Long ago, an immersive computer game called Myst pushed gamers to solve riddles in their surroundings to escape rooms and unlock doors. Similar puzzles and the equally immersive environment of an old building in Pike/Pine are part of the new Puzzle Break kicking off Friday, November 22 on 10th Ave between Pike and Union, in Studio D.
Here is how the adventure begins.
“Puzzle Break is our spin on a love letter to Escape the Room games. Doing this in a live and collaborative environment is a new, unique, and stupendous experience,” said co-founder Nate Martin. Players will be brought into the Puzzle Break room with up to twelve other people and presented with the challenge to find clues, solve puzzles, and “think outside the box to find the way out of the room,” adds Martin.
You only have one hour.
Lindsay Morse, the other half of the puzzle team, tells CHS what to expect:
We tried to design a fairly wide variety of types of puzzles that we could include. Most of the puzzles require a fair amount of analytical thinking and deduction. Some have more to do with words, and some with numbers. We also tried to take advantage of the physical layout of the room and included some that require some sort of manipulation of physical objects or space.
Martin, a product manager at Electronic Arts, teamed up with Morse, a Capitol Hill resident and visiting assistant professor, Classics at the University of Puget Sound, to create the venture dedicated to “designing and tuning puzzles and environments.”
The duo plans to run the game every Friday evening as well as Saturday and Sundays — you can learn more on their website here. Tickets are $30 a pop. If the game takes off, the two puzzlemasters plan to expand. Martin is optimistic.
“While all the games of the genre have entertained us, the biggest inspiration and catalyst was Fireproof Games’ IOS title The Room. The sense of wonderment and accomplishment it provides to players is something that, if we could figure out how to duplicate in a live experience, we’d be a huge success,” he said. He says Puzzle Break is pretty unique in the city — and beyond.
“You can barely find this game in North America. Quasi-related games are starting to pop up all over Asia, and there’s a couple new ones in Europe,” he said.
If you’re interested in joining the game but aren’t sure how to train than here are some tips to increase your odds of escape from Capitol Hill.
Martin recommends brushing up on your Escape the Room games – a few can be found here. Morse says bringing along some friends will make the experience more enjoyable and suggests “doing a little bit of planning before being actually locked in the room. An hour passes way more quickly than you think, and the most successful teams are the ones who find ways to work well together.”
Victorious escapees won’t win a prize but Morse says there is the “(non-trivial) feeling of satisfaction in solving the puzzles within the time limit.” She doesn’t anticipate most teams will succeed their first time in lock-up but those who do will be greeted with victory announcements on Facebook and Twitter and “not to mention bragging rights,” said Morse. She adds, “Nothing beats being able to open the door before time runs out. That said, the beauty of the experience is that it’s just as much fun if you don’t succeed.”