Sunday, 15 October 2017

AR Escapes - Hold off on buying tickets for The Ripper live action escape event

<<<<<<  UPDATE  >>>>>>>
On 27 October 2017, they have announced (by email to ticket holders) that they are cancelling the events across Australia and all ticket holders will receive their money back by Monday 30 October 2017.  

How any company can think it's appropriate to ignore customers for months on end is amazing to me, let alone for a company running an event that lives and dies by their level of customer interaction and satisfaction!

They also refer in their email to running the events in the future for free and inviting ticket holders to attend.  Don't hold your breath...

Hi all

Just a quick update to my earlier post on the AR Escapes live action event (you can see my earlier post here).

Things aren't looking good for the event.  Many customers (including me) who purchased tickets back in July still haven't received our tickets.  Many of us have written to AR Escapes via email and Facebook and we have received no response at all.

If I hear anything from them, I'll post an update here.  However, I wouldn't recommend buying any tickets at this stage.

A similar thing happened last year with a Werewolf escape live action experience that was supposed to be run in Sydney, but which never got off the ground.  I did manage to get my money back last time though...


Matt's home made escape room - Review

Hi all

Around Christmas time in 2015, I designed my own escape room for my wife and friends.  I spent months coming up with puzzles and the room flow, which was really challenging (and gave me a better idea of the amount of work that goes into designing rooms).  It also gave me an even greater respect for those room owners who design their own rooms from scratch!

The day of my escape was a bit of a shemozzle – I used my half-built house for the escape and half way through the escape, a bunch of painters walked in and asked us to leave.  You can read the summary of my experience here.

Skip forward to July 2017 and my friend Matt, a member of my usual escape room team, put the final touches on an escape room that he had spent 18 months designing for us.  Matt’s escape was a music-themed room.  It was full of a heap of puzzles, all bespoke to our particular team. 

This particular escape room was our 45th escape room in Sydney, and our 58th escape room in Australia. 

It was uber special in that it was a one night only escape room, built and designed just for us.

I’m not going to review this room in the traditional way – to do so would serve little point given that you all can’t check it out yourselves (sorry about that).  What I am going to do though is provide a bit of a summary of the room, discuss some of the puzzles and show you some photos of the big day.  I’m doing this in the hope that some of you might become enthusiastic about creating your own escape room for friends/family.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun!

So we arrived at Matt’s house.  We parked our eldest daughter in front of Netflix and put the youngest down for a sleep.  We were set. 

We then walked up to the venue for the escape room, being Matt’s lounge room.  There, on the couch, sat the famous Max von Riff.  As you are all no doubt aware (assuming that you haven’t been sitting under a rock for the last 2 decades), Max is an uber famous rock star.  Needless to say, we were a little star struck upon getting to meet him and seeing that hair and those tat sleeves in real life...

Max reminded us that the reason for us being there that day was to audition to work with him on future music projects.  To test our skills, he had cunningly set up a number of challenges for us to work through.  So we got to work….

One of the props that Max, er Matt, had made for the escape room was a Max von Riff calendar, showing Max with the many famous artists that he has worked with over the years.  I have included a couple of photos below (without permission from the artist/photographer). 

As you can see, Max von Riff has changed his look over the years.  The more recent photo of him with Taylor Swift is my fave.  After about 10 minutes of examining (ie laughing) at the photos, we started on the puzzles…

There was a really cool mix of puzzles.  One involved about a dozen drum sticks that had been cut down to different lengths.  Matt had drilled holes of varying depths into a wooden block and we had to put the numbered drum sticks in order of tallest to shortest and then use the numbers in that order to solve the puzzle.  That puzzle clearly took a heap of work to put together.

Another cool puzzle was a guitar that Matt had removed the back from and had then placed a ping pong ball inside which contained a hidden note.  The challenge was to navigate the ping pong ball through a straw minefield… 

One of my favourite puzzles was sitting down with Max and watching the famous film clip for the Foo Fighters’ Learn to Fly (which apparently Max was heavily involved in).  We soon realised that the puzzle was to pick how many characters were played by each of the band members.  Here’s a still of the film clip for those of you who aren’t cool enough to know this gem of a film clip…

One other cool puzzle was the use of a TSA key card lock, which I had never seen before.  It’s effectively a lock that is opened by placing a small card (about the size of a credit card) into the lock.  The card has a special set of holes cut into it, which releases the lock mechanism.  We managed to find Max’s wallet in the couch and after examining its contents, we found a card that had the correct tiny hole pattern to open up the lock.  This was a really cool lock mechanism and one that I have not seen before or since in any escape rooms in Australia.  See below a photo of the lock and Star Casino card we used on the day to open the lock.  (As a nice touch and hint, we received a sultry text message on Max’s phone during the escape from an admirer of his asking us to meet her at Star City after his next gig – this pointed us to the Star City card).  You can see more about this kind of lock here and in the photo below:

Matt is an electrical engineer, so we also had a cool puzzle that used some tech.  We had to work out the answer to a puzzle that utilised information through the Max von Riff calendar.  We then used cables on the outside of a box that Matt had created which opened when the correct circuit had been connected.  Here’s a photo:

Another really cool puzzle that Max had designed for us was to check out our audio mixing skills.  We opened up his computer to find a heap of different drum tracks, bass tracks, lead guitar tracks and vocal tracks.  Among the many tracks (maybe 2 dozen or more), there was one particular drum, guitar, bass and vocal track that all went together as a song.  That was a challenging but fun puzzle. 

There were a heap of puzzles for us to get through.  I think it took us over 2.5 hours to work our way through them all, but it was a heap of fun.

Kudos to Matt on putting together an awesome escape room.  The highlight for me was easily the Max von Riff calendar.  The was made even funnier by the fact that when Matt had the calendar printed at Big W, Big W lost the first printing and then had to reprint it. 

So I like to imagine the first printing sits on a wall in a Big W staff room somewhere…

Where:                   Matt’s house

2.5 hours plus


We played at the kind invitation of Matt

Overall Rating:
      Awesome, fun and challenging room with a cracker calendar…