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Month: October 2016

5 Reasons to spend Halloween 2016 at TimeTrap Escape Rooms

With Halloween coming up, we take a look at the top 5 reasons to spend it with us!

Escape the Trick or Treaters

No one wants to get tricked, or be forced to delve into their secret stash of treats and give them all away. Get out of the house and head to TimeTrap to escape the trick or treaters and attempt escaping our room instead

Halloween is on a school night

Halloween falls on a Monday this year, not the ideal day to put on an obscene amount of face paint and fake blood and head out for a drink or two (otherwise good luck explaining why you are looking and behaving like a zombie to your boss the next day!) Head out on the weekend, bust out your best MJ Thriller zombie moves, and leave Monday free for an escape game at TimeTrap Escape Rooms!

Not a fan of all things scary?

At TimeTrap we send our teams back to different eras and events in history. One day we may have a Jack the Ripper room, but at the moment our games aren’t horror-themed. The only thing you might find scary is how much of your Maths GCSE you’ve forgotten!

You can still dress up!

Don’t want to miss out on a little Halloween costuming? No problem! We have a lovely wardrobe to choose from, although we can’t promise you’ll looks as adorable as this little guy…sorry.

The Perfect Venue

We’re not sure it’s acceptable to eat a whole bucketful of sweets you collected from strangers after the age of 8, so instead, why not indulge yourself before or after our game with a tasty dessert, a locally-brewed ale or anything else that takes your fancy from the Great Expectations menu. It is our excellent venue for only a couple more weeks – make the most of it whilst you still can!

How to Create a Truly Immersive Escape Game

Good escape games are all about creative puzzles with a strong flow, tied together by an interesting back story. But great escape games take this shell and line it with immersion to deliver to its players, not only an experience, but an adventure. This blog takes a look at some of the ways this can be achieved.

Small Details Are The Most Important

Although it’s the decoration and furniture that will give the first impression of a room, it’s the small details that can shatter the illusion. Players are unlikely to marvel at every great prop or piece of scenery that is in keeping with the world in which they have been immersed, but will notice immediately if anything is out of place or contradictory.

Taking time to research the setting of a game is invaluable. It can help in sourcing or developing the most authentic props and in avoiding including out-of-place items. In historical games this is especially important – a few minutes research will reveal that, in fact, the telegram was not yet invented or Helium hadn’t been discovered.

Being meticulous and diligent is also important. Players are going to search everything and everywhere from top to bottom, so it is crucial to do the same to locate anything that violates the immersion. Out-of-place marks, stamps or labels, modern dates or references in text, and present-day production methods, from laminated paper to laminated flooring, should all be removed.

Target All The Senses

It’s not only about what players will see during the experience. We use all of our senses to build a picture of our environment, so the most immersive experience should appeal, not just to sight, but to hearing, smell, taste and touch as well.

Admittedly taste is a little difficult, but as taste and smell are interconnected, you can kill two birds with one stone with a fitting fragrance in the form of (concealed) diffuser sticks, room spray or a timed fragrance system. Who knew they had a use for something other than public toilets. Again, researching the chosen environment will deliver ideas for the smells most effective in describing the setting.

Some escape games do already include a soundtrack, sometimes in the form of generic speed-inducing music, sometimes setting-appropriate and well thought-out background sound. A soundtrack does not need to be music, after all, an immersive experience should mimic the real life context, and how often in life is music constantly playing? A selection of appropriate effects, and music if it makes sense to the environment, in a well edited soundtrack adds another subtle but very effective layer of immersion to any game.

And finally touch – this links back to prop and scenery sourcing. Choosing props made of authentic materials and reducing modern features, if necessary, ensures that everything players touch and manipulate enriches their experience of the setting. Not just including correct materials in the realisation of the game design, but actively adding as many different textures as the game can reasonably contain allows players to be even deeper immersed as they explore the scenario through everything they touch.

Games Master Interaction

It’s well known that the Games Master plays a huge part in immersing the players in the story of their game and many do adopt a relevant character during their briefing. This is a great way to further introduce players to their environment but it can be developed even further with some imagination.

Thinking carefully about the way clues are delivered inside the room and ensuring this fits as seamlessly as possible with the game reduces the disparity between this and the theme. Rather than a modern monitor out on the wall, clues can be delivered via a prop that makes sense to the context. In the mad scientist’s laboratory maybe they appear on his discarded laptop, in the haunted hotel room – on the dusty television in the cabinet. In rooms with themes that cannot logically contain standard screens a little poetic license may be necessary. Disguising screens in photo frames, as blackboards or in windows is a significant step closer to immersion than slapping a screen on the wall where it is overtly out of place.

Of course some operators choose to communicate with their players via a walkie talkie style set-up. This is a great work-around for an out of place screen, but only if the walkie talkies themselves make sense in the theme. The language the Games Master uses when speaking to players should also be given some thought. If the Games Master is playing the role of a medieval dungeon guard, they should talk or write like a medieval dungeon guard (within the boundaries of understandability). No modern ‘don’ts’ or ‘can’ts’, ‘thou shalt’ instead of ‘you will’ and vocab changes such as ‘casket’ over ‘box’ and ‘pendant’ over ‘necklace’ will make a huge difference to the players’ submersion in the environment.

Some thought should also be given to the actual content of clues given. Telling players ‘look under the rug’ interrupts the flow of their game and makes them aware that there is a concrete person who has created this game in false circumstances. Giving clues in a less pronounced way, such as in riddle form, allows them to integrate into the game more effectively, as though they are just another puzzle that has become clear to solve.

Start Outside The Game Room

A player’s experience starts the moment they enter the building, not the game room. Non-game areas that have the appearance of an office or waiting room will not get the imaginative juices flowing. Investing in developing these spaces into a relevant pre-game experience will make for players that forget where they really are from the moment they arrive. A company with a brand and games that have a coherent theme running through them lends itself to more easily designed and more immersive common spaces – immersion has to make sense to be successful.

Easy places to improve include; covering, frosting or removing windows with a view to the outside world, painting areas in a non-standard fashion such as one colour for floor, walls and ceiling or geometric colour blocks and hiding evidence of everyday life such as pipes, cables and other operational equipment (this applies crucially to the inside of the games rooms too). Everything previously mentioned about appealing to all senses can be implemented in non-game areas too.

Consider Costumes

It isn’t for everyone, but for some players, the opportunity to dress up in character will top off their experience. Others will find it silly and even embarrassing, and would consider their experience ruined if made to dress up. Offering the option in an open and completely non-obligatory way will enable both types of players to enjoy their experience.

We hope you found this blog interesting. To stay up to date with all of our latest blogs, simply like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter!

Escape Games – The Newest Form of Entertainment

A popular gaming fashion brought into the real world, escape rooms are taking off all over the world. An activity popular with friends, families, tourists and corporate team-builders, an escape game involves being ‘locked’ in a room and working together to solve clues and puzzles in order to complete your quest and escape.

The growth of escape rooms in the UK has been explosive. The number of permanent rooms has gone from zero at the outset of 2012 to over 150 today…including TimeTrap Escape Rooms in Reading.

So, when you are next planning on seeing the latest Hollywood blockbuster or putting on those colourful shoes and knocking down a few pins, why not consider an escape game instead? We love a good film and having a bit of friendly competition with friends but why not check out the new kid on the block?

Don’t watch the action – Be a part of it!

We may not have the million pound budgets that some movies have (maybe one day hey?) but we think our escape games can be just as exciting…if not more! You are effectively the star in your very own movie. In TimeTrap’s latest game, you take the part of a Sherlock Holmes like detective and have to solve the crime that is overshadowing the death of Charles Dickens. Will you solve the mystery within the hour? It’s all up to you and your team and every game is completely different!

Escape The Daily Grind

Getting home from work to turn on the news to hear the word ‘Brexit’ mentioned for the 475th consecutive day can get a bit boring. Instead of hearing Fiona Bruce talking about exit’s why not attempt your own in one of our rooms?

Let’s Get Physical

Computer screens and phones are an essential part of modern life, there’s no denying that. However, it’s nice to put those devices down every now and then and, instead of scrolling through your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds, get your brain working, get talking and get searching your physical environment. We can’t think of anywhere else where you could go and turn the whole room upside down and for it to be totally acceptable (in fact we thoroughly recommend you do)!

Try Something Completely Different

Most of all, escape games are something completely different. Not only are they a new phenomenon but no two games are the same. This means every time you try out a new one there will always be more surprises waiting to be discovered! You never know, maybe escape games may be your calling in life. Use those little grey cells and impress your friends with you puzzling powers.

Fancy getting your escape on? Book a TimeTrap game now!