“The problems of puzzles are very near the problems of life, our whole life is solving puzzles. … The Cube’s problem depends just on you. You can solve it independently. But to find happiness in life, you’re not independent. That’s the only big difference.”Erno Rubik
Having never done an Escape Room before, I wasn’t sure what exactly to prepare for. I really enjoy puzzles, and what better puzzle is there than being locked in a room without being able to leave it until you either solve everything, or your time runs out? (As according to state laws, you are able to leave the room if need be, but no one from our group had to do that.) When looking up Escape Rooms in the Sacramento area, I found Escape Sacramento, which is billed as Sacramento’s Original Escape Room, and noticed two themes that caught my immediate attention: demons and aliens. Knowing that I would enjoy either room, I thought on it and decided we would go with the demon room. I asked a couple coworkers who I figured would make good teammates with their partners, and our reservation was made.
When we showed up, we noticed a leaderboard on the wall. Our room, The Seance, had a record time of 22 minutes. So, naturally, our goal then became to get it done in 20 minutes and use only three of our five clues. Ah, to be young and naive.
The Seance room had two parts, and way more tiny boxes than I was thinking we would have. I’m no expert in tarot, but thankfully I knew enough to be able to apply that knowledge with a table in the room. The room was very dark, which made sense for the theme, but was a total disadvantage in general. Our main issue ended up being that we had figured a lot of things out, but just not how to apply it properly to the locks. When we very clearly missed our 20 minute mark, our arms started waving for our clues to be sent. It was frustrating to find out from these clues what our issues were, but if that isn’t the point of mind games, I’m not sure what is.
With 10 minutes left, a set of candles lit up and we heard the second room open up. We rushed in there, not expecting an entirely full new set of games instead of just a couple extra. When our time ran out and we were waiting to be let out, we still looked around to see what else we could have done. The director came in, and told us how impressed he actually was, since not many people even make into the second room, especially first timers. We were given the option to have the rest of the puzzle shown to us or we were welcome to try it at a later time, but I knew it would bother me not knowing the answers. Thankfully, the rest of the group felt the same way, and we were helped along the last legs of the puzzle to escape.
Of course, it’s always frustrating knowing just how close you were, but there were so many things that we would have never even thought of. It would have been awesome to get a small time extension when we made it into the second room, but that just means we should have figured out our puzzles faster. It was so nice to be working on figuring out solutions for the fun of it, and not in a stressful environment that depends on us needing our full attention and seriousness. Even when we failed, it became a new joke about how we just need to use our minds better. Once we figured out there was no set solution to these puzzles, we were able to start really climbing out of the box to think of new solutions.
The next time, we WILL escape. From the aliens.