Next on the RECON Stage: David Kwong of The Enigmatist

Last winter, many escape room players were wowed by The Enigmatist, David Kwong’s one-man show that artfully combined magic, puzzles, cryptography, crosswords, and storytelling. The show sold out a year-long run in New York City.

David Kwong of the Enigmatist with a image projected on top of him.

This week, The Reality Escape Convention (RECON) announced David Kwong as a speaker at this year’s digital global Reality Escape Convention.

David will be speaking about blending magic into puzzles, and making these accessible for every skill level.

The Magic

The true magic of The Engimatist was that on surface level none of these thing should have fit together. Yet, Kwong wove them into a beautifully cohesive experience that wowed and impressed at the same time.

The other magic of The Enigmatist, was, of course, the magic… which was also fantastic.

We’re so excited to have this magician reveal some of his tricks… of accessible puzzle design.

About Kwong

With his expertise in puzzles and illusions, David Kwong delights and challenges audiences around the world with his intellectual brand of magic.

Escape room players and creators were captivated by his sold-out one-man show, The Enigmatist and now we’re bringing his unique perspectives on puzzle-based immersive entertainment to the RECON stage.

He has experienced many stages – as a veteran “cruciverbalist” (crossword puzzle constructor) for multiple publications, and a consultant for films such as Ant-Man and Now You See MeRead his full bio on the RECON website.

We’re thrilled to have Kwong share his unique insight on the art of blending magic into puzzles for every skill level.

Join us at RECON

RECON ’20 is a free digital event with curated talks covering aspects of experience design in physical and digital media. The RECON team is excited to welcome Kwong to the RECON stage

RECON is about sharing knowledge and building community. You’re invited to join in strengthening a sustainable escape room industry that recognizes creators, players, and the challenges of 2020.

Join Our June Livestream This Tuesday

It’s that time again. We’ll be livestreaming this Tuesday evening, talking escape rooms, and answering your questions.

This month’s main topics are:

  • The Reopening of Escape Rooms
  • Lessons From the Hivemind Reviews
  • An Update on RECON
Stylized image of an old steel microphone.

Details

Conversation Topics

  • How reopening is progressing
  • Player safety suggestions
  • What we have learned from bringing 16 additional writers onto the REA team
  • What has been entertaining us during our 114 day (and counting) quarantine
  • An introduction to the announced RECON speakers
  • Story time with REA
  • And more… as we’ll also answer viewer questions live

You’ll be able to type your questions (and comments) in the chat to participate in the Q&A part of the livestream.

We hope you’ll join us!

Next on the RECON Stage: Jason Richard

This week, The Reality Escape Convention (RECON) announced Jason Richard, owner of Steal and Escape in San Diego, CA, as a speaker at this year’s digital global Reality Escape Convention.

Jason will be presenting tools, tips, and techniques for creating escape room tech that merges with gameplay.

Meeting Jason

I fondly remember first meeting Jason years ago. He was a new owner who was obsessed with creating the perfect hint system for his game. During a long conversation I learned that he hadn’t yet turned a profit. I remember telling him, “Just the fact that you care this much about the quality of your hint system tells me immediately that your game is probably pretty good. Stop worrying about perfecting hinting and figure out how to market and move tickets. Once you have cash flow, you can spend all the time that you’d like perfecting the nuances of your games. If you don’t, you won’t last long enough to make the games that you want to make.”

Well… he did it. And over the past few years, Jason has transformed himself into a remarkably knowledgeable and skilled game designer and technologist.

Headshot for Jason Richard.

Tools Tips Techniques & Tech

We’re going to take a trip into Jason’s shop where he’s going to share a ton of hard-learned escape room tech lessons.

From soldering and low voltage DC power to Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Node Red, Jason is going to provide a crash course on the basics of building escape room tech. His down-to-earth approaches and demeanor make this stuff feel accessible.

He won’t be able to turn you into an expert in an hour, but he can teach you the basics, help you outfit your toolkit, and set you on a solid, demystified path.

About Jason

Jason Richard and his wife opened Steal and Escape in 2015. Since opening, they have created five full-sized rooms and two mobile rooms, one of which debuted at Comic-Con promoting the TV series The Expanse.

With a lifelong passion for video games, board games, and technology, Jason has continued to affordably innovate with a heavy emphasis on DC power, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Node-Red. His love of tech pushes him to strive for more, while his gaming experience keeps him firmly grounded in gameplay.

Join us at RECON

RECON ’20 is a free digital event with curated talks covering aspects of experience design in physical and digital media. The RECON team is excited to welcome Jason to the RECON stage.

RECON is about sharing knowledge and building community. You’re invited to join in strengthening a sustainable escape room industry that recognizes creators, players, and the challenges of 2020.

Escape Rooms of New England – Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts [Reaction]

The New England escape room community is special. There is a camaraderie among the businesses and the players that doesn’t exist in any other escape room market we’ve visited. It’s inspiring.

This spring, the Escape Rooms of New England teamed up to create Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts. This collaborative puzzle hunt embodies what we love about these escape rooms. They are welcoming, ingenious, and fun!

Everyday Superheroes logo, presented by the Escape Rooms of New England.

Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts

What a title!

While playing this in June, it was strange to reflect on how this puzzle hunt was carbon dated to a specific month of 2020… but then, it’s been a strange year.

A toilet paper roll icon.

This amusing theme really makes the entire thing. Each of the participating companies embedded toilet paper icons on their homepages as beachheads for the hunt. Amazing.

The Collaborators

22 escape room companies and We the Enthusiasts Passports collaborated to pull this off.

That coordination is impressive and inspiring.

The prize is extremely generous. You’ll be entered into a drawing to win 2 free tickets to every participating escape room company.

This community is working together to build awareness for one another at a time when all their businesses are struggling.

The Puzzles

We enjoyed the variety of the puzzles. They differed immensely in style, difficulty, and execution.

We loved that we really had no idea what we’d be up against when we found each toilet paper icon.

We especially enjoyed “United We Stand” by Escape New Haven. If you only solve one puzzle from this hunt, let it be that one.

Not all of the puzzles were created equal. Some of these would have benefited greatly from answer verification, or a hint system. We also wished that the solution website had saved our solutions, but luckily, we’d logged them in a Google Sheet, so we didn’t lose all our work when we submitted one answer with a typo.

That said, these flaws weren’t game-breaking. The set up worked well, especially when you think about how many creators were involved, and the simple fact that no one makes any money from this.

Escape Rooms of New England

It’s no coincidence that we’re bringing RECON, the Reality Escape Convention, to the birthplace of Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts. We chose to host the inaugural in-person RECON in Boston precisely because we knew this New England community – the businesses and the players – have the kind of mindset that we want to shine a spotlight on.

RECON eye & penrose triangle logo.

Given the events of 2020, however, we’re waiting another year to host RECON as an in-person event.

But we are still excited to bring you RECON this August. This summer’s RECON will be global. Please join us digitally August 23-24 for inspiring, actionable talks and community conversation.

And we look forward to bringing RECON to New England in August of 2021!

This is the community where we hosted one of our most packed meetups to date in December 2018… and the owners made it a potluck. With homemade French toast!

It’s also the community we picked to highlight with our 2018 April Fool’s Day post.

We love the welcoming, supportive, caring vibe of the New England escape rooms.

Play Now

The contest ends at the end of the month. Solve now to be entered to win. All those free escape room tickets will come in handy when you attend RECON 2021!

Next on the RECON Stage: Manda Whitney

This week, The Reality Escape Convention (RECON) announced Manda Whitney from the Room Escape Divas Podcast as a speaker at this year’s digital global Reality Escape Convention.

Manda will be speaking about how to craft compelling characters in an escape room setting.

Compelling Characters

Strong characters are one of the traits that set top escape rooms apart. In an escape room, the players are characters, the hint giver is a character, and the people you meet or find traces of are characters. Manda is going to provide you with the knowledge to turn all of your characters into a compelling part of your game world.

Manda knows characters in a way that few people do. As one of the hosts of the Room Escape Divas, she’s no stranger to umm… energetic and unusual characters. Since we first met Manda and the crew back in 2016, we’ve recorded seven episodes with them… and loved every minute of conversation, from serious musings on escape room design to when we all torment Manda while she tries to deliver the conclusion of the podcast (01:36:20).

Manda Whitney's headshot.

About Manda

Manda Whitney is a Toronto-based writer and narrative designer. She is a co-host of the podcast Room Escape Divas and has helped design three large-scale theatrical escape events as well as consulted on various other escape room projects around the world. She also writes and produces comedic scripts for theatre, podcasts, and web-series. When she is not writing, she is playing far more video and escape games than she would care to admit. You can find more info at her sporadically updated blog mandawhitney.com

Join us at RECON

RECON ’20 is a free digital event with curated talks covering aspects of experience design in physical and digital media. The RECON team is excited to welcome Manda to the RECON stage.

RECON is about sharing knowledge and building community. You’re invited to join in strengthening a sustainable escape room industry that recognizes creators, players, and the challenges of 2020.