HAUNTS- The IT Experience: Neibolt House Hollywood – California

Stephen King’s IT comes to theatres September 8, 2017, but before you see the movie you can experience the house where IT lives.

The pop-up out of season haunted house is located in Hollywood, California and is open from 1p-11p daily. However, if you don’t have a ticket be sure to arrive early because they cut the line before 11pm.

Event Website: http://www.thatswhereitlives.com

 

Please note: I have seen this called an immersive experience online, but it is a walk through haunt. While you are immersed in the surroundings, this would not fall in the category of “immersive” such as Tension, Sleep No More, or Delusion.

HAUNTS- Midsummer Scream – California

There are many different conventions for Halloween and Haunt enthusiasts, but Midsummer Scream is the top in SoCal. It was a very large event this year with many mini haunts, mini escape rooms, vendors for all of your Halloween desires and most notably amazing panels and workshops. There was even a kids area with family friendly entertainment and crafts. It was nearly impossible to see everything I wanted to, much less everything. I recommend getting there early and planning to stay the entire day for every day of the 2018 event.

Event website: http://midsummerscream.org/

 

 

 

 

How to start your own escape room business

Many people want to know how to start their own escape room business. I know there was a room full of curious entrepreneurs at the Midsummer Scream class this year where guest speakers Madison & Luke Rhoades lectured on the topic. The Rhoades are the creators and owners of Cross Roads Escape Games (pun intended). They were kind enough to allow me to record the talk. This is Part 1 covering the basics of dealing with the city, fire codes, etc. They are scheduled to cover the more creative side of the business this weekend at their lecture at ScareLA.

Be sure to play Cross Roads Escape Games:

https://crossroadsescapegames.com/

ESCAPE ROOMS – Omescape: Kingdom of Cats – California

YOUTUBE REVIEW

OMESCAPE WEBSITE

When I heard the game was cat themed and we’d be in a kingdom of cats I imagined I’d be chasing mice and solving physical cat type puzzles, however that is not this game. This is a great example of expectations not being met, but it’s not necessarily the creators’ fault. I had expected a completely different experience and was disappointed. You are actually humans in a cat kingdom trying to solve puzzles. The game itself, with no expectations considered, was an average game.

It’s a solid, well designed game for the most part. There are creative puzzles and a blend of ways to think in order to solve them. There were a few that were a bit of a logic leap here or there, but not so drastic that they couldn’t be solved with a little guidance. The game felt a little dated in it’s technology and style. There is a lot of crawling, so not the best for player with knee trouble or claustrophobia. Not my kind of game, but not bad either.

ODDITIES – The Speakeasy Society: The Door – California

SPEAKEASY SOCIETY

CHAPTER 3 – THE DOOR 

You know a show is gonna be great when it sells our in 3 hours and it was amazing. Please note that this review contains spoilers. Expect all three chapters to go into production again this year, so if you’d like to experience the show without any prior knowledge then I recommend you do not continue reading.

KansasCollection_CH3_1.JPG

Full Cast (left to right) Matthew Bamberg- Johnson as Phil Daring, Nora King as Dorothy Gale, John Henningsen as Lyman, John McCormick as Oscar Diggs (The Wizzard), Genevieve Gearhart as Phoebe Daring

My husband and I arrived and were escorted to a porch-like area to meet with Lyman along with another couple. We spoke with him about the themes of each chapter so far. Chapter 1 was about hope, Chapter 2 opportunity and Chapter 3 the future. The five of us discussed the difference between destiny and inevitable consequence. Within a few minutes the wizard entered to escort us into the house.  He inquired as to whether we had brought our keys, as they were very important to what was to come.

Upon entering the house I couldn’t help but feel curious about those who resided there. It was so lived in, unlike what I have come to expect from a theatrical set. As we entered the living room we were introduced to Dorothy. We had our first decision to make. As a group we decided who she was. Then the wizard did a card reading where we each got involved. In an unexpected turn of events Phil and Phoebe/Ozma entered the room through a magical door. They took Dorothy back with them and we were sent on our way.

Overall the show was interesting and unique. The actors were absolutely amazing. It is a wonderfully fun way to be immersed in the retelling of these classic stories. I felt that even though Chapter 3 was the smallest audience per show, somehow it felt the least intimate. I really love what they are doing with The Kansas Collection though.  I can’t wait for Chapter 4.

ESCAPE ROOMS- UNLOCKED: Escape Room -California

UNLOCKED: ESCAPE ROOM

 

Unlocked Escape Room is a truly magical experience. It is located in Orange County, California. The story is based around a stage magician, so there are some very unique props and decor in the game. The puzzles are well thought out and the flow is good.

I happen to be partial to the magical theme. I am very impressed with the way the theme integrated the puzzles seamlessly. I am also pleasantly surprised at the amount of magic effects included in the game without giving away too much as far as magicians secrets are concerned. All of the puzzles were logical and challenging enough for both experienced and new players. Some of my favorite puzzles in this game were really simplistic in concept, but still created “aha moments” even for us as experienced players. The game is fairly linear in structure. It’s a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.

There is a minimum of 4 people for gameplay, however they made an exception and allowed my husband and I to play without additional teammates and we were able to escape. We have both played over 200 games, so we had experience on our side.

Overall, this is a wonderfully designed and fun game.

Thank you to Unlocked for hosting us to experience your wonderful escape room game.

Watch the YOUTUBE interview here.

INTERVIEW – Raja Sahi & Zoltán Honti of Escapedom – ESCAPE ROOM

 

Interview with Raja Sahi and Zoltán Honti, owners of Escapedom in Westwood.

Please introduce yourself

Hi my name is Raja Sahi, co-founder of Escapedom. I’m originally from New Delhi, India and have lived in the US for 10+ years now. My professional experience is in the area of delivering technology solutions for major movie studios. I have a passion for creativity, brain teasers and puzzles, making Escapedom a perfect pastime for me.

My name is Zoltán Honti, co-founder of Escapedom. I’m also not originally from the U.S., having grown up in Hungary I came to the States over 12 years ago. I’m a cinematographer by trade and really enjoy creating visual environments. Having seen the success of escape rooms spread through Hungary and greater Eastern Europe I had a feeling they would catch on here in the States at some point.

Why did you decide to get involved in the escape room industry?

Zoltán and I have been friends for a long time and always had an idea to do a passion project together, outside of our regular day-to-day jobs. Zoltán being from Hungary, had read about escape rooms being popular there and doing well. So we had done a few searches in LA years back and there weren’t many companies as compared to now. We had hoped to be the first but obviously we weren’t. We both really enjoy puzzles and like working with our hands and solving things, so it seemed like a great fit for combined passions. Escapedom was officially created just about 2 years ago and we officially opened our first room about 1.5 years ago.

 

What makes your rooms unique?

We’ve really brought together a great intersection of technology and gameplay. Our puzzles work really well for groups because we’ve designed them in such a flow that they’re not very linear, giving the experience of multiple people working on puzzles simultaneously. So there’s not a lot of room for boredom when people play our rooms, even with large groups. The technology used in our rooms is really a living and breathing part of our puzzles. The surprise elements usually bring a smile to players’ faces, which makes us happy. Currently we have two rooms running Tue-Sun and we are working on the third room now.

What do you think is the most important part of an escape room design?

There needs to be a sweet spot across these design points. In the past we’ve seen problems when we’ve only concentrated on puzzles, but we then realized that, while the puzzles were making certain people really happy, others wanted to have a more immersive experience and a greater story. So we took it upon ourselves to evolve the rooms to have a greater intersection between all aspects of room design. Different people look for different things, so it behooves us, as designers, to try to make everyone happy and not just a few really happy.

Having had the pleasure of beta testing your latest room and seeing it again after changes had been made, I’m curious what is your process like when creating a room?

Our biggest learning from this process has been somewhat introspective for us. We, meaning the owners of Escapedom, sometimes get blocked on an idea when we just focus on a puzzle or story we have on our own. We’ve both learned that when we expand the ideation to a group of people, different people will bring different ideas to the project. Similarly speaking, a better movie is made by a team of people rather than just one individual, so we’ve learned to take our time and consider all the possibilities across various ideas.

 

Please share with us a fun story that has happened with your company.

A funny story is connected to our FBI themed room called The Lair. When one enters the room they’ll notice a theme of barbie dolls strewn throughout the room. Early on one of our first players had made a comment that we should name the antagonist in the story “The Dollmaker”, it had never occurred to us to associate some of our props to the actual bad guy in the story. It was great feedback and we ran with it. Sometimes you just need feedback from someone not involved to give a different but great perspective… it’s just like asking a teammate for help when you’re stuck on a puzzle and they identify something immediately that you didn’t recognize!

What advice do you have for players?

The advice for players is to never be afraid to try things and always make sure to be in communication with your teammates. Both in terms of telling them what is going on and looking around the room to see what others are doing. Also don’t spend too much time by yourself on a single puzzle, try grabbing another teammate to help you out. Two heads are always better than one.

 

Anything else you’d like to share?

Here’s a coupon code to come visit!  Use “RajaZoltan” for $3 off tickets. We look forward to seeing you!

 

Thank you so much! Everybody go check out Escapedom…they are great fun!!!

READ MY REVIEW OF DEN OF THE OCCULT HERE