Virtual Escape Room Tips and Tricks

2021.01.25.

In these strange times of the Covid-19 virus, ExitTheRoom has been pioneering a new form of escape game entertainment. Namely, the virtual online escape room game. Using the Zoom video-conferencing app, players can now take part in all the fun and excitement of an escape room game, but from the comfort of their own sofa. You can log-in via any portable mobile device or use your PC to direct a game master whose situated in the actual bricks and mortar escape room itself. He's wearing both a microphone and a video camera, so the player can see what he sees and hear what he hears, as well as being able to communicate with him directly. Though playing virtually offers the same fun factor, there are some factors that differ from the traditional games. We're put a list of the most useful ones here.

Communication is Everything

As with all shared activities, communication is key. And the same goes for escape room games. Whatever you see that might be of interest when you enter the room, please speak up and share your observation with at least one other member. It's imperative that all the team is open to all ideas put forwards. Keep in mind that you're probably going to be in situations new and dealing with puzzles and riddles you've never seen before. Communication covers both the talking and the listening. Taking care with both of these factors will enable the game to progress smoothly.  

Ask Your Game Guide To Search The Whole Room At The Beginning

You game guide is the only tool that you have within the room. As soon as the game starts, have them look at everything in the room, going around the structure in an orderly manner so as not to miss anything. The more clues and puzzles you can find in this initial search, the easier will be your tasks further down the line. Don't be afraid to ask your game guide to slow down if you think they're going to quickly. In the same vain, don't be afraid to ask them to search something over again. Remember that they are your eyes, ears and hands, so make them work.

Ask For Clues

There's no shame in asking for help. The game master will not tell you the answer directly, but rather hint at a possible solution. In other words, you still have to put in the work. It's important that no one in your team gets bogged down with one problem. Getting stuck will eventually slow the whole team down. This can lead to frustration as everyone starts to become obsessed with the clock counting down the minutes. Just as with a real life bricks and mortar escape room game, you should ask the games master for help whenever you get stumped. They are experts at giving the right type of hint, just the right amount of information to help you get yourself out of a hole. 

Have Zoom Downloaded Ahead Of Time

You'll need to have the Zoom Conferencing system already downloaded and set up ready to go before the game begins. Normally, at least 12 hours before the game starts you'll receive an email with a meeting ID and the time the game will start. It'll also contain your access password. Make sure that all of your team are set up correctly, have there gaming password and meeting ID, and that you can all see and speak with each other. Ensure that each member of your team has enough light on their face so that you can see each other clearly, as this will help with communication later on.

Split Your Screen 

We recommend using Google Chrome with your Zoom application. Once you've logged onto Zoom, use chrome to split your screen to show the games dashboard at the same time. Two monitors is even better for a more immersive experience.

Use A Computer Or Laptop

We don't recommend using tablets or iPads to play these online virtual escape room games. Yes, you can use them, but you can't use both the gaming dashboard and Zoom at the same time. This will limit your playing experience. That's why it's best to stick with either a laptop or a PC.

Use Your 360 Degree Room View

Today many escape room games will offer a 360 room view. This means you can get the general layout of a room before you all dive in and start playing. This can also act as a memory aid for clues seen but not solved or clues that have already been done.

A Pen And Paper Are Essential

In the escape room there will be any number of riddles, puzzles and clues. Many will involve rearranging number, symbols and letters.You can't solve them in your head. At the beginning it's a good idea to jot down important parts of the narrative, along with anything you see of interest. Note the types of locks, and you can use drawings to illustrate ideas to other team members. 

Give Clear Instructions To The Game Guide

Yes we know this sounds like common sense, but you might be surprised as to how tense things can get as the game reaches it's climax. You game guide can't do anything unless the instructions are absolutely clear. Don't assume he understands what you're saying. It's up to you to communicate with him, not the other way around. If you're using a word or phrase that he's not understanding, then you need to think of another way to say the same thing. Remember, that no matter how stressed or tense things get, that he is on your side. He wants you to finish in time. 

Stay Organised

In the same manner that you'll need clear communication, you need to keep order in the rooms. Disorder is your enemy here, as it will slow down the finding of clues and therefore the  game itself. Keep track of everything you touch. Use the pen and paper for this. Make use of your game dashboard to help you keep order and make sense of things.

In order to understand how an online virtual escape room works, you really need to play one first. Using another person as your eyes and ears might seem kinda clunky at first. But once you get the hang of it, then the game will suddenly start to pick up speed. The sheer tension that comes from believing that some zombie is about to break through the door behind you, will have your palms sweating. Just like playing an online game on a consul, you'll find the whole experience totally immersive. And once you've finished it, you'll all be virtually high-fiving over Zoom. Once you've played one game, then there's no going back.

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