“I work at an escape room… no, it’s not easy. We are creating things.”
It’s always fascinating to see the reactions after I answer the “what are you doing with your life” question. There are few people who know what an Escape room is and for those who do, they have very little idea of what that job entails. For a long time, I felt like I had to justify myself or convince my audience that what I do is sometimes really challenging because it’s not just watching, it’s constantly creating. Now, I follow with, “you should come and see it!” Because, to be honest, I could talk your ear off about the things we’ve done but being in the space and hearing our stories creates a whole new experience.
“Escape. On Queen… what is this?” Don’t worry, if you’ve walked into our door asking this question, you are not alone. We are an Escape room – an interactive puzzle experience designed for a group of people to solve together. What we do is a totally different story. At Escape. On Queen, we are jugglers. But we’re not your basic three-tennis-ball type of jugglers. Give us six wands of fire, as we walk on a tightrope. Too dramatic? Okay, maybe a little. Here’s the thing, though: it sounds like a breeze, watching people play games all day, but there’s so much more pressure; so much more work than what you see when you sign up online and walk in the door. We are watching, thinking, creating, and designing every day… even while we’re working on other things.
Everything that you see in our space, in any given room, has been put there on purpose. It has been specially crafted, thoughtfully purchased, or specifically designed for that particular place. Dare I mention that we built the rooms ourselves? That’s for another day. Because the hardest part of this job isn’t just building and setting up the rooms – it’s the creative process behind the system, before the building.
This whole business – our beginning, middle, and end – is heavily hinged on not only how creative we can be, but how successful we are at putting those creative visions into action. I mean, no pressure, but we have to keep a group of adults entertained for an hour. Let’s just take a quick second to think about how difficult it that is – creating something that eight grown humans can’t (or hardly can) figure out. Mind you, there is a fine line between being logical and thinking outside of the box.
Did I mention that there can’t be too many puzzles, too many steps, too many distractions in the room, but enough to keep everyone busy, interested, engaged? Let’s get people talking too – let’s put this object on that wall and that object on this shelf so those people have to communicate more to accomplish this task. Is your head spinning yet? Because mine is. Thankfully, they use my hands here, not so much my creative mind. Melanie and Heather are absolutely brilliant in puzzle-building, fire-wand-twirling type of way. The ideas in their mind are totally over my head, to a point where I stop them mid-explanation and say, “just tell me what to build” because they lost me at the first puzzle. But they do it – every puzzle, every idea, all the vision comes from them constantly creating, thinking, dreaming, and scheming to build the best, most unique experience possible for all of our puzzle-lovers out there.
So that’s where we start. This is how it all grew. We rely on our brains, passion, handwork and dreams (both literally and figuratively – it’s no surprise when Melanie shows up to saying “…I had a dream last night and…”). It started with their creative minds and our passionate to create exceptional experiences and that’s still fueling us. We’re full of experiences and stories and if you keep coming back, you can get a little look at how this all happened. Did I mention our next room is in the works?