The Hunt Begins: Hunt A Killer experience takes over 200 acres in Darlington, Maryland – USA

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A 200 acre living crime scene to explore.

Hunt a Killer is a three hour immersive experience where teams of six people will help solve the mystery of the serial killer.

The Hunt A Killer experience is described as part adventure race – to the next location, part escape room – discover and solve crime scene clues and part interactive theatre with actors.

As the event is designed in an open world format – teams are able to choose how their adventure plays out. Go in any direction located within the event’s land boundaries and see what you can discover.

Search for crime scenes, find evidence and discuss wild theories with your teammates. Then complete physical/mental challenges to collect information about the killer before time runs out. Will your team choose the path to success or failure?

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Teams attend a briefing before the Hunt a Killer experience starts at 3pm this Saturday. The FAQ says players may also need to crawl or swim(!) through other challenge sections and that not all teams will finish the experience by the 6pm deadline.

When night falls – the event turns into a party where players can talk about the day’s events over a camp bonfire. Afterwards, players can then pitch their camping tents for the night.

Tickets are $210 USD per single ticket (where a person is matched to a team) and $960 USD per team (each person $160 USD).

There’s a code on the website: KEMPER300 which gives teams a $300 discount at the moment. Since the event contains mature content, the Hunt a Killer website states only players 21 years or older are able to join.

Would you sign up for the Hunt A Killer experience?

Hunt A Killer – Website

The Hunt A Killer team are also planning something for 2017 – mysterious packages in the mail.

 

// Other Escape Room News
Today is the last voting day for the 10 Best Escape Rooms as nominated by USA Today. Experts nominated 20 of their favourite escape rooms in the USA and the Room Escape Artist team covered the story with a great post here.

The final results should be listed on the USA Today website – who will be crowned USA Today’s number one escape room?

Perhaps someone will take up the challenge to do an escape room tour to visit the top 10 US escape rooms after all the votes are tallied.

Essa🙂

 

Demons and earthquakes! The Exorcist Escape Room Experience scurries into Escape Hotel Hollywood this weekend – Fright Month 2016

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Welcome to Fright Month 2016. This year the spooky party starts earlier than normal due to unusual paranormal activity. Over the next month this blog writes about the most spooky and terrifying escape room events along with frightening theme park activities before Halloween arrives.

Real life exorcism. Ready to check in?

Escape Hotel Hollywood have partnered up with the Fox channel to promote their new tv series The Exorcist. Opening this week on Friday participants are invited to find out what a fate worse than death means.

The experience takes participants on a 45 minute journey as they move through six different rooms including a church, a priest’s office and an old attic. The final stage of the experience sees people participate in an exorcism.

Depending on how participants and actors interact with each other during the experience – it will affect how the story plays out and how sound effects are triggered. Technology built into the experience includes demon sound effects and earthquake simulators to shake the room/s.

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The free tickets for The Exorcist Experience were for September 23rd – 25th at Escape Hotel Hollywood but they have since sold out.

Otherwise if you’re willing to pay there are still available tickets for September 29th and 30th at a cost of $60 USD per person. It’s also worth noting that The Hollywood Reporter mentioned in a recent article each experience takes up to twenty people in each session.

Would you check in to Escape Hotel Hollywood for this terrifying experience?

Escape Hotel Hollywood – Website

– Essa 🙂

UNCENSORED: Banned Books Scavenger Hunt in Washington DC – #UncensoredDC

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400 hundred books are in hiding.

To celebrate Banned Books week in September, libraries across Washington DC have planned a scavenger hunt.

Since last Tuesday, books that were once censored or challenged due to their content are being hidden around the city.

If you find a book, you get to keep it.

These hidden books are easily identifiable with a black cover and bold white text which state the reason why the book was banned in the first place.

The best places to find these books are businesses that participate in Made in DC or “… our partners Mess Hall, Zaytinya, Proper Topper, Petworth Citizen, Politics & Prose, as well as various bars and coffee shops throughout the city.” – DC Library

Plus clues for the banned book scavenger hunt can be found on social media using the #UncensoredDC hashtag.

If you find a hidden book and post about it on social media using the hashtag, people can win tickets to UNCENSORED: The Cocktail party, a fundraiser for Washington DC libraries being held on September 30th.

This year’s banned book theme is diversity and here’s the list of six books that can be found as part of this year’s scavenger hunt: Catcher in the Rye, The Color Purple, Slaughterhouse Five, A Separate Peace, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Native Son.

Banned Books week officially takes place from September 26th to October 1st this year.

Links
– Official Website
– Washington DC Library Twitter

 

// Other Escape Room News
– Happy second escape room blog anniversary to the team at Escape Games Review!
– You might have seen that the navigation bar on this site has changed! The escape room directory on this site has been taken down and been replaced. There are now links to other major escape room directories – check it out here.

– Essa🙂

What’s Mr Robot’s Endgame and hacking easter eggs from the tv show #MrRobot

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Cyber security engineer by day, vigilante hacker by night.

Elliot Alderson is the lead character in the tv show Mr Robot, an expert at cyber security and dreams of saving the world. He gets persuaded by a person only known as Mr Robot to join fsociety, a small group of elite hackers who are trying to take down a mega-conglomerate called E Corp/Evil Corp.

Season 2 is currently airing on television and the writers of the show have hidden one or two easter eggs in each episode. See an IP address during an episode? Type it into a web browser and see where it goes. For example, 192.251.68.254 appeared in the first episode leading to a fake website that had been set up and there’s a full breakdown for this easter egg here. Another easter egg was a hand drawn QR code, which could be scanned and led to another website.

After each episode of Mr Robot appears on television, keen fans head over to reddit forums /r/mrRobot and /r/mrRobotARG to discuss the latest easter eggs. This Google document lists most of the easter eggs that have appeared so far in the series.

Where do all the easter eggs lead?
Kor Adana, a writer and producer for Mr Robot mentioned in a recent article:

And there is an [final] endgame. In order to get the prize, which Adana says will be available at the end of season two, viewers will have to solve all of the Easter eggs. Even if someone has cracked 90 percent of the codes hidden within Mr. Robot, there is no way to figure out the final egg without completing all of the others. – Vulture

When Mr Robot’s Season 2 ends on September 14th September 21st now, with episode twelve – expect the release of Endgame. What will it take to find the final easter egg?

The world of Mr Robot doesn’t stop there:
Web Game: There’s a 16 bit web-based game called Endgame already on the whoIsMrRobot website. It tests puzzle solving and moral dilemmas across four different levels. If you win a level, you get a certain number of chess pieces that appear on the side of the webpage. Interesting to note, fans have only been able to get 28 out of 32 chess pieces in the game so far.

My current theory is this game is going to lead fans into the release of the final Endgame (in reference to the Vulture article above!).

Mobile App: Fans can get the app called – Mr.Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa – in the Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store for $2.99 USD and over a few days, players get text messages from in-game characters.

The backstory is you found a smart phone near an arcade place, on Coney Island in New York. That phone belongs to Darlene, a hacker who is going to commit a huge cybercrime and the player slowly becomes part of fsociety, the group who want to bring down E-Corp.

Telltale Games, the creators of the game have a behind-the-scenes video of how the game came together on Youtube.

Novel: The companion novel, eps1.91_redwheelbarr0w.txt is a replica of the journal that Elliot records his thoughts in during Season 2. The book contains removable artifacts – parts of a newspaper, an envelope etc. and is released on November 1st.

What happened when the Season 2 trailer was released?
When Mr Robot’s Season 2 trailer was released, fans saw a phone number scrawled on the side of a cardboard box being labelled as evidence. Calling the number lead to a recorded voicemail and a short online puzzle hunt – here’s the Reddit post which details everything that went down.

In reference to the major hack near the end of Season 1, that happened on 5/09 (9th May) – the first 509 people who got to the end of the puzzle hunt and registered their details received a package from fsociety.

Thoughts
If this was done for the trailer, I’m hoping the release of Endgame at the end of Season 2 is going to be one epic online puzzle hunt.

It’s also been refreshing to see both the recent Gravity Falls ARG and Mr Robot’s current easter egg hunt and just fall down the rabbit hole for a new adventure.

And it shows that people don’t want to only watch entertainment – they want to be pulled into those worlds and play a role within them.

// Other Escape Room News
– The third Great Escape UK unconference will take place in Leeds, England on September 6th from 11am to 7pm. Check out ExExit Games’ post for further details.

Essa🙂

Fighting off zombies in Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88 – Youtube series

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DON’T. GET. BITTEN.

Fight of the Living Dead puts contestants into a zombie reality series, that’s part scripted and unscripted.

Over three days, the contestants are left in an abandoned hospital where they must survive the zombie horde spread out through the building. Contestants need to avoid being “bitten” by actors dressed as zombies and get through challenges that determine the overall winner.

In season one, there were six episodes and the whole series can be watched in an hour.

Now the series is back for season two, with ten new contestants, sixty cameras and two hundred zombies to avoid this time.

The team at Alpine Labs spent several months developing the plot of the series including fake character back stories, news clippings and evidence that the contestants discover as they progress through the hospital.

According to episode one the plot revolves around, CONOPs Industries which started in 1950 with the aim to create the perfect biological soldier. The result was the necrotic bioform – a species similar to a zombie. These bioforms could reanimate, follow commands, behave without emotions and can fall into different types of zombie classification: Type I, Type II and Type III which has a special super gene.

Kevin Abrams, from Alpine Labs also has this to say about escape rooms right now (from Mashable) – “Kids are looking for something that looks tangible,” Abrams said of the popularity of escape rooms. “With this experience, you can see how you can do under pressure, you can work with teams and friends. It reminds people of what they are capable of doing: testing their brain and physical acumen.”

Would you watch Fight of the Living Dead?

Catchup on Season One here
Catchup on Season Two, Episode One here
* The rest of Season Two requires a Youtube Red subscription, episode four released on August 31st.

Plus check out the behind-the-scenes videos of how they made Fight of the Living Dead: Season 2 as well!

// Other Escape Room News
– Check out Room Escape Artist’s recent review of the Chicago Room Escape Conference
– And if you’re heading to PAX in Seattle, Washington – USA this weekend – keep an eye out for The Escape Room Revolution: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Panel on September 3rd.

 

Essa🙂

The last code before finding the Bill Cipher Statue – Polybius – #CipherHunt – Part 2

Catchup: | Prologue | Part 1 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt | Part 2 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt |

For a week, fans were stuck on the last clue of the Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt.

Until Alex Hirsch, tweeted out a clue –

Fans realized the urban legend arcade game referred to Polybius, a game from the 1980s. The arcade game was described as affecting people – causing them to forget things and have nightmares. According to legend, soon after the game’s release it disappeared. Others say the arcade game never existed and the Wikipedia page is … an interesting read.

The clue pointed fans in the direction of the Polybius square which fans had discussed in the Discord chat room before.

A Polybius square takes two numbers at a time and upon a 5×5 square grid, points to a specific letter. The 5×5 grid is filled with letters from the alphabet (A-Z) and an optional keyword.

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Redditor RunningIsFunny assumed the last two letters of the location would be OR, representing the state of Oregon in the US and was able to use reverse decryption to find an answer – REEZABORD, OR. The only location in OR that sounded similar was a place called Reedsport.

Fans utilized Google Maps and discovered a section of Reedsport that lined up perfectly with an earlier map from the Cipher Hunt. Straight away fans headed to the location and discovered what they had been looking for during the past month – the Bill Cipher statue!

Near the Bill Cipher statue, fans discovered a buried treasure chest in the ground and some brave people even shook his hand. The chest contained numerous prizes including a copy of the Gravity Falls Journal 3, a black light, a Mayor of Gravity Falls sash along with fake and real currency. There was also a USB.

Inside the USB there were three items:
– A text file – labeled “Hi” with a link to a twitter account belonging to a person called Bradley. It was later realized this person had stumbled across the Bill Cipher statue before the Cipher Hunt had started then marked some currency left in the treasure chest and added this text file on the USB.
– An audio file from Grunkle Stan encouraging people to shake Bill’s hand and congratulates fans for finding the statue
– Another text file – labeled “MyExWifeStillMissesMe.ButHerAimIsGettinBetter” and inside was this text, RETURNBACKWARDSTOTHEPASTAGAINTHREE

The second text file contained the username and password to access the pilot episode of Gravity Falls.

Username: RETURNBACKWARDS
Password: TOTHEPASTAGAINTHREE
Pilot of Gravity Falls episode here – http://themysteryofgravityfalls.com/pilot/

The statue of Bill Cipher was found but that wasn’t the end of the adventure.

One day after the statue was found, there was a property dispute about the statue’s location. The Bill Cipher statue was then picked up by Reedsport police and put outside their station. It was then hidden in Bicentennial Park, a mile from the original Reedsport location. Along the way the statue’s hat was lost.

Alex Hirsch tweeted out a message then asking for help to drive the Bill Cipher statue to a new location, five hours away.

As of yesterday, the Bill Cipher statue currently resides at Confusion Hill, a tourist trap located in California. There’s a $5 USD entrance fee and the statue will also get a new hat next week.

As fans of Gravity Falls like to say, see you all next summer! (At Confusion Hill).

– Essa🙂

 

What happened this summer when the Gravity Falls fandom found out about #CipherHunt – Part One

Catchup: | Prologue | Part 1 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt | Part 2 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt |

After the finale of Gravity Falls back in February, fans were left with a mystery on their minds – was there indeed a real stone statue of Bill Cipher hiding in a forest?

After months of silence, a single tweet from the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch sparked a massive alternate reality game. From his tweet, fans discovered “#FLSKHUKXQW” shifted back three letters revealed the word #CIPHERHUNT.

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From the image attached to the same tweet, fans decoded:
“The urban legend has come true / Cipher’s statue’s calling you / The secret map is in your hand / To trace the clues across the land”, along with “Don’t forget it’s all for pleasure / The hunt itself’s the real treasure / But a prize awaits the first one there / Be safe, be smart, and of course beware” – GF Wikia

Proving that what fans speculated months ago was real – there was a Bill Cipher statue out there waiting to be found.

Also from the image, fans discovered when the red letters were shifted backwards it spelt out the first location – Russia. The location was confirmed as Kazan Cathedral located in St. Petersburg, Russia as the floor plan can be seen.
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The clue picked up in Russia referred to the yen, which turned the focus to Japan and the next clue was located in Kanda Myojin Shrine, Tokyo.

The clue from Tokyo referred to the hunter of the fountain of youth – Ponce De Leon and a street name containing his name was found in Atlanta, Georgia in the US.

A fan discovered a damaged poster for a missing pig, Waddles – the cartoon pig which appears on Gravity Falls. On the poster was a puzzle and a phone number, when the number was reversed a voice recording could be heard.

Fans listened to Grunkle Stan, who advised them to check a university location at Rhode Island. Behind the picture of Sister Mary Hilda Miley the next clue was suppose to be located but the game ran into problems when the clue was discovered to be missing.

Alex Hirsch stepped in and tweeted to fans to re-call the last phone number, where another recording of Grunkle Stan played. “A man who’s first name is his last, a statue honouring his past …” hinted to fans they should head to Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

When the Griffith Park clue was picked up it mentioned, “50 + 50 that’s the city .. you’ll find a bow tie and one eye ..” which led to Century Park, Los Angeles. When the park is viewed from above, there’s a pyramid shape and two buildings beneath that look like a bow tie – similar to what the character Bill Cipher looks like.

A USB was found inside the park with a voice recording pointing to the next clue – hidden inside the California State Summer School of the Arts, where only students could enter the building’s sublevel to retrieve the next clue.

Scribbled on the wall were two hex codes that were decoded to lead on to the co-ordinates of Piedmont, California. Fans discovered a key tied to a tree stump and a locked container, revealing a PO box (27128) at 1825 N. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles.

Out of the PO box emerged a monster jigsaw puzzle made of 2,000 pieces. Fans on the ground worked on the physical puzzle and upon completion, the Gravity Falls pilot episode would be made available* (*more on this later). There was also a virtual puzzle that online users could contribute to. And this was only day four!

When enough of the puzzle was put together the code on it was translated to the address: Corner of Rodney & Tillamook, Portland in Oregon. At the spot, fans discovered a lawn gnome that led to the tourist trap, Confusion Hill in California.

Inside the Confusion Hill shop, an eyeball jar found on a shelf held the next clue – which showed the next location as Stanley St, Amity in Oregon where a geocache was discovered.

The geocache in turn led to a theme park, Enchanted Forest in Turner, Oregon. A fan discovered a ripped puzzle piece that decoded to: “Return to where it all began / The final clue is in your hand / The parchment can be such a tease / The answer’s written in the trees” – GF Wikia

The finale clue led fans back to the original tweet which started the entire Cipher Hunt. There at the bottom of the image was a drawing of the Bill Cipher statue surrounded by trees.

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How to decode the branches and trees? Fans were stumped for days.

Next: Part 2 – Gravity Falls Cipher Hunt

– Essa🙂