There were two minutes left to get out, and all 10 of us were separated. Some were on the phone, some were running back and forth and others were just standing there thinking. I kept watching the screens for more clues; I was anxious about what was going on outside the door, but had to stay with my group and I kept hearing yelling down the hall. Fifty seconds left…were we going to make it?
What am I talking about? I am talking about a typical Saturday night at an escape room. The premise is that you are locked in a room with eight to 10 people, given three clues and only 60 minutes to escape. Seems easy enough until the clock starts. Escape rooms started in Japan and moved to the west coast, but now can be found in most large cities at a cost of $20 to $30 per person.
I visited Escape the Room Texas located in Midtown Houston with nine friends (5 couples) and we signed up for the Mission Control Room, which is a NASA themed room. We were given a quick debriefing by our facilitator who told us that we would be able to escape “without using brute force and with both feet on the ground” – advice which was well received, especially by the men in our group. He then led us into our room where once we “clocked in” the time started counting down. At first, 60 minutes seems like a lot of time, but we all soon realized that we would need every second to escape. Even if you pick your brainiest friends to be locked up with, the clues are tough and you will have to work together to figure everything out.
Escape the Room Texas, one of the first escape rooms to open in Houston, opened last January and is also one of the only escape rooms to use technology. Each room is assigned a facilitator who will give you clues through a computer screen, listen and watch everything that is going on in your room via cameras.
“Houston has responded very well to an escape room,” John Hunahan, an Escape the Room Texas employee said. “ It is amazing to see the sheer numbers of people who come through our doors. It is a great activity because we can tailor the game to who is playing. We have groups of 14 year olds who come in for birthday parties, as well as older people and both have fun trying to escape from the same room.”
I’ll give you a few pieces of advice for your trip to an escape room. You are going to be locked up for an hour with friends trying to solve puzzles in order to escape – it might be best to pick at least a few of your smarter friends. Think outside the box, because your clues can come from anywhere. We were allowed to use our phones, but you won’t use them as much as you’d think, so don’t rely on that to escape.
Forty three seconds. That is all we had left on the clock when we escaped; 10 adults locked in a room for an hour and we barely made it. Escape the Room Texas is a great place with friendly staff and entertaining escape rooms. You could have a typical night out and go have drinks or dinner with friends, but why not try something new? Hopefully you and your friends will be as lucky as we were and escape the room.
By Gabi De LA Rosa