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Setting the stage

If you’ve ever played an escape room, you know that you’ll typically learn about the backstory either from your gamemaster or by watching a video before the game starts. When you play an escape room at The Escape Effect, we also show you some introduction videos, but we do it in a pretty unique way.

If you’ve ever wondered why our escape rooms start in the dark, this article aims to answer your questions.

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If you’re ready to book an escape room at The Escape Effect, call (855) 426-3372 or book online today.

What are introduction videos?

At The Escape Effect, we play two videos at the start of every game: a rules video and a story video. The exception to this is Fright Before Your Eyes, which has an audio-only story introduction instead.

The rules video covers the basic rules for all of our escape rooms: don’t climb on furniture, you can leave the room at any time, and so on.

The story video sets the scene and introduces the escape room scenario for players. You can watch A Knight To Escape‘s introduction video here:

We created these introduction videos in order to ensure that all guests receive a consistent experience. Every player gets the same safety warnings, rules, and story introduction. And, with a little bit of custom tech, we can switch between videos and even trigger the escape room lights when all videos are completed.

So why start in the dark?

Back when we were building our first escape rooms, we noticed a few trends. Other escape rooms either had no videos, played their introduction videos in a common area or in the escape rooms while the lights were on. To me, all of those methods felt a little lacking.

A dressing room in a dark escape room, with only the vanity lights turned on.

For example, escape rooms that didn’t have introduction videos at all just felt like something was missing. And the manual introductions given by game masters sometimes felt un-energetic. When videos were shown in a common area, I found that my immersion was broken after the video completed on the walk to the escape room.

The best experience was when the introduction videos were played inside the escape room, but because the lights were on during the whole video, I found myself looking around the escape room to get a head start. In fact, in one particular escape room, I was able to mentally solve a pigpen cipher on the wall before the introduction video had completed.

Bottom line, watching a video in the dark means that guests get a theater-like experience, which goes with The Escape Effect’s classy art deco style AND it means that players get to focus all their attention on the story being told rather than trying to get a head start on the game.

And that’s what we did!

We wanted a fun, immersive experience for our guests. After seeing how the other escape rooms handled their introductions, the biggest change that we made was starting our games in the dark. In fact, The Escape Effect was the first escape room venue in Orlando to do that.

For safety, we always guide the guests into the room with flashlights and/or we have enough accent lighting to be safe while not giving away the room surroundings. It’s no different than if an usher showed you to your seat in a theater.

Add in the theater magic that automagically turns the lights on when the videos end, and you have a dramatic, immersive experience for everyone who comes to play.


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