Tag Archives: Australia

Australia Escape Room Week – 11th to 17th Sep 2017

Play an escape room in Australia this week for a good cause.

The owners (Jesse & Chris) of Riddle Room in Canberra have organised Australia’s first Escape Week! 20% of all profits during the week will be donated to The Black Dog Institute.

The goal is to raise $30,000 AUD for the charity.

Jesse and Chris said, “We chose Black Dog Institute because we wanted to support a charity that has an impact on our biggest demographic of customers [who are] 20 to 40 years old.”

“Mental illness affects 1 in 5 Australians and Black Dog is doing great work to understand, prevent and treat mental illness around the country.”

Find a list of participating escape rooms across Australia at: www.escapeweek.com.au

Or donate to their online campaign via EveryDayHero:

Essa 🙂

Welcome to Nerve – a movie about a geo-location game, the Gravity Falls ARG and other escape room news

“Welcome to Nerve – a game like Truth or Dare, minus the Truth. Watchers pay to watch. Players play to win cash and glory. Are you a player or a watcher? Are you a watcher or a player?”

Nerve is a new movie about a fictional mobile game where people who are “watching” the game can issue dares. All the dares have a monetary bounty and a time limit to complete the dare by. Starring Emma Roberts as Vee and Dave Franco as Ian, the characters accept dares and then live stream the results to prove they did them.

The dares start off easy – kiss a stranger for five seconds, try on a dress in a shop – but over time the dares that Vee and Ian are given become more dangerous. Vee tries to call the police as she realises the game has become dangerous and her identity gets stolen by the “watchers”.

“This is a game. The only way out is to win.”

There’s already something similar to Nerve called YouDareTo, where strangers post tasks and put a monetary value on it. After someone accepts the task, they need to record themselves and post a video of it online.

The Gravity Falls fandom is in the middle of an alternate reality game (ARG) with clues found in Russia, Japan and across the US. The whole adventure is to find a stone statue of Bill Cipher located somewhere in the US.

There’s been no progress on the final clue, which is the lower half of this image with the trees and the statute. Also Alex Hirsch, the creator of Gravity Falls may release a clue on his Twitter account on Monday. Join the Gravity Falls ARG discussion on Discord here and I’ll be writing a blog post about the entire ARG hunt once the statue is found. #cipherhunt

Lock Me If You Can mentioned on their blog there’s a current Australian puzzle hunt to promote the new Netflix series, Stranger Things which runs until August 4th with prizes involved!

The Room Escape Diva’s latest podcast takes them to the upcoming Transworld’s Room Escape Conference in Chicago from August 12th-14th and to chat with the organisers behind it.

– Essa 🙂

Gotta catch ’em all! Nintendo and Google’s Niantic Labs release Pokemon Go – a new augmented reality game into the wild


There’s a serious Pokemon invasion and it’s only just started.

Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game was released last Wednesday to select countries. Players in Japan, America, Australia and New Zealand were among the lucky first to catch virtual Pokemon and live out their dream of becoming Pokemon Trainers.

The game has a staggered worldwide release and will next be available in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands as soon as the Pokemon Go team can put up more game servers to cope with the huge user demand for the game.

Pokemon are fictional animals which can be caught by throwing a Pokeball at it and over time, they can gain levels and evolve into new versions. Eventually Pokemon Trainers level up enough Pokemon to battle in the Pokemon League and to prove they are the greatest trainer of them all.

At level 5 in Pokemon Go, players can choose a team to align themselves with: Instinct (Yellow team), Mystic (Blue team) or Valour (Red team).

The world of Pokemon is overlaid onto the real world, so players must walk around to capture Pokemon or visit locations – PokeStops or Gyms, where players can stock up on eggs, Pokeballs or buy PokeCoins to help them get further through the game.

In under a week, the Pokemon Go game currently sits as the most popular game within the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. It’s been mentioned the number of US Android users playing Pokemon Go will soon exceed the number of US Android users accessing Twitter or Tinder on their phones.

And it’s popularity doesn’t stop there, in Australia last weekend there have been Pokemon Go walks in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with hundreds of people turning up to catch Pokemon. With more people around, the more likely Pokemon will spawn in the game.

It should come as no surprise that the mapping technology used in Pokemon Go has been harnessed from Niantic Lab’s earlier success – Ingress. People who played Ingress submitted location data of their gameplay via GPS and interesting landmarks became portals. From this, the portals of Ingress have become the PokeStops and Gyms within Pokemon Go.

“It turns out, Ingress plays a huge role in figuring that out. Major players of the earlier game contributed location data, or intel, to an online database, populating a worldwide map with various notable locations. That’s why Pokémon Go already knows the coolest places for you to check out in your local area, accompanied with photos.” – Polygon.

If you want to read more about the influence of Ingress on Pokemon Go, this is a good read.

Reports say Ingress has been downloaded 14 million times as of July 2016 and Pokemon Go is already well on its way to challenging this, with Google Play listing the number of downloads between 5 million to 10 million already.

Essa 🙂

Official Pokemon Go – Twitter


Unique experiences found in the world: death simulators and throwing axes


Would you go to a fake death simulator or try your hand at throwing an axe?

A couple of weeks ago, Xinglai (or Awaken when translated into English) opened its doors in Shanghai, China. It’s being called a death simulator, where participants go through a fake death and cremation in order to be re-birthed and gain a new outlook on life.

A group of people arrive at the death simulator and the experience starts with a staff member asking a question about life and death. Participants respond to the question by either volunteering themselves as a sacrifice or choose someone else in the group to become the sacrifice. An explanation also needs to be given as to why the person was selected.

The group votes for the person with the worst explanation to be sacrificed. The selected person is then asked to lie back on a moving conveyor belt which leads to a simulation of a crematorium eg. video projection of fire on the walls. The chosen person is then “reborn” by going through a fake womb made out of latex.

During the experience, the group is given the opportunity to write down their last thoughts on paper.
The paper can be kept or be shredded by choice. The creators of Xinglai built the experience to offer participants an opportunity to clear their mind and give them the ability to put issues into perspective.

The experience costs 444 yuan (or $68 USD) for two hours and accommodates 12 people at one time.

According to Mashable, Xinglai was originally suppose to be an escape room game where several challenges needed to be solved to escape the threat of being “killed”. After construction posed a problem, the team behind it had a rethink of their original idea.

Other places with “death simulators”:
May 2015: The Cremator, Window of the World Amusement theme park – Shenzhen, China
– People walk through a “morgue”, then are put into a coffin that travels down a conveyor belt and hot air is blasted at it

September 2014: Samadhi Death Simulator – Shanghai, China
– Classified as a escape room where everyone works together on tasks

2014: Xinglai – Shanghai, China
– Same name, different concept with a focus on mediation, life and death

February 2010: Coffin Academy – Daejeon, South Korea
– Participants write goodbye letters and then attend their own funerals, by being nailed into wooden coffins for 10 minutes and then released. In the darkness, participants are left to think and are suppose to come out refreshed, motivated and appreciate life more.

A/Maze Montreal which runs escape rooms in Canada have expanded their business offering by setting up Montreal’s Rage Academy, a place where axes can be thrown at large target boards from a distance.

And then Intervirals heard about axe throwing from a friend, finding out there was an axe throwing place in Australia.

Further investigation into axe throwing lead to CBC Canada who says the trend came about, “After an explosion of popularity across Europe that then moved into southern Ontario [Canada]”. Axe throwing seems to be popular in Canada, with the two biggest axe throwing businesses in the country being Backyard Axe Throwing League – BATL (2006) with 7 locations and Bad Axe Throwing (2014) which has 10 locations.

– Essa 🙂

Milo & Tim Tams (or that time when Intervirals met the Room Escape Artist team)

Turning up ten minutes before the escape room was scheduled to start, I waited inside the doorway of the building. The plan was to play an escape room and catch up for dinner with the Room Escape Artist team during their visit to Australia. Just be cool. Remember to say Hello.

A couple of minutes later, Lisa and David appeared in front of the doors and introductions were made, it was awesome to finally meet them in person.

Room Escape Artist are currently on their escape room world tour, stopping in on the West Coast of the US and also in Australia, then heading off to Canada (and meeting all those awesome Canadian escape room artists located there!)

They had already booked in a time slot to play an escape room, In Memoriam at The Engima Room and Intervirals tagged along for the adventure. The premise of the story was to find the protagonist’s most precious memory and retrieve it in time.

The team worked efficiently as we all progressed through the escape room, talking out loud about the clues we had found. Everything was searched thoroughly, logically deducted quickly and the realization when a change of tactics was needed because the team had missed something. And locks posed no problems, within a couple of tries most things were vanquished. Watched in awe and chipped in where possible. The room stood no chance.

We all got out of the room with 6 minutes to spare and no hints used. There’s even an automated email from The Enigma Room which states how long it took to escape and how we compared to other teams who attempted the escape room (83% better!).

At the end of the game, I asked the Room Escape Artist team for a photo –


In terms of story, preferred the other escape room theme – Doctor Disaster, (saving the world with great props) at The Engima Room but In Memoriam was a great story too. If you liked Inception and the concept of retrieving memories with crafty puzzles thrown in to the mix, then this is a great escape room for you.

The Enigma Room Sydney

The escape room staff were also awesome in recommending a place for dinner, Ramblin’ Rascal which always looked like a normal fire safety door if you walked past it. Look closer and you would see that under the handle it says Pull. Down a dimly lit set of stairs, tucked away in the basement is a bar where three bloggers talked about escape rooms over burgers and fries.

There was even space to leave a scrawl along a blackboard wall –chalkboard

Hopefully will catch up with the Room Escape Artist team again in New York one day.
I’ll bring the Tim Tams.

– Essa 🙂

If you could design a escape room, what would it be like? We ask some escape room friends to share their ideas


To celebrate reaching Intervirals second blog birthday, we wanted to reach out to other escape room bloggers or websites to collaborate on a guest blog. It took a while to come up with a good question – a question that everyone could contribute their own ideas and opinions on it.

What could be more fun than dreaming up escape rooms?

So the question the blog asked this year was:
If you could design a escape room, what would it be?

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this blog post! And a shoutout to Canadian Caper, who have an upcoming escape room event and which is organised by a couple of escape room bloggers who dared to dream and bring their idea to life.


Name: David Spira & Lisa Radding, RoomEscapeArtist.com (USA)
If we were to design an escape room, it would be a burglary. Players would first have to break into the room, and steal an object. The puzzles would all involve disabling security systems. Whether they successful steal the object, or fail to do so, an alarm would sound, and the room would lock. The players would then have to break back out. The goal would be to escape without being captured, for a neutral victory, and escape with the stolen object for total victory.

Name: Pá, Lock Me If You Can
Being a sparkly-stuff-fan who also loves puzzles, I miss colourful, cute and shiny rooms – the vast majority of venues tends to build serious or even horror places. I would love to design a “Fairyland Room”, where moving objects and light effects appear like magic. Hidden items in a plastic ball pool and a mountain of colourful stuffed toys would be beside music and smell puzzles. Family friendly, for kids from 8 to 80 who still love fairy tales.

Name: Chris M. Dickson, Exit Games UK
The more I learn about the people who run rooms, the more I am in awe of them and the more I know that I never could do it well. The site I would run, though, would be called Glory Door; you’d enter the game through a door which would remain unlocked throughout in case of fire or panic, but your aim would be to win by finding the final code (or creating the final tool, or…) to open the titular Glory Door itself.
Teams who achieved this in the time limit would walk out through it onto a red carpet where they would be greeted by recorded choirs of angels, indoor fireworks, a spotlight show, a standing ovation from all the staff in the building, an announcement over the tannoy throughout the centre and beyond, a slow-motion close-up video recording of their glorious exit, a tray of glasses of chilled sparking wine and more. To the victor, the spoils!


Name: Eelco, All-EscapeRooms Netherlands
The room would have something to step up the pressure; something like a continuously lowering ceiling. Create an indiana jones mission. Make a combined mission: you have to get in to get a treasure but also get out in time.

Name: BHox, S-capegoats (Singapore)
It would be a truly unique experience! For the players (and for me too of course!). It would be unlike any escape room around now. I might actually just be in the process of doing that…so no spoilers.

Name: Mike, Escape Games Review (Canada)
I think the Holy Grail right now is the Replayable Room (especially for players like us, who have run out of rooms).  I would love to create/play a room that is the “Chrono Trigger” equivalent of escape rooms (multiple endings, bonuses for continuing a previous game, etc).  Combining the best uses of tech and actor elements you could really create an awesomely immersive world.

Names: Paula and Alan, Escape Room Hunters (Australia)
We really enjoy super-immersive experiences so if we designed a room, we would want it to be all encompassing. We like the idea of a space station theme where the room slowly rotates to give a sense of motion and disorientation that being in orbit would provide. Windows would gaze into the inky blackness of space, while others would show the Earth whizzing past the windows as you’re tumbling closer to the surface, needing to get to the escape pod.


Name: Joshua, Escman League (Malaysia)
We’re time travelling agents trying to solve a murder case a century ago, but we only have 60 minutes before the time travelling law enforcement catch up to us. There will be multiple rooms with the time travelling machine in the middle, transporting us to different eras by entering the correct date and time we need to go (which we get from each room). We could escape successfully, but we still need to solve the murder case.

Name: Mark, re-named to ReallyFun (United Kingdom)
Design: I’d want to design a room that fixes all the little things that grate on me. The first thing would be coming up with a brief that gives people a flavour of what the room’s about, but doesn’t tell them the full story. Then something in the room would explain more, possibly with a twist. Everybody loves a twist!

Name: J., Escaping SG (Singapore)
I really enjoy rooms with a ‘metapuzzle’ structure, as well as those with a driving narrative, so I’d love to try designing a room with both those aspects. Perhaps a murder mystery, in which certain first-level puzzles yield clues that contribute towards eventually finding the culprit? Or maybe something more high-tech, like a science-fiction thriller in which you break through layers of security and pick up clues about the final code — and some great plot revelation — en route.


Name: Essa, Intervirals
I would design an elevator escape room, not an 100% original idea as I know of one that already exists out there, somewhere in Canada. Have watched too many movies where the protagonist is in an elevator, then it suddenly stops several stories above the ground. Would involve ominous creaking sounds and a way to escape by unlocking the hatch on the elevator’s ceiling, then finding a nearby floor and searching for a way to open that floor’s elevator doors. 😀

So, if you could design an escape room – what would be in it? 🙂

Essa 🙂


Play Well: The legend of the lost Lego pieces that wash up onshore

According to the stories, a dark storm brewed off the British coastline on the night of February 13th 1997. The Tokio Express was a container ship and on board was several containers of Lego on its way from Rotterdam, Netherlands to New York. That night, a large wave caused 62 containers of Lego to be spilled overboard into the sea.

After a while, pieces of Lego started to wash up on beaches in Cornwall and now the coastline is visited by Lego fans around the world who beachcomb in the hope of finding Lego treasure. Usually after heavy storms, there is a better chance of finding a lost Lego piece.

The most common locations to find Lego pieces are located on the west coastline of the United Kingdom (Perranporth, Pembrokeshire, the Lizard Peninsula to name a few), along with findings on beaches in Wales, Ireland and unconfirmed reports from Florida (USA) and Melbourne (Australia).

black_octopus(Image Credit: Eurobricks.com)

Around 4.8 million pieces of Lego were lost that night, with the most sought out pieces being Octopus’ (4,200 lost pieces) or Dragons (34,000 lost pieces). The most common pieces to find include flippers and daisy flowers. Other Lego pieces that could be found include spear guns, sea grass, cutlasses (and much more!) while the different Lego sets lost ranged in theme from aquatic, police, wild west, robots and pirates.

To keep track of current beach findings, a Facebook page has been set up called Lego Lost At Sea, where residents and visitors post images of Lego items they have found.

Also, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Essa 🙂

Sources: BBC.com (1, 2, 3)

From lead to gold: The Alchemist’s Lab opens its doors at Adelaide’s Fringe Festival in Australia

From the US, Escape Room Treasure Hunt has designed an escape room that will appear during the Adelaide Fringe Festival. The Alchemist’s Lab introduces participants to a Victorian era laboratory that is rumoured to have discovered the ultimate goal in alchemy: transmutation of an element. Scotland Yard will group its detectives (participants) into groups of twelve to find out the alchemist’s secret formula by digging through the laboratory’s secret puzzles and codes.

The alchemist in question, Devon Melton Plumbum will not be in his lab for the next hour and this would be the perfect time to find out what he is up to. Will you escape with the alchemist’s gold or be left holding lead in your hands?

The whole alchemist adventure takes 90 minutes, with 60 minutes of game play along with 15 minutes at the start and end of the game for debrief.

Also the Adelaide Fringe Festival mentions on their website the actual escape room is built into a trailer which has been styled Victorian era. Interesting to note is, “all equipment, locks and puzzles … use only technology available in the period, wherever possible”.

The Alchemy Lab @ The Adelaide Fringe Festival
From Feb 12th to March 12th 2016 (doesn’t run on Mondays)
Price: $38 AUD per person
Rymill Park / Murlawirrapurka Cnr East Tce & Rundle Rd, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Adelaide Fringe Tickets | Escape Room Treasure Hunt

The Undead roam freely at MovieWorld’s Fright Nights: Panic Rooms, Mazes and the Fear Circus

There’s something lurking around every dark corner this Halloween.

Creepy clowns, killer viruses, kidnappers running around loose and a trip through the sewers are just some of the adventures brewing this month. Every Friday and Saturday of October, Movie World in Australia are opening their fearsome gates at 6pm for the general public to experience a horror sensation with four panic rooms running within the park –

Devilution – the human population is not safe from a virus turning its victims into dangerous animals. There’s refuge to be found in a dirty basement of a house but there’s something down here too…

Cirque De La Peur – Exploring that abandoned house turned out not to be such a great idea and now some clowns are playing a game of fear and tricks – will this fear circus be the end?

The Playpen – A kidnapper thinks she’s found her lost kids but can you play her game and escape in time?

Night Crawler – A murder investigation has lead your team into the underground sewers but where’s the way to get out? And what traps you in by lurking in the shadows?

The panic rooms cost $80 AUD per room for two to four people to experience in a 20 minute time limit. However you’ll need to also buy a general park ticket -$40 AUD – and then pay for the panic room experience.

There’s also plenty more undead activity on the night at MovieWorld with the theme park also split into four precincts where zombies roam, the dead freak circus rolls in with performances, demons walk around causing nightmares and a place where the undead can party all night.

To top everything off, there’s four horror mazes to experience with new and undead friends. Watching the movie won’t help you escape the Friday the 13th maze or the Jason roaming in it and the Wyrmwood maze is where a apocalypse of zombies await your arrival. The other two mazes – Wolf Creek 2 and The Evil Within make a re-appearance from last year’s fright nights for extra fun.

MovieWorld Fright Nights
Date: Fridays and Saturdays, October 2015
Price: $40 AUD for general park entry ticket
Location: MovieWorld, Queensland, Australia
Website: https://frightnights.com.au/

Essa 🙂

Fright Month 2015 begins: An Australian Escape Room Panel at PAX Australia this year

Welcome, welcome all to Fright Month 2015 – where throughout October I’ll be writing about all the spooky and exciting escape room events going on.

This was going to be a completely different blog post until an email arrived in the Intervirals inbox this week. Last month, there was Europe’s first escape room conference and in late October there will be a Canadian “unconference” too. Now Australia is joining the escape room conversation.

PAX Australia, a game convention in Melbourne this year will play host to a very exciting panel on escape rooms called, Escape Rooms: The Secret Behind “Live Escape Games”. The panel takes place on October 31st, from 9.30pm inside the Galah Theatre for those visiting PAX. Furthermore on the panel there’s going to be representatives from numerous Australian escape room operators – Escape Room Melbourne, Rush Escape, Cubescape, Riddle Room and Enigma Room.

Want to help shape the conversation that will take place on the panel? Do you have a topic or question that you would like the panel to discuss? Tweet @theenigmaroom or send an email to Matt – matt@engimaroom.com.au for a chat about escape rooms.

Update: The Live Action Gaming panel actually ran last year but the Escape Room panel is definitely going ahead on Halloween this year.

As much as I would love to be attending the escape room panel in the audience, I’ll be going on holidays to visit a place I’ve wanted to visit for a very, very long time – Disneyland.

Essa 🙂

PAX Australia 2015
Date: October 30th – November 1st
Price: $60 AUD for a day ticket
Location: Melbourne Convention Centre, Australia
Website: http://www.paxaustralia.com.au/