A blog about the possibility of blogging featuring an interview with myself. This is starting off weird.
My new interest, nee obsession, is escaping. If you’re reading this you probably already know what that means but in case not; escaping, escape rooming, puzzle rooming, breaking out etc., are various terms given to the activity of being locked in a room with a group of friends and then using the contents of the room to enable your escape (or some other objective), usually by solving a series of puzzles. It first appeared in the UK in 2013. I heard about it for the first time as it arrived in Manchester in September 2014, played for the first time in October, and now it’s spreading everywhere.
Apart from the experiences themselves my fixation is fuelled by ExitGames.co.uk which talks about the topic, and puzzling in general, a lot more eloquently than I do. A recent post there suggested that a similar site or blog reviewing escape rooms might be a good thing. I knew someone who knew how to blog (albeit largely unsuccessfully) and enjoyed escape rooms, so I interviewed him to see if he’d be interested:
Q: What’s “escaping”?
A: I’ve covered that already.
Nobody cared when I blogged about other stuff. Why would this be any different?
It might not be. But if you don’t try you’ll never know. Escaping is growing massively and along with it the potential audience for this type of blog.
But surely the whole point of this type of activity is the experience. Why would someone want to read about someone else’s experience?
I think you’ve just questioned the whole point of reviews, which is more than I want to get into right now. More specifically, 99.9% of escape room visitors have never played one before*. That means that when they give a rating on Trip Advisor (other ratings sites are available) they’re more than likely just rating escaping as a concept rather than the actual site they’ve just visited. There appears to be a gap for someone who has visited a number of different sites to comment more objectively about each site, and, even more interestingly, each room.
What gives me the right to be considered an expert?
Excellent question. After playing three games you thought you had a good feel for what was a given in any escape game and what the variables were. Your fourth game flipped that on its head as it was almost completely different. A few games later you’re still experiencing things for the first time, and there’s still a heck of a lot of sites, operators and rooms you haven’t tried yet. But you have to start somewhere and you’ve certainly played more games than 99.9% of the population**.
What should go in a review?
Another good question. If you look at some of the review sites that exist in other countries they take all types of different approaches. Some focus on the site, others exclusively on the room, some on both. Some pick out and rate the different elements of the experience, others summarise it all, others are just comments without judgement. You can do whatever you put your mind to (and don’t let anyone tell you any different).
Should I get a better domain name to make the blog easier to find?
Probably, but all the good names are taken. Plus you have more than enough domains hanging around that you registered for one reason or another and never used. Just use one of them.
Will I be the only person doing this?
What should I hope to get out of all this?
You’d be providing a service to the escaping community (regardless of how small that may be right now) in a number of ways:
- Increasing the amount of information available about escape games, to raise its profile
- Helping discerning escapers pick out rooms which they might like to visit
- Encouraging operators to make better escape games, which can only help the community all round
If in the meantime you encounter people who want to talk about escaping then that would be swell as well.
Can I ‘escape’ from writing this whenever I want?
Very clever. And of course you can. Who am I to stop you?
Okay, we’re in.
What do you mean “we”?
*Like all the best statistics this one is completely made up.
**As is this one.
If you’ve made it this far you must be at least broadly interested in what I have to say, so please follow me on twitter (using the link in the sidebar <=) to be alerted of new posts, and stay tuned for the first review.