ESCAPE ROOMS – The Elevator Shaft at The Basement – California

THE ELEVATOR SHAFT 


The Basement has always been ahead of the competition when it comes to immersion and storytelling in their incredibly fun horror escape games, but they’ve really outdone themselves with their latest game: The Elevator Shaft.


The Elevator Shaft is the new Chapter 2 in the 3 part story of The Basement escape games. It is in the space that the Boiler Room once occupied, but don’t be fooled by that because even though it replaced Boiler Room it is a completely different game. The technology is new and advanced compared to anything I have yet to see in an escape room. It features a hydraulic descending elevator hanging overhead, exciting audio effects, fog, water, and lighting effects. The set design is gorgeous, like something out of a movie. The tension that is created in the room is incredible. I’m fascinated by how the room breathes life into the story without using live actors inside the room.

Up to 6 guests are trapped inside this elevator shaft with only 45 minutes to escape. I personally think 3 players is the perfect number for this game, but everyone knows I always prefer to play alone or with only my hubby since we don’t have an established team with which we regularly play. However, I believe you need at least two people to complete the game due to certain puzzles. In my opinion, communication is much more essential in this particular game than the typical escape room. This is the perfect game for a group of friends, especially if they love the horror genre. I imagine it could be a nightmare for someone that is claustrophobic, though. Afterall it’s a fairly small space since it is the size of an elevator shaft with an elevator falling on you.


Here is the story of The Elevator Shaft taken directly from the press release:

About 3 months ago, cannibalistic serial killer, Edward Tandy hired an engineer named John to help him make some “engineering” changes to an antique service elevator on his property. After working on the elevator shaft for a day or two, it became clear to John that Edward’s use for this machine seemed sinister in nature. He confronted Edward and refused to help any longer. Edward told him that not only would he continue to work on the project, but that he would not be allowed to leave the compound until the project was complete, and if he did so, John’s wife and daughter would be killed. Now the project is done and John is long dead, his life taken inside the death trap he helped to build. You wake up and find yourself in the bottom of the shaft, with a video recorded by John himself. Unbeknownst to Edward, the engineer has hidden a series of steps within the inner workings of the elevator, that if you’re able to figure out, you can blow open the emergency access to the shaft and make a run for it. Can you decipher John’s notes, and find the secret sequence of steps in order to escape? Or will you be crushed by the 10-ton antique steel monster that hangs above?


The Elevator Shaft is one of the most immersive and unique escape rooms I’ve played and I highly recommend it.

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. 

ESCAPE ROOMS – Omescape: Kingdom of Cats – California

YOUTUBE REVIEW

OMESCAPE WEBSITE

When I heard the game was cat themed and we’d be in a kingdom of cats I imagined I’d be chasing mice and solving physical cat type puzzles, however that is not this game. This is a great example of expectations not being met, but it’s not necessarily the creators’ fault. I had expected a completely different experience and was disappointed. You are actually humans in a cat kingdom trying to solve puzzles. The game itself, with no expectations considered, was an average game.

It’s a solid, well designed game for the most part. There are creative puzzles and a blend of ways to think in order to solve them. There were a few that were a bit of a logic leap here or there, but not so drastic that they couldn’t be solved with a little guidance. The game felt a little dated in it’s technology and style. There is a lot of crawling, so not the best for player with knee trouble or claustrophobia. Not my kind of game, but not bad either.

ODDITIES – The Speakeasy Society: The Door – California

SPEAKEASY SOCIETY

CHAPTER 3 – THE DOOR 

You know a show is gonna be great when it sells out in 3 hours and it was amazing. Please note that this review contains spoilers. Expect all three chapters to go into production again this year, so if you’d like to experience the show without any prior knowledge then I recommend you do not continue reading.

KansasCollection_CH3_1.JPG

Full Cast (left to right) Matthew Bamberg- Johnson as Phil Daring, Nora King as Dorothy Gale, John Henningsen as Lyman, John McCormick as Oscar Diggs (The Wizzard), Genevieve Gearhart as Phoebe Daring

My husband and I arrived and were escorted to a porch-like area to meet with Lyman along with another couple. We spoke with him about the themes of each chapter so far. Chapter 1 was about hope, Chapter 2 opportunity and Chapter 3 the future. The five of us discussed the difference between destiny and inevitable consequence. Within a few minutes the wizard entered to escort us into the house.  He inquired as to whether we had brought our keys, as they were very important to what was to come.

Upon entering the house I couldn’t help but feel curious about those who resided there. It was so lived in, unlike what I have come to expect from a theatrical set. As we entered the living room we were introduced to Dorothy. We had our first decision to make. As a group we decided who she was. Then the wizard did a card reading where we each got involved. In an unexpected turn of events Phil and Phoebe/Ozma entered the room through a magical door. They took Dorothy back with them and we were sent on our way.

Overall the show was interesting and unique. The actors were absolutely amazing. It is a wonderfully fun way to be immersed in the retelling of these classic stories. I felt that even though Chapter 3 was the smallest audience per show, somehow it felt the least intimate. I really love what they are doing with The Kansas Collection though.  I can’t wait for Chapter 4.

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.

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!

ESCAPE ROOM – Escape Hotel: Agent – California

Escape Hotel: Agent

We enter a beautiful hotel lobby reminiscent of the Disney California Adventure’s former Tower of Terror. A strange bellhop greets us in a rather robotic manner. Upon approaching the desk we are warmly greeted and asked for our IDs. Several minutes later we are handed a very professional looking passport. To the right of the desk stands a counter that serves sandwiches, salads and drinks. Many comfortable couches are scattered about the lobby and the second level. The wheelchair specific lift to the second floor next to a backdropped photo op look a bit out of place, but it’s forgivable because their purposes are so clearly important. Postmodern Jukebox rings throughout the building adding to a fun but slightly creepy environment. This lobby sets expectations high even if you haven’t watched the incredible marketing videos before arriving.

Unfortunately the Agent Room isn’t quite as spectacular as the lobby, but it is a lot of fun. The decor is good. I honestly expected a bit more from it based on the amazing lobby. There are zip ties holding a few things together that seem a bit more functional than decorator choices. I’m usually not a fan of war themes, but this one was quite fun. I felt transported to a different time, maybe because I would never expect to find swastikas on anything these days. I couldn’t tell you the story primarily because I couldn’t hear the video that explains it over the loud music meant to set the tone. There is very little tech in the room, but what is there worked properly. It is very much your typical well-done escape room. I liked one of the puzzles near the beginning because it felt very MacGyver and I hadn’t seen it before. The room bottlenecks near the end, but up to that point there seemed to be enough to keep all six of us busy. If you are sensitive to violence or historic war visuals, this may not be the room for you. Also be aware this is right smack in Hollywood, so arrive early to find parking and deal with unexpected traffic.

Overall my husband and I had a really good time. We went opening weekend, so the company is still going through some growing pains of a brand new business. I expect amazing things from them in the near future, but until then The Agent is the room I recommend at Escape Hotel.

ESCAPE ROOM – 60out Escape Room: Doctor Psycho – California

60out Escape Room: Doctor Psycho


I’ve played A LOT of psycho killer rooms and honestly I thought I was “over” that theme until I played Doctor Psycho. This new room in Los Angeles is a refreshing change from the typical psycho killer escape rooms. It is innovative and fun. There is a great creep factor and comfortableness about it that I haven’t felt in a while. The decor is good. The puzzles are great. Yeah, there are still typical locks and some standard puzzle logic that I’ve seen before, but they also did some new and creative stuff that I just love! (Honestly I’m almost at my 200 room mark, so chances are the puzzles I have seen before will still be fresh and new to most players.) I especially love the way they integrate the players into the story in such an immersive way. Normally when I play a room that just opened I expect a few glitches and growing pains, but this room didn’t have them. I am looking forward to seeing what these guys come up with next.

 

MIDSUMMER SCREAM – Califonia

As a haunt lover, I am anxiously awaiting Midsummer Scream in July. So when I received the following press release today I couldn’t wait to share it here on my blog. Here goes…

HALL OF SHADOWS TO FEATURE FULL SCARE ZONE, ROAMING MONSTERS AND 9 HAUNTED ATTRACTION PREVIEWS TO MIDSUMMER SCREAM

Thrills and Chills Await Those Brave Enough to Venture into “Dark Zone” on Show Floor at Long Beach Convention Center

LOS ANGELES, June 17, 2016 – One of the most exciting and unique components of Midsummer Scream – California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival – will be its Hall of Shadows dark zone, featuring roaming monsters, entertainment, and 9 terrifying mini haunted attraction experiences.

Hall of Shadows will occupy more than one third of the Halloween festival’s 90,000 square-foot show floor this year, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to preview home and professional haunts each day, included with their admission to Midsummer Scream. In addition to the haunted attractions, those brave enough to venture into Hall of Shadows will experience a full-blown scare zone, Toxicity, high-energy performances by the Decayed Brigade slider team three times each day, and many terrifying monsters lurking in the fog, waiting to pounce!

FULL SCARE ZONE

Created by Larry Bones and his crew at Bone Yard Effects, Toxicity is an immersive experience set within the walls of a genetics lab that has suffered a toxic explosion that will leave guests screaming as they are attacked by twisted, mutated scientists from all sides. Bone Yard Effects creates the makeup applications and prosthetics each year for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

THRILLING SLIDER SHOWS

Three times daily, the Decayed Brigade will perform and entertain guests within the Hall of Shadows as they showcase the art of sliding – a scare tactic that was created some 40 years ago by monsters roaming the streets of Ghost Town at Knott’s Scary Farm. These men and women push their bodies and the laws of gravity to the limit in high-energy demonstrations that leave fans cheering and astounded.

TERRIFYING HAUNTED ATTRACTION PREVIEW EXPERIENCES

Midsummer Scream is excited to present 9 stand-alone mini haunt experiences that allow fans to preview things to come this Halloween season. From home to pro haunts, guests may sample the handiwork of some of Southern California’s hottest haunted attractions throughout the weekend at no extra cost with paid admission to the festival.

Featured at Midsummer Scream 2016 are:

Fear Station: Escape the Windigo – The harvest moon has awoken the Windigo from its slumber, and the creature is hungry for blood. No one is safe from the beast as it hunts its prey in the darkness. Will you escape the season of the Windigo?

Dead Zone 805 – Fight for survival as you enter the zombie-filled post-apocalyptic world where infection and violent gangs threaten you every step of the way!

Savage House – Every family has a secret… Enter the home of the Wytner clan, a family that has lived in the rural countryside, kidnapping tourists passing by for years. Witness the atrocities as they taunt and torture the unsuspecting victims that have ended up in their home.

Perdition Home – Houston, we have a problem! The notion that in outer space, no one can hear you scream simply isn’t true. Venturing into the depths of an ill-fated spacecraft, everyone will hear you cry for mercy when you face the horrors within.

The Fleshyard – Not every home is safe. Madness lingers beyond the threshold of a decrepit old cabin, concealing evil so vile that those who manage to escape will never be the same. The Fleshyard is a bad place. A very, very bad place…

Higgins Manor – You’ve wandered into the most feared place in the Old West: the Higgins & Co. Work Camp. Can you survive the rowdiest, most dangerousest, most horriblest clan of townsfolk this side of Deadwood? Why don’t y’all come take a gander and see fer yerselves?

Spooky Hollows – Follow the trail of a madman through the basin swampland, where he attempted and failed to achieve mortality. Through sick and twisted science experiments, he left a trail of wasted souls in his wake before falling victim to his own worst nightmares.

Scareventures Presents: Sea of Terror – To date, man has explored less than 5% of Earth’s oceans. Perhaps there’s a reason why… Take a terror trip into the depths where undersea creatures lie in wait as you attempt to escape your watery grave. If dead men tell no tales, then where do the stories come from?

Gorlesque: The Haunted Burlesque – Are you “perfect” enough to join the Weltschmerz Society? Come find out and experience a naughty taste of the frights, frills, and frolic that awaits you this Halloween in Los Angeles!

“Hall of Shadows is one aspect of Midsummer Scream that I am most excited about,” said Rick West, Creative Director of Midsummer Scream. “When I think of Halloween, I instantly think of haunted houses; stand-alone attractions as well as home haunts are the very essence of the season. It’s completely thrilling to bring nine very different haunt previews to our guests in an environment that is totally unique to our show. Midsummer Scream’s Hall of Shadows is the closest anyone is going to get to the spirit of Halloween during the summer, and our haunt partners are ready to bring the terror!”

Midsummer Scream features more than 150 vendors and exhibitors, education offerings, make-and-take workshops, world-class panel presentations, live entertainment and incredible experiences throughout the venue, black cat adoptions, and a Saturday night costume party featuring Oingo Boingo Dance Party.

Tickets are now on sale, with new information regarding Midsummer Scream updated frequently at MidsummerScream.org.

Fans may sign up on the site for email notifications and announcements, including discounts and other special offers.  Be sure to follow Midsummer Scream on social media as well – Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, Instagram: @MidsummerScream, and Facebook: facebook.com/midsummerscream.

About Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival

Midsummer Scream is a large-scale summer festival celebrating the spirit of Halloween, haunts and horror, drawing thousands of guests to Southern California for a weekend of thrills and chills. Featuring a massive show floor of vendors and exhibitors, haunted attractions and experiences, live entertainment and world-class panel presentations, Midsummer Scream is the West Coast’s premier Halloween/horror event, offering something for fans of all ages. More information can be found at MidsummerScream.org.

ESCAPE ROOM REVIEWS BY STATE

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