And the Award Goes To: The Bat’s Escape Room Oscars

Written by: The Bat

And the Award Goes To: The Bat’s Escape Room Oscars

Unless they are super terrible (Learn about these in the next article, Escape Room Pet Peeves), the Daring Damsels always have fun playing escape rooms. That is why we choose to write about them, after all. But there are a few things in escape rooms that I love to see, that really make them stand out. I suppose that is one of the key things in these extra fun lists: they stand out. They take the normal escape room format and move it a step above the rest. I hope one day if the Damsels ever open our own escape room, and I hope you, My Readers, will come to play with us, that we can say exactly that. We are a step in a different direction, a step above the expected.
To show you what I mean, I have decided to take a trip down memory lane to bring you some escape room experiences that truly went above and beyond for me. Here are five of my favorite ways to make a game great, and Escape rooms that have truly made my dreams (or nightmares) come true.

1) Most Creative Intro

Most escape rooms will have an intro to lead you into the story. It will usually be a video of some sort, or a speech by the game master. Sometimes it will even be both. It will almost always involve the rules, which we can now recite some of by heart

“Do not force anything. If you cannot move it with two fingers…..”

Of course, the rules are an important part of the game. And hearing the intro-type speech gives a little nostalgic thrill of excitement. It is like the speech at the beginning of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

“You will notice, there are no windows, and no doors…”

Intro to the haunted mansion at disneyland

But aside from the rules, we have had one game that stands out in my mind as having a truly creative introduction. That game is Operation X-13 at Trapped. Before we entered the game, we were given tactical vests and assigned specific roles in the game. That meant before we even entered the room, we were already immersed in the game! Super fun and super memorable.

2) Most Excited and Involved Game Master

If it is not a terrible room, the game master will be at least somewhat interested in your game. They will show you in politely, give the appropriate clues when requested, and at least pretend to be excited when you finish the game. But to make the game truly top-notch, the game master has to want to be there. They care if you win the game. Their clues are creative and they follow through to make sure that you have received the message. And even better, they do it creatively. My top award for this is a tie between Thirteenth Gate and Lost Games: The Asylum.

Both games had an interesting game master protocol. Thirteenth Gate had the game master play the part of an employee in the hotel. She came in, dressed in costume, and gave the hints in person. While that did give a personal touch, as she could point at objects to indicate her meaning and see our reactions to discern whether or not we understood her clues, that was not the only good part of her role. The other good part was the actor herself. She kept up with us the entire game, giving time notifications and follow-ups whenever she thought we got stuck.

The Asylum had an even more creative hint system. They came from a doll, which was super adorably creepy. Even better than Annabel (the movie one, not the real one. I haven’t seen her in person).

Annabel Doll

Anyhow, back to the Lost Games Doll. She was voiced by the game master, of course, but not just on request. She was also with us the entire time. She spoke back to a few of my observations about the room, she joked with us while entirely staying in character, and she gave us instructions on how to move her to get the best results. Both the doll and the game master made our experience super fun!

3) True Variety in the puzzles

Most escape rooms have a variety of puzzles. Any escape room with only one type of puzzle would quickly get boring and have terrible reviews, losing all customers. But once you have played quite a few games, you start to get used to the types of puzzles that you will see. Oh look, a plant, there is definitely something under that. A piano with the keys labeled, start looking for sheet music. Those puzzles are still fun, but the room will not stand out. However, in our case, one room did stand out for most variety of Puzzles: Neverland at Once Upon an Escape.

Aside from being beautifully decorated, this room had puzzles we had never heard of. It even had at least one that I have never seen replicated since. Once we started, they weren’t too hard to solve, but they were unique. I’m sorry that I can’t give too much detail as to how but….Spoilers.

4) Realistic Prop Usage

This one is something I really cannot describe too much, as the spoilers will overwhelm the page. So I will be a bit vague. All escape rooms have props. Some of the props are fake, or obvious. The puzzle pieces will make a jigsaw puzzle in the middle of a train. Obviously a clue, no idea why they would be there, for example. No companies are named here. But some are the exact opposite. They are beautifully, in some cases gruesomely made. Normal players probably even have issues touching them to complete the puzzle. Or the way that you use them is gloriously realistic but gives the answers in surprisingly exciting ways. Or they are even so typical that they belong in a movie, and when you solve them, you are thrilled that you got to finally do that in almost-real life. It’s those types of rooms that win the prize for me. Sorry that I can’t name you, but you will always win in my mind.

5) Creative Twist

There are a couple of things that I have seen in one escape room and one only. And we will be talking about that twist any time we bring up escape rooms for decades to come. Again, it is a tie, so I will tell you about both

The first had a small twist to an otherwise typical (if Risque) Escape room. That prize goes to XXX: Mr. Grey’s Red Room of Pain. One of the participants got to play the beginning of the room in a spreader bar. Not overly complicated to add to the game, especially since the game itself was in a sex shop, but fun and potentially hilarious for the participants.

But the game that had the biggest creative twist was The Fortune Teller, by Lost Games. You did not have to beat an empty room full of puzzles, or even a room with an actor trying to scare you here and there. The entire game was a back-and-forth communication with a live actor, who could be either your helper or your adversary, depending on the situation. It was amazing, and something we had never seen before!

Disclaimer: Of course, these awards are based solely on games that The Daring Damsels have personally played. Of course, my Readers, if you know of any more that should be on this list, I would love to hear about them in the comments below or on my social media.

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