets to play the “must-play” rooms. [28:37] Editor’s Note: The Montreal Tour discussed here SOLD OUT a few hours before this podcast episode dropped. We’re looking at releasing another batch of tickets. Fill out the form here if you want to join the waitlist for these tickets.
- David and Peih-Gee reflect on Season 4 with its theme of global escape rooms. They discuss some of the challenges and joys of this podcast season, including difficulties in researching guests who have mostly given interviews in another language. [36:51]
- David and Peih-Gee respond to a message asking about overarching themes on future seasons of REPOD. [41:04]
- David talks about how the idea for a global theme came out of the podcast survey from last season, when someone left a comment about how US-centric the guests were. [42:41]
- Peih-Gee talks about taking on the editing of the bonus episodes and how she changed her speech patterns after having to edit herself. [43:54]
- David and Peih-Gee play a listener voicemail and talk about how much they appreciate the vulnerability and frankness many of their guests displayed in choosing to share stories of their struggles trying to run an escape room business. [45:25]
- David says he thinks two of the most important episodes that came out of the season were Tasha’s (Episode 9) and Dino’s (Episode 6) because they both had important messages. [46:55]
- David and Peih-Gee read a podcast review and respond to feedback asking for more coverage of at-home experiences.[48:00]
- Peih-Gee made a game for David and the listeners to play along: Guess That Podcast! David has to guess the podcast episode from a set of emojis. The set of emojis can refer to the guest, one of their experiences, the title of the podcast, or perhaps even the content of the podcast. For the listeners at home playing along, here are the emojis. (View Answer key HERE) [50:00]
- 1. 👩🏻⚕️⚗️
- 2. 🎮🦆
- 3. 🏘️🏰
- 4. 🚀 🍕
- 5. 💸🏃♀️
- 6. 🏆👘⛵
- 7. 🕒🕒🕒
- 8. 🐈🐔
- 9. ✔️(🔪🪨=🔥)
- 10. ⚫💡 🏹🏕️➡️
- 11. 🔌🕵️
- David and Peih-Gee share some of their favorite escape rooms played this year, including one far away, and one that was local. David chose Abstraction from Eliviascape in Quebec City, Canada, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at 13th Hour Escape Room in Wharton, New Jersey. Peih-Gee’s were Molly’s Game from Down the Hatch in Voorburg, Netherlands, and The Weeping Witch by Cross Roads Escape Games. [58:45]
- David talks about next projects, including an overhaul of the Room Escape Artist website. Peih-Gee talks about potential new podcast segments. David mentions his recent appearance on the Cool Tools podcast with host Kevin Kelly, the original founder of Wired Magazine. [1:01:10]
- Peih-Gee tells a bonus story about one of her proudest moments in an escape room when she was able to read “pager code” from the 90’s era of communications in an urban 90’s themed room, Dr. Hader Loses by Scenario Escape Rooms. (She also mistakenly said “03774” to spell “hello” when it should have been “07734.”) [1:06:25]
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
- Escape, Immerse, Explore Escape Room Tour to Montreal
- Dog training techniques of Luring, Capturing, and Shaping
- Answer key for Guess That Podcast! game
- Favorite games played this year:
- David: Abstraction from Eliviascape in Quebec City, Canada, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at 13th Hour Escape Room in Wharton, New Jersey.
- How to read 90’s pager code
About the Reality Escape Pod Team
Co-Host: David Spira
David is the co-founder of Room Escape Artist, a resource for escape room creators and enthusiasts alike. From the start, he applied his professional skills as a digital experience designer to the burgeoning industry of escape rooms. David is full of ideas: from in-depth research pieces to new content types… like cute animals solving puzzles. He is always pushing REA to try new things, take risks, and be something more. He is also the co-founder of RECON, a convention for the escape & immersive game industry, as well as the co-host of REPOD, a podcast exploring escape rooms and immersive gaming.
Co-Host: Peih-Gee Law
Peih-Gee is best known for being a fan favorite contestant on the reality show Survivor, where she played first in Survivor China in 2007, and again in a returning All-Star season Survivor Second Chance. She calls Survivor “the greatest immersive game in the world.” She is the co-host of REPOD, a podcast exploring escape rooms and immersive gaming. She also hosts RECON, the Reality Escape Convention, and writes for the REA Hivemind. Loves: narrative-driven games with lots of player interactions & clever wordplay. Hates: Math puzzles and poor functionality that distracts from immersion.
Producer: Lisa Spira
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.
Editor: Steve Ewing
As a Video Chronicler with Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions, Steve finds himself nose-to-nose with grey whales, orangutans, and tortoises as a normal part of his day job. Steve earned his degree in Journalism from University of Oregon.
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