PAX Australia 2016 Panel: The Past, Present and Future of Live Action Escape Games [Commentary]

Location: PAX Australia 2016, Melbourne Convention Centre, VIC
When: 6 November 2016
Panel: Joan (Labyrinth), Jesse (Riddle Room), Matt (Enigma Room), Tom (Cubescape), Robert (Pop Up Playground)

After completing an escape room marathon in Melbourne, we rushed from Xcapade to PAX Australia 2016 to hear about ‘The Past, Present and Future of Live Action Escape Games ‘. There was a solid turnout from the audience and given that this was the very last panel of the event, it was very encouraging to see. Another positive sign was that, different from last year, most of the audience had experience with escape rooms as well. Upwards and onwards for the Australian live escape game industry!

The main areas discussed by the panel mainly revolved around the future of the industry and how technology could affect it in the coming years. We’ve taken the liberty to sum up some of the key points below.

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Stranger Things: Kotaku Australia online puzzle hunt

logoEdit note: This post has been edited as the puzzle competition ended on 11 Aug.

Location: Kotaku Australia
Launch date: 19 July 2016
Ended: 11 August 2016

One of our friends recently alerted us to a team up between Kotaku Australia  and Enigma Room from Sydney where they released six puzzles from 19 July to 6 August to promote Netflix’s new series Stranger Things. People who solved the ‘final boss’ metapuzzle had a chance to win $6000 worth of prizes from Netflix.

This was an interesting series of puzzles which included a mixture of basic encryption, observation and knowledge of computer games, particularly those from Nintendo, to break through the layers. The third puzzle was particularly punishing. All of them combined reminded me more of ‘easy’ level puzzles found in hacker challenges like those from DEFCON rather than the sort you see in an escape room.

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Enigma Room: In Memoriam [Review]

logo_white_edgy2Location: Enigma Room, Sydney CBD (near Town Hall), NSW, Australia

Date completed: April 2016 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 9Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 9; Fun: 8.5

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players
  • Life skills help!

A woman is in a coma after going through a traumatic accident. Players have to use cutting edge experimental technology to delve into her memories and regain consciousness. The catch is that you only have one hour or you could risk getting stuck in her mind.

That is the premise of In Memoriam, which has been widely recommended by other escape room operators and reviewers alike. Its reputation for being one of the best escape rooms in Sydney and our previous experience with Enigma Room in Dr. Disaster made us comfortable enough to bring two friends who are escape room first timers – we’re very glad that we did!

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Enigma Room: Dr Disaster [Review]

logo_white_edgy2Location: Enigma Room, Sydney CBD (near Town Hall), NSW, Australia

Date completed:  Jan 2016 (3 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8.5

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players
  • Acute senses

In Dr Disaster, a Kim Jong Un-esque crazed villain has decided to destroy the world’s capital cities with nuclear missiles, and you have one hour to stop him! We arrived at Enigma Room expecting a James Bond scenario but ended up with Austin Powers or Kingsman.  Shake it, baby!

With the preponderance of dark themes in the escape room genre, it’s nice to be fighting a hilarious control freak supervillain rather than escape from some horrible fate for a change.

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