REPOD Episode 7: Chris Lattner: The Gordon Ramsay of Escape Rooms

In episode 7, we talk to Chris Lattner, CEO and creative director of The Room in Berlin, one of the top-ranked escape room companies in the world, according to TERPECA—the Top Escape Rooms Project Enthusiasts’ Choice Awards. The Room’s immersive adventures have continued to win awards and accolades throughout the years, including our own Room Escape Artist’s Golden Lock Awards.

Chris’ background was as a professional DJ in the techno scene for many years, performing at clubs and festivals around the world. He was also heavily involved in the European geocaching scene, years before escape rooms even existed. After chatting with Chris, it became very clear that he has a focused design philosophy rooted in his past influences.

From guiding party-goers on an immersive emotional journey as a DJ, to creating a world-class geocaching adventure that oftentimes involved climbing equipment and wandering through forests at night, and even playing countless hours of video games, Chris shares with us all his influences and inspirations.

Chris is opinionated, deliberate in his design choices, and full of interesting life experiences. We loved getting inside his head and hearing about how he brings his immersive adventures to life.

dimly lit staircase in what looks like a temple with a picture of a man wearing glasses.

Episode 7

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • Chris talks about his philosophy regarding renovations and updates to his existing experiences, explaining that when he designs an experience, sometimes the technology for his vision isn’t available yet, but when it does become available, he will update. [2:08] 
  • Chris tells us that his company isn’t really a “puzzle shop” and that he prefers what he calls “tasks” over puzzles. He illustrates the difference between puzzles and tasks, and why he considers “tasks” to be more immersive. [3:45] 
  • David discusses a third type of “puzzle” that he sees in escape rooms, something he calls “challenges,” which require physical dexterity. [5:37]
  • Chris talks to us about why he changed the subtitle of his business name from “Live Escape Game” to “Immersive Adventures,” and what differentiates the two. [6:09]
  • Chris tells us about some of his influences, including open-world video games like Assassin’s Creed, and old point-and-click LucasArts games. [7:08]
  • Chris says that the storytellers of his youth were Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and talks about what an impression those adventure movies, like Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters, had on him. What he loves most about those movies is the emotional journey on which they take you. [9:10]
  • Chris jokes about being the “Gordon Ramsey” of escape rooms, and acknowledges being a harsh critic of escape rooms. [11:38] 
  • David comments that for him, the best games create a realistic sense of urgency, as opposed to the drive to win the game for the sake of ego. [14:20] 
  • Chris tells us about his past experience designing and creating “extreme” geocaching adventures in 2012, even before escape rooms were a thing. [15:33] (video below)
  • Chris talks about his popular geocache adventure “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” a multi-stage 6-hour experience that required climbing gear, treks into a German forest at night, and crawling through a dark tunnel. He even created a chest with a beating heart, booking system and hint system. [17:15] (video below)
  • Chris explains the terrain ranking system for geocaching, from wheelchair accessible to requiring climbing gear or scuba diving gear. [19:23]
  • Chris talks about “lost places,” abandoned military complexes, and how this type of extreme adventure geocaching is forbidden now. [20:23]
  • Peih-Gee talks about her days as a raver in her twenties, and how they would sneak into these types of “lost places” and throw big underground parties, and the adventure of trying to locate parties in the desert. [21:30]
  • Chris was a professional DJ in the techno scene, performing at clubs and festivals around the world for many years. He talks to us about how he immerses the audience, taking them on a journey, building atmosphere, and controlling the crowd. He discusses the importance of managing the ebb and flow of the energy levels, and how he applies this philosophy to the immersive experiences he creates. [22:50]
  • Chris tells us that for his game The Lost Treasure, they created an automated mechanism where the sound is mixed in real time with a game engine during the game, triggered by the actions of the players. [25:22]
  • In his newest game, Brandon Darkmoor, Chris tells us that his gamemaster is basically “running a real theatre show for just five people.” In this game, the gamemaster is mixing the sound for the games live and triggering scenes by hand. [26:32]
  • Chris talks about the use of scents in his immersive adventures, and how powerful it is in creating a realistic atmosphere. [27:45]
  • SPOILER ALERT: We discuss the political message and narrative story of Chris’ game Go West. Some details are spoilers for the game, so if you haven’t played it and don’t want to be spoiled, you can skip ahead to 32:19. [29:35] 
  • Chris discusses his philosophy behind updating existing older rooms as opposed to completely discarding them. [33:11]
  • Chris tells us that his next immersive experience will be centered around Vikings, inspired by his love of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the newest game in the series. He has even consulted a historian to ensure historical accuracy. [35:47]
  • We chat about creating immersive experiences for tourists and using theming based on local history and culture. Chris gives us an example of creating an experience rooted in local history and making use of a unique location, like an old railway station. [37:05]
  • Chris talks about his love of LinkedIn and about his second company, The Room Labs, which creates themed entertainment for restaurants, escape rooms, and museum experiences [39:55]
  • Chris gives us a bonus escape room story. [42:45]

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Follow Chris Lattner

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Podcast Launch Giveaway Winners

Please see our post on Instagram for the winners of the REPOD Launch Giveaway. Special thanks to our generous sponsors of the giveaway.

Support REPOD

Thanks for listening!

Guest Bio

Chris Lattner, Owner and Designer at The Room Berlin

After 28 years working as a professional DJ playing techno and house in clubs around the world, Chris decided it was time for something completely different.

His first escape game experience in London in March of 2013 was the ignition point for the decision to open his own escape game in Berlin.

Together with his business partner Jochen Krüger and their former geocaching crew, he opened THE ROOM on the October 3, 2014 after a year of planning and six months of building.

Their first two rooms, GO WEST and THE BEAST OF BERLIN, were more successful than they’d ever imagined and the business quickly grew to a point where a third room made sense.

The goal with the third room was to create something groundbreaking in terms of set design and technical equipment. Thus the team was expanded to include Malte Eiben, who is responsible for programming, and Wilko Drews, with whom Chris designed HUMBOLDT, or THE LOST TREASURE, as it is known today. 

After 8 months of building, THE LOST TREASURE opened to the public in November 2015. It has been extremely well received with many positive reviews from both new and experienced players.

At the end of 2018, THE ROOM opened BRANDON DARKMOOR, a one-of-its-kind immersive adventure.

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.

REPOD Episode 6: Anthony Robinson on Immersion, Larp, & Survivor

In episode 6, we sit down with Anthony Robinson, an enthusiastic larper, former castaway on the reality show Survivor Fiji, and long-time contributor to the immersive theatre website No Proscenium.

Anthony was instrumental in how David and I met, connecting us when he brought us both on as guests on a No Proscenium podcast. It only seemed fitting to bring Anthony onto our podcast to chat about immersive gaming and Survivor.

Anthony is an old school larper (Live Action Role Play) who also happened to play Survivor, which is one of the most immersive games in the world. Larping is one of the original forms of immersive gaming, and it was a blast chatting with him about the different types of larp. We also discuss how to incorporate role-playing into our everyday lives. As you may know, David is a huge Survivor fan, so it was fun chatting about Survivor, and in particular, how much the editing can slant to create a certain narrative.

This episode in particular was more of a conversation between friends who have a shared love of deeply nerdy topics, and we hope you’ll enjoy listening along.

Episode 6

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • We chat about how Anthony introduced David and Peih-Gee when they were all guests on a No Proscenium podcast. [0:45]
  • Peih-Gee talks about when she first met Anthony at the finale party for Survivor China and they bonded over larping. [1:50]
  • We chat about our love of MMORPGs (massive multi-player online Role Playing Games). [2:50]
  • Anthony tells us that City of Heroes has a secret server that is still up and running. [3:01]
  • Anthony talks about how he leaned into his “nerdiness” when he applied for Survivor. [4:44]
  • Anthony was really involved in larping (Live Action Role Play) and he talks to us about what it is, exactly. [5:25]
  • Anthony talks about the different systems of larp – Parlor Larp (more theatrical, less physical), Nordic Larp (more immersive, less physical), Boffer Larp (most physical). [6:20]
  • Anthony tells us about an old Star Wars Larp that used pop-o-matic dice on lightsabers. [7:20]
  • Anthony tells us how he was introduced to larp while studying at Yale – “college and people with foam.” [8:20]
  • We chat about the commonalities of player empowerment in games like larps, ARGs, and even Survivor. [11:25]
  • David talks about his experience with mock trial throughout high school and college and how that was his first introduction to improvisational theatre gameplay. [13:20]
  • We chat about role-playing in our everyday lives. [15:50]
  • Peih-Gee tells a story about the time her mother ran off down a dark alleyway when Peih-Gee was a young child. She probably got her sense of adventure and impetuousness from mother. [19:07]
  • David talks about developing his “expert voice.” [20:12]
  • We learn that David, contrary to Peih-Gee’s expectation, does not play wizards. He prefers ranger- or loner-type roles. [20:30]
  • We chat about alignment in RPGs. [21:50]
  • Anthony and Peih-Gee chat about the dynamics of rocky relationships on Survivor. [25:00]
  • Peih-Gee talks about how editing in reality TV can shape how a character is perceived. [26:30]
  • Anthony talks about experiencing emotional difficulties on Survivor. [28:15]
  • Peih-Gee talks about the evolution of editing and how depictions of masculinity have changed in the past ten years. [29:33]
  • Anthony talks about the need for better aftercare on Survivor, and some of the emotional traumas castaways can experience after coming off the show. [31:15]
  • Anthony shares a bonus story about the time he organized a group of Survivor players to play Stash House, an escape room in Los Angeles, CA. [36:10]
Reality Escape Pod mission patch logo depicts a spaceship puncturing through the walls of reality.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Follow Anthony Robinson

Podcast Launch Giveaway Winners

Please see our post on Instagram for the winners of the REPOD Launch Giveaway. Special thanks to our generous sponsors of the giveaway.

Support REPOD

Thanks for listening!

Guest Bio

Anthony Robinson, Survivor Fiji castaway & Associate Editor at No Proscenium

Anthony Robinson is a longtime contributor for No Proscenium. A graduate of Yale’s American Studies Program, Anthony is by turns an old-school larper, sometime assistant director for film and tv, busy dad, theatre nerd, and alumnus of Reality TV’s Survivor. He likes long walks along the beach, a good night dancing to Brit Pop’s greatest hits, making Star Wars-inspired props, and loudly discussing the last immersive theatre experience that he just went through.

two men standing in front of a torch about to be snuffed from the reality tv show survivor

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.

REPOD Episode 5: Six Artists & One Programmer – Barry Meade on Creating The Room

In episode 5, we had a lovely chat with Barry Meade, founding member of Fireproof Studios and one of the co-creators of The Room, an incredibly vivid mobile game first released in 2012.

The Room had a tactile, immersive quality to it, from its haunting soundtrack, to the weight of physical objects, to how the environment handled the lighting design. These design elements, combined with a series of intricate puzzles, have delighted and inspired countless escape room enthusiasts and designers.

It was fascinating to hear about how a limiting set of circumstances created the perfect recipe for an evocative 3D puzzler. What came through clearly was their sharp sense of focus. They knew what they were good at and didn’t waste resources trying to be too many things. After chatting with Barry, we could see how Fireproof Studios really embodies the spirit of an indie design studio.

Episode 5

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • David tells us how The Room had such a huge impact on his life and how, in some ways, it changed the trajectory of his life. [0:46]
  • Barry talks about how his company’s background in creating AAA console games led to their decision to create a fully immersive, realistic game for mobile gaming – something that was groundbreaking at the time. [3:15] 
  • Barry discusses some of the techniques they used to create realism, including adding physics to doorknobs, adding weight to objects when you manipulate them, giving inertia to the camera movement, and tactile feedback. [3:45]
  • Barry talks about the origins of Fireproof Studios, and how they were six artists that formed a company, doing freelance work until they could save up enough money as a company to create their own game. [5:35]
  • Barry talks about other notable features of the game that started off as cost-cutting measures, such as creating a shorter game, only supporting certain operating systems, and creating a dark, dimly lit game. [8:50]
  • We discuss how many escape rooms make use of these same lighting tricks to direct focus, create a certain atmosphere, and mask certain things. [10:20]
  • Barry talks about why Fireproof Studios purposefully decided to stay a relatively small company. [11:25]
  • Barry talks candidly about how they all left large multinational companies to pursue smaller indie projects and why they prefer avoiding the politics of working in large companies. [14:00]
  • Peih-Gee talks about being a jewelry designer and understanding the desire to stay small and independent, rather than being held to the demands of large-scale manufacturing. [16:03]
  • Peih-Gee notes that the escape room industry tends to operate in much the same way – smaller cottage industries with creative and entrepreneurial spirits. [17:01]
  • Barry talks about the false choice between being “creative” and being a business, and the importance of creating something that’s inclusive and accessible. [17:30]
  • Barry tells us about where the initial idea for The Room originated, and how they really wanted to create a game that took advantage of the new touch screen technology. [19:15]
  • Barry talks about the most significant design changes made when designing a new chapter of The Room for VR. [21:47]
  • Barry discusses the world-building and Lovecraftian horror in which their games are set. [23:08]
  • Peih-Gee mentions how transformative the audio experience was for The Room games. [25:23]
  • David and Peih-Gee discuss with Barry the impact that The Room series of games has had on the escape room world. [29:55]
  • David talks about how Roger Shembry, another founding member of Fireproof Studios, has proposed an official The Room Lego set that is up for votes on the Lego Ideas website. [32:07]
  • Barry talks about how he started his career working on 16-bit health-edutainment video games, and what he learned from his early experience. [32:55]
  • Barry talks about his work at Criterion Studios working on the Burnout series of video games and how it helped hone his sense of focus. [35:20]
  • Barry tells us that one of the reasons Fireproof Studios was formed was that the founding members were the six leads working on the environment team for the Burnout games, and they enjoyed working together so much that they wanted to make sure they stayed together as a team. [36:25]
  • We learn about the design process of Fireproof Studios and how much it evolves through iteration. [38:30]
Reality Escape Pod mission patch logo depicts a spaceship puncturing through the walls of reality.

Resources

Follow FireProof Studios

Mentioned in this Episode

Podcast Launch Giveaway

The winners of the REPOD Launch Giveaway will be announced shortly on the REA Instagram. Special thanks to our generous sponsors of the giveaway.

Support REPOD

Thanks for listening!

Guest Bio

Barry Meade, co-creator of The Room (Fireproof Studios)

Barry’s career started in Dublin, Ireland in 1992 working on health-related ‘edutainment’ titles for SNES, Amiga, and PC. In early 1994 he moved to the UK to join Bullfrog Productions, where he spent his time as a lead designer and artist/ animator on titles such as Magic Carpet 1 & 2, Syndicate Wars, Dungeon Keeper, and many others.

Over the next eight years Barry worked for various studios as a game designer before being hired as a character artist by Criterion Studios in 2004, working on BLACK and subsequently Burnouts 3, 4, and Paradise. In 2008 Barry and five friends left Criterion to form a small contract-art team, Fireproof Studios. After many years of saving money, Fireproof released their first game The Room in 2012. It went on to be #1 in over 60 countries.

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.

REPOD Episode 4: Escape Room Storytelling Through Spectacle, CU Adventures Anne & Chris Lukeman

In episode 4, we chat with Chris and Anne, owners of the escape room company CU Adventures in Time & Space in Urbana, Illinois. Chris and Anne’s game design has a very thoughtful cinematic quality to it, full of spectacle, surprise reveals, and smooth narrative flow.

After learning about their background in indie filmmaking and their love of kitsch, horror, roadside attractions, and fantasy scavenger hunts, all the pieces fell into place. Chris and Anne have a strong aesthetic vision that becomes apparent the minute you play any one of their wonderful games.

We really loved rummaging around in their brains, and we hope you’ll enjoy all the stories and tidbits we discovered.

man and woman posing next to a sign that says CU Adventures in Time and Space

Episode 4

Episode Summary

In this episode, David and Peih-Gee chat with Chris and Anne Lukeman, owners of the escape room company CU Adventures and the escape room shirt company Solve Our Shirts.

We talk about how a trip to Wisconsin and to two attractions in particular “opened their eyes to a level of weird that became a commercial business.” Those attractions were Wizard Quest, a fantasy-themed scavenger hunt and House on the Rock, which Anne describes as a “skyscraper hobbit-hole of kitsch.” We learn about their background in indie filmmaking and how it has influenced their escape room design process. As part of his design philosophy, Chris says that anywhere in one of their escape rooms, “it should feel like a picturesque, lived-in space, and either tell part of the story, inform part of the puzzle, or be weird, or be funny. It HAS to do one of those things.”

They talk to us about the pros and cons of operating in a smaller community. We find out why they decided to release their remote game Lost Temple as a print-and-play. David and Peih-Gee gush over Solve Our Shirts, their latest project, which is an escape room in a t-shirt. Chris and Anne tell us about their plans to expand with a fantasy-themed mini-golf course with additional gamification, a bar, and gaming rooms.

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

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • Anne and Chris tell us how a trip to Wisconsin in 2012, and visits to two different attractions in particular “opened their eyes to a level of weird that became a commercial business.” [1:09]
  • One of the attractions was Wizard Quest, a scavenger hunt that takes place in a large immersive fantasy-themed space. [1:40]
Indoor playground with fantasy themes including a castle, unicorn and slides.
Wizard Quest
  • The second attraction was The House on the Rock, which Anne describes as a “skyscraper hobbit-hole of kitsch.” [4:55] 
An assortment of strange animatronic musical instruments.
Animatronic(?) Musical Instruments – Image via Atlas Obscura
The gaping maw of a giant sperm whale sculpture.
Giant Sperm Whale – Image via Atlas Obscura
A massive infinity mirror illusion.
Infinity Mirror Illusion – Image via Atlas Obscura
  • We learn about Anne and Chris’ background in spectacle-based, indie filmmaking, and how they met in college. [9:30]
  • They tell us about how they actually crossed paths at a Bruce Campbell book-signing event 6 years before they officially met. [10:30]
  • Chris talks about how his background in production and set design has influenced his escape rooms [12:20]
  • As part of his design philosophy, Chris says that if a player stands in any part of his escape rooms, “it should feel like a picturesque, lived-in space, and either tell part of the story, inform part of the puzzle, or be weird, or be funny. It HAS to do one of those things.” [13:11]
  • Anne talks about how their games typically follow a three-act structure similar to a play or a movie, and how it typically corresponds to three different spaces. [14:10]
  • One of the things that CU Adventures takes pride in doing well is accommodating both newcomers and experienced players. [15:40]
  • They don’t create rooms of varying difficulty. Instead, they prefer to adjust difficulty level on the fly via the hint system, gamemaster interaction, or by swapping out a puzzle. [16:16]
  • We talk about the length of escape room games and discuss unsatisfying conclusions to escape rooms. [17:15]
  • Anne and Chris tell us that none of their games end with unlocking a door. They discuss why their games don’t end with an “escape back to reality.” [19:13]
  • Anne and Chris discuss the pros and cons of operating in a smaller community. [20:50]
  • Anne and Chris tell us about their traveling rooms, which are mobile, large-scale escape rooms that they created for special events like GenCon. [23:25]
  • We talk about their digital games, Floor 13 and The Lost Temple, and their roots in old-school point-and-click adventure games, including Monkey Island, 90’s MUDs (multi-user dungeon) and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [26:45]
  • Anne and Chris talk about their decision to release The Lost Temple as a print-and-play digital game instead of as an avatar livestream game. [28:50]
  • We chat about Solve Our Shirts, of which David and Peih-Gee are both big fans. [32:35]
  • Anne tells us about how they were able to pivot from an escape room company to manufacturing and fulfillment of a physical product. [34:10]
Model wearing teal t-shirt with the puzzles removed.
Solve Our Shirts – Image via CU Adventures
  • We talk about the hint system in Solve Our Shirts and how hinting and cluing is an art form when done well. [36:30]
  • Anne and Chris talk about their plans for expanding, which included a fantasy themed mini-golf course with additional gamification, a bar, escape rooms, and gaming rooms. [40:10]

Resources

Follow CU Adventures

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.

Support REPOD

Thanks for listening!

Guest Bio

Chris and Anne Lukeman, owners of CU Adventures in Time & Space and Solve Our Shirts

Chris & Anne Lukeman are owners of CU Adventures, an escape room company located in Urbana, IL. In addition to their in-person games, they have also hosted large-scale pop-up escape rooms at Gen Con Indy, and developed the digital/print-and-play hybrid games The Lost Temple and Floor 13. Their newest game is Solve our Shirts, a full-length at-home escape room where all the clues are on a t-shirt!

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 Reality Escape Pod Episode 3: Juliana Moreno Patel and Ariel Rubin (Wild Optimists, Escape Room in a Box)

Episode 3 is an interview with game and puzzle designers Juliana Moreno Patel and Ariel Rubin, the Wild Optimists. This brilliant duo designed the world’s first escape room in a box, released worldwide by Mattel.

Juliana and Ariel met, founded their company, and created their first product all while both were pregnant, which should give you a good idea of their intense passion.

They are known for their thoughtful designs in immersive gaming and continue to push the envelope when it comes to creating new types of game design.

Reality Escape Pod guest Wild Optimist Juliana Patel and Ariel Rubin posing with large crate

Episode 3

Episode Summary

In this episode, David and Peih-Gee chat with Juliana and Ariel of the Wild Optimists – the prolific creative team behind the world’s first escape room in a box. We hear about how being mothers of young children was part of the impetus for creating their first game. They talk about their design process when coming up with Escape Room in a Box. We go into their partnership with Mattel and the benefits and difficulties of manufacturing a tabletop puzzle game, including a story of why they had to run a bunch of locks through a dryer. They share some fun stories about designing promotional marketing games for TV shows like Nancy Drew. They also give us a preview of their newest game, Escape Room in a Box: Time Drifters, which has a really interesting game mechanic of being two standalone games that, when played together with a friend, will yield a third metagame.

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

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • We learn how Ariel and Juliana met over a game of Werewolf. (0:40)
  • We find out how their working partnership came about. (1:54)
  • Ariel and Juliana talk about how they created Wild Optimists while they were both pregnant, and how being working moms was part of the impetus for creating Escape Room in a Box. (3:07)
  • We talk about the key points of a real-life escape room that they were trying to capture in their boxed game. (5:31)
  • We talk about the things that differentiate Escape Room in a Box from a puzzle book. (6:45)
  • We talk about how they made the leap from self-producing on Kickstarter to their partnership with Mattel. (8:50)
  • They talk about the trade-offs of working with a big company like Mattel, and some of the benefits. (9:38)
  • Peih-Gee talks about helping beta test their many games and they tell us that their games are made in playtesting. (11:50)
  • They talk about some of the details that are specific to having a game manufactured on a large scale for a global company. (13:07)
  • They share a story about some manufacturing difficulties and why they had to run locks through a dryer. (14:50) 
  • We learn why Mattel told them that Escape Room in a Box was the most complicated game they’d manufactured. (18:12)
  • Ariel and Juliana talk about some of their favorite indie game designers, including Rita Orlov and her games The Tale of Ord (review) and The Emerald Flame (review), BlueFish Games and their game The Curious Elevator of Mr. Hincks (review), and Shine On Collective’s puzzle box created for Roguelike Tavern called The Spirits of Tillinghast and their limited run of Welcome Home (review). (20:36)
  • They talk about creating marketing games to promote TV shows like Nancy Drew and The Prodigal Son, and some of the challenges in creating a promotional game, including having to ask actors to post things on their Instagram accounts. (23:23)
  • David talks about working with Ariel and Juliana on the pilot episode of the TV show Create the Escape.(27:28)
  • Ariel and Juliana talk about each others’ strengths and the synergy that makes their partnership work. (29:27)
  • They tell us about their careers before becoming game designers. (32:15)
  • They discuss their upcoming game Escape Room in a Box: Time Drifters and its unique mechanic – two separate stand-alone games that have a third metagame where you communicate with a friend to share information from your respective games. (35:07)

Resources

Follow the Wild Optimists

Products

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.

Support REPOD

Thanks for listening!

Guest Bio

Juliana Moreno Patel and Ariel Rubin (Wild Optimists)

The Wild Optimists is an award-winning interactive entertainment company devoted to designing new ways to play. They create memorable immersive experiences for tabletop games, virtual games, theme parks, music festivals, historical sites, marketing activations, and more.

WO began when Juliana Moreno Patel and Ariel Rubin combined their theatre degrees and writing backgrounds in Hollywood with their life-long love for gaming to create the Kickstarter sensation, Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment. As the first at-home game to ever recreate the “escape room” experience in a tabletop setting for all ages, Escape Room in a Box was a genre-defining success that was licensed by Mattel and soon distributed worldwide. Game of the Year winner at the Mattel Inventor Awards, the Escape Room in a Box brand has now evolved into an ongoing game series with Mattel, consistently ranking as #1 in its game category on Amazon with strong retail presence in the mass and hobby markets.

Building upon that success, Wild Optimists has since created immersive gaming experiences for a variety of clients on and beyond the game table. Collaborations include custom puzzle design for marketing campaigns supporting high-profile Film/ TV properties such as Escape Room (Sony), Invisible Man (Universal), Nancy Drew (CW), and Prodigal Son (Fox); live immersive experiences for the Electric Forest Music Festival and the Santa Monica Pier; and custom game design for AEG, Renegade Game Studios, and vampire.pizza (among others). Most recently, they partnered with Arcane Wonders and Genuine Entertainment to bring TinyBuild’s hit video game series Hello Neighbor to tabletop with Hello Neighbor: The Secret Neighbor Party Game.

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.