“What is the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space, the beginning of every end and the end of every race?” – Riddler
Since I want to be Batman, I always seek out riddles and puzzles to solve, just in case I ever have to face off against the Riddler. I got into the Rubik’s Cube craze with several of my friends, got a Gordian Knot, and am always trying out those tavern puzzles. I also got into those weird “escape the room” Flash games. At least at first… after a while, it just descended into pixel-hunt madness. I also started getting into ARGs. It is a shame that my friends and I started the Games of Nonchalance so late, so we never got to go through all four games. We still need to do Message from Z and Stamps from Elsewhere, too!
Imagine my excitement, though, when these two interests were combined into one super-fun event called the Real Escape Game! They already had an event called “Escape from the Werewolf Village” back in March, before I found out about this. I did manage to try their second event, “The Crazy Last Will of Dr. Mad” earlier this month with some friends.
Here is how the game worked: we pre-partied at Off The Grid, since the game was on Friday night at Fort Mason. We checked in, and got placed as a team of six (there were five of us, so they asked a stranger to join us and round things out) at one table of a large conference room. We watched an intro video with the executor of Dr. Mad’s will and were told that his final treasure was the secret to human longevity and prosperity, but that we only had one hour to solve the clues and open the treasure chest. On the start signal, we opened up our clue packet and ran around examining all the clues around the room while some of us stayed at the table to work out the more involved puzzles. Once we solved the master puzzle to a certain point, we unlocked a second room with more clues. Combining those clues with the clues and puzzles we already had, we could figure out some of the incomplete parts of the master puzzle. After a second checkpoint, we unlocked a third room. At this point, we should have had everything we needed to unlock the treasure chest.
The puzzles varied, with riddles, crosswords, anagrams, trivia, a picross, a word search, a rebus, a pattern-matching alphabet blocks puzzle (I do not really know how to describe it), a letter-number subtitution cypher, and more, all compounded together.
Of course, describing the game like this does not do it justice. You really need to experience it for yourself. We had a great time, swinging back and forth between being frustratingly stuck and having “Eureka!” moments. And our team managed to unlock the treasure chest literally as the MC was counting down the last seconds of game. It was like defusing a bomb in an action movie!
If this sounds even remotely interesting to you, come play with us! The next game is being held at the end of August during the JPOP Summit Festival in Japantown. This one will be Neon Genesis Evangelion themed, and will be a scavenger hunt, so we will have to run around to find clues! (My friends and I are signed up for the 11 a.m. shift on Saturday, August 25.)
Oh, and the answer to the riddle at the top is “the letter e.”