Detective without a clue at Escapism
Visit Brisbane's Graeme Wilson tried out his detective skills at Escapism at Strike Wintergarden...and decided to stick with his day job.
I have a confession to make up front … there’s every chance I’m the world’s worst detective. What may be elementary to Sherlock Holmes and tres simple for Hercule Poirot is likely to be as clear as mud to me.
So the challenge of tracking down a serial killer before he makes me his next victim isn’t one that I naturally embrace with open arms. If it’s going to be him or me, I fear the answer will be a resounding “me”.
Fortunately, there’s no real life or death scenarios in The Escapism rooms at Strike Wintergarden, but at times it can feel all too realistic. You and your team are trapped in a room and have 50 minutes to find a way out. Everything around you could be a clue. Together you need to find hidden objects, solve riddles, crack clues and beat the clock to escape the room.
The blind leading the blind
I experienced the new escape room craze during a planned team bonding session with five workmates. With a choice of three rooms, our boss in her wisdom chose the most difficult … Forensic. Clearly we have been wildly successful in fooling her into believing we are way smarter than we actually are.
And knowing the sometimes volatile nature of our work environment, on reflection she may have been better advised to choose a location where we weren’t locked together with the subject of murder forefront in our minds. Leaving us confined for too long could mean the elusive killer is the least of her worries.
Our adventure began with our Escapism host confiscating all our personal items, including mobile phones (what, I can’t even Google whodunit?), blindfolding us and leading us to our mystery room. Linked by hands on shoulders, I couldn’t help but think that it was the blind leading the blind into this experience.
Guilty of bad hygiene
Once in the room, with blindfolds removed, the clock started ticking down our time to solve the case and escape the room. There was some comfort in the knowledge we had a cordless phone provided to call for clues as needed, and also the promise that if we couldn’t solve the puzzle, then legally we had to be let out … eventually.
Without giving too much away, the Forensic room challenge has you working as investigators on the trail of a serial killer. You are close to identifying them and they know it. But can you catch them before they get to you? Among the items in the room are various charts and posters on the walls, a cabinet, briefcase and drawer requiring combinations to gain entry, a mirror and a small torch.
Can you decipher the cryptic clues to discover the combinations, reveal some answers, and move step by step towards identifying the killer? The chart of suspects on the wall identifies all as having some role in restaurant work, and at first glance they all appear to be at least guilty of questionable hygiene.
While my infinitely smarter colleagues combined their talents to systematically work through the clues to literally unlock the mystery, I found myself obsessed with trying to work out the relevance of the haphazard placement of certain items on a desk. This kept me occupied for a good 20 minutes, but it turns out they were just haphazardly placed items on a desk … nothing deeper than that. I told you I wasn’t very good at this sort of thing.
Laughing in the face of danger
In summary, we didn’t solve the mystery, but I’m pleased to report we certainly weren’t the first, and surely won’t be the last, to have tried/failed. But through a combination of clues from the calming voice on the other end of the phone, and the genuinely clever investigative work by my colleagues, we got very close to fingering the dirty rat responsible for these heinous crimes.
And we had a lot of laughs (admittedly some of the slightly unhinged hysterical type) and learned a little more about each other’s ability to think clearly under pressure. Probably now explains why my boss always sends me out to fetch coffee and doughnuts any time a crisis arises at work.
If you love a good mystery, enjoy an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and believe you’re at least as smart as a few of your friends/workmates, then this is the game for you. Full details are available at the Strike Wintergarden website.