This past weekend, hosts from Simple Entertainment transformed the lower level of the RAC by setting up two escape rooms. Students tested their wits and riddle-solving skills with friends while simultaneously rushing against the clock. UMBC OCSS and SEB are to thank for planning this event and hopefully, more like it.
Before entering the escape room, groups had to wait in line due to the number of people that signed up to participate. On both Feb. 9 and the 10, all of the time slots were filled and if people came without signing up, they had to wait in line hoping that they could join a group later on.
The theme of the escape room seemed influenced by Harry Potter. Numbered potion bottles and stuffed caged owls helped solve puzzles hidden around the room. Puzzle difficulty increased with each room, keeping everyone on their feet. Included were keys that unlocked hidden chests, puzzles taped to the bottom of carpets, mermaid magnets interspersed with almost anything else one could imagine.
Hosts were helpful throughout the whole experience giving time checks every few minutes, and always answering questions while still not giving too much away. Without a host, groups definitely would not have been able to make it through to the end.
Every twenty minutes, a wave of people would emerge from the room and one could tell if they had solved the puzzle or not. Cheers of pride and questions of what was done wrong could be heard from those successful and those not, all voices delighted, no matter what the outcome. People kept coming back for more after they realized the small mistakes they made throughout the puzzle.
The popularity of this event speaks for itself. Mark Bickerstaff Jr., a junior graphic design major, suggested that SEB should continue to bring escape rooms to campus. It’s an easy, quick and free alternative to actual escape room locations scattered around the city. He elaborated, mentioning that, “it was definitely a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be, I would do it again for sure.”
Events like this are a good way for people to branch out and meet new people. More than once, people were put into groups that they did not originally sign up with and had to work with them to find their way out of the room. This is a great way to make new friends and build teamwork skills while having fun at the same time.
The event was a great way to spend a cold weekend. Everyone should be on the lookout for the escape rooms to return. If you or your friends are interested in events like this one, make sure to check out SEB’s website or the events page on my.umbc for updates on other events happening on campus throughout the semester.