I've enjoyed writing not 1, not 2, but a total of 5 articles (including this one) on this new format of escape entertainment, but this piece will probably be my favorite. After having to discuss some of the drawbacks of running a room online, it's super refreshing to pen this piece, ALL THINGS POSITIVE!
WHAT I'VE DISCOVERED
What most people can agree on about remote escape game is that, it's new, we probably didn't know what to expect prior to playing, and it's most likely vastly different from a traditional physical room.
What I personally didn't anticipate is that I've come to *really* enjoy some of their surprisingly perks, ones that I may not have ever realized without given the opportunities to try them.
Remote escape game "Ruins: Forbidden Treasure" from The Escape Game (Credit: The Escape Game)
Without further ado, these are the reasons why I've become a fan:
❤ THEY ARE FUN. DUH.
I think this particular topic is both apparent and best reserved for individual escape room review posts. But without a doubt, they are entertaining.
❤ A CHANCE TO CONNECT
I have been connecting with some escape room community friends through the benefit of remote escape room.
Respected escape games bloggers, EscapeTheRoomers, are based in NY, and I really thought the next time we could hang out again in another escape adventure would either be their traveling to California once more, or my finally making a trip to the Big Apple. It could be a while until then!
Modern technology fixed the problem, all the while abiding social distancing guidelines and lifting our worries of communicable diseases.
❤ VIRTUAL INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
This is perhaps the most glaring advantage that I missed in the beginning but quickly rise to the top of my list of pros.
Without remote options, I would not have been able to explore and discover so many great options across the country and beyond! Not only had I ventured out of my home state's border multiple times, countries' even!
Where to next, adventurers?
Having been mostly stationed in California in my escape room playing "career", I, unintentionally or not, limited myself to a roster of games geographically close to me. Though fortunately the nearby LA market is full of gems, broadening the horizon was an eye-opening experience.
Not only do I NOT have to extensively plan for an expensive foreign country visit, I also get to skip an international flight, which in of itself could already be a drag without coronavirus concern, this is a priceless advantage.
I would've waited ages, if ever, to experience what Australia, Netherlands, and many of other European countries have to offer otherwise.
❤ BEING ON TIME IS A BREEZE
No longer do I have to wake up, shower, feed myself, get into my car, and drive through what's often nightmare of a traffic, hope to find decent parking, all that jazz to get to a business location.
The only commute I need is to my computer room. (Saves me gas, too.)
And I've never been so punctual to all my games. Check in 15 minutes before the game start? Not a problem!
While I still somewhat vainly care about how I look like with my hair, that's roughly all that's required of me to attend a remote escape game session.
You could be wearing days old clothing that smell, and none will be wiser. Except you, you'll still smell the stink.
In fact, pants are optional. Just don't stand up.
I mean, of course, I wear pants. I do. All of the time. Yes.
...Just gonna leave it at that.
❤ BASIC HUMAN NEEDS COVERED
Yup, I am going there.
All of us need sustenance to survive, and we all gotta go, whether number 1, 2, or both. And these thing still happen whether we happen to schedule a game of room escaping or not.
I cannot begin to count the times when I had to explicitly ensure that I am well fed, breakfast or otherwise, before an escape game for tip-top brain performance. And the meal time usually factors into my time budgeting.
I also always have the irrational fear that I'd somehow have diarrhea--yes, told you I'm going there--during my visit in a haunted orphanage. Not that it ever happened, but I imagine it's quite the inconvenience. Plus, some companies somewhat frown upon your leaving in the middle of a game.
You know what? No longer an issue for both. Grab a cup of coffee, some light snacks, munch on while you play. Need a quick bathroom break? Pop out and back in in a jiff. You don't have to explain to nobody!
Drinking coffee, salvaging what's left of his energy, during an early morning session
❤ NO RULES! ...KINDA
This is a gray area, but now you get to use all your smart devices, and even the internet (!), while you game. You're already using these tools to run the game, after all. Not that I am encouraging you to, I'm just saying, you could.
Games that require you to organize a handful of information without giving you any writing utensils? Screw that, now you can use your pen and paper.
Puzzles that test your mathematical skills but somehow forbid you to use a calculator in game? Total BS. I have long been an opponent against banning of calculators for the pure sake of making a puzzle "harder". (Really, how is that any more fun?) You go ahead and key those numbers in.
❤ DISCOUNTED PRICING
This is one that is not certain across the board, but still could be something customers can potentially hunt for.
Because many owners acknowledge the fact that remote escape rooms often do not offer the full-on impact physical escape rooms are designed to do, they adjust their admission down voluntarily, and in some cases, quite generously so. Consumers, embrace this advantage!
To be clear, this isn't an indication that remote games are inferior--they can be loads of fun--but it is also fair to say they are, at least, different.
Although circumstances that gave rise to remote escape rooms are far from ideal, the end result, the compelled development of online escape games, brought forth some benefits after all.
If there's one way to stay positive in a world of chaos, this could be one.
While we wait patiently for the world to settle and inch towards normalcy gradually, escape room venues will slowly begin to reopen very soon (at this article's time of publication). To everyone in this community, especially business owners, you continue to be in my prayers.
Since the outbreak hasn't actually resolved, there're still escape enthusiasts that may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. Therefore, I hope remote options stick around, maybe for good, providing a great alternative to those who need (or otherwise prefer) to social distance for any foreseeable future.
In all cases, stay alert, informed, healthy, safe, and of course, escape on.