What a summer it has been! Lamya and I have been very busy with lots of things this summer but we’ve still found the time to cram in as many escape rooms as possible. September feels like the month that we’re going to take a little break and relax before hitting the rest of the rooms in Edmonton we haven’t tried yet.
So I’ve now lost count as to how many escape rooms we’ve done at this point. All I have to do is count the number of rooms on this website and I’ll get to that later. Since Edmonton, and possibly planet Earth has reached peak Escape Room we’ve decided to make a little list of pet peeves that we have about escape rooms in general or about certain behaviors we would like to see the purveyors of escape room facilities get rid of. I’ll start the list and Lamya will add as we go along.
- Talking (Jason). I think most places are getting the hint with this one now. The idea is that once your group is done an escape room you immediately want to talk about it in the lobby while you’re gathering your things. Sometimes there will be people waiting to go into that same escape room right after you and they probably don’t want to hear you talk about how easy/hard you thought the room was or how you didn’t think they key would be in the flower pot or how the code would be the murderer’s birthday. Crap like that. Just. Don’t. Talk. At least wait until you get into the parking lot.
- Bragging (Jason). This is something that we are seeing more as more new places keep opening up in Edmonton. Each new place needs to establish itself as either the Newest/Most Advanced/Biggest/Largest/Most Immersive escape room experience in the city and/or country. I know that a lot of this is marketing but we visited a new place recently (should we say the name? Maybe not) and the guy there asked Lamya and I if we had been to a lot of escape rooms before. We said we had and then the guy said, “well we do things a bit differently here. Nobody does it like we do it.”. This is a HUGE no-no. Unless you’re going to completely blow us away do not say things like this. Obviously there was nothing in this room we hadn’t seen before and for the most part it was kind of an annoying experience. Having something like that said to us also made us not really want to visit this place again, and we haven’t since.
- Show and Tell (Jason). I personally have a problem with escape room places putting pictures on social media of people inside the escape rooms. I don’t want to see anything about the room before I go inside it. I don’t want to know where the taxidermy deer head is or where the roll top desk is. I don’t want to know ANYTHING about this room before I enter it. You’ll see that most places do not have pictures of their escape rooms on their websites. They usually have pretty generic depictions of the theme of each room but no actual pictures of what the room looks like. This is for good reason. There are a couple places taking pictures inside the rooms and I do not like this. I would like them to stop this. A side note to this is that if you absolutely HAVE TO take a picture inside the room then take it with a decent camera so it’s not blurry (Smartypantz, this tip is for you.)
- Show and Tell Part 2 (Jason). We were recently at a place and a couple walked in ahead of us who had never been to an escape room before. They asked the guy at the counter what this place was and what escape rooms were. The guy then proceeded to tell them about escape rooms in general and then about some of their specific escape rooms. Before I could get out of earshot the guy told them about specific things they would encounter in one of the rooms. He basically answered a couple of puzzles for them. This was extremely annoying. I get that he wanted to acquaint these people on what escape rooms were but maybe wait until I’m not listening or call out “Spoiler Alert!” or something like that. I think there is a better way to explain to people what escape rooms are.
- Bragging Part 2 (Jason). We love it when people are excited about their escape rooms and can’t wait to share them with people. We think that’s great. A couple times we have had people talk about rooms that are upcoming and not open yet to the public and we feel like we could do without this. We really don’t want to know anything about a room until we try it. We don’t want to know the theme or how many people it fits and especially how many rooms/parts it has. All you have to say to us is ‘we have a new room coming soon.’ and we’ll be there. It’s that easy.
- “This room holds up to 8 people.” (Lamya and Jason) We both understand that escape rooms are businesses and if you times $25 by 8 people, that’s a pretty decent haul for 45 minutes. But so many rooms we’ve been in (not all, but many) have no right allowing that many people into them. Most times, it’s a space constraint. Certain important clues are crammed into a corner and there’s no way 8 people can jam in there to help. Often times it’s also a puzzle issue. Puzzles are tiny or hard to see or it’s just a lock with four numbers and so how many people can possible work on that? No lie, we’ve been in rooms with less than 8 and sometimes there’s so little for some players to do they just end up holding a flashlight for most of the time. Not cool. Many rooms should have a max of 6 people.
- “Move just a little this way. The other way. Up? Down? Why isn’t it working?” (Lamya) Oh man, this has been happening more and more lately. I almost hate complaining about finicky puzzles because those are often the most creative and cool ones, but in our summer spree, we encountered more than a handful of puzzles that we had solved correctly, but we were off by literally a millimetre or we hadn’t applied enough pressure or we were half a second off or something that seems really fussy and has nothing to do with your actual knowledge of the puzzle. And a few times, our trouble with these puzzles just carried over to the staff, who were also unable to get the puzzles to work, or at least not for a long time. It’s a real downer.
- “We can’t show you the rest of the room. Sorry.” (Lamya) There are very few places that do this, but we’ve encountered this twice and it’s super annoying. It’s not like we’re going into these rooms and only making it 10% of the way through. Most rooms we fail we get to at least 70% completion. So here’s a hint about what I will never do, even as addicted as I am to escape rooms: I’M NEVER COMING BACK TO PAY AGAIN TO FINISH A ROOM. LIKE, EVER. One place operates on this premise, that they’ll let you back in at half price to finish (no thanks), and the other places says it’s policy, which makes no sense. In any event, I really don’t like it.
Maybe some of these things are pet peeves of yours too, or perhaps this is just a result of doing 50 escape rooms. If you have any other pet peeves you should put them in the comments of this post. It helps to vent. The one final point I will make is expanding on a point we made earlier. Nearly every escape room in Edmonton costs $25/person. Over the summer and earlier fall we’ve noticed a lot of special summer rates or grand opening rates that offer $20/person. I believe that $20 should be the going rate per person at these escape rooms. Especially when a group of 6 or more is attempting the room. I don’t expect any major changes to be coming in the economics of escape rooms in the near future but my advice to anyone out there who is really into escape rooms is to watch out for the special deals. Every place in the city has special rates during weekdays or certain months or things like that. Keep an eye out for those deals and then you can go to 100 escape rooms like Lamya and I hope to do!