Great escape: Popular game experience puts problem-solving skills, teamwork to the test
By Melinda Mawdsley
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
We had one hour to get out or else.
That was the notice that greeted Grand Junction couple Todd and Kathy Bennett and me as we walked into an isolated, empty hunting cabin before the door shut and locked behind us.
Of course, nothing happened to us because it wasn’t a real hunting cabin and the door didn’t really lock — this wasn’t a horror movie — but the entire premise behind the new Epic Escape Game franchise location that opened several months ago in Grand Junction is to suspend reality as people become life-size players in a game of clues and puzzles.
After stumbling upon the Epic Escape Game on Twitter, I called the Grand Junction business at 605 Grand Ave.
Manager Leslie Kell told me the escape room concept has gained popularity in the United States the past two or three years after starting in Asia as a mobile app then morphing into live rooms in Europe.
Teamwork is required to find clues and solve the game’s puzzles that ultimately lead people to find the key code to escape a room. It’s appropriate for all ages, from children to seniors, said Kathleen White, who with her husband Larry, owns Grand Junction Epic Escape Game.
The Whites were first exposed to this game trend last spring in Denver, home of the franchise’s original home.
“We had so much fun,” Kathleen White said. “We were like, ‘Grand Junction needs something like this.’”
The Whites opened Epic Escape Game in Grand Junction in December, one of five Epic Escape Game locations in Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming.
“It’s going pretty well,” Kell said. “I feel like we are growing as the word gets out and people find out more about it.”
She encouraged me to experience a game in a live escape room because it would be difficult to explain how it works without trying it, which is how I ended up inside a locked hunting cabin on a Friday night with the Bennetts.
Before the three of us played “The Hunted” — one of three live escape rooms the Grand Junction location has with a fourth under construction — Kell briefly explained the basics.
While the Bennetts and I were in the escape room, Kell would be in a separate room down the hall filled with screens so she could monitor all escape rooms and communicate with players. She handed us a note pad and a two-way radio in case we needed to call her for clues. We received periodic hints and three free clues during the game if needed but all subsequent clues were subject to penalty time.
Todd and Kathy Bennett and I were free to investigate the room to find clues that led to puzzles to unlock locks as the game progressed. However, some items were not to be touched because they were part of the room, not the game. Those items were clearly marked.
We were allowed to take our cellphones into the room, but they were not to be used for anything other than the flashlight app… [Read the Full Article]