As most of you will be aware, the Escape Room Industry Conference (ERIC to his friends) took place a couple of months ago in Nottingham. It was an excellently produced and run event that I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at. But why was I invited?
Recently a friend used the term ‘escaping CV’ which I found a fascinating concept. Obviously a CV would cover what someone has done in a professional capacity, be that designing rooms or running companies, but the good ones also give a flavour of what a person is really like, from their interests and what they do outside of work (usually in a voluntary capacity). If we take ‘work’ to mean anything to do with the day-to-day operation of an escape facility, then there’s still a lot of room on a CV for ‘other interests’ that can enrich the industry and/or community.
A long, long time ago I can still remember how reviewing used to make me smile. As QMSM.co.uk, as this site was then, I happily wrote about all the games I played, heaping praise, scorn and apathy in various measures. I felt like I was offering a valuable service to the tiny enthusiast crowd, as well as giving owners something to think about. But over time a lot of other reviewers emerged who were also providing that service, and I struggled to keep up. I also struggled to find words that weren’t “decor basic, puzzles good, parking adequate”. I tried to keep my pie tasty, but nobody wanted it when it was stone cold. That, along with changes in personal circumstance, made me lose my enthusiasm for reviewing.
I didn’t lose my love for escaping though, and have racked up 176 games at last count. If you believe estimates that there are about 1,000,000 people who have played an escape room in the UK, to my knowledge there are less than 100 who have played over 100 games, so that puts me in the top 0.01 of ‘most experienced players’. However, within this elite club, competition is pretty fierce and I’m nowhere near the top. So simply playing a lot of games isn’t as big an ‘accomplishment’ as you’d think.
How do I know how many people have played a lot of games? Well I asked on the UK Escape Room Enthusiasts Facebook group, of course. I can’t claim much credit for the group’s success but, while some people questioned if there was a need for such a thing, I decided to set it up and see what happens. A thriving community of 1,000+ members shows that their was some interest to say the least. And at least 100 of those aren’t spambots!
So does that explain why I was invited to ERIC? Well, kind of, I guess, yeah. But it certainly feels to me like I’m living on past glories. I really enjoy being a part of this community, and being a somewhat recognisable face within it, so I intend doing something to update my escaping CV. The question is what.
While my enthusiasm for long-form reviewing has waned, my desire to talk about escape-related topics, and passion for being snippy, lippy or dippy about the games I’ve played hasn’t. I know this because I’ve written a few lengthy posts (you might generously call them ‘think pieces’) on the Facebook group, and my Escape Rooms Ratings page is completely up-to-date. So what I intend to do going forward is two-fold:
- Post these so-called think pieces to this blog, and then shamelessly share them on Facebook to hopefully generate the engagement that all bloggers crave (it certainly never happens “in the comments below” as authors would like).
- Post micro-reviews on Twitter when I’ve updated my Ratings page with a new entry, so owners and enthusiasts have a brief rationale for the scores so recorded.
How does that sound? Hopefully it gives me scope to repeat some of those former highs. Thanks for sticking with me so far.