Mid-August news round-up

News round-up

Who’s a lucky bug? Someone who has just met the brilliant and charming brain behind escaping.sg and its sibling blogs, all full of excellent writing and even better thought behind them, on a trip to London from (as the domain suggests) Singapore. The same lucky bug is off to see friends in Wales this weekend, hurrah!

Here are some quick stories to keep you going for now:

  • Exit Games UK loves stories about proposals at exit games, of which there have been at least… ooh, three that spring to mind. However, a recent one at Dr. Knox’s Enigma of Edinburgh attracted media attention. Game principal Jonathan Dowie, according to STV, “is so confident of the game’s ability to test the compatibility of life partners, he has promised the couple free entry on every anniversary date to come“, which is extremely cute. Congratulations, and many, many games in the years to come, to the happy couple!
  • Following up on a recent story, Code to Exit of Altrincham recently made a post to Facebook featuring this rather handsome trophy, awarded to the team with the quickest escape each month. There are pitfalls in encouraging competition too much, but that is done very tastefully, and this site can imagine some of the usual suspects getting very excited about the prospect.
  • Breakout Liverpool are rather excited about their new fifth room and sixth game. In The Facility, the story goes that “You arrive at an unknown location for a once in a lifetime opportunity; a conference held by the critically acclaimed, Dr. Andrews. His work is widely known throughout the research circles, but he has remained hidden in the shadows for years. What you don’t know, is that Dr. Andrews has gone mad, creating a string of tests that have gone disastrously wrong. He has brought you here for his final experiment. You have one hour to escape his maze of tricks and games, before a deadly virus kills you all.” This room has a horror theme and is not suitable for players under 16. Considering what the Breakout gang have been known to get up to in order to spice Hallowe’en games up, they’re not kidding.
  • The Metro free newspaper and the Jeep Renegade are organising a free draw where the prize is to take part in an Art Heist experience in Manchester on Saturday 5th September. (You have to make your own way there.) The most relevant part is that the experience itself is being organised by CoLab Theatre, responsible for Fifth Column, as discussed last year.
  • Lastly, the Enigma Quests crowdfunding campaign has caught the attention of Time Out London and others, and the game’s first Quest is now practically 70% funded with seven days to go. The beta-tester and Super Early Bird slots have all gone, but the Early Bird prices still look attractive, and the game looks like one of a kind!

Interview with the Cyberdrome Crystal Maze team

The Aztec Zone of a branch of the Cyberdrome Crystal Maze in JapanWhat’s your favourite game of all time? Any sort of game: board game, video game, card game, puzzle game, physical game, computer game, role-playing game, exit game, all sorts of other genres of game, whatever you like; compare your favourites from each medium against each other and pick a favourite. Too hard? You can narrow it down to four.

My four, in no order: puzzle hunts at large, the live action RPG campaign I played in at university, obscure mid-’80s hybrid board/computer game Brian Clough’s Football Fortunes and The Cyberdrome Crystal Maze. You can probably have a reasonable guess, among other things, that I was born in 1975.

This site has touched on the Cyberdrome Crystal Maze in the past without going into the detail it deserves. It was a physical attraction, based upon the The Crystal Maze TV game show, where teams raced from game to game about the centre, sending team members to play bespoke physical games or computer games where physical games would have been impossible. These were often as puzzling as the mental games on the TV show, or at least emulated the demands of one of the show’s physical games. It worked heart-breakingly well. The photo above is of the Aztec zone at the branch in Kuwana, near Nagoya in Japan.

I wrote a longer piece about the game roughly half my lifetime ago, and will probably still have reason to write about it in another twenty years’ time. It’s the one topic that I’ve always wanted to write about on this blog but always shied away from for fear that I could not do it proper justice.

However, failing that, here’s something rather special instead. Some detective work led me to the e-mail address of one Carl Nicholson, one of the founders of the Cyberdrome Crystal Maze – indeed, the technical side of the outfit. Mr. Nicholson extremely kindly agreed to answer some questions by e-mail; even better still, his partner in Cyberdrome, David Owers, whose focus was the business side, contributed some answers as well, and Carl has even got in touch with other members of staff. Huge thanks to all of them for their time, effort and responses, as well as for being the people behind a sensational game; it’s fascinating to hear more of the story behind the scenes. Continue reading

Sunday night links

A golden chain of linksYou all know the puzzle about “how many links would need to be cut in order to make a complete chain”, surely? This site was going to have to post these links anyway, so here’s an old-fashioned link-log post.

1) Episode three of Race to Escape was broadcast on Saturday night and has made its way to illicit video-sharing sites already. The variety of themes and puzzles from show to show are at the very top end of what might be hoped for, even if inherently it has to represent a certain sort of theoretical exit game, rather than a practical exit game that you might play in practice. The illicit video-sharing sites don’t make it easy – there are doubtless plenty of adverts and maybe worse – but here’s a link to a list of sites. Megavideoz worked relatively well here.
2) Ken points to something a little special happening at Alton Towers as part of Scarefest: “In 1994, a government organisation known as The Phalanx, tasked with protecting the world from unknown threats, took on their most high profile case ever – to control the Nemesis creature and contain those that served it to the underground. ((…)) Sub Species: Operation Lockdown is a two hour extreme horror escape room experience. As Phalanx Operatives you’ll be put into small groups and must complete a series of challenges throughout the operation including facing one of three escape rooms. Gain points by being the least contaminated Operative at the end of the mission and be entered in the leader board of infamous Phalanx Ranked Operatives. This will be a test of skill and nerve as you work together as team.” It’s very exciting to see that a company with the resources of a major theme park is looking at the market, and perhaps they have the wherewithal to throw things at it that smaller companies cannot; they are using their credibility and reputation to set a price point of £99 per player, which redefines the top end of the mass market, so they had better have something very special for the money.
3) David points to a BBC News story about a biannual puzzle contest at hacker event Def Con. Interesting to see that the social aspects of hacking (as opposed to, or as well as, the technical ones) are as much an element of the contest as they are in real-life digital espionage.
4) If you want a much more accessible puzzle event, then this Tuesday is the second of the month, which means it’s Puzzled Pint time, including in London. London has eastern and western events; the majority of the free tickets have already gone for the eastern one and no more can be made available. (The western venue doesn’t have a formally limited capacity, but isn’t all that big, either.) Solve the location puzzle, using the hints if you like, to find out where the puzzles and pints will be.
5) If you don’t want to wait even that long for a puzzle contest, the Indian Puzzle Championship is taking place online right now, and worldwide solvers have a couple more days to finish it. Find a 2½-hour window of your choice and enjoy the puzzles which look exciting and accessible.
6) Superb work from The Logic Escapes Me on their timeline of London games, which builds on this site’s own timeline by tracking not only when sites opened and closed, but also when individual rooms opened and closed at each one. An admirable piece of documentation!

Now open in Altrincham: Code to Exit

Code to Exit logoAround a year’s work has gone into Code to Exit, which has its grand opening today in Altrincham, a little south-west of Manchester. The site is on Manchester Road, also known as the A56, in a block of shops very near a large outdoor retail park with a TK Maxx, a Homebase, an Aldi and so on. (It’s next to the well-regarded Ma’s Chinese Takeaway.) The major road is very well-served by buses; on the Metrolink, the closest stop is probably Navigation Road, perhaps half a mile or so away.

The site is opening with a single game, featuring a 60-minute time limit for a team of two to five. The Blueprint is its name: “The goal is search and acquisition of the blueprints of hydrogen bomb prior of the construction of the real bomb. Then return it into the future via the time gate. In order to achieve this goal you have to find the lost parts of the time machine, install them and repair it.” Two more games are promised to be coming soon. It’s not the sort of exit game to have physical challenges or scary elements involved. The site has some short promo videos which set the tone, as well.

The standard price varies from £36 for a team of two to £75 for a team of five, but there’s an opening sale during August where all teams are charged just £36 regardless of their size. The site’s Facebook page has some rather cute puzzles where you can submit the answer and hope to win a free game, too!

Around the world: Koezio

Koezio indicative site mapA while back, the good people at escapegame.Paris posted a link with a URL hinting at something with a mixture of Fort Boyard and Total Wipeout… except drier. This sounds highly relevant to this site’s interests. Possibly not so puzzly, but very interesting nevertheless.

The game in question is Koezio. There are two sites, both in France: one in Lille, one in Paris, so both convenient for the Eurostar. It’s a game where teams of two to five don Agent outfits including suits with electronic bracelets and specially tagged shoes) and travel through five zones, searching for clues to solve the Final Enigma and maximise the team’s score.

There’s no lower age limit, though there’s a lower height limit of 1.4 metres (4’7″). Games last about two hours, or maybe a little less. The site opens six days a week (not Mondays!) and pricing is reasonable. On Saturdays, everyone pays €25 at Lille or one more at Paris; on other days, those 13-17 (or students!) pay €18 and those 12 and under pay just €13.

Keymaze describes itself as a giant futuristic labyrinth. “Track down and memorize symbols in order to discover clues allowing your team to enter the next world.” In Speedspot, teams must “cross our giant game elements, as well as our ability and agility challenges, in order to find and activate as many ELECTROSPOTs as possible within the set time limit. Crazy dance floor, giant ball pit, slide, obstacle course, spy-training… Climb, jump, slide and crawl your team to victory!

A more explicitly mental game, Knowzone, invited you into “a knowledge capsule, answer as many questions as you can on varied topics (general knowledge, sports, cinema, music, celebrities, TV series etc.) or write your own mission and test your friends, family and colleagues with a tailored quiz on the topics of your choice: a fun and constructive way to personalise your Mission!” If you’re wondering, you can play in French, English or Dutch throughout.

The Wingway game returns to the mmental-game-twist-on-a-familiar-physical-activity approach: “Exceed your limits as a team across a high ropes course unique to the world. Completely secured by a continuous, switching safety line, you will reach up to 12 meters high on a course of varying levels, suspension bridges, climbing nets, via ferrata, suspended skateboard, Nepalese bridges etc…. But pay attention, you must also face observation tasks and memorise symbols throughout your aerial Mission; in order to obtain the final clue!

Gaining height to take on Wingway is not a trivial challenge; in Paris, there is a fifth mission called Lasercross, a 12-meter tower to climb with a laser maze to traverse. Once you’ve got up, you have to get back down; Paris has a giant slide, but Lille (lacking the Lasercross) has an optional fifth mission called Vertical Drop. This will get you down those 12 metres rather quickly; it looks more like a fan descender than a teeny tiny bungee jump or a SCAD jump.

It’s hard to know how much mental challenge the game offers. Nevertheless, even if it were just – “just”! – a superior, automatically scored gamified adventure playground, a very interesting proposition indeed.

Not an exit game, sure, but this site has always had a thing for other sorts of really interesting mixed-mental-and-physical live adventures…

Coming soon to Cheshire: Extremescape

Extremescape logoKen’s algorithms picked this one out; many thanks, as ever. Off to the rural village of Disley for this one. Exit Games UK had to look Disley up; it’s maybe 15 miles south-east of Manchester, right on the border of Cheshire and Derbyshire, very near to the Peak District. Head off to Stockport and go south a bit before you turn east; if you hit Macclesfield then you’ve gone too far. (That said, if you hit Maccclesfield, you can always visit Escape Quest.)

Extremescape is situated at Stanley Hall Farm, next to Disley Golf Club. The rural approach is interesting; players will have to go a little out of their way to get there, but if it means that the site has far lower rent costs to deal with then it may be able to spend more on a spectacular game to play. The games are located within a recently-renovated 400-year-old stone barn, so that’ll be atmospheric and unusual. The site plans two games, both of which are intended for teams of four to six (with some flexibility) and a Facebook announcement reveals a sixty-minute time limit. Details of pricing have not yet been made available.

The Pirate Ship room is being created first. “Captain Zak Barrow’s ship, crewed by a gang of murderers & cutthroats, threatened Barrow with mutiny. A fight between the Captain and the ship gunner erupted. Barrow killed the man, and the crew did not pursue the revolt further; however, after that incident, Barrow was a changed man. Plundering ships of all kinds along India’s Malabar coast, Barrow had become a Pirate. One of the most well known Pirates of all time.

Barrow’s ship Castoria decided to plunder the India Merchant, a huge treasure ship of 350 tons. As the pirates neared, the merchant vessel fired- but due to a sudden ocean swell, the shot missed its mark. The pirates immediately threw their grappling hooks, bringing the two ships together. The pirates rapidly boarded the ship, and soon Captain Barrow was in the possession of one of the greatest pirate treasures ever.
The ship disappeared in 1580 and was not seen again until now!

The second game to be launched will be the Haunted Barn and has a story concerning an investigation by a paranormal activity investigator accompanied by an experienced guide. “We had been told that most of the activity that the guide experienced had occurred upstairs in the main barn area. The stairs were in bad condition, with some missing. I chose to stay downstairs with another member of the group so that we could see what developed down there. I was not getting any significant results with equipment, but the feeling of being watched was overwhelming. One of the photos taken during this time by the other member showed a misty area near the door that we entered.

When I entered the upper level of the barn, I noticed a large pentagram painted on the floor. When I began to take some general photos, I realized that I was out of film. As I was changing the roll, I glanced up and saw the shadow form of a man standing in the doorway to the outside. I hurriedly finished loading the film, and took some pictures. One of the pictures showed a light. ((…)) The second photo contained an orb anomaly.

Spooky stuff! No opening date has been announced yet, other than Twitter hints that the launch will be in 2016, as special effects are still being installed, but Exit Games UK will watch with great interest.

Early August news round-up

News round-upWhen in doubt, and when knackered, post some links:

1) Episode two of Race to Escape took place on Saturday and illicit copies of it have been uploaded if you can dodge the adverts and worse. Remarkably and delightfully, the puzzles are really decently different from those in the room in episode one. Episode one is probably funnier and more satisfying, but this is still very good. The behind-the-scenes videos are also well worth watching.

2) Phil, who sometimes posts to these parts, points to Deva Codex, a series of three codebreaking trails in the city of Chester, each running for a couple of weeks with its own animal theme. The puzzles are likely to be quite family-friendly, but nevertheless fun. The first of the three is already in progress.

3) The Logic Escapes Me have a really solid round-up of what’s going on in London, particularly in terms of keeping track of discounts and deals, an area where this site has been rather behind the pace. The site also points a link to a clearing-house of spaces for pop-up shops and suggests that they might be filled with pop-up exit games. Perhaps!

Coming soon to Chesterfield: Zombie in a Room

Zombie in a Room logoZombie in a Room has existed for a while; this site has struggled with it a little. Was it a one-off? Was it a series of performances? The situation has cleared a little now and it definitely pushes this site’s buttons. A recent announcement to Facebook confirms that the game is moving to a permanent, custom-designed location in Chesterfield where there will be games offered every Saturday night; the first date available at the moment is Saturday 15th August. The game has previously been offered in Burton on a number of occasions and the game’s web presence suggests that it might still be made available there – or perhaps other locations not too far from the Peak District on demand!

What of the game? This isn’t the first exit game to use a format quite like this; there is a zombie on a chain, and at regular intervals (here, ten minutes) the chain is lengthened so that the zombie might roam further. The site doesn’t give a great deal more away than that – for instance, it’s not clear what the penalty for being caught by the zombie in this game is. (Apart from, fictively, being eaten, of course.)

What Exit Games UK can tell is that it’s a game for teams of up to ten. Nominally the time limit is an hour, but the record is quoted at being a little over an hour, so the site is keen to see that players do get to experience all the fun that the game has to offer. If that weren’t indication enough of the difficulty of the game, the stats are clear; most players survive (presumably are not caught by the zombie?) but very few escape.

There is at least one other zombie escape game out there – and Ken, at whose secret algorithms’ metaphorical feet this site worships, also points to this apparent option to experience the Scaresville attraction in Suffolk in the form of an escape room. Exit Games UK is not aware of any connection between the games, but does note that they are a long way away from each other. The number of exit games gets ever larger, and the number in the horror category flourishes as well… especially over the next three months or so!

Crowdfunding Enigma Quests

enigmaquests1Enigma Quests of London are a month or two away from launch, but have already launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help cover the costs of the last few parts of the set-up process. You could draw comparisons with the successful recent Enigma Escape crowdfunding campaign which launched on time and has got off to an excellent response; fingers crossed that this campaign turns out as well for Enigma Quests as Enigma Escape’s did for them.

Enigma Quests take a different approach. They don’t consider themselves an exit game as such; instead, as the name suggests, they are a purveyor of Quests. (Not unreasonable at all; compare with Boda Borg describing their activity as Questing.) As the campaign says, “We design the puzzles with innovation in our minds, and aim to be very high-tech. There are no padlocks in our rooms, no hunt for numerical codes with tiring amount of numbers. Everything feels real and highly interactive.” While the experience caters for teams of three to five, your progress is not measured on a “Did you get out in time?” pass-fail basis; there will be many themed activities available within the room, and you will be assessed on how many of them you complete within the limit of an hour – and, perhaps, which ones. Exit Games UK imagines that the precise details would be likely to vary from game to game and finding them out will be part of the fun.

enigmaquests2Were you looking for number nine? Some other Searchers got there first

The first game will be set in a completely generic school of witchcraft and wizardry, noting the broad and rich literary tradition of magical school stories. The campaign suggests the themes of their intended second and third Quests. If they can raise the funds to make the experience as immersive and as theatrical as they hope, the results could be quite spectacular. (Ah-ah, all the things I could do, if I had a little money…) The hardest parts are out of the way, namely that a location near Liverpool St. station has been secured; this is all about the finishing touches.

The campaign’s video is a great deal of fun, and the campaign gets straight to the point. Your pledge buys you the chance to play the game – either as beta-testers of the nearly-finished product at a cost of remarkably little money but also a little time spent giving feedback, or early-bird tickets at what is still a highly preferential rate. (Beta testers can also play as a two or as a six, which is not the intention for the finished work.) Being on Kickstarter, your contributions will only be collected if the project funds completely.

It’s a slightly different approach, aiming at a different target to the other games. Fingers crossed that Enigma Quests get the attention they deserve and take the chance to really show us what they can do. If this sounds relevant to your interests, or if you just like a bargain, here’s that Kickstarter campaign again.

The League Table: end of July 2015

"Who dares wins" graph

This is the sixteenth instalment of a (just about) monthly feature which acts as a status report on the exit games in the UK and Ireland, hopefully acting as part of the basis of a survey of growth over time. It reflects a snapshot of the market as it was, to the best of this site’s knowledge, at the end of 31st July 2015.

The Census

Category Number in the UK Number in Ireland
Exit game locations known to have opened 74 7
Exit game locations known to be open 70 6
Exit game locations in various states of temporary closure 1 1
Exit game locations known to have closed permanently 3 0
Exit game locations showing convincing evidence of being under construction 8 0
Exit game locations showing unconvincing evidence of being under construction 7 0
Exit game projects abandoned before opening 2 0

The term opened should be understood to include “sold tickets”, even when it is unclear whether any of those tickets may have been redeemed for played games; the definition of location should be understood to include outdoor locations, pop-up/mobile locations and component parts of larger attractions that are played in the same way as conventional exit games.

Six openings in July; Make A Break has gone from “temporary closure” to “closed permanently” as their web site has decayed sufficiently that Exit Games UK is convinced that if the site comes back (which would be very welcome!) then it would be in some other form.

The Report Card

Site name Number of rooms The reviews
Site name Total number Different games Find reviews
Adventure Rooms 1 1 TripAdvisor
Agent November 3 3 TripAdvisor
AK Escape Room 1 1 (TripAdvisor)
Bath Escape 2 2 TripAdvisor
Breakout Games Aberdeen 3 2 TripAdvisor
Breakout Games Inverness 3 2 TripAdvisor
Breakout Liverpool 4 5 TripAdvisor
Breakout Manchester 7 6 TripAdvisor
Can You Escape 1 1 TripAdvisor
Cipher 1 1 TripAdvisor
Clue Finders 2 1 TripAdvisor
Clue HQ Blackpool 1 1 TripAdvisor
Clue HQ Warrington 3 3 TripAdvisor
clueQuest 6 2 TripAdvisor
Crack The Code Sheffield 1 1 TripAdvisor
Cryptic Escape 1 1 TripAdvisor
Cryptology 2 2 TripAdvisor
Cryptopia 1 1 TripAdvisor
Cyantist 1 1 TripAdvisor
Dr. Knox’s Enigma 2 1 TripAdvisor
Enigma Escape 1 1 TripAdvisor
ESCAP3D Belfast 1 1 TripAdvisor
ESCAP3D Dublin 2 1 TripAdvisor
Escape Clonakilty 2 2 TripAdvisor
Escape Dublin 1 1 TripAdvisor
Escape Edinburgh 3 3 TripAdvisor
Escape Glasgow 3 2 TripAdvisor
Escape Hour 2 1 TripAdvisor
Escape Hunt 10 3 TripAdvisor
Escape Land 1 1 TripAdvisor
Escape Live 2 2 TripAdvisor
Escape Newcastle 2 1 TripAdvisor
Escape Plan 1 1 (TripAdvisor)
Escape Plan Live 4 4 (TripAdvisor)
Escape Quest 2 2 TripAdvisor
Escape Rooms 2 2 TripAdvisor
Escape Rooms Plymouth 2 2 TripAdvisor
Escapism 1 1 TripAdvisor
Escapologic 2 2 TripAdvisor
Ex(c)iting Game 2 2 TripAdvisor
Exit Newcastle 1 1 TripAdvisor
Exit Strategy 1 1 TripAdvisor
Fathom Escape 1 1 TripAdvisor
gamEscape 1 1 TripAdvisor
GR8escape York 2 2 TripAdvisor
Guess House 3 3 (TripAdvisor)
Hidden Rooms London 2 2 TripAdvisor
HintHunt 5 2 TripAdvisor
iLocked 1 1 TripAdvisor
Instinctive Escape Games 1 1 TripAdvisor
Jailbreak! 1 1 (TripAdvisor)
Keyhunter 3 3 TripAdvisor
Lady Chastity’s Reserve 1 1 TripAdvisor
Lock’d 2 2 TripAdvisor
Lockdown-Inverness 2 2 TripAdvisor
Locked In Edinburgh 1 1 TripAdvisor
Locked In Games 2 2 TripAdvisor
LockIn Escape 3 3 TripAdvisor
Logiclock 1 1 TripAdvisor
Lost & Escape 2 2 TripAdvisor
Make A Break 1 1 TripAdvisor
Mystery Cube 1 1 TripAdvisor
Mystery Squad 2 2 (TripAdvisor)
Panic! 1 1 (TripAdvisor)
Puzzlair 2 2 TripAdvisor
Puzzle Room 1 1 (TripAdvisor)
Quests Factory 2 2 TripAdvisor
Room Escape Adventures 1 1 TripAdvisor
Salisbury Escape Room 1 1 TripAdvisor
Secret Studio 1 1 TripAdvisor
The Escape Room Manchester 5 5 TripAdvisor
The Gr8 Escape 2 2 TripAdvisor
The Great Escape Game 4 4 TripAdvisor
The Live Escape 1 1 TripAdvisor
The Room 5 5 TripAdvisor
Tick Tock Unlock Glasgow 2 1 TripAdvisor
Tick Tock Unlock Leeds 2 1 TripAdvisor
Tick Tock Unlock Liverpool 2 1 TripAdvisor
Time Run 2 1 TripAdvisor
XIT 4 4 TripAdvisor

This site supports all the exit games that exist and will not make claims that any particular one is superior to any other particular one. You’ve probably noticed that this table has removed the review summaries; this site has a page with the review summaries for every site.

This site takes the view that if you’re interested in review summaries, you probably care (at least to some extent) about the question of which site probably has the best popular reviews. Accordingly, you might be interested in the TripAdvisor’s “Fun and Games” rankings lists in (picking only cities with multiple exit games listed) Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham or Sheffield.

Additionally, TripAdvisor now has a page entitled Top Escape Games in United Kingdom. It looks like it lists the fourteen escape games that are both #1 in “Fun and Games” in their town and listed as an escape game first, in some order, then the escape games that are #2, then the escape games that are #3 and so on. The “listed as an escape game” criterion is a bigger one than you might think; at least three very highly-regarded exit games spring to mind that don’t appear on that list, for one is listed as an outdoor activity when it isn’t, a second is listed as a scavenger hunt (highly arguable) and a third is listed as “other fun and games”. (It also remains arguable whether you would choose to rank – say – “#1 of a very small number” ahead of “#2 of a very large number”, that sort of thing.) There’s a different exit game on top of this national list, the third in as many months.

You might also be interested in listings at Play Exit Games, a few of which contain ratings and from which rankings might be derived, or ranking lists from other bloggers. Looking at London sites, The Logic Escapes Me have provided recommendations and detailed comparisons and, thinking bob‘s comparisons. In the North-West, there are rhe QMSM room comparisons and Geek Girl Up North site comparions as well. If you have your own UK ranking list, please speak up and it shall be included in future months. The next step could be some sort of exit game Metacritic, comparing the reviews and optinions of those who have played a great number of such games; hopefully, this would corroborate the popular reviews, or perhaps point out some inconsistencies.

It’s not actually very difficult to estimate the number of people who play an exit game over the course of a month, though it does take a fair bit of work and there are limits as to how accurate it can be. This site uses data available to the public from sites’ booking systems, the number of rooms at each site, any data supplied by the site (either to the public or in private correspondence), and bears in mind trends in the numbers of Facebook likes, TripAdvisor reviews, photos posted and team sizes per site according to team photos. This site won’t necessarily take owners’ claims at face value, but there’s nothing to be gained from turning business away and saying you’re sold out when in fact you aren’t. July may have been a month with less growth than most; it’s the summer and the first three weeks were unusually warm, so many indoor attractions will have struggled.

With all this in mind, this site makes its best estimate that the number of people who have played at least one exit game in the UK or Ireland, at any point in time up to the end of July 2015, is 290,000. (This estimate is quoted to the nearest 5,000, but the site would not like to claim more confidence than “between 100,000 and 800,000”.) As ever, if someone plays more than one game at the same site, this figure still only counts them once, and this number is only really meaningful in the context of this site’s previous estimates. The other usual caveat is that this figure may exclude data from locations about which this site is ignorant – and this site keeps discovering new locations that it might have found out about earlier!