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Escape Room · Week 1

Expand Your World

  • follow the same steps from today’s workshop to either create a new world or expand on the world from class
  • make it feel a little realer, and start thinking about characters.

Pick a Scenario / Situation. Imagine a character or goal.

What are the circumstances (in the story) that lead your players to be in this?

Japan’s economic bubble has just burst suddenly due to stock prices and real estate prices were greatly inflated during the 1980s, causing the economy to become unsustainable. You as a regular businessman/businesswomen have suddenly lost your job as well as all your money as myriad of companies and banks announced bankruptcy. Moving back to your hometown, back to the small village where you grew up in the countryside of Japan, you came across an ancient treasure map in a nearby bamboo forest as you were walking aimlessly. Feeling depressed with no life goals after losing everything, you decided to try to search for the hidden treasure in hopes of finding the treasure to help you escape your current situation and make a new fresh start.

Visual reference of Japan countryside village


Year 1993 in countryside/small village of Japan, during Japan’s Lost Decade

Where is the room?

The rooms are located in a 3-level tower with an outer form of an ancient Japanese temple. It is located in a bamboo forest with only one narrow route for people to access it. There is a total of 3 levels which you need to try to navigate upwards with the goal of discovering the hidden treasure in the upper attic of the temple.

Who was in the room? Who is in the room?

No one was in the rooms as the rooms are located in an ancient temple left vacant for over hundreds of years. You are now trying to enter into the rooms in search for the hidden treasure.

Field Notes on an Escape Room

As I am currently located in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to go to a physical escape room in Taipei with 3 other friends. The escape room is about the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history, and we played the role of Kong Ming, a famous prime minister during the time who is known for his smart tactics. This escape room is designed for 4-8 people to solve together in 90 minutes and is ranked as a fairly hard escape room with complicated mechanisms and puzzles.

Design of the room

There are multiple rooms in this escape room experience. All the rooms have a dim lighting and have spotlights shining onto the main objects/puzzle pieces which we should be interacting / need to interact with. The rooms overall have a very ancient Chinese feel, with traditional lanterns, wooden doors, rusty tables , old calendar, etc. In one of the main rooms which we were meant to be listening to other related historical people speaking, there are large portraits of each of the figure pasted onto the walls as if they are sitting behind a u-shape table speaking to us.

Rules of the room

The rules are fairly simple. We basically had to solve one puzzle at a time in order to get hints for or reach the next puzzle, and then continue to solve the next one until we reach the end.

How do different players interact with the room and with each other?

Players had to work together on each puzzle in order to proceed forward step-by-step. Lots of interaction with objects in the room were also required. For example, we had to place correct characters in the right position of a Chinese couplet on the wall, press on audio buttons in order to hear different characters speak, etc.

What does the room and its objects look like?

The rooms and objects all look slightly rusty as the setting is around 1700 years ago in ancient China. The first room is designed to be the outside of an imperial court, and multiple puzzles need to be solved in order for us to proceed into the next room which resembles the Chinese imperial court in old times.

What are the different types of puzzles? How is the game setup?

Types of puzzle include connecting titles of famous ancient Chinese poems to drawings on different sides of a lantern, or putting in the missing characters of a Chinese couplet on the sides of the door in order the door to open up and for us to get access into the next room. A puzzle I find fairly unique consists of famous Chinese historical characters talking (initiated by us pressing onto the audio button in front of each person), and us needing to find and catch the errors in their conversation.

What is the role of the game master?

The game master introduced us to the Three Kingdoms time period prior to us entering into the room, and left us on our own once the time countdown starts. During the process when we were slightly suck, we had the option to press on a button on a walky-talky (provided to us) to call the game master, and the game master would enter and try to give us a few hints to help us continue to proceed.

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