Over the past two years we’ve hosted lots of amazing teams and have been asked all sorts of questions about our games. What made us start an escape room in Swindon? Where do we get our inspiration from? How did we make a particular prop?
As such, we thought it would be a great idea to share some of our answers in the form of a blog. The topics we have lined up are a mixed assortment, but we’ll kick this off by saying a little bit about how it all started.
In 2016 we experienced our first escape room game. Like many first-time players, I found out about escape rooms from friends and was keen to give it a go but wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’d watched a lot of Crystal Maze reruns and love strategy and puzzle games, so it sounded like something I would enjoy…let’s just say I was immediately hooked!
Soon enough we were playing our fifth escape game but, as there were no venues in Swindon at the time, we had to travel about an hour to Bristol to get our fix. Around this point I had also reached a natural break in my career, having just completed a PhD and beginning the search for jobs. At first I started designing a few puzzles on paper in my spare time, then I started building a few smaller props, and soon enough I was looking at possible premises in which to set up an escape room in my hometown of Swindon.
Finding a suitable location was probably the greatest challenge that we faced, as many landlords simply weren’t interested or would deliberately waste our time by making us wait weeks on end for a ‘no’. In the end we took on an open-plan industrial unit at BSS House in Cheney Manor, which gave me the freedom to design our game rooms from the ground up.
After months of planning, designing and building, our first game – Professor Dunstan and the Search for the Ancient Statuette – opened in July 2017. Since then we have worked on a number of other projects and have most recently opened our second game – Sub Terra. The response we have received for both rooms has been fantastic and we will keep building new and memorable experiences.
As the saying goes, “choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I love building our props, puzzles and intricate sets from scratch. And I also love hosting teams, watching players work together and experience a range of emotions –excitement, fun, confusion, ‘aha’ moments of realisation, and the triumph of solving a puzzle. We have many more ideas in the pipeline and look forward to sharing them with you!