An invitation to join a group for an escape room experience is well outside my usual weekday activities. I have no illusions about being Cosentino, nor do I suffer from a fascination with being locked up.
I was not only an ‘Escape Room Virgin’, but I was completely ‘in the dark’ about their purpose! Passing an escape room in Copenhagen, I’d commented to my husband, “I don’t know why people feel the need to escape the world! Why don’t they just go home, chill and read a book?”
Actually, escape rooms are not about escaping the world, they’re about being locked up in a themed room where you work as a team to solve a series of (at times cryptic) puzzles, finding (think treasure hunt) and using the clues provided, ultimately to unlock the door and escape (or solve the mystery) within the hour time limit.
If it sounds like a video game, you’re right. That’s where some say the first escape room came from, a Japanese video game called ‘Crimson Room’, released in 2004. By 2007, the Japanese company SCRAP Entertainment was using the concept to create a tangible escape room experience.
Now, it’s estimated that there are 2,800 escape rooms worldwide, with over fifty escape rooms in Brisbane alone.
As part of a group, we visited Seraphim Escape Rooms. Begun by Keziah and her husband, a computer programmer, in their home garage as an activity for friends to enjoy, demand encouraged them to expand their unusual escape room-making hobby into a business. Now, you’ll find Seraphim in an old Queenslander near the centre of Ipswich. They have three different escape rooms of different levels of difficulty: Executioner’s Toolshed, Atonement and Santa’s Cottage (the cheapest, easiest and most family-friendly of the rooms).
Four of us were allocated the Atonement room, based on the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins, and set out to solve the puzzle. Locks, word and crossword puzzles, cryptic clues and sequencing… the room was a test of lateral thinking, teamwork and memory skills.
We solved the mystery and survived. The rooms were dimly lit, but not too scary. It wasn’t geeky either. The game was absorbing to the extent that, without realising, I carried a 4-fingered mummified hand around for 10 minutes, even after I found out where it fitted!
Most of all, it was lots of fun, and our team were the best! We discovered each other’s strengths, found that we had complementary skills and worked together very well. Escape rooms would be great for team building, as an activity for friends or families with older children, teenage birthdays or to sort out a date (or two)! Check out escape rooms on the Gold Coast, or go to: Seraphim Escape Rooms, 38 Brisbane St, Ipswich Ph: 0433 948 338 Pricing $20 – $45pp depending on group size. Visit seraphimescape.com.au for more.
NOTE: Marj Osborne was a guest of The City of Ipswich.