Escape Rooms: A New Pastime

Back to Article
Back to Article

Escape Rooms: A New Pastime

Leah Wilczynski, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






You’re shrouded in darkness as the door to the room swings shut, leaving you alone in a locked room with only a few choice friends to solve a puzzle and find your way out.  In the room, a screen lights up, flashing the time… 59: 59. Your time is limited as you scurry around trying to pick clues out of patterns of letters and numbers. To some people this may sound like a nightmare, but many find it an exciting, stimulating way to pass the time.  

What draws people to escape rooms is “the teamwork element”, according to Audrey Overton, who works at Exit Plan, an escape room in downtown Leesburg.  “People really like to have an activity and do stuff where [they] can use their brain and try to figure things out”. However, not all rooms are as intimidating and dark as others.  Exit Plan offers a variety of different rooms, which Maddie Pennington, who also works at Exit Plan, listed as, “Matter of Time, which is the newest year-round one involving time travel, Aftermath, which is after a nuclear bombing and based on Fallout, Safe House, which is FBI spy-type, and then S3r1al, which is serial killer-themed.”  Regarding the difficulty of each room, Pennington explained, “S3r1al is the hardest one.  You start out in the room handcuffed to a wall in the dark, which is obviously a challenge.  But there’s more challenging in-depth thinking, rather than finding stuff and using it for something else.  Aftermath and Matter of Time are really similar, but I think Aftermath is slightly harder because there’s more puzzles.”

Escape rooms give people the chance to geek out, and as nerds become more celebrated in this day and age, it’s no mystery why there are more than 2,300 escape rooms nationwide.  People love the adrenaline rush, the fake sense of a high-stakes puzzle, and a chance to work their brains. In addition, the sense of enveloping oneself in a completely different world draws people to escape rooms.  

Overton describes the experience as, “a really fun thing to do that you can talk about for such a long time afterwards.  You can do it and then go out to dinner and talk through the whole room and it’s just really fun.” Regarding the uniqueness of a puzzling pastime, Pennington added, “Nowadays, a lot of people think in order to have fun they need like technology and they’re always attached to their phones, but an escape room is a good way to disconnect from the interweb.  You’re in a room for an hour with no outside connections or anything and you can just focus on working with the people you’re with.”

Overton and Pennington shared a couple tips for newbies, including, “Obviously work together.  Spread out and work on multiple things at one time, but also communicate. Fingertip pressure is another thing. Don’t move things around that don’t need to be moved.  Also don’t be afraid to ask for clues because a lot of times, it’ll help you and [they] are interesting too.” When you first enter the room, Pennington advises, “look around and touch everything, find all your locks, find if you need numbers or letters, look through all drawers.  Basically ransack the room, but don’t break anything. Look and see what you need, and then go more in-depth and look for stuff.”

So if you ever feel the need to lock yourself in a room and puzzle yourself, check out your nearest escape room! You’ll find yourself shrouded in mystery within a real-life game, playing against the time, and you’ll be rewarded with a fun photo-op afterwards.