What do you do for someone who reaches an escape room milestone? I periodically went out of my way to do something special for mine- my 300th room was at a port of call in Mexico, and my 500th was a four hour deluxe game. When my dad reached #199, I knew I wanted to do something special for his.
The coolest thing I had seen on Facebook’s escape room enthusiast group was at Memphis Escape Rooms, which gave a trophy commemorating a player’s 200th room. My dad and I had a great experience with Memphis Escape Rooms the last time we were traveling in that direction, and it was tempting to consider picking them for the 200th.
I ended up selecting Br8kout Escape in Sturtevant, WI. Br8kout has a passionate staff who always make sure we have a great time, and with every game they find new ways to up their game and present compelling challenges.
We had played all but one of the games at the location- Camp Crisis. Camp Crisis has a unique gimmick in that it takes place in the exact same physical location as another game, Killer Camp. By swapping out props and puzzles and replacing regular lights with blacklights, two completely different games are able to occupy the same physical space. From my recollection, there were only four or five puzzles repeated between the two versions of the room, and each experience felt quite different.
I’ve been seeing more of this approach at rooms, using a shared space for multiple games. Museum of Intrigue, which I visited in Syracuse, is likely the leader in this space, having more than ten games overlapping in the same physical space (most of which can run simultaneously). Escape.EXE in Bethlehem, PA is launching a new game in which the room differs dramatically based on early story choices you make, encouraging multiple replays to see the different experiences.
In spite of our experience with the physical space, it still took us upwards of thirty minutes to escape. We set the record, but it wasn’t easy! Sometimes the assumptions we made about how we had used the space before even led us astray!
After the game, Br8kout and I were able to deliver an impressive gauntlet of surprises to my dad to make his 200th game special. In no particular order… First off, all of this happened on Father’s Day! Secondly, Br8kout surprised my dad by hiding a “200th escape room” T-shirt in one of the last unlockable locations in the room itself. Thirdly, we had a trophy waiting outside the exit door for him to find as soon as we escaped, with custom placard detailing his name and the accomplishment. Fourthly, I made a custom papercraft frame depicting Camp Crisis and commemorating my dad’s 200th room. Fifthly, Br8kout will be adding emblems to T-shirts for us showing off which rooms we’ve played/escaped. And, I think that’s about it!
We also got to hang out with Dave from Br8kout for a while to talk about upcoming games and escape rooms in general, which is always a pleasure. Dave told us about some upcoming activities in the area that we’re really excited about, including a charity softball game featuring a bunch of Packers legends, for which we’ve already bought our tickets.
I don’t know that I’ll be able to match what Br8kout and I did to celebrate my dad’s 200th the next time we have an escape room milestone, but it’s great that we set such a high bar this time. It’s great to reflect on the cool experiences this hobby has brought us!