Sometimes, we get amazing comments, like this one from David F:
“Great family entertainment. We have played quite a few escape rooms and this matched the fun and difficulty of them. We played the hard level and it required different brain types and solving skills which kept everyone engaged. We ordered the rest of the season straight away. Excellent value for money.”
But it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. In these articles we’re going to give you a sneak peek into the difficult side of the process too (by difficult I mean soul-crushing). Because sometimes we get a 2-star review like this one from Veronica writing about Episode 8:
“Not our favourite one, we felt this series is getting too electronic. We quite loved the first couple of puzzles and how we only needed the internet to get an answer here or there. We loved being able to complete these by candle-light and being interactive with the paper. Now we feel one person has to be glued to the computer screen. We did love the picture roll, very clever!”
As an experience designer, I (Eric) read that review and my mind immediately goes to the puzzler - that’s you! - and your experience.
What will it be like for you to receive the envelope? To open it up? How will you latch onto the storyline? Where will your eyes and hands go first? Then, what puzzles will you start to solve? Will you have an easy time or a difficult time? What skills will you need to employ? What supports or clues will you rely on? What sounds are you hearing? If you are playing with others (as many of you do!) what will they be working on? And finally, in the case of Veronica, how would a digital compliment work with the materials?
My job is to ask myself those questions and a myriad of others, often at the same time (I feel like I’m going crazy most days). But when we first started Escape Mail, with Episode 1 Family Secrets, the questions I was asking were slightly different.
IN THE SLOWCOOKER
It was the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions and our Mobile Escape Room business had ground to a halt. With my head in my hands, it was business partner Paul who stepped in and said, “I think we could do this escape room thing in the mail!” We’d spent the last 3+ years not only building professional escape rooms in a mobile unit, but we’d also been relentlessly prototyping simple paper-based puzzles with students in schools. That’s one of the biggest reasons we were able to pivot so quickly and have Episode 1 to market in a mere number of weeks.