My name is Natalie Lapidus and my husband Ruslan Balashov and I are the owners/managers of Maze Rooms.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved in the escape room industry?
A: At first we were enthusiasts. I personally have played over 60 escape room games. We moved here from Russia (where the escape room market is more developed than here) to make our dream come true and open our own escape room company. When we opened, we were one of the first companies in the LA market. I love the concept of escape rooms, it is a great way to spend quality time with your family, friends or co-workers, especially in today’s world where everyone is so into their smartphones chatting!
I also love to see how people change during one hour in the room. Usually the most skeptical person will have more fun than anyone else in a room.
Q: What makes your rooms unique?
A: We decided to choose the European model of escape room: private rooms, limited number of players (up to 6). Also we put a lot of effort into implementing different technologies in each room. We are trying our best not to do the same puzzles in our rooms, so each room is really unique and different from one another.
Q: What do you think is the most important part of an escape room design?
A: I think everything all components are important from the story to the game master who runs the experience is important , but mostly I love cool gadgets and creative ways of implementing them, of course they should match the story line.
Q: Please share with us a fun story that has happened with your company.
A: We have a lot of funny stories! My favorite story is how within an hour you can turn from friends to “enemies”. We once had two couples playing in our Castle room and in the middle of the game they started to fight, so they ended up shouting at each other and didn’t complete the game. So next game just one couple played and we asked them where their friends are. They were jokingly saying that they are not friends anymore.
Although, they did play mostly all our rooms and never came back to us with the couple they argued with. I hope they can work it out!
Q: What advice do you have for players?