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A player presses the host button to request a hint.

Reinventing The Escape Room Hint System

It was broken

At some point, an escape room player may need a hand mid-game.  In many cases, it might be to get a nudge in the right direction or it could be direct help on a specific puzzle.

In 2015 (and even today here in Orlando), 90% of the escape rooms still use a broken hint system.  They’ll require players to wave their hands at the cameras or even yell – both are subpar experiences because:

  • From a player’s perspective, the interaction can feel sloppy, chaotic, and antiquated.
  • From a host’s perspective, it can be easy to miss a player who wants help especially when there is a large team.

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Then there’s the limited number of hints –

Each escape room venue in Orlando seems to do some flavor of the “3 hints and done”.  This concept seems to be a byproduct copied from escape room to escape room because the hint system can be an afterthought for many venues.

Now it’s fixed

We set out to solve the deficiencies identified from the earlier hint systems and when we opened in 2017, we opened with a fresh hint system that provided innovative solutions.

But it is broken. So let’s fix it.

No longer would players need to yell or wave their arms to request help.  We’ve now placed a button in each game.  It’s functional, it’s exact, it’s elegant.  Within seconds, a host is ready to assist by answering a question or giving a nudge in the right direction.

No longer would players be penalized by asking for too many hints.  Instead, we’ve eliminated the limit.  This is a big win especially for the casual player.

An alternate solution

In an effort to be an all-in-one escape room venue for everybody, we looked at how the hint system could be less of a “we are stuck” remedy and more of a first-order component within the games.

The result was the introduction of a cooldown timer on the hint system.  In short, it meant the hint system became less of a “we are stuck” mechanism and more of a meta-game strategic element.

Your choice

We’ve watched thousands of games in our Orlando location and have seen plenty of families and friends breath a sigh of relief when they find out the hints are unlimited.  But we’ve also seen some competitive teams really appreciate the cooldown option too.

Ultimately, it’s your choice.  Whichever option you choose, our hosts will make your experience memorable.


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