Usually when you enter an escape room you are presented with one of two scenarios:
- An obvious starting point; a sign on the wall, a document on a table, an out of place object etc.
- Lots of possible starting points (a decorated set) from which you need to decide what to do first
I’d like to see a game turn that expectation on its head by presenting the visitors with nothing.
Obviously there can’t actually be nothing in the game. But the first puzzle should be discovering the next from the nothingness, and from there you discover more information/techniques/items that bring more and more into play, like a typical game.
The most obvious place to start would be a hidden panel in the wall (or floor). But the game would be boring if all you did was grope your way around the edge of the room. So what other puzzles could work?
- A UV torch (do UV goggles exist? That would be even better) could show that the walls aren’t as plain as they first appear.
- The wall could have a texture to it which is used in a puzzle. Maybe Braille and you find a guide that allows you to decrypt the message (assuming people don’t know Braille off the top of their head).
- In Saw (I keep mentioning this film) they turn off the lights and there’s a symbol visible in paint that ‘absorbs the light’. Assuming this is a real thing that could be good.
- A remote control could turn on a light/projector that shines through the wall.
- Something magnetic where the bit you move is on the outside of the room (or otherwise hidden)
I’m sure there are more (please feel free to contribute in the comments).
The briefing for the room would have to be somewhat vague. Perhaps people are given nothing but the name of the room in advance and then the host says “you’ve woken up in a strange, empty void. Your only thought is to get out and back to reality”. If the host led people in in darkness and then only turned on the light as they left it could add to the confusion and intrigue.
By this point any site proprietors reading are probably shouting “White?! Are you mad?!” I can see that keeping a room pristinely white would present a lot of challenges. The room could in fact be any colour and give the same effect. I just think that a bright, brilliant white would be a bit more dazzling.
So what do you think? Would you like to be confronted by nothing, or do you prefer your rooms to have more substance?