REA Presents: The Reality Escape Pod Episode 0 (Podcast Announcement)

It’s been a journey, and episode 0 is finally live. We begin a new chapter in the REAverse with the launch of the Reality Escape Pod.

A few random thoughts:

  • Peih-Gee is a ton of fun to work with. You should follow her on Instagram.
  • I’ve put a lot into editing and mastering… but I have a ton more to learn… and, oh my, is it a lot of work.
  • I’m working on getting REPOD up on your podcast app of choice, but it takes time.
  • We have 4 more episodes already recorded, with still more on the way as part of season 1. The stuff that we’ve recorded was a joy. I can’t wait to share it all with you.
  • Please share this around. It’s a labor of love, and I think that it’s going to be worthy of your time.

Episode 0: Blastoff! Room Escape Pod Launch 🚀

Episode Summary

Reality Escape Pod co-hosts David and Peih-Gee talk about how they met a year ago on a podcast, what they’re hoping to accomplish with this podcast, and their escape room origin stories. David’s story involves travel, and appropriately, Peih-Gee’s story has a Survivor connection. Peih-Gee finds out that escape rooms played a part in how David met Lisa. They discuss escape room urban legends including one that David accidentally started, and they also chat about creating The Hivemind, Room Escape Artist’s virtual game review squad, and RECON, their Reality Escape Convention, which was held digitally in August 2020. To celebrate the launch of The Reality Escape Pod, they are hosting a Giveaway!

Reality Escape Pod logo depicts a spaceship puncturing through the walls of reality.

Topics Discussed In This Episode

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Podcast Launch Giveaway

Please see our post on Instagram for details of how to enter the REPOD Launch Giveaway. Special thanks to our generous sponsors of the giveaway [23:44]

Support REPOD

Thanks for listening!

Escape Game Adventure: Operation Pizza [Book Review]

The Pizza Plot

Location:  at home

Date Played: January 18 2021

Team size: we recommend 1-family

Duration: 15-60 minutes

Price: about $10

REA Reaction

With Operation Pizza, Escape Game Adventure genuinely surprised us. This kids’ puzzle book felt noticeably more advanced when compared to the other installments in the series… and the plot was a bit more grounded.

All of that is to say that this book spoke to me. Escape Game Adventure books generally speak to my inner child… which is cool… that’s the true audience.

Cover art for Escape Game Adventure Operation Pizza shows Dooze in a chef's cap holding a fresh pizza.

This was the most challenging book in this series thus far. That doesn’t make it hard relative to other tabletop puzzle games, but in the kids category, it certainly stood out in terms of complexity. I’d recommend children start with The Mad Hacker or The Last Dragon and work their way up to this one.

Story

We’d traveled to Naples, Italy in 1889 with our robot companion Dooz to save the creator of the margherita pizza from being poisoned by a jealous rival.

I think we can all agree that there are few people in history as important as the originator of the margherita pizza. We had to stop this evil plot.

Dooze standing beside an outdoor dining table.

Analysis

The analysis in this section is about the content of Operation Pizza. To see our analysis of the structure, refer to our Escape Game Adventure Books overview.

➕ The story told in Operation Pizza was quite clever, and a little more understated that the rest of the Escape Game Adventures series. I do mean that as a compliment; it appealed to me, and not just to my inner child.

➕ There was a lot to Operation Pizza. It felt more like an escape room than the previous books in the series. It demanded a general awareness beyond what was specifically in front of us.

Illustration of a locked Italian restaurant.

Tips For Players

  • Space Requirements: a small table
  • Required Gear: pencil, scissors

Buy your copy of Operation Pizza, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: we received a media sample for review.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

The Shining: Escape from The Overlook Hotel [Review]

“I feel you will have to deal with this matter in the harshest possible way, Mr. Torrance.” -Grady

Location:  at home

Date Played: December 18, 2020

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 100+ minutes

Price: about $29

REA Reaction

The Shining: Escape from The Overlook Hotel was a beautiful disaster.

The deck of game cards. One card is flipped, the key for Room 237.

This is only the second game that we’re reviewing that we didn’t complete… and if you’re new here, we’ve played a silly amount of escape games in every imaginable format. It simply wasn’t fun in spite of a great effort. I’m going to examine why.

Nailing The Brand

From a creative direction standpoint, The Shining: Escape from The Overlook Hotel was a triumph. It looked and read perfectly. Narratively, this was a brilliant adaptation of the film’s world.

A series of booklets that pertain to different characters.

I have to imagine that there is a brand manager out there who has this thing mounted on their wall like a trophy.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t an aesthetic piece; it was a game.

A game map with a character piece.

Bad Feels & Confusion

Initially we were sucked into the beauty and cleverness of the presentation. As we explored, however, the problems became far more unnerving than the story’s horror.

I attribute most of the issues to sloppy systems. Interestingly, The Shining used the same system as Scooby-Doo: Escape from The Haunted Mansion (which we loved). The key difference between the games was theming and severity. Scooby felt playful, chaotic, and childish. The rules felt loose, like they were there to keep the game on rails. The Shining felt severe and punitive. It appeared to do everything that it could to dissuade us from exploring the world. I assume that this was intentional to create atmosphere, but there’s such a thing as too much.

Numbered envelopes from the Overlook Hotel.

In the end, we reached a point where we got stuck. All options seemed to lead nowhere. We started over, and found ourselves bound up at the exact same place. It was at that point that we decided that this wasn’t enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

The Shining: Escape from The Overlook Hotel felt like it was undertested. We’re not the best puzzlers in the world, but we’re well practiced and reasonably skilled. If we got lost in the game twice, and felt that quitting was the best option, then something still needed to be ironed out before mass production.

There’s something great here; it just needed more time in the oven. In its current state, this was raw, and I don’t recommend consuming it.

The Shining Escape From The Overlook Hotel game box, depicts a man wielding an axe with blood dripping from the blade.