Tag Archives: experience

KFC Virtual Training Escape Room: The Hard Way

Tell me, do you like games?

Until you learn how to make my chicken right, you will not be allowed to leave.

KFC have created a virtual reality escape room to teach new trainees.

The Hard Way is a five step process on how to cook fried chicken. To escape the kitchen, trainees will need to play the mini games and pass the final challenge.

The virtual experience is powered by Oculus Rift head sets and runs for ten minutes. Here’s a full walk through of the experience – warning: spoilers!

 
Best comments seen so far:
– From Youtube:
Five nights at KFC
I didn’t know Aperture Laboratories had a KFC

From Eator: You can’t escape the room until you learn how to fry chicken

Movie World Australia: Fright Nights 2016 – Panic Rooms & Dirk Gently Escape Room at New York Comic Con

movie_world_fright_nights_2016

Will you be driven out by the horrors lurking inside this theme park?

Fright Night Panic Rooms return this year to Movie World with two new rooms: Zombies! A zombie apocalypse themed escape room where your team of survivors are hiding in a bunker … but the zombies are closing in and Helter Skelter, an escape room based on a mysterious serial killer. The other two panic rooms – Devilution and The Play Pen return for an encore appearance this year.

The CATATONIC Virtual Reality Horror experience is a new addition to the horror lineup this year – a ride which uses virtual reality to create a true horror experience. The story follows a patient as they enter a asylum and the thrill ride follows the patient as they descend into madness.

The final addition to all the horror experiences in the theme park are mazes and no matter what you see in the mazes – there’s no going back. From Dusk til Dawn is a maze based on a bank robbery gone wrong, a kidnapped family and trouble is going to find you soon – how do you survive? The other new maze is The Conjuring 2, where an ominous presence is causing strange things to happen in the maze. People who come out of the maze are .. different somehow. Unless the spirits can use you, then they don’t want you in this maze.

For previous attendees of Fright Nights, the other two mazes: Friday the 13th and Wyrmwood can be replayed again.

Website: Movie World Australia

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// Other Escape Room News
Everything is Connected – At New York Comic Con this week (6th – 9th October), there’s an escape room on display to promote the new tv show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which follows the adventures of an eccentric detective and his assistant. The show is based on the books written by Douglas Adams and stars Samuel Barnett as Dirk and Elijah Woods as his assistant Todd.

One of the show’s actors has described the show as “It’s like an escape room that’s a TV show” and another news article writes  “each week, viewers will enter the escape room-esque mystery”.

The Dirk Gently Facebook page indicates the New York Comic Con escape room will be located in Fandom Village and for those participants who do escape, they will get a Dirk Gently themed prize.

– Essa 🙂

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

fright-month-2016

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  🙂

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 🙂

Driving with Ford in Escape NYC: An Escape the Room Driving Experience #FordEscape

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To showcase the 2017 Ford Escape SUV – Ford created an escape room driving experience.

The experience runs from June 23rd to 26th in New York and a thousand free spaces were made available to the public. Once registration opened, all the available times were filled up in less than twenty four hours. There’s still some walk in spots available each day according to Ford’s website.

Teams of up to four people have 30 minutes to get through five different rooms, which showcase a range of the Ford Escape’s features eg. parking assist.

“.. Five rooms: an apartment, a long corridor, an office, a “hip” Brooklyn neighborhood .. and a sandy beach scene. [Also] There’s a drive-up coffee shop along the way …” – Fortune.com

At the beginning of each room, a timer is started and the team has six minutes to complete the room. Upon completing the room the timer is paused, the team hop into a Ford Escape and drive to the next room. The car has been altered to only reach a maximum of 5 miles per hour for safety reasons.

The whole escape room setup takes over 35,000 square foot of space in Moynihan Station within Manhattan in New York City and took the Ford team four whole days to setup.

This event was created by Ford who are targeting millennials with their product – turning a normal test drive into a memorable and fun experience by utilizing concepts from the experience economy.

PCMag also recorded their first hand experience of the event and uploaded it to Youtube:

 

Essa 🙂

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

axe_throwing

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.

AXE THROWING
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 🙂

Disney releases Haunted Mansion subscription promising immersive experience with ghosts

disney_ghost_relations_dept

Emerging from the shadows, Disney’s Ghost Relations Department are specialists in bringing about the best “trans-spectral experiences” with help from mere mortals and meddling spirits from the next world.

The Ghost Post opened for a short time earlier this week, allowing only the first 999 US-based subscribers to sign up for a subscription. A rough estimate would suggest the number of subscriptions ran out in one or two days. For each person who signed up, it cost them $200 USD and the experience is staged over three months, with a new subscription box sent each month.

“Receive a series of Ghoulish objects from the cobwebbed depths of the Haunted Mansion”
– Ghost Relations Dept, Disney.

Those brave souls who signed up should start receiving their subscription boxes from March 30th.
Inside each box? A story awaiting to be discovered, with deep links to the stories of the ghosts who reside in the Haunted Mansion. The ghosts face a potential threat and are seeking out mortals to help them in their quest.

Looking through the Testimonials section, on the Ghost Relations Dept. website there’s an interesting one by Madame Leota, who hints at strife between employees in the department. The original employees have passed on while the new employees aren’t trusted and seem to be obsessed with “devices everyone seems so focused on” or phones.

disney_ghost_post
At least seven to nine “haunted” items will be in each box, embedded with spectral elements and secrets that can only be revealed via an app. The Phantom Radio iPhone app was developed to enable further investigation of the haunted items when the app is run across it and also allows a connection to hear the voices of the Haunted Mansion ghosts. In the T&C’s there’s an indication the app can be used within Disneyland and gameplay will adjust based on your location.

The team behind Disney’s Ghost Relation Department are Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development (or Imagineers) and were also responsible for the alternate reality game, The Optimist in 2013.

Finally, check out the logo for the Ghost Relations Dept. besides the creepy skeleton bat, doesn’t the letter “G” look like a phone and the letter “D” look like a box? Like a phone, exposing the contents of a box.

ghost_relations_dept

Sources:
Inside The Magic
Stitch Kingdom

/Side Note: Transworld, a haunt trade show is being held this weekend in St. Louis, Missouri – USA. There’s a section called Escape Room City dedicated to escape rooms, filled with seminars and vendors selling escape room props.

Go Somewhere Secret, find the real life treasure map and locate hidden treasure

somewhere_secret
If you can get to the end of the escape game at Somewhere Secret – that’s where the next adventure starts. By solving all the puzzles as part of the game, it leads to a treasure chest in the room and inside lies a real life treasure map. The buried treasure isn’t cash, it’s located somewhere in Colorado – USA and nobody has yet found the treasure. Being curious about the combination of a escape game and a treasure hunt, Intervirals asked the team behind Somewhere Secret some questions.

Q. Somewhere Secret sounds like the beginning of a great adventure – is there a story behind the business name?
When we were thinking of a business name, we imagined someone walking down an alley and seeing something written on an old door, something that would make them want to go inside, a name that would catch the most curious folks and pull them in. At first we don’t want people to know exactly what they are doing or where they are going, but we want them to feel the pull of a mystery.

Q. You describe Somewhere Secret as a cross between a escape game and a treasure hunt – why did you decide to combine the two? Was there an experience which had a impact on you?
We’ve played a few escape games and they feel so fun for an hour, but also rather limited in that they didn’t feel very believable, they felt like artificial places with loose stories that end the moment the game is done. We wanted to make something that feel like a true intrigue – something that extends beyond the physical escape game and out into the real world. We’ve had many magical adventures in our lives, and we really want to share that feeling of being a part of something epic in real life. The escape room is only a portion of what we want to create. Our mission is to fill everyone with wonderment, magic, and adventure.

Q. If a team solves all the puzzles – is the treasure chest within the escape room? Or do people need to talk to the reception desk about it?
At this moment the map is sitting, sealed with wax, inside a rusty chest in the room. If a team unlocks the chest, they will walk out holding the document. We also have extra copies in case a group of strangers ends up wanting respective maps.

Q. Where does the treasure map lead to?
Where the map leads is a mystery of course, but it sends folks on an adventure. If they are able to solve the treasure hunt they uncover a relic, which they can bring back to Somewhere Secret in exchange for the treasure – which is non monetary, but really amazing.

Q. What if someone randomly stumbles across the hidden treasure?
We hid a specially marked relic instead of bundles of cash or gold, because we didn’t want the money to get soggy, or for a random stranger to stumble upon it. We also would like to know when the treasure is found so we can update our followers. There are several treasures in fact, so once one is found, the next players will be playing for a chance at a new map. I would be very surprised if a random person found the relic. Only people that have played the original game may claim the treasure at the end.

Q. Will the treasure remain hidden for as long as it takes for someone to find it?
Yes the treasure shall remain in its hiding place until it is uncovered.

Q. Any last bits of information you would like to share?
Though our game is very closely resembles an escape room, we often don’t describe it to people as such (we don’t lock anyone in and the goal is not escape). Many people in our region of the world still have no idea what an escape room is, so often our clients will find a mysterious note hidden in a library book that will tell them to find somewhere secret – and should they choose to follow that first clue, they are off on a magic adventure. It is more of a hunt than an escape.

Somewhere Secretsomewheresecret.com

Disneyland and the Experience Economy – Not just service but selling a magical experience

disney1

What if a business sold experiences instead of merely providing a service?
The experience economy is a concept where businesses go beyond and sell an enhanced type of service – an experience. The idea behind it involves businesses staging a “performance”, in which their services are showcased to the customer and an ordinary experience is enhanced because it is turned into a memorable one.

Who are the pioneers in this concept? Disney.

Indeed there are quite a few references to Disney in the original paper on the experience economy by Pine and Gilmore which you can check out here and there’s a few more thrown in from recent experience to Disneyland. Several characteristics of an experience economy can also be seen appearing in escape rooms, which is where this blog post ties in.

Instead of customers, participants are instead called guests and one could argue this is where the performance starts. “Next Customer, please” tells a person they are simply a financial transaction to the business, whereas “Next Guest, please” says to the customer they are valued and triggers an emotional response on a more personal level. This saying is not commonly used and felt strange when first heard in Disneyland but a moment remember much later on. “They are here as my customers” versus “They are here as my guests” – there’s a difference.

In addition, the experience should be slowly revealed over a period of time. The guest should be presented with the first stage of the performance and then gradually the performance evolves showing that there is more to the initial experience than first meets the eye. Customer service and props are utilised to enhance the performance’s impact on guests. All guests upon entering Disneyland Park enter through Main Street and as they walk through the park they encounter seven other additional areas to explore – each with their own themes, props and costumed staff.

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The best performances utilise more than one of the five senses to have an impact on the guest – take The Little Mermaid Ride for an example. When Ariel’s ride suddenly stopped and guests were waiting – one of the animatronics made a joke about that sea witch and told us to stay in our clamshells on the ride (sound, sight). Kept guests informed yet still relevant to the ride’s theme and not the usual bored ride operator’s voice giving out instructions. The smell of gingerbread while passing by a long dinner table on the Nightmare Before Christmas ride and the dry, dusty feeling when riding pass the Wild West diaphragm on the Disneyland Railroad, the train around the park. Bubble machines are also cleverly hidden around the park which I think trigger memories of being a kid and being without worries.

The performance helps to create an overall experience which is unique to the individual who has participated in it. From this, the customer derives more value from the experience because of the value they attach to (hopefully a good) memory of the business. In theory, customers are charged usually a high price of admission by the business for the experience they receive.

However will disagree slightly, believing the experience economy doesn’t always mean an admission fee needs to be charged by a business. An experience that is memorable and stands out against competitor businesses is also selling an experience to a customer without the financial reward.

There’s additional criteria to judge how the experience affects the guest:

ACTIVE PARTICIPATION vs. PASSIVE PARTICIPATION
Guests should be actively participating and contributing to the experience rather than passively observing the event as a bystander.

IMMERSION vs. ABSORPTION
Being immersed in the performance is where guests will obtain the most value from the experience, otherwise guests are only watching others being involved in the event.

“Escapist experiences can teach just as well as educational events can, or amuse just as well as entertainment, but they involve greater customer immersion.” Pine & Gilmore, 1998.

The experience should have an impact on the guest before they arrive, meet their needs during their time with the business and after the guest has gone home. Think of every Disney, Pixar and Marvel movie ever as a stage for Disney to act out its performance upon and sell you a magical experience. (Yes, Disney owns all these companies – surprise!).

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Some tips from the experience economy:
– Design your experience around a strong theme – guests are driven towards a story that captures their attention.

– Leave an impression on your guests by introducing subtle cues in design eg. walls or floors designed in a way to indicate how guests should move around the space such as lining up. Remember regular customers by name.

– Remove negative messages from the environment and don’t overwhelm the customer with things they don’t really need to know. Simplify their experience instead of giving poor customer service such as constantly interrupting their experience.

– Sell souvenirs of the experience – guests will pay a higher price for a product they associate with an experience they want to remember.

– Utilise the five senses to enhance an experience in order to make it memorable – through sound, sight, touch, smell and tastes that relate to your theme – which then triggers the imagination of the guest.

– Engage your guest by continuously updating the experience over time, price well according to the experience’s value and ensure enough capacity to accommodate peaks in customer demand.

# Leftover Notes –
– There was plenty of coin pressers located around the park and it turned into a scavenger hunt. Give the machine some money and a shiny penny, in return the penny would be pressed into an oval shape with a Disney design. If you weren’t looking for the coin pressers – you would walk right pass them. Some were placed at the exit of rides, other times buried into the corners of merchandise shops hidden in plain sight. Finding each coin presser was an adventure in itself.

– Something that was suprising to see was moving walkways (similar to what airports have) in order to load guests quickly on to a ride. The walkways were slow enough to let guests sit on the ride but fast enough to make people quickly move. Never have seen it before in a theme park, really interesting to see in action.

One of the happiest places on earth to visit.

Essa 🙂

Monsters, Vikings and The Century Beast Kickstarter by The Mysterious Package Company

the_mysterious_package_company

The typical mailbox is filled with junk catalogues and bills for things that need to be paid for but what if you received something different one day?

The Mysterious Package Company specialises in telling stories via a unique medium – they send pieces of a story to a person via mail. First, you need to apply for membership, be accepted and select an experience.

It then starts with the recipient receiving a letter and as weeks pass, other artifacts that are part of a customized experience arrive in your mailbox as well. The entire overarching storyline wraps up with “The Reveal”, with the company sending a final black letter and a wooden crate nailed firmly shut. Within the wooden crate this time around is an eldritch (weird/sinister/ghostly) artifact to remember the entire experience by.

“We include real history in the story, which lends authenticity to the experience, disguising where reality ends and the fiction century_beastbegins.” – The Century Beast, Kickstarter

The company at the moment only sells its stories and experiences to accepted members. However the newest experience is being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and is open to everyone. Called The Century Beast, its a story about marine monsters, vikings drawn to look for these monsters and doomed by what lurks below the waterline.

To sign up for the entry level experience – The Bronze Experience will cost $99 CAD, followed by the Silver Experience at $199 CAD and their are Gold, Diamond and Platinum packages too. With three days to go, the Kickstarter has received $303,000 in funds, a long way ahead of its original goal of $20,000 Canadian dollars.

The Century Beast on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1T74PmN
The Mysterious Package Company: https://www.mysteriouspackage.com/