Hello fellow adventurers! Welcome back to the Arcadian: the premier blog about all hings for Calgary escape rooms. If you like escape rooms, board games, video games, or other nerdy hobbies, I’m willing to bet you’ve played or heard of Dungeons & Dragons! Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Call of Cthulhu are all popular tabletop roleplaying games that both give inspiration to and draw inspiration from locked rooms. These tabletop roleplaying games often integrate puzzles, riddles, and dungeons into different encounters that players experience. Reminisce on your favorite Calgary escape room experiences and step up your Game Master game!

Escape Rooms are Dungeons!

Having difficulty imagining what kind of dungeon crawl your players are going to have next? Think of your favorite adventure rooms, and recreate them right within your campaign setting! This is especially effective if the escape rooms you have done are multiple rooms. But, even single-room escape rooms can serve as inspiration for part of the dungeon, or stretch out your favourite escape room into multiple rooms and chambers in your game. Keep the theme the same, or change it to suit your unique world’s needs!

escape rooms Calgary - D&D Puzzles and Dungeons Inspired by Escape Rooms - Dungeon Example

Linear vs Nonlinear Styles

Escape rooms can have lots of different formats and ways that puzzles are coordinated. The main two locked room experiences tend to be linear – when you MUST solve one puzzle before going onto the next – and nonlinear – when there are multiple puzzles you can solve at once. If your characters are diving into a super secure lab or wizard’s tower, linear is a great way to emulate security measures or rooms that are one right after another. If your characters are perusing a mad alchemist’s messy workshop, or are exploring an abandoned mine, nonlinear would provide the experience of group investigation that everyone can play a part in. Changing it up between linear and nonlinear are excellent ways to diversify your Game Master expertise!

 

Borrowing Puzzles

You might not be able to remember word for word the trapped room puzzles and riddles you faced and struggled with – and if you can, good for you! – but even thinking about the different kinds of puzzles can be helpful in designing your own. Integrating rune-based deciphering puzzles into your Dwarven stronghold dungeon crawl, codebreaking into your sci-fi ship takeover, or artsy pattern puzzles into your Elvish castle heist are all great starts. Diversifying your puzzles is important to give a full-rounded experience. Make sure you don’t rely on just one or two puzzles – escape rooms never have just one or two puzzles!

escape rooms Calgary - D&D Puzzles and Dungeons Inspired by Escape Rooms - Puzzle Example

Copy That Aha! Moment

Picture this: You and your friends are playing in a tough trapped room, and after a long effort with tons of tries and creative ideas, you finally figure out the puzzle. Aha! You input the answer into your lock, crack it open, and feel that fantastic wave of joy and relief. When you translate an escape room into a dungeon, don’t just hand your players the puzzles. Descriptions are still very important! Give your players a sense of the dungeon with detailed,
sense-based descriptions, describe how the puzzles are embedded into your dungeon, and be sure that when they solve something, reward them with that glorious Aha! moment when they crack that puzzle. Or, ask your players to describe how their character goes about solving this
puzzle in their own special way to make them create that Aha! moment.

Whether you are new to tabletop roleplaying games like D&D, or an experienced veteran, there is always room to improve your dungeon-crawl and puzzle game. Even looking through puzzle room websites to see what kinds of themes there are and reading their descriptions could be a great opportunity to inspire your next session. Next time you feel the need to endlessly peruse Google for inspiration and resources for your next dungeon crawl or puzzle, instead, direct your creative mind back in time to your favorite escape room experiences! Better yet… Why not really inspire yourself by going to one of Calgary’s many
fantastic escape rooms? It’s for research purposes, right?…

Arcadia Adventures Escape Room is Calgary’s premier escape room experience. Our real-life Calgary escape room is an excellent way to have fun, solve puzzles, and improve your team-building skills. Our rooms can host parties, small groups, families, couples, and is great as a team-building activity for Calgary businesses. Book your spot at our one of our Calgary escape rooms online or by contacting us on 587-356-0440.

Hello fellow adventurers! Welcome back to the Arcadian: the premier blog about all things for Calgary escape rooms! Today we are focusing on one of the KEY components of adventure rooms. Without them, puzzles wouldn’t be the same and the experience wouldn’t be much of a challenge… An escape room just isn’t an escape room without locks! There are a few different locks that are the most prevalent in locked rooms, but not all of them are your boring everyday key locks. In this article, you’ll get to know four special types of locks and how you can unlock your full escape room potential.

escape rooms Calgary - locks the key to challenging escape rooms

Combination Locks

Combination locks might seem common enough, but they go beyond your typical locker-room dial. Combination locks always have some kind of spinning component that requires you to line up the pieces in the correct order. These locks are the most versatile, and can be customized by your escape room designers to show all sorts of symbols and messages! Numbers, letters, drawn symbols, dots – it’s all on the table for combination locks, and up to you to figure out the right combo. The biggest piece of advice for solving this sort of lock is to look for a puzzle that contains the same number of components as there are pieces on the lock. For example, if you have a 5 letter lock, scour the room for a puzzle that contains 5 riddles or 5 words. Remember to give the lock a good tug when you think you have the winning answer, and rock the rest of the trapped room!

escape rooms Calgary - locks the key to challenging escape rooms - directional lock

Directional Locks

Directional locks are another common lock, guaranteed to be found in nearly every Calgary escape room. These locks often give players the most trouble, as they can be finicky at best and easily jammed at worst. These types of locks move in the four cardinal directions and can have up to a whopping 20 different moves in the final combination! The most common combination lock headscratchers are usually solved with maps, mazes, travel directions, and lines. Given how frustrating directional locks can be, it’s key to make sure your lock operator is keeping a calm and focused head (and hands) to make sure the lock is properly reset and the central button is slid all the way over each time. And – as any locked room gamerunner will tell you – remember to double click to reset!

escape rooms Calgary - locks the key to challenging escape rooms - magnet lock

Magnetic locks

Magnetic locks are like the cooler older brother to common key locks – all they require, like a key in the lock, is a magnet to be placed on another magnet or piece of metal. Usually it’s not just that simple though – both magnetic sides of the puzzles might be embedded into any object, furniture, or part of the wall, sometimes making these puzzles closer to scavenger hunts. Magnetic locks can’t always be instantly identified like other kinds of locks, so don’t be surprised if a puzzle asks you to touch two objects together or place something against a particular spot in the wall – that’s a hallmark of a magnet lock! These types of locks can be finicky as well, so be sure to be patient in adjusting your placement of magnetic objects to make sure things click the right way.

escape rooms Calgary - locks the key to challenging escape rooms - punch lock

Punchlocks

Finally, this type of lock can be pretty rare in some Calgary escape rooms, but is a lock that can quickly become a favorite if you’re the type of person who hates having to put info into locks in a precise order. With punchlocks, pressing down the buttons in any order is fine! Punchlocks can have between 6-10 different buttons on the face of the lock, and once the correct ones are pressed down, you flip a switch on the bottom and presto! These types of locks lend themselves naturally to interesting visual and grid based puzzles, so get your creative thinking teammate on the punchlock tasks looking for a connection.

 

Are you a lock aficionado yet? The way you and your team tackle locks can make or break your escape room experience, as your progression of the adventure room can really depend on you cracking locks. Don’t be afraid to call for your trapped room gamemaster if you suspect a lock might be jammed – it can happen to anyone in any escape room! Now, it’s time for you to find an awesome escape room in Calgary to show off your new tips and tricks for even the trickiest and jammiest of locks. Best of luck!

Arcadia Adventures Escape Room is Calgary’s premier escape room experience. Our real-life Calgary escape room is an excellent way to have fun, solve puzzles, and improve your team-building skills. Our rooms can host parties, small groups, families, couples, and is great as a team-building activity for Calgary businesses. Book your spot at our one of our Calgary escape rooms online or by contacting us on 587-356-0440.

Hello fellow adventurers! Welcome back to the Arcadian: the premier blog about all things for Calgary escape rooms! Today, we’re diving into three different types of puzzles you’ll likely encounter in escape rooms, and helpful tips on how to tackle them with style.

Logic Puzzles

Logic puzzles are all about untangling confusing clues to figure out what order the answers are supposed to be in. There’s not a lot of room for guesswork here if you want to complete your escape room quickly – logic puzzles hinge on having each component in an exact order or placement. But, these puzzles don’t have to be daunting! The key to solving a logic puzzle lies in the “keystone” clues within the set of information you are given – that is, the clues that stand alone. A classic example of a keystone in a logic puzzle may be to say that a certain object, say a flag, goes into the second position. Another clue may then say that another object goes to the right of the flag. Thanks to the keystone clue about the flag, we are now able to work from there to solve the rest! Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the information – seek out those nifty keystone clues first!

escape rooms Calgary - Three Common Escape Room Puzzles You Need to Know!

Pattern Puzzles

If logic puzzles are a bit too left-brain for your liking, you might enjoy seeking out the pattern puzzles in your adventure room! These puzzles sometimes require an open mind and keen eye to seek out potential patterns, as these puzzles can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Numbers, letters, colors, shapes, or even positions on the wall or shelves – nothing is off limits! Repetition can be a key component to figuring out pattern puzzles, as well as simply noticing the opposite – what doesn’t repeat, or what sticks out like a sore thumb in the group of clues?

Don’t just look for the patterns; understand what they’re trying to tell you. Is it a combination for a number lock or a secret sequence for a punch lock? Maybe it’s a visual guide leading you on a wild goose chase with a directional lock. Thinking spatially and pictorially can be your secret weapon against patterns in escape rooms!

Codebreaker Puzzles

Codebreaking puzzles can look like a time-sinking nightmare in an escape room. Finding a seemingly nonsensical message or series of symbols can sometimes be more daunting than inspiring. But, the first step to tackling these headscratchers is to solve a code breaking puzzle is to find the key or legend. Look for matching symbols or letters around the room, or for a grid showing correlations between two different components.

Next, figure out what you’re aiming for with your solution. Does it look like the code’s answer will provide you with a series of numbers? A word or a sentence? Is it more symbols that you will need to use elsewhere in a puzzle? Figuring out where you’re going to before you start traveling is important, and to be efficient in an escape room is no different!

escape rooms Calgary - Three Common Escape Room Puzzles You Need to Know!

Once the key has been located, figuring out the most commonly used symbols can be a strong start, especially if the codebreaking is around words. Focusing on solving letters like e, a, s, or t can speed up your escape room time. If the code breaking is around solving for numbers or symbols, tackle them in order!

Locked rooms can offer an endless array of challenging puzzles beyond these three puzzle types, and you can even apply these tips and tricks here to a lot of other puzzle types! Embrace every puzzle in an adventure room with an open mind and creative thinking. The most important thing to remember when solving an escape room, however, is making sure to communicate and work together as a team – that’s how real puzzle solving happens. The next step is to find an awesome Calgary escape room to put your new skills to the test! Happy puzzle solving!

Arcadia Adventures Escape Room is Calgary’s premier escape room experience. Our real-life Calgary escape room is an excellent way to have fun, solve puzzles, and improve your team-building skills. Our rooms can host parties, small groups, families, couples, and is great as a team-building activity for Calgary businesses. Book your spot at our one of our Calgary escape rooms online or by contacting us on 587-356-0440.

Hello fellow adventurers! Welcome back to the Arcadian: the premier blog about all things for Calgary escape rooms! Today, let’s talk about lighting and how they impact someone playing a puzzle room!

Have you wondered why video games of today look so much better than those of the early 2000s? In fact, many games with basic modelling, textures and even animations age exceptionally well due to the effective usage of lighting.

Lighting and Game Design

In the early days of game design, lighting was flat, as if everything took place in a well lit office building. As game engines improved, alongside the hardware that ran them, so did the lighting that was available to a developer. Light was baked into scenes to add realism. Volumetric lighting allowed light to bounce of surfaces and let environments look even better. Ray tracing allowed for rays of light to be simulated individually, resulting in incredible life like scenes afforded by modern day engines such as Unreal Engine 5.

Dynamic Lighting from Unreal Engine 5 Tech Demo

In the same manner of video games, the lighting in real life as plays a huge role in setting the mood of a location. Be it the sterile clean environment of a hospital. The cozy, warm atmosphere of a restaurant. Or the boldness of nightclub settings. The correct lighting can set the stage for an environment more-so than the design of the environment itself.

Puzzle Rooms and Lighting

All this can be be applied when it comes to the design of an escape room. While puzzle gameplay and set design is important, the correct lighting will do wonders in elevating a player’s immersion and wonderment while they are inside a locked room.

Take for example the setting of zombie research lab. Typical design will blackout the room completely; relying just on flashlights and the players imagination to set the mood. But with the addition of a few choice lighting details, immersion can be greatly increased. A locked booth with a dirty window in the corner will invoke curiosity but little else, until opening the door becomes the next objective. But if a flickering bulb is placed inside, all of a sudden the player feels anxiety, noticing it in the corner of their eye and wondering if a shadow will appear at some point. The addition of light source has aided in the thematic design and immersion of room.

escape rooms Calgary - lighting
Lighting the entrance to a Zombie Facility

In another example, a dungeon themed escape room can be difficult to light, especially if it is not designed to be scary. While copious amounts of candles can do the trick, having a ‘full moon’ shine through a window high up gives the room a fairy tale enchantment and puts the player at ease that this is not intended to be a ‘scary dungeon’ but a ‘magical dungeon’. It would be difficult to achieve the same thing if the room was pitch black.

Immersing Players in your Locked Room

If lighting was ignored but everything else about the design was kept the same it’s clear that we would not achieve nearly the same level of immersion. Good lighting sets the stage and implies mood. It doesn’t draw attention to itself but instead does it’s job without the player even noticing its effect. All you need to do is provide the foundation and the player’s mind will fill in the rest for you. When we design our escape room in Calgary, we incorporate a lighting pass to ensure the mood is correctly set for the player.

Puzzle rooms are a unique media format, in that one is not watching afar as in a movie, or partaking in a set sequence like a theme park ride. Instead players place themselves in the location and move though the escape room at their own pace. To achieve similar results in immersion, one must effectively use lighting to invoke the correct emotion to match the theme of the room. When designing your next adventure room, be sure to spend sometime understanding the subtleties of light and you will be surprised at how much it can elevate a room.

Arcadia Adventures Escape Room is Calgary’s premier escape room experience. Our real-life Calgary escape room is an excellent way to have fun, solve puzzles, and improve your team-building skills. Our rooms can host parties, small groups, families, couples, and is great as a team-building activity for Calgary businesses. Book your spot at our one of our Calgary escape rooms online or by contacting us on 587-356-0440.

Hello fellow adventurers, welcome back to the Arcadian: the premier blog for all things escape rooms! Today, we explore how locking groups of people into tiny rooms became so popular. Nowadays, real-life escape rooms are embedded in popular culture, even spawning a movie in the process. But where did it all start? Why do people love escape rooms so much and how did it take root in Calgary? Let’s take a trip through history and find out how we got here.

Precursors to Escape Rooms

In the early days of computer gaming, the preeminent genre was the point-and-click adventure. These games featured players progressing though a game via finding items, solving puzzles and discovering new locations. The most famous example of this type of game is Myst (1993), which featured a protagonist exploring a strange island with mysterious teleporting books and abstract puzzles. The game is unique in that it features no enemies, no combat and the only goal is to solve the mystery; a trait that would become a hallmark of the genre.

History of Escape Room in Calgary - Screenshot from Myst (1993)
Screenshot from Myst (1993)

Myst is considered the forefather of the modern day escape rooms. While it does not strictly take place in a single room, many of the concepts, gameplay and ideas found later can be traced back to this game. Myst cannot claim to be the earliest iteration of the puzzle computer game, but it is certainly the most successful and is still considered one of the best selling games of all time.

The Flash Games Revolution

The advent of Adobe Flash allowed indie developers to produce their own games without requiring the resources of an entire studio. With websites such as Newgrounds.com aggregating and distributing this content, anyone who had Flash on their computer could simply navigate to the desired page and play for free; without the need of additional installation or effort. This ease of accessibility opened the floodgates for animators, music videos, and game developers to flex their creative muscles and led to the first iteration of the escape rooms games we see today.

The term ‘escape the room’ came into prevalence with the Flash game ‘Mystery of Time and Space’ by Jan Albartus. Similar to Myst, MOTAS (2001) featured a protagonist exploring a strange otherworldly place and progressing by finding items and solving the logical puzzles that lead to the next location. Unlike Myst, which had an entire island open for exploration at the start, MOTAS had levels, each featuring a room/discrete location that had to be solved in its entirety before moving on to the next. While this allowed the developer to update the game by adding levels without the need to touch existing ones, the need to solve each level/room independently would coin the idea of ‘escaping the room’ and would become the central feature of the games that would follow.

Screenshot from 'Mystery of Time and Space' (2001)
Screenshot from ‘Mystery of Time and Space’ (2001)

Other Notable Puzzle Room Games

This concept was most distinctively showcased in ‘The Crimson Room’ (2004) by Toshimitsu Takagi. ‘The Crimson Room’ took the concept to it’s furthest extreme, with the entire game taking place in a single blood red room with sparse furniture and an ominous door that needed to be unlocked. Unlike the static environments of MOTAS, the game is unique in that the player character stands in the middle of the room and the first person viewpoint is changed, similar to how a person would actually turn their head in an escape room. Combined with it’s unsettling atmosphere and intuitive controls, ‘The Crimson Room’ is the closest Flash game of this period that parallels the experience of modern day real-life escape rooms.

Screenshot from 'The Crimson Room' (2004)
Screenshot from ‘The Crimson Room’ (2004)

Another example from this time is Mateusz Skutnik’s ‘Submachine’ (2005). This game had the player explore an expansive ‘Submachine’, a strange otherworldly structure with retrofuturistic technology. ‘Submachine’ is unique in the flash ‘escape the room’ era in that the game also told a story; with characters and lore that would develop throughout the ten entries of the series. In that respect, Submachine is similar to the storytelling of Myst and it’s sequels. Of the examples listed here, Submachine is still being worked on today by its creator and a remastered version is planned soon for release on Steam.

Screenshot from 'Submachine 5: The Root' (2008)
Screenshot from ‘Submachine 5: The Root’ (2008)

From Digital to Reality

With the popularity of its online brethren, it was only a matter of time before the jump was made to reality. One where a player could immerse themselves physically and solve puzzles with friends in a multitude of themHed rooms.

The first real-life escape room in the world is a debated topic. ‘Real Escape Game’ claims to be the first iteration of the industry, hosting escape rooms that took place in locations across Japan. Hungary’s Parapark claims to be the first escape room worldwide and still operates in their original location today. ‘Real Escape Game’ would come to America in 2011. ‘Puzzle Break’, the first American owned escape room, would open in Seattle a year later. From there, the industry exploded to the phenomenon it is today, with an estimated 50,000 escape rooms operating worldwide.

Escape Rooms in Calgary

If you play an escape room in Calgary you have probably heard them referred to by another name: “Locked Rooms”. This is because the first escape room that opened in Calgary was called “The Locked Room” and their brand has become synonymous with escape rooms in Calgary

From 2014-2015, six companies would be a part of the first wave of escape rooms that opened in Calgary:

After this group, a second wave of escape rooms would open in Calgary. Including ourselves, five businesses would open in 2016 alone:

Not long after, a third wave would occur with the following businesses opening from 2017-2018:

The Future of Escape Rooms

Since then, there has been a hiatus of new rooms opening in the city. You may also notice that while many of the businesses on this list are no longer operating. Sadly the Covid-19 pandemic would see many of these locations close as lockdowns would keep escape room businesses closed for total of nine months in the span of two years. As the industry returns to its feet, it is hopeful that the escape room scene continues to grow in Calgary, with businesses continuing to the push the limit of experience, puzzles and design just as their counterparts did in the past.

Arcadia Adventures Escape Room is Calgary’s premier escape room experience. Our real-life Calgary escape rooms are an excellent way to have fun, solve puzzles, and improve your team-building skills. Our rooms can host parties, small groups, families, couples, and is great as a team-building activity for Calgary businesses. Book your spot at our escape room in Calgary online or by contacting us on 587-356-0440.

Escape rooms are great for team building activities, but why is that? Is it because of the creative problem-solving they require? Or perhaps, it is because they offer many concurrent challenges that require a multitude of approaches to crack? Maybe it is because they naturally bring out the leadership qualities of individuals?

Truthfully, escape rooms are great for team-building exercises for all of those reasons, and even more that haven’t been mentioned. If you are looking for a great way to build camaraderie and friendship amongst your coworkers or employees, consider the following reasons that escape rooms should be your choice. 

Escape Rooms Breed Creativity

Truly, this is one of those benefits that is hard to quantify, but it is absolutely the truth. Some escape rooms have such complicated puzzle solutions that it forces people to think outside of the box, and it is there that they learn this valuable skill. That is to say, the valuable skill of creative problem-solving. 

children play in the chess quest room

In other circumstances, escape rooms offer sheer people power, and a naturally creative person is able to harness this power to push people out of their comfort zones and expand their own leadership abilities. 

Creativity is great for team-building exercises because it involves brainstorming and everyone’s opinion has equal merit.

Escape Rooms Bring People Together

Working with the same people every day does breed a sense of community, but sometimes it can just be a sense that they are working towards a common goal. Engaging them in activities that are not related to their work helps them get to know each other as individuals, not as the head of a department or the one really helpful person at the office. 

Escape rooms as team building activities give people the opportunity to see how others problem solve and think. This can be invaluable as a learning opportunity for their fellow employees, and they will be closer and more comfortable around each other as a result. 

In closing, creative problem solving and comfortability are both afforded when choosing an escape room for your team building activities. Bring your team together, have a good time, and try and learn something new about everyone and it will ultimately be a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. 

Arcadia Adventures Escape Room is Calgary’s premier escape room experience. Our real-life Calgary escape rooms are an excellent way to have fun, solve puzzles, and improve your team-building skills. Our rooms can host parties, small groups, families, couples, and is great as a team-building activity for Calgary businesses. Book your spot at our one of our Calgary escape rooms by contacting us on 587-356-0440.