Streaming Real-Life Hitman

Back in 2016, some folks painstakingly created a real-life version of the video game Hitman, where players verbally commanded an actor through a mansion, with the mission of eliminating a target.

Hitman approaching a mansion.

Aside from being phenomenally well executed, this video is playing with ideas that I think we’ll see more of in the future as streaming games become more prevalent.

Also… can someone make a game where I drop a statue on a nemesis? I didn’t know that I needed that in my life.

Great Gotham Challenge – CTRL/ALT/DECODE Chapter 2 [Hivemind Review]

CTRL/ALT/DECODE Chapter 2 is a puzzle hunt game created by Great Gotham Challenge in New York City. This review covers only Chapter 2, which took place in July 2020. (Chapter 1 took place in May 2020.)

A person in a cyber-punk scene whereing neon goggles, obscuring his identity.


Style of Play: puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 4

Play Time: 3 hours

Price: $40 for a team of 4 players

Booking: This event has concluded, but you can subscribe to the Great Gotham Challenge to learn about future events.


CTRL/ALT/DECODE Chapter 2 began and ended in a group Zoom call. Then teams used a specific Great Gotham Challenge website – and the rest of the internet – to solve the puzzles laid out before them, working on one puzzle at a time. Once a team solved a puzzle, they input the answer into the online app and if correct, automatically received the next clue.

Hivemind Review Scale

Next on the RECON Stage: Gamemasters Hillary Manning & Aaron Gold​

This week, The Reality Escape Convention (RECON) announced Hillary Manning & Aaron Gold​, two professional gamemasters, as speakers at this year’s digital global Reality Escape Convention.

Hillary & Aaron headshots.

Hillary and Aaron will share amusing moments and hard truths from years as gamemasters for multiple escape room companies.

Stories from Gamemastering

Gamemastering is one of the most important functions of the escape room experience. Combining customer service, performance, and execution, the gamemaster is the face of an escape room company to their customers. They set the stage and can either elevate or harm the experience.

Hillary and Aaron are veteran escape room gamemasters who will share their insights and truths about the job and how to better train and empower a gamemaster for success.

About Hillary and Aaron

Hillary Manning is a New York-based designer of puzzles, costumes, and other interesting things. She has gamemastered with two different escape room companies. Last year we worked together on the children’s television program Create The Escape, which really highlighted her abilities as a creator as well as her skill in interacting with people.

Aaron Gold is a working actor appearing in stage shows, cartoons, and commercials. He has found that gamemastering is a great job for his particular blend of skills, and has worked for multiple New York City-based escape room companies.

Join us at RECON

RECON ’20 is a free digital event with curated talks covering aspects of experience design in physical and digital media.

RECON is less than one month away. Pre-register today so that you receive all information about registering to get your virtual badge, the full schedule of talks, and how to meet other folks at RECON. All this information will be available to pre-registrants really soon!

ERIC Presents 2 Featured Talks at RECON

The Reality Escape Convention (RECON) believes that collaboration grows our industry and the community around it. To that end, RECON recently announced that the annual UK Escape Room Industry Conference (ERIC) would present two featured talks:

Charlie Bond and James Hamer-Morton of Deadlocked Escape Rooms in Reading, England, will talk about diversifying escape room business offerings.

David Middleton of Bewilder Box in Brighton, England, will interview Sera Dodd, one of the two most experienced escape room players in the western world. (She is tied with her lovely partner Sharan.)

Collaborating with ERIC

ERIC is the UK’s annual escape room conference. Last year, David flew to the UK to speak on the ERIC stage and host a panel.

ERIC's cross keys logo.

While there, he fell in love with ERIC’s energetic, community-focused approach to escape room conference production.

The folks behind ERIC love and support this industry as much as we do.

Diversifying Your Puzzle Products

Charlie & James of Deadlocked are actors and escape room owners. Over the past few years they have created games in multiple media including:

  • Real-life escape rooms
  • Escape room puzzle books
  • Digital games that blur the lines between escape room, alternate reality game, and light puzzle hunt.

They will be sharing the lessons that they learned designing for each medium, focusing heavily on how these differ from one another. The session is both funny and informative.

Charlie & James

Charlie & James

Charlie and James are the masterminds behind boutique escape room chain Deadlocked – the pioneering powerhouse of the hit episodic online escape rooms The Insiders and The Cyphstress. They created these two experiences in a lab specifically for the world of immersive experiences. While cutting their teeth starring in art house films and moonlighting as games level designers, they soon turned their hand to the world of ‘alternative reality games’, devoting their lives to transporting their audiences into the center of their own artisan adventures.

A Conversation with the Western World’s Most Experienced Escape Room Player

The title says it all. Together David Middleton and Sera Dodd will explore the observations and evolution of a player through 1,500+ escape rooms.

Sera & David

Dave & Sera. Sera is speaking into a bullhorn.

Sera Dodd has played just over 1500 rooms. This makes her almost certainly the most experienced escape room player in the Western world alongside Sharan, with whom she’s played every single game. Together they have a 99.8% escape rate, have played in 17 different countries, and once played 615 games in a single year. Sera has been a member of Team UK during both Red Bull Escape Room World Championships, co-founded the UK Escape Room Industry Conference (ERIC), worked as a UX and Design Consultant within the escape room industry, and has generally been a pillar of the UK escape room community. Her real hobbies include bouldering and befriending wild animals. In her spare time, she’s a doctor.

David Middleton is co-founder of both ERIC and the Brighton-based escape room company Bewilder Box. Bewilder Box has produced an assortment of highly regarded games ranging from traditional escape rooms to online puzzle video games, and a beachside pop-up escape room in a box.

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 collaborate with ERIC, and have them present these two talks on the RECON stage. This collaboration furthers our goals of community and building a sustainable industry together.

RECON is less than one month away. Pre-register today so that you receive all information about registering to get your virtual badge, the full schedule of talks, and how to meet other folks at RECON. All this information will be available to pre-registrants really soon!

Eric Berlin – The Social Distancing Puzzles [Hivemind Review]

The Social Distancing Puzzles is a print-and-play word puzzle game played collaboratively with a partner, created by Eric Berlin.

A puzzle grid of interconnected hexagons each made up from 6 triangles.


Style of Play: print-and-play word puzzle game played collaboratively with a partner

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, printer, pen and paper

The documents are meant to be printed and split between two players.

Recommended Team Size: designed to by played by 2 players

Play Time: anywhere from 3-10 hours

Price: a donation to Feeding America

Booking: Make a donation to Feeding America. Take a screenshot of your receipt. Upload your receipt, then enter your e-mail address. You’ll soon receive an e-mail with links to the puzzles.


This is a series of ten independent word puzzles with an eleventh metapuzzle that relies on the answers of the previous ten. The puzzle collection is designed for two players (or two teams.) Each player receives the same instructions per puzzle but a different set of information. You must communicate with your partner to share the necessary information.

If English is not your native language, these puzzles will be incredibly challenging, and at times tedious, especially when phonetics and pronunciation are relevant.

A puzzle grid of hexagons, many of them numbered.

Hivemind Review Scale