Mental Health Awareness Week

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15th May in the UK)!
Every year in May, a week is dedicated to mental health, this year with a focus on loneliness and its impact on mental wellbeing.

After the dreadful events of the past 2 years this has never been more important. Some of us have been battling relentlessly in the front line. Some of us spent weeks or months home alone. Some of us were unable to meet and hug their loved ones. Social butterflies were forced to shut down and turned into couch caterpillars. Lots of us have been grieving. It’s been tough on all of us.

Escape Rooms has been supporting Mind charity for years because of the work they do in order to spread information and support for those in need. Their statement says: “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.” This charity was voted for by our Game Masters and this year we put aside £500 to donate to Mind to help the incredible work they do. If you’d like to know more about Mind as a charity and how you can help, follow this link:

And in the meantime… call a loved one, go for a walk, join a class, listen to happy music, book a trip, check in on a friend, run, dance, jump around or… you know, book an escape game! 🙂 #MHAW

If you think you or someone you know is suffering from any mental problems, please ask for help!


This is Sabotage!

During the pandemic everyone tried to come up with the most creative ways to reconnect with guests, customers, business partners – and in the music industry of course with the fans!

Well, the Black Sabbath certainly took it to the next level. To celebrate the release of the Sabotage: Super Deluxe Edition collection, they launched a mini online escape game created by our friends, the Brighton based Bewilder Box team – featured in the Rolling Stone magazine! The Sabotage Escape Room allows you to enter an authentic 70’s themed room where your mission is to recover a copy of the SABOTAGE: SUPER DELUXE EDITION by solving puzzles and using a bit of band-knowledge for the true followers (don’t worry, if you’re not a Black Sabbath fan yet, you can use the hints provided). This little escape adventure is a very unique way to promote the band’s latest release and also a great way to introduce a bunch of potential novices to the world of escape games – and something for you to do in your coffee break. We particularly enjoyed the 70’s music scenario – would love to do this in a real live escape game! So, what are you waiting for?

“Plug in your Gibson SG, turn your brain up to 11 and see if you’ve got what it takes to be The Prince of Smartness in the Sabotage: Deluxe Edition Escape Room.” (Bewilder Box). Click the link below to play the game and let us know if you managed to beat our staff record – 3.11mins by Connor, our lovely Game Master!

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By Eszter Kovacs

Health and Safety in Covid-19 World

The health and safety of our staff and customers is a top priority at Escape Rooms which is why we have put in place measures so that you can fully immersive yourself into the world we’re creating.

The following points cover the steps we are currently taking to ensure our guests and staff are safe:

  • All items within the games, such as props, padlocks, keys, and furniture, will be disinfected during every game reset.
  • Gloves, face masks and hand sanitiser are available for use by guests should they need them. Face coverings must be worn within the communal areas of our building, and teams must sanitise their hands upon entering the building. NHS Track and Trace is also required.
  • Staff are required to wear face coverings.
  • Surfaces within the building will be cleaned between sessions, including game control stations, and bathrooms.
  • We have reduced our player amount. All of our games can take a maximum of 6 players. This is to reduce crowding within our lobby and rooms. Only one team will be allowed into our welcome area.

We fully understand that our customers will be concerned about the coronavirus, and we want to assure you that as a company, we’re closely monitoring the evolving situation and following the guidelines issued by the UK Government and Public Health England. With the new Tier system in place, please be aware that the guidelines might change after you’ve made a booking. We legally have to follow these. This includes following the current guidelines for Tier 2 – we are unable to run a game for mixed groups of people. You must be from the same household or support bubble.

Due to this, we may be required to close or postpone games at short notice, however, we will always contact you as soon as possible via phone and email to advise you on the changes to your booking.

We ask that if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you call or email us to reschedule your booking. We shall be as flexible as possible, however our 7 day notice Rescheduling Policy is still in place. Reschedule requests made on short notice will be liable to an administration fee.

We thank you for supporting Escape Rooms during this time. If you have any concerns that you’d like to discuss with us, please email


How to get rid of your children this half-term?

Half-term is upon us and with it comes a desperate need to distract the children. You’re probably thinking then, ‘What ever am I to do? How will I cope? How will I placate them and save my soul?’ Perhaps you need just an hour to work or de-stress from the week you know you’re about to have. Or maybe you just love your children and you want to spend a bit of money on something fun for them to do, that still pushes their thinking.

We, at Escape Rooms, can help. As long as they’re over 12, we can relieve you of your charges for an hour. And, well, that’s a whole hour during which they’re our problem, not yours. You can read a book or take a nap – whatever you like to do in your down time. Or it’s the perfect time to get on with an hour’s work without having to distract your children. We’ll lock them away and keep them occupied. You’ll have to stay within the venue but not be locked in a room with them. For those under 12, they can still play the game but we will be locking you inside the room with them…

As its half-term, you might be able to make use of one of our weekday offers – the Happy Mondays and Tuesdays offer at Angel, for example, allows you to bring up to 7 players and only pay for 3, meaning you’ll be paying £87 for an experience that would otherwise cost £154.

It’s something to consider, at the very least.


The 4D Experience

Recently, Let’s Go Out took the time to curate a list of the top 5 escape games in London, and we’re happy to say we’re on it. Per their website: ‘Escape Rooms have taken the genre to another level, with 4D sensory experiences that will test all your senses and fully immerse you into the game. At their London Bridge location, you can choose from Pharaoh’s Chamber and Room 33 (set in 17th century China). Book now and see why they earned a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. At this time of year, they have festive offers including early bird discounts!’

For the uninitiated, ‘4D sensory experiences’ means you’re in a physical room with physical objects, not some VR hellscape created by a misused computer sciences graduate. It’s sort of like being in your own home as opposed to a virtual recreation of your own home, which is prone to lag, or glitch in such a manner that the mug of coffee on the table sometimes teleports up through the ceiling. Instead, you must physically move the coffee cup yourself to make it move, but 4D reality is a little more exciting than that. This basically just means that you’re literally locked in a room with a mission to complete where you can definitely touch and interact with things rather than a 3D experience which might put you in a room with a mission, but you aren’t allowed to actually things.

Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with virtual escape games. Or that I’ve been told I have to balance out the preceding with something ‘nicer’. Escape games began as a virtual experience – Japanese mobile app games, as mentioned in a previous blog. You can do wonderful, imaginative things with VR – things you simply can’t do in real life. Like filming Avatar, or a sequel to Avatar, or a sequel to the sequel of Avatar. Imagine trying to build real-life 7-foot-high smurfs. It’d simply be impractical.

It’s simply to say that, in the conflict between the real world and the Matrix we are Neo. We prefer the real experience. Why throw a digital prop at one of your teammates when you can throw an actual prop at them instead?

You can find the Let’s Go Out article here.

By Benjamin Mercer

Our New Year’s resolutions

Well, we’re ended a decade and moved forward into another. Many wonderful things have happened for us within the last 10 years. The biggest, of course, being that we opened up two different venues, 4 games in total. Being one of the first escape rooms opening in the UK, we believe we’ve been part of a major movement in the beginnings of the escape room industry. But we’ve also done some other amazing things. We’ve attended the Escape Rooms conference; we’ve seen over 50,000 teams and we’ve game mastered for some incredible people.

But as we’re coming to the end of one decade and entering another, we’re starting to think about what we can do differently over the next 10 years. So, what are we planning on changing?

We’re hoping to open up another venue within the next couple years with new, unique games. Perhaps somewhere close to what we’ve already got open to make team building for larger teams easier. We’re looking into different types of games as well. We want to lead the path on making Escape Rooms more immersive, based thoroughly in story-telling, and incorporating new techniques for communication that can be tailored for the team’s experience and skill level. We’re looking to also revamp and update our current rooms to ensure we’re giving the best experience we can for every team.

We want to introduce more people to Escape Rooms through outreach projects, connecting with schools, communities, and universities. Escape Rooms are a niche market, so why not widen it to engage with a wider audience. After all, escape rooms are for everyone.

We want to see our current game masters through university, and other projects that they might be working on. We love our staff, and we will help as much as we can to push them in the right direction. By offering a supportive and well organised workplace, we can ensure our staff have the best possible care they need.

We also want to start an escape rooms community, connecting with other businesses around us. This isn’t just going to help us as a business grow, but it will also help others. Offering advice, feedback and promotion opportunities means that the industry stays united.

But what about you? What are your decade resolutions? Will you be joining us in reaching out? And do you have any fun suggestions on what else we should aim to achieve over the next few years? Let us know via our social media, or by leaving a comment below.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

By Charlotte Potter

Building an Escape Room

If you want to join the market but have no idea where to start, or if you want to make an escape room at home for your children or friends, there are a few things you need to think about when attempting to create a successful escape game.

First, decide on your topic. What is your game going to be about? What theme are you making it? By deciding your topic, you’ll be able to make design and puzzle decisions. The story behind the game can come later, but the thematic setting needs to come first. You don’t want to waste money buying props and set without knowing how to link everything together. Let’s assume that we’ve decided the theme is going to be a medieval castle and build on that.

Next, you’ll need to start creating your setting. Things like lights, sound, and furniture are all incredibly important. Our medieval castle game setting would need things like stone walls. You wouldn’t want a standing lamp, but instead, something that adds to the immersion like fake candles or large fake windows with backing lights. The colour paint that you use is also important. If you can’t afford to re-stone the wall, wallpaper can offer the same effect. You obviously wouldn’t want to paint the walls bright pink. Your setting, including dressing for the set, must connect with your theme.

Then decide your story. This needs to include and introduction to the game and what problem it is that the team is attempting to solve. Following our example for a medieval castle themed game, an introduction for this might be:

‘Welcome, team. We must keep this meeting brief because if we are caught, we will be tried for treason. King Uther has taken a step too far with his laws against magic and currently has 12 innocent people locked below Camelot in the castle dungeons. You must rescue them before they are put to death tomorrow morning. Emrys is currently distracting the guards but he can only give you an hour, to get in, free all 12 innocent prisoners, and escape again. I know a secret entrance into the castle that you can use to sneak in, but you’ll have to be careful. We don’t know what tricks Uther has up his sleeve and we also don’t know how well he guards his dungeons.

That’s Merlin’s signal. You have an hour. Good luck…’

Let’s dissect this.

First, we’ve set the stakes. Placing the players in a role play situation, we’ve given them an idea about who they are. Next, we’re placed the setting and potential time period, the castle, medieval, possibly magical. Then they’re given their mission and motivation to complete their mission and escape. They are then given their time limit and a reason for why they have an hour within the game. So far, the team knows they need to rescue 12 prisons from a castle dungeon, with help from Merlin who can distract the guards for an hour. The stakes are raised high but adding in the air of mystery around the tasks, telling them ‘We don’t know what tricks Uther has up his sleeve.’ Finally, they’re given a reason for the time to start and the mission to begin, Merlin’s signal.

Though short, this is a fairly clear get in and get out again mission which fits in with both the theme and the setting of the game.

After deciding the mission of the game, next comes the building of puzzles. Now given our example, these puzzles can’t outwardly look too high-tech. We’re not going to have a computer in a medieval castle. Instead, it should be things like finding pieces of a map to navigate the tunnels, choosing the right 12 prisoners to release when given descriptions, and uncovering secret passageways by pulling on the right unlit flaming torch. The puzzles inside the game must reflect the theme, setting, and mission. Teams also usually need an indication as to how well they’re doing, a way to know how far away they are from finishing the game. A timer might not work so well within our example but perhaps a chiming clock every 10-15 minutes, or an ‘orb’ enchanted by Merlin to give information.

Finally, you’ve got to think about your game masters and the part they will play within the story. Will they dress up to ensure immersion from the minute the team step through the door? Or will they offer a step away from the game so that returning to the outside world is less of a shock after an hour locked away? Communication with the team is also important – so how will they information become available? Through walkie talkie, a screen or through a voice over? The questions focusing on game masters connect closely with the type of game you’re creating and how immersed you want your teams to be.

These are the steps that we take in building an escape room, but we’d love to hear from you if you have other ideas or a different order in which you do things. Let us know in the comments below if this has helped your process or if you have a suggestion for what theme we should use next. We look forward to hearing from you.

By Charlotte Potter

Why choose Angel?

Didn’t that chap who used to be in a band called Take That once sing about loving angels instead? Now being an employee of Escape Rooms, I wholeheartedly endorse this message. Love Angel instead. Our Angel venue, that is. It’s about an 8 minute walk from Angel, Old Street and Barbican. But, more important than its accessibility, the two games we have there are something truly different.

Our London Bridge venue was one of the first escape rooms to open in this country and our team has played more escape games than your average sane person. Some of us have even remained sane. We know the usual model, we know how it works, we know what to expect. There’s an almost-infinite variety of themes and settings, a huge range of truly innovative, imaginative puzzles out there – it’s truly remarkable what can be achieved with a few boxes and padlocks, but we disparage neither our London Bridge venue nor our competitors when we say that, just perhaps, there can, must, should be more to it than that.

Yes, there are games out there already which experiment with VR. But anyone who’s ever been involved in tech knows that VR has been The Next Big Thing for at least twenty years. The possibilities with VR are almost endless. But they are still possibilities, and the technology does not yet exist which enables us to transcend the physical and visual aspects of what visual effects artists call ‘the uncanny valley’ – the theory in applied aesthetics which holds that the closer the virtual approximates the real, the greater the discord generated by increasingly subtle differences.

Many people, most especially film-makers, treat the ease and the variety afforded by the green screen as an excuse to go for super-reality, forgetting that so much of how we relate to the world relies on plausibility as conveyed by the real and physical, and our unconscious reactions to same. The Battle of Hoth in Empire Strikes Back was filmed in sub-zero temperatures in Norway. Sure, you could green-screen the same setting, but the actors, by virtue of their presence in a comfortable studio with central heating, would not move with the same stiffness true cold creates. Ditto some of the mountain scenes in The Lord of the Rings and their CGI-mirrors in the later adaptation of The Hobbit.

Their visible breath would look like but not as really visible breath. And the genuine frost that coats ‘80s facial hair in sub-zero temperatures can only be approximated by CGI frost on CGI ‘80s facial hair in a fake-freezing setting.

The difference, however subtle, between the fake and the real will be accentuated by the same subtlety: so much of what we know about the world is based on our imagination rooted in real experience, so we can spot a fake without really seeing it. We know, almost intuitively, when a thing is real; we know, almost intuitively, when it is pretend.

The games at our Angel venue take the former approach. They are sci-fi, but they are a physical, malleable, tangible sci-fi. They are more akin to original Star Wars, not prequel Star Wars. And can there be higher praise? You’re transported into a high-tech, science-fiction world – and transported physically, not virtually. You’re really there. You’re not holding a virtual laser gun; you’re holding a real one. You’re not holding virtual power cores; you’re holding real ones. You’re not plugging in virtual moon base power generators; you’re plugging in real ones. (Though not actually on a moon base – imagination still has its place, and our budget isn’t quite that big.)

We’ve dispensed with padlocks (excepting the one there is in the Dark Side of the Moon) in favour of other, more imaginative, physical variants: digital dial pads, sure, but also button-panels; and, one of Project DIVA’s special features, a light-up pressure-pad floor grid. Cables, laser beams and robots bring to life the immersive nature of the games. You’re not playing a glorified video-game, you’re in the game.

So, if you’re a seasoned escape game veterans in search of something different, or if you’re total new-comers unsure of the genre and hoping for something unique, you really have only one first port of call. I’d recommend them even over our games at London Bridge, tried and tested and approved though they are. If you want something different, something immersive, something which can marry your physical skills and your virtual wits, something that has been more than once compared with The Crystal Maze, come to Escape Rooms: Angel.

By Benjamin Mercer

The state of flow in an Escape Room

I would like to talk about the flow in an escape room. By this term I don’t mean the game flow but the psychological state of mind also known as being in the zone. When I played my first escape game 6 years ago – when this concept was quite new (see the blurry pic below) – it left me in awe. I couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks, I felt the urge to tell everyone about it. It made me wonder, what exactly has left such a deep impact on me and why? The game was ok, the room was pretty basic and our team was a bit random. So what then? After doing some research on good old Google, I came across the term ‘flow zone’ – an expression I was familiar with but not in relation to escape games.

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In the psychological terminology flow is a state of mind where the person is fully involved with whatever activity or task is being carried out, in our case playing an escape game. They enjoy it and are physically and mentally completely engaged; focused. They’re motivated by the activity itself and that becomes the reward, rather than the result. The person is absorbed in the activity so deeply that basic needs such as hunger or need to sleep disappear and time seems to be flying by. The concept has existed before e.g. in certain Eastern religions but was first given a name by MihályCsíkszentmihályi, a Hungarian-American psychologist and is explained in this chart:

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The vertical axis shows how difficult a puzzle/task is, the horizontal axis shows the level of our own personal skills. For example, if the customer is very skilled but the puzzle is too easy, they will get bored. If the puzzle is way too hard and they don’t have the right set of skills to solve it, eventually they will get anxious and frustrated.

To simplify this chart especially focusing on escape games, here is another chart showing the flow channel located:

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So in the flow zone, the difficulty of the challenge is proportionate to the skill levels.

If it’s really such a great thing being in the zone, why don’t we do it all the time? Because one doesn’t just land in the zone or creates it; in order to be engaged in a state of flow, several conditions must be met. In the case of the escape games, these conditions come from 2 directions: both from the game (as in the actual puzzles and the room) and from the player.

Let’s quickly go through these conditions in reflection of escape games:

1) Complete focus and involvement

Ideally, the player is concentrating on solving the puzzles and only the puzzles rather than checking their phone, catch up with their teammates or trying to figure out whether the wall is real or fake brick wallpaper.

2) Clarity and immediate feedback

A bit of a tricky one here when it comes to escape games because if a puzzle is clear (how to be solved) it’s not a puzzle, it’s just a task. What clarity means here is that the player knows the main goal (escaping) and the immediate feedback would be coming from solving each puzzle one by one, taking them closer to the end of the game.

3) The perception of time or timelessness

Time is one of the main elements in escape games as its very limited and time flies when you’re having fun. When the player is in the zone, time feels like it’s flying by (or it could be slowing down) and this is always the case in an Escape Room. We all know the feeling of when you enter, check the time – 50 mins left – and when you check again, 15 minutes remaining and you don’t know how that happened.

4) Intrinsic motivation

The idea here is that when the team is in the flow zone, they are working towards a prize or a reward but doing the activity for its own sake. In an escape game, if our sole goal was only to escape, we could just get all the hints and quickly solve the puzzles. But in the flow zone solving the puzzle is so enjoyable it becomes the reward. A very typical question from teams coming for the first time: What’s the prize when you escape? (Oh but nothing!)

5) Effortlessness

When a puzzle proves to be too hard to be solved, the flow easily turns into stress. There is a very thin layer between a puzzle being too difficult or just hard enough to be challenging and not too easy to be solved. If I look around in a room and immediately know how to solve puzzles, I will fall out of the ‘flow zone.’ So in this case effortlessness means not too much effort but some.

6) Balance of challenge and skills

Whatever escape room and puzzles, there will always be teams who would find the room impossible to escape and there will always be teams who fly through the game in record time as if they’ve done the type of puzzles before. It’s pretty hard to set the level of difficulty when designing games without knowing the level of skills of the players but game designers can try by creating a wide and colourful variety of different puzzles and obstacles.

7) Action and awareness are merged

…meaning that the outside world is not only physically locked out but also mentally. The players are focusing so much on the puzzles that all the worry of the everyday world disappears. The only reality they’re aware of is right here and right now. Nothing else exists. As previously mentioned, in order to keep flow, teams must be completely invested but the immersion of the game is also relevant.

Experiencing this is great and it’s a rare phenomenon. Though it does make me wonder whether we’re trying to escape from the room or escape into the room?

8) Control

Let’s not get fooled by the word ’control’ here, all that means is that while being in the flow zone, we know that the task is doable therefore there is no fear of failing. Or, that is the idea behind it. I would bend this a bit by saying that the fear of failing could become a motivational element when it comes to problem solving or puzzle solving.

While the flow zone is mainly entered individually, there is such a thing as a team flow zone and I think it mainly occurs in a come-and-go pattern during a game. I hope you found this as interesting as we did at Escape Rooms. Do you get into the flow zone? Perhaps you have something you’d like to extend on! Do leave a comment below, we’d be interested in finding out more!

By Eszter Kovacs
Picture by Guy Wah

Its Our Birthday!

Whilst it’s customary on your birthday to receive gifts, we, at Escape Rooms, decided that this year we’d give back. As a company, we recently turned 5 years old and it’s not something we could have done without our customers and our incredible team. Since we opened 5 years ago at our London Bridge location, so much has changed. Our rooms have been redecorated, and we’ve a whole new set of staff (though some of our oldest are still with us). For 3 years, our games at London Bridge steadily grew more popular, which lead to us, 2 years ago, opening up a new set of games which we’re also very proud of. But what exactly did we do for our birthday, I hear you ask?

Well, we started off by offering discount at both of our venues for any booking made in within a two-week time frame. What was great about this is that you could book for any date in the future available on our website with the discount, not just for the two weeks that the campaign was running for. We continued this at our Angel venue, the more expensive of the two, for a week onwards from this. We also ran a competition over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for customers to win vouchers to both of our venues, London Bridge and Angel. So, in the end, we had 5 weeks of surprises with a fun, exciting offers and events happening each week for our customers.

Alongside this, during the second week of August, we started putting aside a percentage of every booking made at our London Bridge venue to be donated to charity. The charity we decided to support was Mind, as the incredible work they do has an effect on many people around us and was voted for by our Game Masters. Mind state that ‘[They] provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. [They] campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. [They] won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.’ The total amount that we donated was £450. If you’d like to know more about Mind as a charity and how you can help, follow this link:

We also celebrated from within the company as well. We held a party for our staff, which included pizza, homemade cake made by Eszter, one of our managers, and dancing. We also held a race to see who could solve our Project DIVA game fastest which we entitled ‘The Project DIVA Olympics.’ This was a speed run of the game, as obviously we all know the answers here, and the quickest time came in at 6 minutes and 27 seconds, by me! We were all very out of breath by the end of this and the dancing slowed considerably. After filling ourselves up on food and catching our breath, we made our way over to a different escape room where we played, and completed, some fun games.

So here we are, 5 years after opening with an intelligent and fun team of workers and a wonderful unending number of customers – from first timers to polished escape artists. We’re extremely proud of all that we’ve achieved over the last 5 years and hopefully, in 5 years’ time, someone else will be writing about all we’ve achieved after another 5 years. So Happy Birthday to us, and thank you for your dedication. We were one of the first escape rooms to open up in the UK and with a bit of luck, we’ll continue on to new exploits. Perhaps a new room and new games! Feel free to submit your ideas to us about this via our Twitter page – we’d love to hear your thoughts on what we should do next!

Onwards and upwards – thank you for a wonderful 5 years.

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By Charlotte Potter

4 Years at Escape Rooms

I have worked in a café, garden centre, car factory, flour mill, pub, and escape game. Quite a variety, and each with their instructions in human nature. It was the last, however— ‘Escape Rooms’—that has, after four years, left the deepest imprint.

Just so we’re on the same page, an escape game involves being locked in a themed room full of puzzles, in which teams must work together to escape within an hour. Think Crystal Maze without the crystals, or Takeshi’s Castle without the brutality. The concept arose from phone apps before turning tangible. Our own company was, I think, the third such game in London. There are now dozens, attesting to their explosion in popularity. We are a small company of two venues, preferring quality to quantity, but there are now escape game companies from Dubai to Norway, Romania to New Zealand.

My interview involved playing one of the games. I was terrible, so they must have seen something else in me. I was soon officially a ‘Game Master’: introducing teams, telling back-stories about the game, and watching them on-screen, with a walkie-talkie to provide the occasional ‘hint’ (no more than three to make it on the coveted wall of fame). Two years later, we opened another venue, in Angel, with another two games. Trained on all four, I continued in this role before briefly becoming one of the managers.

I mentioned ‘instruction in human nature’. This was unavoidable—and equal parts funny and depressing. Observing families, colleagues, and friends stuck in a room together reveals among other things, for instance, dire levels of literacy. Bankers who strut it wearing Rolex watches frequently ask me to define ‘simultaneous’ without any evident embarrassment. Teachers—teachers!—have asked me to explain the difference between rows and columns. Given the hint to search for digits, teams often reply, ‘We haven’t found any letters.’ And the query, ‘Can I ask you a yes or no question?’ is self-evidently annoying. But teams may also edify. We have a Rubik’s Cube in the lobby, and it’s always children who manage to solve it. One team playing the Pharaoh’s Chamber claimed to be distant relations of Howard Carter, the man who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun.

I’ll miss this place. I’ll miss the unexpected variety and delightfulness of customers, from Waughian reactionary to Sheikh to builder to professional Rubik’s cube solvers (seriously). I’ll miss Martin Freeman and Woody Harrelson, both of whom popped in (not together) without notice or fanfare. I’ll miss the email we received, from out of the blue, from the actor who played Mike Teevee in the original Willy Wonka movie. I’ll miss my colleagues, who hailed from as far as Pakistan, the Philippines, Bermuda, and the north. I’ll miss the bald chap who walked into a door. I’ll miss the visitor who mistook us for a sauna. I’ll miss my old manager’s French bulldog, Malcolm, who baptised customers with his tireless tongue. I’ll miss our mascot Colin, literally a skeleton in the closet. And I’ll miss feeling at home here, belonging, being known.

This job has sustained me through my first years in London, providing structure, friendships, and of course rent money. But I shall never see it in purely instrumental terms. As I move on to the next job, I will not forget my time here. Je ne regrette rien.

By Oscar Yuill

Going Green

With a venue at Angel and another at London Bridge, we at Escape Rooms enjoy all the conveniences and privileges of central London life. Our game masters need only to pop to the corner to get lunch; the nearest tube station is only 10 minutes’ walk, and everything – that means everything – is available 7 days a week at the shops within reach. I’d be lying if I said we never took these conveniences for granted. But, recently, it became very clear that the fruits of the 21st century come with a hefty price attached. The eye-openingly-named Extinction Rebellion protestors closed down some of the arterial streets and bridges of London to bring attention to the direct existential threat humankind is currently facing and call for urgent action. How do we -as a small company in the heart of London- fit in this picture at all? We’ve been trying to change our ways at Escape Rooms for a while now, becoming greener in our decisions. But I must admit it’s been baby steps. In the last year, we’ve stopped offering plastic cups to customers and moved onto paper cups. Whilst we know that this isn’t ideal, of course, we’re aware that paper is better than plastic. As for us? We have been using our own branded fancy ceramic mugs (want one? click here!). We’ve made steps to become greener through creating less waste as well. We reuse Blu Tack, for instance, when sticking customer ‘team cards’ onto the Wall of Fame at London Bridge. In fact, we’re a bit stir crazy with reusing Blu Tack. There’s an unspoken competition in play at our London Bridge venue, with game masters competing for who can make the best Blu Tack figures. They’re everywhere within our office space. We now use biodegradable sweet wrappers for our complimentary sweets – thanks to our supplier for offering this option! We replaced our wooden tea-stirrers with a permanent set of company cutlery because we believe that the future is reusable not recyclable. We stopped using long lasting milk sachets and, instead, we’re making regular trips to our local grocery shops to pick up some bottled fresh milk (sadly they still come in plastic) along with some basics rather than ordering them online. Furthermore, we don’t print tickets for our games and all our correspondence is via email, even our invoices come in an electronic form. Always. Our next steps will be to ensure a thorough recycling system is in play at both of our venues. This takes a little more preparation but we’re working on it. Additionally, we’re looking into ways that we can replace the paper that we give to customers to use within their games. We’re hoping to invest into smart boards or perhaps even white boards. Love escaping? How can you be Earth-friendly when you’re coming to play an escape game? First: don’t print your confirmation email. There’s no need! Just your name on arrival is enough for us to confirm your booking. Second: Walk to our venue or use public transport. Parking is difficult around our venue anyway and the city has just welcomed 24 hour ‘Ultra Low Emissions Zone’ areas which we fall into. Therefore, try not to use your car when coming to our venues. Find more environmentally friendly transport. Third: Bring your own reusable water bottle and you can fill it up at any of our venues with filtered tap water!  Don’t litter! Fourth: Please be gentle to our props and equipment. This means that things last for longer within both of our venues and we don’t need to replace props as often. This doesn’t mean we want you to stop having fun. It’s just us asking you to be more self-aware of the affect you’re having on our planet. We all could do a bit more, but slowly, we’re making changes to help. Is this enough? Probably not. But it’s a good start.
By Escape Rooms Team Picture by Vladimir Morozov via Extinction Rebellion