I Escaped

There could be many potential readings into this blog’s title, but it isn’t all that “Escape from Alcatraz”, although it kinda is…

I have now left my position at Coventry and I feel free. Free to learn what excites me and with other like-minded folks. I’m sure that in a few months time I won’t feel so free when I am chained to my PhD, but I am still excited to jump with both feet into a lot of unknowns and adventures. I’m starting my PhD studentship with Horizon CDT at the University of Nottingham next week. Hooray!

Back to Alcatraz. And so whilst basking in the glorious Floridian heat and sunshine I came across several Escape Room experiences that I insisted the group tried. Since working with the very talented and enthusiastic Sam Clarke, she has really opened my eyes to the importance of play. And from being a test-dummy and observer of her EscapED Rooms, I was keen to try out a ‘professional’ set-up.

I went away with three gamers. Computers. Cards. Board. Live Action. You name it at least one of them likes it, so convincing them to play an Escape Room was not difficult. What was more interesting to observe was that all of them wanted to go for the hardest level, despite being absolute Escape Game beginners. I guess perhaps it isn’t about the winning, but the challenge.

So in we marched, confident, poised, switched on. We entered the “Prison Break” Escape Room where we had an introductory video before the one hour began. I must say, it was an absolutely brilliant experience: split into two locked cells in the beginning we had to negotiate between the rooms (not being able to see one another and only being able to speak through the bars of our cells into the shared corridor) to uncover clues, work out puzzles and unlock the rooms. This then took us to the corridor where we could all work together to then move to the next room, then the next, then the next (which we had to crawl through a pipeline to) where we eventually got to the final room. In many ways it was a stroke of luck we escaped: my brother did the almost-impossible by fiddling the combination lock (while the rest of us tried to figure it out) and opened it! We were only one step away anyway from figuring it out with a good 12 minutes to go, so it would have been do-able for us.

I make out like we were Escape Game wizards, and so I confess that we did get some tips from the host, but even he was surprised we did it. We had 3 free clues and every clue thereafter would add 3 minutes to our game time, but he sent us (un-asked for) hints which were handy.

If you’re in the States, I’d highly recommend “The Escape Game” franchise. Plus, if you escape you get “I escaped” stickers and if you don’t then “I almost escaped” ones. I’m excited to find a home for it on my new machine. 🙂



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