We've lost count of the number of escape rooms we've done over the years. We discovered them by accident on holiday in Budapest in 2013 and became totally hooked. If you've never played, the idea is that you're locked in a room for an hour and have to solve puzzles in order to escape from the room. We've seen a huge range of puzzles, from simple logic problems to fantastically complex set-ups where you use a special wand to cast spells.
When we were living in Cornwall we even created three rooms of our own, for friends to play. It was fascinating watching people work as a team (or not), and seeing how different minds process problems in a wide variety of ways. The second game that we made even had a fake bomb with a ticking clock.
This year hasn't been so great for live entertainment, and an emerging new trend is online puzzle rooms. We've completed three so far, and really enjoyed the unique opportunities that the online rooms give in contrast to live-action games. But we've been left with the feeling that we could do better, and so over the last few weeks, we've been building our own.
First of all we wanted to create an experience that had multiple outcomes depending on how you play the game, and we wanted the story to be interesting and compelling. Then we researched options for different types of puzzles that you can only play online with a computer, things that aren't possible in real life. Once we had the puzzles figured out, we had to remove a few to make it simpler, because we know that it's always easier if you know the answer.
We won't give away the details, but we had our first play-testers try it out last night and they completed it in just over an hour and a half. We've got another testing team playing this week, and based on their feedback we'll make a few minor tweaks to try to bring it down to about an hour. After that we'll be opening the virtual doors to family and friends!