I suffer from debilitating claustrophobia so I know all the places I absolutely cannot go! And number one on that list is these oh so popular "escape room" festivities. This escape room craze has become all the rage in group activity and celebrations. The point of these games is to find your way out, not burn down the building and freak out. Can you imagine the amount of blackmail the staff at these places must have? LOL.Redditor u/ann_ha was hoping those who work the Escape Room establishments would share a few tales about what they've been witness to by asking...
Ha-Ha!im right told you so GIF by DeRay DavisGiphy
One of the kids says the answer to the final puzzle out loud, rest of his family says,"No, that can't be right,"
They ask for a clue, they figure it out, and i walk in to celebrate with them, and the kid is basically screaming, "I TOLD YOU SO."
Dude brought a set of lockpicks, solved the room in 5 minutes.
Hehehehehehe. I can just imagine: "this is the lockpicking lawyer, and today i'm trying out this escape room. they used this really poor masterlock, so i'm just gonna this wood splinter to open it, and yep, we got it open. okay folks, that's all i have for you today."
I don't work in one but probably the family we were with kept telling their 8 year old son to shut up when he brought up certain things not looking right. Turned out he figured out 2 of the puzzles and demanded 20 bucks and an apology from his dad.
Why are you going to bring your kid to that if you aren't even going to let him play? Deserved both, in my opinion.
Going Up!fan think GIFGiphy
Don't work in one but last time I was there, we were advised that the ceiling was not the route out. Apparently a group of guys the previous night removed a ceiling tile and tried to crawl up through it...
The funniest thing I've ever seen was when I was hosting a group of school children that couldn't have been older than 8 years old each. This little girl just looks into the camera in the corner of the room and stares right at it, and it almost looks like she's looking right at me. Suddenly she slowly raises her right hand and just FLIPS ME THE BIRD... I was so stunned but immediately burst out laughing with my coworker that had seen it as well. The look on her face made it even better. It's like she knew we'd see it lol.
Stereotypical "I don't work there" disclaimer. I saw a couple break up once. The guy was being really snappy at the girl for seemingly little things and she started snapping back. The guy ended up cussing at her, turned to storm off and tripped over a piece of equipment on the ground.
Get the Loot
I was in the room, not a worker, but I was part of a work outing with programmers. There was a puzzle that required a password for a computer to get files off of a thumb drive. A coworker booted the Linux box as a default user and loaded the drive there.
The Gregothy....scared shock GIF by Skit GuysGiphy
Had a couple of guys do a great little pantomime with the alien skeleton which involved confronting it about one of the clues, getting kicked in the gut for their troubles and dropping to the ground, and putting the alien in a chair facing the corner for a time out as punishment.
I think they forgive it, because after they finished the room they were very upset to leave "Gregothy" behind.
Where to Begin....
Finally, something I can comment on. Long time lurker, made an account to respond.
I've worked for 2 different companies and have done 100+ rooms personally. 1 place was a mom and pop escape room company, the other was a Haunted House, Both have their own interesting stories. In the haunted house I got put in blood and makeup and we work INSIDE the rooms with guests. So we see everything in person (someone still watches cameras, but we give clues in person rather than a computer).
- I've been flashed for a clue by a guidance counselor
- I've seen more PDA than you'd ever care for
- I've seen people pee in rooms
- I've watched someone poop themselves (and smelt it) after I scared them in a room
- I've seen people get nailed by spring loaded doors that open when they triggered them
- I've had groups ask me to roast them as I give clues (of course)
- So much dancing
- So many people being mean to each other
- so many break ups
That witty joke you make or pun was made by every single group, every sing hour, every single day. No Im not laughing with you.
Oh Butter....poop GIFGiphy
Had a woman get trapped in the room and ended up defecating in a prop butter churner which also had the key in it.
Kids are REALLY good....
I worked in one for about a year, and this was surprisingly commonplace (like, virtually every parent/kid group that came in had this happen). I have a few theories.
What I learned was that kids around 9-12 are usually REALLY good at a lot of things in escape rooms because they are comfortable with failing and moving on. Escape room puzzles are usually designed so that you have to do a bit of experimenting before you crack it. Like, you look at a puzzle and will think you know what you are supposed to do, but then once you start doing it you realize there was more too it than you thought.
Kids are REALLY good at this because they are used to trying things, failing, and then trying something else. "What if we have to re-arrange the letters? That didn't work. Okay, what if we have to read it a certain way?" Kids know they don't know everything, and are willing to hypothesize, test, and re-focus after learning why their hypothesis was proven incorrect.
Conversely, it turns out people (and in particular men) over 40 years old are REAAAAAAALLY bad at this. They get stuck in their ways, and once they are locked in on a solution they ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT let go of it.... for anything. In my escape room, I played a character in the room with the people, and would drop hints if people were doing bad (we weren't on overly competitive one, so we would kind of gauge whether people wanted a 'pure' experience or a 'just for fun' one).
I can't count number of times I had a dad doing something completely, 100% wrong, leading me to walk over and say "Hmm, I don't think that is it, maybe there is something else in the room that would help", only for them to look up, do a quick glance around the room, and go RIGHT BACK TO WHAT THEY WERE DOING. Like, I'm not going to lie to you. I know the answer. But no, they think that they've cracked it, and they are going to keep on trying until the time is up.
My brother insisted he was right. He's the youngest out of all of us, still in middle school, and he kept saying how to do one of the riddles. We all disagreed. Finally we gave up and asked for a hint. All it said was "he's right".
You're Free!free freedom GIFGiphy
In every escape room I've ever been to they have made it really clear you are not actually locked in and can leave whenever you want. Otherwise I would have been right there with you about being stuck in a room with a recently broken up couple.
LOCK IT DOWN!
Don't work at one, I was a participant in this story & the employees told me it was the most hilarious thing they've seen so far. My boyfriend & I did an escape room back in January this year. Children's asylum themed, & very well done! We opened a secret door in the back of a closet using an electromagnet. It took two people touching a metal lead on the wall on opposite sides of the room.
It lead to another tiny room only big enough for one person to be in & on hands & knees only. Well somehow my idiot of a boyfriend shut the door, LOCKING it behind him in a pitch black room. I couldn't touch both metal leads on the walls to make it open, so I had to just yell & wave my hands until the employee noticed me & came in with the 'key' to let my boyfriend out. I still won't let him live that one down.
A Stream of Water
I have experience with industrial automation and design locks for the owner of an escape room.
When the owner approached me and said he wanted to try something very different, I came up with the idea of pouring water in to a 55 gallon drum. At the bottom of the drum would be the trigger for the lock -- a water sensor. I didn't know how practical that would be but the owner loved it and worked it in to a story about a prohibition-era speakeasy. At least one bottle of water, provided at an earlier in the room, would need to be poured in to a still -- unlocking the door.
Apparently that worked well until a small group of frat boys came in and slammed the water down because they thought It was free. When they finally figured out that they had to pour water in to the still, one of them unzipped and peed in to it instead. The water sensor was triggered, opening the door.
Cure & Blitzkreig
I worked at an escape room from October 2019- March 2020 before the pandemic, and I have a couple of stories.
The company i worked for had 3 rooms you could play, and i was trained in 2 of the rooms. One was called The Cure and one was called Blitzkrieg. The way we ran things at the company was that instead of watching through cameras and communicating via walkie talkies, each room had a character that went along with the theme of the room as a way to be more interactive and engaging.
So in The Cure you have 1 hour to find the cure for a sick girl (ironic given 2020, huh?) and the room is very science-y themed and so are the puzzles. One of the puzzles requires VERY BASIC math skills (literally just the MDAS of PEMDAS AND you get a calculator) but it's lengthy so it can get a little confusing sometimes. ANYWAYS there was a very average family that came in, nobody super bright but not necessarily dumb people either.
Just average. However the dad kept trying to solve the math problem, and after what seemed like the millionth time getting the wrong answer, he turned to his wife and says "I'm an engineer, you think i should be able to get a simple math problem right!" And it just baffled me that this man who is supposedly an engineer couldn't solve the simple problem when middle schoolers come in and solve it no problem all the time.
In Blitzkrieg, it's WWII bunker themed and so it's very dark and the players get flashlights. (+10 for atmosphere amirite?) At the very end of the game you have to "disarm" a bomb to escape and every other puzzle throughout the game leads to the code you need. It's been awhile and i can no longer remember the code (not that i should have pisted it anyhow) so let's pretend it was 1564. A family was at the very very end of the game with mere seconds (less than 10 and counting) and they were trying EVERY combination of 1564 they had except 1564... 5164... 6451... 4561... And so on. It wasn't until the clock had ONE second left they got it right and got out. The energy was very tense and so everyone was laughing their a**es off when they got out.
Not an employee but:
There was one my group did where you attended a dinner party for the king. Well, the king killed someone, and you had to solve the murder. However, when you heard him coming you had to run back to the table otherwise, he would get suspicious.
Anywhoo: So many times he would ask a question such as: "Where does though come from?" My group would answer "on the Oregon Trail, one of us has dysentery, so careful! You might get it to!" One time he got in one of the girls face (an act), and she simply said "careful! I haven't had an orgasm in months, and your sexiness might cause my vagina to explode!"
I don't know how, but he kept a straight face the whole time until the very end. When we solved the murder, we all had to escape the castle. The actor yells at one of the guys who was still sitting at the table: "What have you done peasant? Where did the women go?" He simply shrugs and says, "why bother? They all want to have sex with each other, so I'd rather stay here and have dinner with you."
He literally busted out laughing, and told us all how we made his night by being a bunch of weird people.
I worked at one a few years ago. One time we had a local summer camp rent out all our rooms for a day. The kids (all high schoolers) were actually doing pretty good. One of our rooms had a computer monitor with clues on it, but I noticed in the middle of the game that the computer had gotten into a weird mode and wasn't showing what it was supposed to. It was an easy fix, so I paused their time and went to fix it. As soon as I opened the door, they all started screaming bloody murder and bumping into each other trying to run away from me. Their chaperones thought it was hilarious.
Back to the 80's....like a virgin madonna GIFGiphy
A story as a person in the room. I went with my mom and her friend.
They were both visiting me and it was a great activity in a historic building down town. The room was 80s video rental themed and there was a lot of going back and forth between rooms. My mom's friend had to be talked into going by her adult children and within a few minutes of play this lady went from a bit uninterested to balls-to-the-wall committed. Sprinting for clues. Screaming. Really great for the energy.
Thank god it was just us.
Things that were not clues were clearly marked. We got out successfully and walked outside to 4-5 fire trucks along the curb. We all notice and wonder what happened. My mom's friend says she wants to go back inside and find out. My mom and I think nothing of it. At home she told us what really happened.
Turns out that while my mom's friend was in the other room alone that she had touched everything she could including smashing her fingers in from the side of the plastic cover of a fire alarm, shoving down the alarm to engage it, even though it was clearly marked as a real alarm. She was just so focused on finding puzzles and clues she realized too late what it was she just clicked.
The idea that she shoved her fingers under the cover, from the side of it rather than activate it as it is intended by pulling up the plastic, with such a feverish intensity... I just couldn't believe it.
My friend worked in an escape room and his manager was cool about letting me view the security camera tapes with him. I have a great one.
Essentially, this woman read a letter that said, "Discover the clue outside of the box". She must have thought about it literally and compared that to the room and ripped up the drywall after bashing it in with a Candlestick and started ripping out the electrical wires.
The whole room shut down and Emergency Services had to be called to unlock the door to let them out. Funniest and stupidest thing I had ever seen.
I Got It
I was a player in one where every puzzle gave you a digit for the combination to the exit. The lock they had on the door was one of those really crappy ones that you can kinda feel out when a number snaps into the right place. Took me about 3 minutes to get it open, much to the surprise of my teammates and the staff.
Within the Walls
I don't work in a escape room but I did one recently, When we finished there was a booming voice that freaked us all out and we all screamed even the boys, And the voice said 'leave now or forever be locked in these walls' and we all sprinted out which was awkward cause the room was tiny. I feel like the person running it was dying of laughter after we screamed.
Not an employee but I went to an escape room with my company as part of a team building exercise. We were all split into teams and I got put onto the same team as my company's CEO. Also the place had a no photography rule that they explained to us at the start.
We got into the room and started getting to work on the puzzles when the CEO whips out his phone and starts taking pictures of us puzzle solving for the company's photo albums.
The employees flashed a message onto the room's TV screen telling him to stop taking pictures. He put it away for a while but eventually whips it out again. "Stop taking pictures" the screen flashed again so we got him to put it away once more.
We got back to work when a few moments later he again started taking more pictures. This time an employee physically walked into the room to warn him to stop it with the pictures. You'd expect he would learn from this. You'd be wrong.
We managed to break out of the first room and into a second room with the next set of puzzles when, once again, he pulls out his phone to take more pictures. This time two employees walked in, turned on all the lights, and stopped everyone mid puzzle solving. They had him hand over his phone to them and they went through and deleted every single picture off the phone while warning him that if he tried it again then they were banning us.
So that is how our company CEO almost got us banned from an escape room.
Gigglesgiggle laughing GIFGiphy
I have a God complex.
My victims are made aware of this before they enter the room. They know I have cameras on them & I can communicate with them. The deal is, if they want a clue, I want something in return. Naturally, I have to keep it pretty tame, but there's just something about making a group of grown men twirl like ballerinas for as long as I like that really gets me in the giggly places....
The Brat Boys
Context: We get idiots who are there to speed run and self congratulate themselves all the damn time. We call them frat boys because they are the biggest offenders. They rarely listen to or obey the rules. Half the time they just kick in doors or windows to impress their skanky arm candy plus ones. We always tell them they were disqualified but they don't give a crap, they reached the end and they won. They're usually too busy making out or high-fiving afterwords to even hear us when we tell them they broke the rules and lost. We try to bill them for damages but I can tell you exactly how often that works.
Anyhow one such foolish frat boy tried to kick in a locked door and failed. I put it there as a red herring, anticipating this behavior. I reconfigured the room to have another solution but the door was the most obvious. So the douche goes to break down the door and breaks his foot on the third attempt. I'd barricaded the other side with an iron bar. His rolling around and threatening to sue us (no case at all) while his buddies laughed at him was a memory I cherish.
Oh man, so many funny stories (game designer & game master here).
Most of my favorites are when players are SO confident in something so wrong. Once we had a simon-says game where you hear a cat meow so you press the button under the cat.
Well one family spent about 20 minutes of their 1-hour game time meowing at everything to see if it did something.
Another group of teens heard footsteps in the background music of the room (pirate them) so they all started screaming, ran to the first room and hid until eventually a game master had to go ask them what happened.
Breaking Metalmad the rock GIFGiphy
We had metal tables and this one guy literally broke the lock open on the table in 5 minutes, when he actually did it I freaking died.
Break it... pay for it...
Damage deposit my friends. You get a pending charge of whatever several hundred dollars your damage deposit is on your credit card or you don't get to do the room. Don't break anything and it comes back to you. Break something and the company keeps the money.
Right on me....
Not really to funny but in sixth grade we had a Halloween one and i was part of scaring them once they unlocked one door and what happened was a child like a 5 year old came in by him self and peed on me. It wasn't to funny for me it was a gag for my friends though.
I only worked there a week but two parents brought in their homeschooled son, and said it counted as a that weeks math lesson. Ya know, since solving the puzzle takes logical thinking.
I don't work in an escape room but me and few friends tried one once then one them proceeded to force nearly all puzzles (guessing numbers on locks, managed to get an envelope from a locked box without opening the box, and ignored all the clues) he didn't actually break anything but I am seriously surprised the one person that owns the puzzle didn't stop him.
I have suspicions he already knew all the answers though.
The Devildevil satan GIFGiphy
I was with a group who failed an escape room awhile ago.
The theme was getting a contract back from the devil (Faustian deal kind of thing). When the timer ran out the speakers suddenly BLARED music, I think it was Sympathy for the Devil, and the owner kicked open the door and stormed in theatrically.
Everyone else froze but I fully dropped to the floor and rolled under a desk. Got a good laugh from everyone including the owner.
Another funny story (for you; dear reader, not for me) was when a couple booked a late night game but were high as a kite. The girl greened out and ran outside and started puking everywhere. Seemed okay after so we let her back in the room. Turned out she had puked on her shoes, so dragged it all through our lobby and hallways, and then just puked again in the room anyways. We kindly asked them to leave and charged them a cleaning fee.
Didn't work in one but my younger cousin had a birthday party in one, I went and it was mostly girls from her sophomore class one of them read a clue that said something along the lines of "The passkey to clue three is in the place you store jewelry" cue a jewelry box being on the table and it has a layer of felt in the bottom not attached this one girl, not seeing that the strip of paper with the password on it had been removed proceeds to hold the piece of felt to the light and tells us she can see the numbers and begins reading them off to us all in the room.
It was just a piece of felt no numbers what so ever.
Don't work in one, but at when i did a thing in a room. So basically the room was in a Prison setting, and it started with getting handcuffs on and put into a cell, they cuffed our hand in front of us so we still could use them easily. But no i thought that would be too easy for me and decided that i should step over the handcuffs so that my hands would behind my back.
I quickly noticed that that wasn't the smartest decision and tried to put them back in front of me, but somehow i only could step with 1 leg over my arms and was stuck with my cuffed hand between my legs. Needles to say we didn't escape the room.
"the game masters"
Don't work in one but the "game masters" told us how they couldn't help but laugh at our group. It was a horror themed escape room and it was pretty dimly lit. Mind you, I had to take 3 shots prior to have the guts to do this one.
There were two floors and a bunch of rooms throughout. On the first floor, there was a gate that was locked from the other side; we weren't sure if it actually led to anything or if it was just a prop for the room.
The upper level, there was a portion that had a slide leading down to pitch black God knows what. So the two guys in our group decided to brave it out and go down the slide while the rest of us faint of heart females stayed upstairs. We had no idea where the slide led to or what was going to be down there considering there were animatronics and things falling from the ceiling in the other rooms.
They slide down to the first floor, we ran downstairs expecting screams or something but all we heard was confusion. They commented saying the slide was fun but they couldn't see anything because the room was pitch black, and then after some scuffling and movement. Apparently they climbed up the slide because there was no other way out and ended up on the second floor again so they could try and scare us even more. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we could complete the puzzle because we couldn't figure out what that other room was for.
The "game master" comes in to explain the puzzle. Turns out after you go down the slide, all you had to do was feel around for the barrel lock which would've opened the gate on the first floor. They also told us how they were watching the video cameras. Apparently they couldn't really see much in that room either so all they could do was listen. They heard nothing and couldn't tell what was going on until they saw them pop out of the slide in the other room. The "game masters" realized they climbed the slide and the camera room must've been close by because I swear I could hear them roaring with laughter.
It wasn't really me who was working on it, but my little brother kept flipping over tables and looking at the bar codes saying OH THIS IS A CLUE LOOK, it was really funny.
Look for the Bat signal....
For this room we were investigators trying to catch a criminal who was a spoof of Batman's Riddler who was last seen in a subway, of course it's a trap and he's not there but a bomb is and we have to escape before the bomb goes off
At the end of the escape room this box has the key to get out and beat the room but above the key is a large box with LOTS of fake (uncut) keys with a big red button above it.
We all tell this one guy to NOT push the button as we all knew what would happen............
He pushed the button and the key we needed and the fake keys fell to the ground like we all said would happen
We still found the key and got out with decent time left despite the needle in a haystack we to search through.
This guy got so freaked out he started hacked at the walls with the fake axe we had in there for decoration.
Open Sesame....house GIFGiphy
someone hit the doors and they opened.
The ones i've been in don't actually lock the door, or there's a switch right next to it that will unlock it in an emergency. Its a big safety risk to actually lock someone in a room.
I went to my friend's birthday at and escape room with my brother. he had just gotten some sick light up shoes and in the escape room there was one of those things where you all hold hands from one handle to the other and complete an electric current. we did this and my brother's shoes lit up and for some reason we lost it. it was way funnier if you were actually there.
10 Foolsthe three stooges GIF by IFCGiphy
Buddy of mine worked at an escape room. He texted me this video recording the security cam screen showing this family that had 5 minutes left and were stumbling all over each other. Imagine the 3 stooges, but 10 people.
My friends look at a bunch of letters, I was trying to point out maybe we can rearrange them... We were LITERALLY 98% of the way there.... And my one dumb butt lying friend goes "maybe if we correspond them to numbers we can figure it out" and they all listened to him, then the guys let us out, mind you were were like, 14 at most... And he goes "if you rearrange them properly they give you the 4 digit code you needed to enter into the lock pick and get out" I went crazy to say the least. xD
My friend once told me there was writing on the walls as part of the design. There was also a whiteboard in the room and markers in case the group needed to take notes. The players, without asking, thought they were allowed to write on the wall using the given markers. The comments were apparently funny enough that he just let it happen. But he had to create a note for future players not to do it.
Knockoutthe office comedy GIFGiphy
Some dude punched a whole in the secret door, then forcefully pulled off a covering for the button that would lead to the exit. Done in 10 minutes since the first 9 they spent actually trying.
a Cruise last year, my brother picked the bloody lock and we won the escape room, we thought we couldn't as we were so living the puzzle with 2 mins left. Then 'click' followed by the sound of the box containing the key to signify we won was in opened.
Edit: it was a number lock.
Take it Off
I one had a group of drunk guys go in and they ran through their allotted hints pretty quickly. They asked for another hint and we said over the speakers that they were out of hints.
One of the guys threatened to start taking off his clothes until we gave another hint.
EDIT: For everyone asking, we didn't even have to give him the extra hint. His friends chilled him out and ended up finding the next clue pretty shortly after that.
A kid I knew from school, his family owns an escape room business. The most things that happen is people trying to take things when it's clearly nailed down or nailed to the wall then he said that a little kid pissed in a bottle.
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