ESCAPE ROOMS – Escape Games at the River – CA

Escape Games at the River

Playing this Baker Street Mystery game was a throwback to the early days of escape rooms. It was the type of first gen game that would’ve impressed up when we started playing escape rooms, however felt a little lackluster now. 

We ran into a few small glitches in the game. There was a problem with one of the puzzles not working as well as it could physically that caused us to waste some time and get annoyed. The final lock was jammed. Honestly my biggest problem was the final puzzle’s logic, it felt misleading. Everything else was fine.
They did have one really clever puzzle I hadn’t seen before, but it didn’t really fit the decor of the room as well as some of the other puzzles. The room looks nice, nothing fancy but certainly clean and well kept. 

If you’re in the area I would say check it out. 

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ODDITIES – Jurassic Planet at the LA County Fair – CA


I’ve never been particularly interested in dinosaurs, but I heard about Jurassic Planet and my curiosity got the best of me. I’m glad it did. 

For only a small $5 up charge to your fair admisssion you can walk among 40 life sized realistic animatronic dinosaurs. It pretty darn cool! I know they aren’t actually real dinosaurs (except for a few live creatures on display such as an emu, alligator and tortoise), but they seem pretty real if you let your imagination run wild. I found myself wanting to pet them and at one point talking in “baby talk” to a few adorable animatronic baby dinos. 

I really enjoyed Jurrasic Planet and wanted to share it here. I also recorded a bit of my experience which you can watch from YouTube below. 

2016 EVENTS ATTENDED DURING HAUNT SEASON

I love going to haunts and Halloween themed events all year, but I go a little crazy during haunt season (late September through early November). Here is a list of the events and haunts I attended in 2016 in no particular order.

SOCAL HAUNTS:

The Tension Experience

Universal Studios HHN

Fright Fest at Magic Mountain

Knott’s Scary Farm (Skeleton Key)

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under

Delusion

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

ROT

Coffin Creek

Scream Kingdom

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Scream Zone

HOME HAUNTS:

Rotten Apple

Backwoods Maze

The Haunt with no name

Boney Island

PENNSYLVANIA HAUNTS:

Terror Behind These Walls

Field of Screams

Shocktoberfest

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

 

MASSACHUSETTS HAUNTS:

Barrett’s Haunted Mansion

Spooky World

Haunted Overload

Chambers of Terror

Hysteria Conner’s Farm

Gallows Hill Theatre (performance)

 

ESCAPE ROOMS- UNLOCKED: Escape Room -California

UNLOCKED: ESCAPE ROOM

 

Unlocked Escape Room is a truly magical experience. It is located in Orange County, California. The story is based around a stage magician, so there are some very unique props and decor in the game. The puzzles are well thought out and the flow is good.

I happen to be partial to the magical theme. I am very impressed with the way the theme integrated the puzzles seamlessly. I am also pleasantly surprised at the amount of magic effects included in the game without giving away too much as far as magicians secrets are concerned. All of the puzzles were logical and challenging enough for both experienced and new players. Some of my favorite puzzles in this game were really simplistic in concept, but still created “aha moments” even for us as experienced players. The game is fairly linear in structure. It’s a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.

There is a minimum of 4 people for gameplay, however they made an exception and allowed my husband and I to play without additional teammates and we were able to escape. We have both played over 200 games, so we had experience on our side.

Overall, this is a wonderfully designed and fun game.

Thank you to Unlocked for hosting us to experience your wonderful escape room game.

Watch the YOUTUBE interview here.

ESCAPE ROOMS – Escape Hotel: Jack Reacher – California

*YouTube Video

ESCAPE HOTEL: JACK REACHER

I want to start off by letting you know that Escape Hotel offered free tickets to the general public on their website to play the Jack Reacher game for beta testing purposes and I that is how I booked tickets for this experience.

I didn’t know anything about Jack Reacher going into this escape room experience (aside from Tom Cruise being in the movie) and I didn’t learn anything about the story from playing the game either. I would recommend at least watching the movie trailer before playing the Escape Hotel’s Jack Reacher room if you want some idea of what the story is meant to be about. There isn’t really any story given to you for gameplay, however I think it’s assumed that the story is there from players’ prior knowledge of it. My team did mention that they didn’t think the room had anything to do with the movies aside from familiar faces in pictures used in some of the props. There is a video at the beginning of gameplay outside of the rooms we were locked in with the mascot of Escape Hotel talking, but I wasn’t really able to hear it because it wasn’t loud enough. That video might have given some of the information I was looking for, but alas I don’t know. There was an attempt at immersion through the use of blindfolds and environment, but it would have been much stronger if the story was made clear.

The room layout was interesting. We started out blindfolded and were placed in three different cells where we worked to escape our small cells into a larger room to work together to solve the final objective. It was unclear to us that the objective was not to escape the room. Since we entered blindfolded, later in the game I accidentally opened the exit door while exploring because I didn’t realize it was the exit door.

Puzzles. There were a few puzzles in the room. I hate to be too critical of puzzles since this was a beta test situation. I always try to be forgiving of small glitches and tech issues when testing a game prior to ticket sales opening up to the public and in this case we only had one, so I won’t elaborate on that. I will say that the room has some tech and I assume it will work wonderfully once the room is officially open for ticket sales. There weren’t very many puzzles for the length of the game. They all seemed fairly simple aside from one major puzzle that stumped our group until we asked for a hint. Once we were looking in the right place, we easily understood the rest of them. Sometimes I am not sure if it is fair to say that puzzles are easy when I am playing with experienced teammates because we’ve been exposed to so many different puzzles.  However this time, along with my husband and a friend, I had two random teammates that had never played an escape game before and they didn’t have any trouble with the puzzles either. Again I want to stress that since we played during beta testing, it is very possible that the puzzles will change or more puzzles may be added to the game.

The rooms decor was not as elaborate as I expected. One of my favorite things about Escape Hotel is the amazing lobby. Unfortunately the beautifully themed lobby is not a reflection of the decor in the games that I have seen at this location including Jack Reacher. It was rather plain and parts of the set dressing was already falling apart. The props looked a little more like handmade craft projects than professionally designed props. It’s disappointing that the game itself isn’t more elaborately decorated since it seems the purpose is to promote the movie and give customers a “Hollywood” experience.

This game is a ticketed game, meaning you buy a ticket and may be playing with random customers that also bought a ticket. Normally I dislike playing with strangers, but our team ended up being a lot of fun. There were five of us, which was more than enough to play the game. There were times where there wasn’t really enough for all of us to do. I will say we had fun playing the game together though.

We escaped in time and then waited for the game master to come congratulate us. She did not, so after an uncomfortable amount of time we exited the room ourselves and made our way back downstairs to retrieve our phones from the lockers behind the check in desk. The receptionist called the game master on her walkie talkie and she came out and apologized for not coming up to get us and explained that there is a blind spot in the room, so she didn’t know we had escaped.

If you haven’t played an Escape Hotel room before, be prepared to arrive 30 minutes early and fill out a waiver and create your passport. Also leave plenty of time for unexpected traffic and parking. There are paid lots nearby and some street parking. This location is also easily accessible by metro.

I can’t stress enough that this experience was a FREE BETA TEST and may or may not reflect the experiences of those that pay to play the Jack Reacher game once they officially start selling tickets to the public. I am curious to hear from others that play the game in the future to see if it has changed. If you play Escape Hotel’s Jack Reacher please leave a comment here on this blog post or on my YOUTUBE video for it.

 

 

 

HAUNT – The Tension Experience ASCENSION – CA – 2016

THE TENSION EXPERIENCE ASCENSION

5 Stars (of 5)

Do you seek Enlightenment? The OOA Institute can help.

For the past seven months I have been part of a fascinating alternate reality game through The Tension Experience. It’s the wonderfully unique creation of Darren Lynn Bousman and Clint Sears. A community formed on the forums at the website. As the story unfolded participants chose sides between the OOA Institute and those against the OOA sided with the BOS. I have remained loyal to the OOA even though others have called it a cult.

You can read more about my early experiences with the OOA HERE as well as the event that wrapped up the first chapter of The Tension Experience called Indoctrination HERE.

As Indoctrination ended, it made way for the beginning of Ascension.

Ascension is a beautifully done event that can’t really be compared to anything else in Los Angeles. It’s a unique blend of interactive haunt, theatre, escape room, and more. It is a stand alone event so you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of the story. You will be immersed the the story whether or not you know anything at all about it going into the event.

However, if you have the time I recommend checking out the forums on The Tension Experience website. It is one of the warmest most welcoming online communities I’ve encountered. I’ve made real life friends through the forum. Actually the entire group with whom I attended Ascension were friends I’ve made on the forum.

This is a good point at which to mention I have never done an extreme haunt. To be honest I was a bit worried about Ascension because it seemed like all of my friends from The Tension Experience community loved extreme haunts and I had never done Alone or Blackout or anything like that. Well I’m pleased to say I didn’t call the safe word (I did think about it once).

Don’t get me wrong, it IS INTENSE. However it is not the type of extreme haunt where you just get beaten and humiliated, so if you watched The Blackout Experiment documentary know that this is different. The Tension Experience is so much more. It’s more psychological and less physical than I expected. It’s much more about creating an individual experience for each participant through storytelling that leaves an impression.

A little advice for your adventure into Ascension:

  • Do your best to attend with an open mind and be ready to be present in the moment.
  • Do not wear your favorite outfit or shoes as they may get dirty.
  • Leave your cell phone, jewelry, valuables at home or in the car. Believe me it felt weird not wearing my wedding ring, but I was so glad I left it at home for the event.
  • Do not be late. You will have a specific arrival time. Think of this as a performance more than a haunt. Give yourself ample time for traffic and finding the parking lot.
  • Use the bathroom before arriving and don’t drink a bunch of liquids. It is at least 2 hours without bathroom breaks.

Glory be!