My Name is Jamie is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar game created by THE BASEMENT in Los Angeles.
Style of Play: real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar
Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection
Recommended Team Size: 2-6
Play Time: 45 minutes
Price: $20 per person
Booking: book online for a specific time slot. The bookings are all public with a maximum of 6 players, so you could be playing with strangers unless you buy all 6 tickets.
This is a live escape room played via a live actor. You log in with Zoom to their custom interface, which will include a live feed to the actor in the room, a map, an inventory system, and a whiteboard for taking notes.
Replayable and modular, Beat the Bomb felt more like a gameshow with different games within it than an escape room. It all concluded with a battle against time. When the clock struck zero, a giant paint bomb exploded all over us.
Get Out of Here delivered the narrative of The Diamond Heist with a third person voiceover that told our story as we advanced through the game. This solved a number of escape room storytelling problems.
The Pop Star’s Room of Doom wasn’t an escape room. It was something new: a time loop game. We were reliving the same actor-driven time loop, taking different actions each time, and trying to determine how to break the cycle and save the game’s main character.
Designed for escape room enthusiasts, Get the F Out’s incredibly meta game, The Experiment, had two unusual innovations. One involved lighting. The other was in its storytelling. Months later, we’re still debating what we were supposed to take away from this game.
We didn’t enter an escape room; we were patrons of a quirky museum of oddities, along with all of the other players… but it wasn’t a museum. It was a sandbox for puzzles, scavenger hunts, and adventures. We had our mission and everyone else had theirs, but we were all puzzling and exploring in the same space at the same time. It was chaotic and lively and it became more interesting as more people showed up.
Terrifying. Heyou Escape built tension by adding a sense of danger and screwing with our minds and expectations. I’m not sure if La Terrible Affaire Bambell is actually an escape room, or if we were even players… Looking back, I think we may have just been props in their production.
The Gate Escape put training wheels on escape room gameplay. Instead of presenting a free-for-all escape room-style game, each puzzle was presented in its own station… and it concluded with a dance party. This was a great way to open up new players to escape room style puzzling.
By adding social and group dynamics into the large-scale theatrical escape room event format, The Seven Forces created something new and special. Their approach kept multiple teams engaged with both the puzzles and one another for the entire game.
We’d love to have you join us on an escape room tour!
Join us in visiting some of the other innovative games we’ve found in our travels. (It just so happens that we didn’t play them in 2018.)
The Courtyard took us outside the home of serial killer Edward Tandy to play a murderous game in his fenced-in courtyard. THE BASEMENT built a spectacular outdoor environment, combining nature with decrepit structures to deliver a sense of continual discovery tinged with foreboding. The set was a work of art.
While aspects of the story detracted from the rest of THE BASEMENT’s overall experience, the sets, lighting, sound, and actor delivered an intense and exciting escape room. Additionally, The Courtyard delivered a brilliant midgame puzzle sequence that we will never forget.
If you’re planning to play one game at THE BASEMENT, make it The Elevator Shaft. If you’re looking to play two (and you should), The Courtyard should be your next choice. They’re both unique and intense.
If you’re anywhere nearby and interested in horror, intensity, actor-driven gameplay, and immersive sets, you should visit The Courtyard.
Who is this for?
Players with at least some experience
Detailed set design
Intensity of the experience
The Basement’s fourth chapter continued with us having escaped from The Study and fleeing into Edward Tandy’s mudroom. Freedom seemed so close. Unfortunately beyond the mudroom was a walled courtyard and another series of sadistic games and death traps.
We started The Courtyard in a small, dimly lit, ominous mudroom with the porch and courtyard of Tandy’s house visible in the distance.
Within their facility, THE BASEMENT had constructed an outdoor space for the The Courtyard. We were walled in by the Tandy house on one side and tall fences on the others. Lily Tandy’s trailer stood prominently in the gamespace along with a few smaller structures.
The Courtyard’s largely outdoor set was detailed and weathered. It felt genuine. The Courtyard was dim and foreboding with the threat of hounds ever present.
THE BASEMENT’s The Courtyard was a standard escape room with a higher level of difficulty in an intense environment.
Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, and interacting with the actor.
+/- The Courtyard began with a video introduction… followed by a video introduction. It built up tension, stifled that tension, built it up again… it just droned on and on. This was unfortunate because it the intro was well acted.
+ There was a lot of depth to The Courtyard’s set. THE BASEMENT built indoor and outdoor spaces. These were detailed and convincing, instilling in us an unsettling apprehension, as intended.
+ THE BASEMENT used lighting and sound to further escalate the tension in their serial killer’s game environment.
+ This escape room was designed so that most players will spend the majority of their time in the more intriguing portion of the set. If players don’t access it one way, at a set time interval, THE BASEMENT triggers a different sequence to move the team forward. We appreciated this commitment to keeping players engaged and pushing them into the more exciting parts of The Courtyard.
– One of these early sequences left a brutal red herring in its wake. We didn’t use a certain game element early on and its presence was an evergreen element of confusion that ruined some moments. This could be remedied with relative ease.
+ The actor was a pivotal part of experience. He reacted to our words, body language, and in-game interactions. He was outstanding.
+ The actor-player interaction design was insightful. The set kept the actor separate from the players, such that it supported the narrative premise and kept both parties safe from each other.
– The Courtyard required a substantial amount of reading in low light.
+/- The Courtyard delivered many of the longer passages both as written text and audio voiceover. This technique made the story and clue structure more accessible to larger teams. That said, there was a heavy reliance on long passages of exposition.
+ The hint mechanism made sense in the context of the experience. It fit seamlessly into the game. Because of this, however, the hint mechanism was only accessible up until a point. Once we’d solved a substantial portion of the escape room, we could not receive any hint to late-game puzzles. Some may dislike this; we found it interesting.
+ The Courtyard had some of the strongest puzzles offered by THE BASEMENT. There was a mid-game sequence that was especially inspired, pulling together all of the core elements of the game into a uniquely smart and screwed-up challenge.
+ We especially enjoyed another puzzle sequence that triggered a heart-pounding situation, until we puzzled our way through it.
– The final puzzle sequence took the story in an unexpected direction that made it lose credibility. It didn’t seem to belong in the world of Edward Tandy as it wasn’t grounded in reality. THE BASEMENT missed an opportunity here.
– As with The Elevator Shaft, losing teams will experience a more dramatic ending than we did when we won. Once again, I kind of wish that we had lost.
+ The Courtyard instilled in us a sense of discovery. The gamespace was genuine enough that we didn’t feel like anything was entirely “used.” It was ominous enough that we remained on edge. This balance kept us engaged throughout the escape room.
Tips for Visiting
There is a parking lot.
Don’t wear nice clothes or nice shoes.
At least one player needs to be comfortable crawling in a dark, cramped space, and getting a bit dirty.
Price: $34 per ticket weekdays, $38 per ticket weekends
Story & setting
The Elevator Shaft was a new Chapter 2 in THE BASEMENT trilogy. This new game completely replaced The Boiler Room.
Following the events of Chapter 1, The Elevator Shaft, like The Boiler Room operated under the pretense that your team failed the first game. You were gassed and your unconscious body was delivered to Edward Tandy’s one of a kind body disposing, Death Star trash compactor elevator shaft.
Tandy did not know, however, that the engineer that he had enslaved to build the elevator had also hidden an override sequence. Could we uncover it and save ourselves?
In keeping with what we’ve come to expect from THE BASEMENT, The Elevator Shaft had a dark, detailed, and badass set. Moreover, The Elevator Shaft environment felt alive. The set was always doing something different… whether you wanted it to or not.
The Elevator Shaft was a horror adventure where the interactions were born of the environment and necessity. It also had the most refined puzzle game of THE BASEMENT trilogy.
The Elevator Shaft had an incredible set. It was detailed and believable, but it wasn’t busy. It worked.
THE BASEMENT created phenomenal and ever-changing practical effects for The Elevator Shaft. These kept us on edge for the entire experience.
The combination of set and effects delivered a true adventure game. It was exhilarating. There were incredible badass moments… both solo and team.
THE BASEMENT installed a couple of serious puzzles within this adventure. These layered, team-effort solves were fair and satisfying.
THE BASEMENT sells 6 tickets to The Elevator Shaft, but it’s a 3-player escape room, 4 tops… unless you have teammates who primarily want to watch. Even with 3 players (which I think is ideal), at certain times The Elevator Shaft bottlenecked when only a single player could truly advance the game. THE BASEMENT should make this a flat-rate, privately booked experience.
While most of the set and props were high quality, one prop looked so fake and party-store-esque that I was shocked to see it in a game from THE BASEMENT. The good news… this could be effortlessly replaced with something more appropriate.
THE BASEMENT fully commits to using electricity as an interaction in their games. I’ve written about this in pastreviews and I’m not going to rehash my feelings on electricity once again. The Elevator Shaft had something that made a lot more sense than previous electric interactions. It was perfectly safe in this escape room, but had it been “real life,” under the circumstances we were in, this would have likely killed everyone in the room. Given that THE BASEMENT’s product is effectively horror realism, this turned me off.
It sounded like The Elevator Shaft had a dramatic conclusion around a fail state. The win-state conclusion that we saw, however, was anticlimactic, especially considering the thrill of the whole experience up until that point.
Should I play THE BASEMENT’s The Elevator Shaft?
I was sad when I heard that THE BASEMENT was closing The Boiler Room, as it was hands down my favorite game that the notorious horror escape room company had to offer. I am thrilled to report that The Elevator Shaft isn’t just a worthy successor; it’s a vastly superior one.
The Elevator Shaft was intense and smart. It contained a ton of cool moments. If you win, you’ll feel like a hero. I suspect that if you lose, you’ll really feel like a victim.
If you played and enjoyed The Boiler Room, you should revisit The Elevator Shaft. While you will instantly recognize a few key features, the gameplay, set, and overall experience is improved in all but one way: capacity.
The Boiler Room capped out at 4 players. While The Elevator Shaft has a much larger physical footprint, that physical capacity does not come with enough interactions to keep half a dozen engaged players active for most of the time. With only 3 players, we still had people standing around waiting for substantial periods of time.
If you like horror and are seeking set-born interactions, then you’re in for a treat with The Elevator Shaft. Bring the smallest team you can. Buy out the game if that’s a financially viable option or book at odd hours / last minute in the hopes that no one else will crash your game.
Note that you should wear clothes and shoes that you don’t care that much about to The Elevator Shaft. This goes for all THE BASEMENT’S escape rooms, but especially this one. Your stuff likely won’t be ruined if you don’t heed this warning, but there is some risk.
If you want nothing to do with horror, this clearly won’t be your escape room.
If you’ve never played an escape room, The Elevator Shaft will likely deliver a spanking to you and your team; this was a hard game. It’s winnable, but challenging. You should probably level up your skill before attempting it, or go in looking for a messed up adventure that you won’t “survive.”
Price: $34 – $46 per ticket depending upon time of booking
Story & setting
This was the third and final chapter (so far) in the disturbing story of playful cannibal Edward Tandy.
In the first chapter, Ed locked us up in his torture basement and filled it with some puzzles so that we could solve our way out. We failed… but he graciously decided not to eat us. Yet.
In the second chapter, Ed tossed us into his boiler room and filled it with some puzzles so that we could solve our way out. This time we succeeded and now we were roaming his home.
As expected, Ed’s home didn’t have a beautiful open floor plan, sun room, and herb garden. It was dark, creepy, and gross. As with the previous two chapters, the environment was superbly designed to maximize the yuck factor. It looked great in a dingy, “this is the worst place on earth to die” sort of way.
The key difference in The Study was that in the narrative, this was no longer a game. We were freely exploring our captor’s home and he was pissed.
In The Basement the puzzles felt completely tacked on to the set, but in The Boiler Room the puzzles felt like they were planned in conjunction with the set. The Study‘s puzzles weren’t tacked on, but they didn’t always feel natural either.
The previous games established a premise that allowed for the puzzles to feel a little trite and gamey, because we were literally being toyed with. The Study had a larger burden of carrying a narrative through the interactions. In some cases it did so disturbingly well; in others, the puzzles once again felt like old-school room escape puzzles tacked on, just because.
This was another game with an actor. He was playing a very different role than in The Basement; he was terrifyingly compelling. There was a key interaction with the actor that I cannot explain in detail without spoiling, but it was incredibly well done and so disturbing.
The set was great. There were a few large set pieces that were exceptionally well executed.
For one bold and lucky player… or the one who just went for it (like I did), there was a series of some of the most memorable moments that I have had in room escaping. Isolated and alone, I experienced many of The Study’s finest moments. They were challenging, nerve-wracking, and at their peak, engaged my fight-or-flight response in a way that no other room escape experience ever has.
That incredible series of events that absolutely blew my mind… no one else on my team got to experience any of it. Some of them were relieved; many of them felt cheated.
While much of The Study was intense and interesting, the first act was surprisingly mundane.
The Study didn’t always live up to its “you’re no longer playing a game, this is real life” promise. Some of the puzzles were strangely out of place and broke the fiction by reminding us that we were playing a game.
The Study contained an interaction that I think should have been edited out for the betterment of the escape room community. If you’re interested in a deeper, slightly spoilery discussion of this, check out our review of The Basement.
The ending was simultaneously cool yet anti-climactic.
Should I play THE BASEMENT’s The Study?
The Study had an awesome set, a great actor, and a few incredible set pieces. There were more than a few great interactions and some of the very best moments I’ve seen in an escape experience. To make the most of this experience, check out our tips for playing with actors.
On the flip side, The Study included some fairly mundane moments and it couldn’t consistently hold its “real life” narrative together.
Additionally, only one teammate will get to experience the very best that The Study has to offer. That last piece is the real kicker. If only one player is bold enough to want those incredible private moments, then it’s a win for everyone. If more than one player wants it, it’s a winner-takes-all scenario.
As with THE BASEMENT’s other games, if you’re in reasonably good health, aren’t too afraid, and are looking for an immersive adventure with a really cool set, then The Study is a superb pick. If you’re a puzzle lover, The Study is an interesting game; it’s far superior to The Basement and a little less compelling than The Boiler Room.