I had a very surreal experience talking to filmmaker Marky DiBergi about some of the best escape rooms I’ve played, and how they compared to The Dome, which I played on my recent trip to the Netherlands.
Marky: “Do you play… Do you actually play all these games?”
Me: “I play them and I cherish them. This Time Run, this is at the top of the heap. No question about it. Thinking about the game on that one. It’s just… It’s quite unbelievable. This one is just. It’s perfect. 2015. You know, it just… Play”
“Just play. The game, play it”
“I can’t play it.”
“Well, you could if it were still playing. Because it was famous for its playing. You could just play it.”
“So you don’t…”
“You could go and have a bite with someone, and you’d still be hearing about that one. Can you hold this a sec?”
I passed him my ratings list.
“Now this one. This, Exam, is a 10/10 game. This is a great game. I can bring this game up and tell people how good it is.
“It’s a great game?”
“Great game. Exactly. I can recommend it without all the muck.”
“You can recommend it anywhere. I get it.”
“Now this one. This Catacombs. This is special, too. But look. It’s got a big ol’ warning sticker on it. Never play it.
“You just played it?”
“Don’t play it.”
“I wasn’t gonna play it. I was just asking about it.”
“Don’t ask about it.”
“Don’t even ask about it?”
“No. It can’t be played. Never.”
“Can I look at it?”
“No. You’ve seen enough.”
I could see that Marky was disappointed that I’d told him not to play Catacombs, but with all I’ve heard recently I couldn’t say anything else. It sounds like it’s gone from being the best game ever, to a very middling, muddled mess. Heartbreaking. I tried to move on to something more positive.
Me: “Now, this The Dome. This is the top, you know, at every stage, is very, very special. Because I have had to rate it eleven. Look, right across the board. Eleven, eleven, eleven.
Marty: “Oh, I see. But don’t most games get ratings out of ten?”
“Does that mean it’s better? Is it any better?”
“Well, it’s one better, isn’t it? It’s not a ten. You see, most, well some, games, you know, will be playing at ten. You give them ten, all the way, all the way, all the way. You give out these ten ratings but where can you go from there? Where?”
“I don’t know”
“Nowhere. Exactly. What I need to do to do this game justice, that extra push over the cliff, you know what I need to do?
“Give it an eleven?”
“Eleven. Exactly. One better.”
“Why don’t you redo all your rankings and make ten be the top number, and move the others a little lower?”
“This room goes to eleven.”