While this site has firmly been DASHing all around in mind and body, new exit games have been springing up all around and this site is firmly in catch-up mode.
Escapism is an exit game business with an interesting and unusual background. It was always designed to be portable and their first game made appearances at corporate venues and events in 2014. However, according to an article in the Nuneaton News, from Monday June 1st, that first game has settled down with a long-term lease above a bar in Nuneaton, in the West Midlands.
Escape the Curlew Study is this first game, and in it, “you will be trapped in the study of the eccentric Lord Curlew. Our mobile replica of the study in his manor house is exact, and when the clock starts ticking, you better start solving! ((…)) This room is interactive though and Lord Curlew will let you know if you are upsetting him. Beware, there are time loss penalties, and even complete room lock downs. Oh and this one has a forfeit if you fail the room. I do hope you’re not scared of the dark…?” That page has a 3½-minute teaser video with strong positive reactions from players. The planned second game is Locked in the Vault, with some twists on the usual dexterity format.
Discussion of having a forfeit for teams who fail is novel. Participants must read and sign a waiver, with an unusual – but entirely sensible – acceptance that “this is not a form of kidnap against my will“. Does this mean all legitimately locked exit games are forms of consensual kidnap? That would be stretching semantics some distance. Clause six of the waiver reads “I acknowledge that I may fail the game resulting in unpleasant consequences which may cause me to become fearful, uncomfortable or wet“, hinting at possible forms of forfeit, so you have at least some sort of idea what you’re getting yourself into – or whether this game might not be the one for you.
The really unique twist is that the founder is an illusion designer and performing magician, Caspian. If you catch this site in a fanciful mood, it has a theory that exit games are not so very far away from magic tricks, but magic tricks that the game teaches you how to do yourself. At the start, you’re posed with a situation that looks impossible; by the end, you’ve (hopefully!) made the magic happen and cracked whatever was required – and you’ve amazed yourself by what you were able to make happen.
It will be fascinating to see how Escapism implements the steps in the middle; it may well bring some brand new thinking and artistry that the country hasn’t seen before!