AN EXPERIMENTAL ESCAPE ROOM EXPERIENCE
ROLE: NARRATIVE CREATION, PUZZLE DESIGN, FABRICATION, GAME MASTER
In our seven week class, we designed, play tested, and refined an escape room experience. We wanted to create a collaborative game that required players to work together to mutually escape, but also offer a moral dilemma that allowed players the chance to betray one another. We conceptualized “Robot Revolt,” a four player, 30 minute escape room.
The gloves were outfitted with a magnet and RFID chip. The first gloves puzzle was a magnetic maze, which required the player to use the magnet in the glove to move a key through a maze and out through the hole in the bottom of the shelf holding the maze. The second gloves puzzle required unlocking the letter lock (the password of which was the answer to the mic puzzle) on the security bubble and swiping the RFID on the glove palm, which triggered the box holding one end of the conductive wire to pop open.
The headphones puzzles used a refurnished MP3 player and three SD cards, each of which held a clue to another puzzle. The tracks matched the text on cards hidden around the room, which described former “employees” of the room who rebelled. The names on these cards matched with the names on the list of employees given to the “supervisor,” which were followed by sentences in Morse code. These players (supervisor and headphones) had to work together in order to translate the sentences for “Ella,” “Thomas,” and “Jack,” which gave instructions to the maze puzzle, the clue to the mic puzzle (ETME), and hinted what player must do in the final puzzle.
The UV flashlight allowed participants to see the location of the key in the magnet maze.
After retrieving the keys from the magnet maze, the players were able to unlock a box containing a USB microphone, which connected to the computer on the desk. They then had to speak the password (“ETME) into the microphone in order to receive the combination the the lock (J A C K) on the security bubble.
We had a week to run play tests and created an Eventbrite page for people to sign up to play the escape room for free. This was exciting in that it led us to get a very diverse group of play-testers, including two folks from the escape room industry and a group of Italian tourists who were visiting New York. We experimented with
CHANGES MADE FROM USER TESTING:
SD cards labeled, audio player turned on and given to the “Headphones” player during onboarding.
Password for the microphone puzzle changed to “ETME”, to match audio on SD cards and simply the decoding process
The “Jack” card was removed from the room, in order to prevent guessing on the letter lock