Escape rooms are becoming all the rage nowadays, and as escape room owners and enthusiasts we've not only played 100+ escape rooms, but we've also facilitated and watched our fair share of escape room experiences. We've seen it all... like, literally, we've seen ALL. OF. THE. THINGS. Lately we've been having conversations about what makes for a truly meaningful escape room experience. Sure, a lot of this comes from the design, puzzles, flow, storyline, and immersion that must be top-notch. And that's on us, the designers and facilitators. However, we also tend to think that there's a certain mindset or way of approaching the game that makes for a more meaningful experience on the customer/ player-end. Sure, you can compete for best time. Sure, you can aim to DOMINATE a room. Here at Sprightly Escapes, though, we tend to encourage a slightly different mindset and way of approaching the experience.
"So, what should I do to have the most awesome and meaningful escape room experience?"
Now, let us be clear in saying that we don't claim to be experts. Yep, we're #addicted to escape rooms and we've played an embarrassingly high number of them across the country, and yep, we also design and facilitate our own escape room experiences here at Sprightly. But again... we don't want the press tracking us down because they think we're saying we're THE Denver escape room experts. Negative. (#fakenews).
These are merely a few thoughts we'd like to share with the world. And oh yeah, when we say "meaningful" experience, of course this means different things to different folks. To us, we love, love, love it when a team leaves Sprightly Escapes and feels like they were in the story 100%. Like, they got it. They knew and understood the story fully. They felt like they were in it. Heart pumpin'. Adrenaline on LEVEL 10. Brain muscles were FLEXED because, sheesh, the team worked together to solve some pretty intense (but awesome!) puzzles. Lots of laughs and good times with friends, family members, and/ or colleagues.... That's what we shoot for here at Sprightly Escapes: The Denver Escape Room Experience.
Alright, folks. Here are some thoughts about how to make your escape room experience a truly meaningful one…
- Keep in mind that it's not always about dominating or getting best time or even escaping. Now, we may have some enthusiasts who disagree with this statement, but we happen to think that a lot gets lost in the experience if you're solely focused on total domination. People tend to miss out on puzzles, clues, and/or the overall story in a way that isn't true when a group is cool, calm, collected and truly part of the moment.
- Which leads us to thought #2: Be in the moment. Be present. Learn about the characters. Understand the story. Embrace the multiple emotions that should be felt throughout a strong escape room experience - joy, success, frustration, the whole nine yards.
- Celebrate. Give a little smile or two when you finally solve that puzzle or crack that code. Throw your bestie a high five.
- Shout out the folks on your team. This sort of ties to our above thought. Did your co-worker have a brilliant, light-bulb moment that lead to your team ultimately solving a multi-layered puzzle? Well for cryin' out loud, give her a pat on the back. Tell her she's brilliant. Something... anything... to make that person feel good during that moment of the experience.
- Laugh. Because it's good for you.
- Dance. Yeah, dance if some music plays. Maybe don't dance tooooo much because that might get weird, but a little dancin' never hurts anybody. You have seen the Ellen show, right?
- Leverage each and every person in the room. For reals. We've literally, literally, literally NEVER had a group where not every single person in the room contributed in a meaningful way. We love escape rooms because five people can be staring at a puzzle with no clue what to do, and all of a sudden, one teammate says, "Well, why don't we try this..."and boom, you're on to something! These beautiful moments of collaboration don't happen if you leave your teammates out of the experience. Plus FOMO is real.
- Just keep in mind that a human... a caring human with a heart, soul and feelings... created this escape room experience. So ya know, when you disagree with a puzzle, maybe try to think through where the designer was coming from... or even ask them about it when the game is over. Or you know that moment when you feel so tempted to break a rule or just slightly bend/ break a prop? Maybe just remember that someone created that and would be really, really sad if it broke. Like, tears may be shed. Now don't get us wrong, we've been there as we've played some escape rooms. We've had those "um, what just happened?" moments when a game master gives a clue that still feels slightly confusing or disconnected. We've found that when we get out of that headspace, move on, and ask the game master about it after the game, we feel better about the entire situation. Again, just food for thought.
So yeah, these are just a few of the thoughts that have been swirling around in our heads lately. You'll find tons of blogs out there that give tips & tricks about how to dominate an escape room, so if you competitive folks are looking for something along those lines, then do a quick Google search and you'll stumble right across it ;-)
Hopefully, though, this inspired at least one person to think about their next escape room experience a tad differently.
And that's it, folks. Here's to many, MANY meaningful escape room experiences in your future. That's what it's all about after-all, eh?
Denise and Kara
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