Around the World: “The Purge: Breakout”

thepurgeThis is quite cute. Last summer, there was a horror film, The Purge, based on the dystopian future principle that each year there is a 12-hour event referred to as the titular purge where all crime, even murder, is legal. The film covers those who wish to bring their violent tendencies out during those 12 hours and also those who want to hide away and keep safe during those 12 hours. This summer sees a sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, set to be released on Friday 18th July.

That weekend, and each of the six previous weekends, a different city in the US will be hosting an event called The Purge: Breakout. This is, effectively, a pop-up exit game with many of the trimmings of a haunted house. The game goes on tour in four articulated lorries. The game is for teams of exactly six (smaller parties will be merged as necessary) and tickets are US$20 per head plus tax.

It’s Purge Night, and your group is being held captive by a demented torturer… with only 30 minutes before the start of The Purge. Trapped in his house, groups must work together—solving a series of increasingly complicated mind-bending puzzles and clues—to escape captivity and survive THE PURGE. Based on popular escape room adventures taking the U.S. and Asia by storm, the experience is like a real life video game. Visitors will be completely immersed into a horror experience like no other.

Horror is a genre that is an absolute turn-off for me, but there are many people for whom it is a turn-on. In a market where there are, say, ten or twenty different exit game experiences available (i.e. twenty different rooms, not necessarily twenty sites) then perhaps there is the room to pick horror as a niche, and I can imagine a site that had two or three different horror games from which to choose – and horror fans choosing to play them all. The haunted house tradition is also well-established in the US, in a way that it is not yet the case in the UK… but the UK is certainly moving in that direction. If this game is set to come to the UK as well as the US, this site will let you know.

It’s also really interesting to see a movie promotion in the form of a pop-up exit room experience. Some movies have had Alternate Reality Games as promotional tools in the past; perhaps there are parallels to be drawn. The game runs for thirty days, perhaps 20-30 teams per day, so only a few thousand people will get to take part. Were there really more than a few thousand active participants in any other than a very few of the largest ARGs, though? This promotion looks well-judged to live long in the memory of those who know they like that sort of thing.

(Source: Cinema Blend, via a Google Alert for the phrase “escape game”.)

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