Greetings! My name is Rob Bertrand and I am a Co-Owner at NW Escape Experience in Vancouver, Washington! I could not say that 3 months ago. So what happened? What is an Escape Room and how does one go from never hearing about one, to owning one? Let me tell you all about it…
An Escape Room is a live action, adventure with an immersive story that requires you to use logic and teamwork to solve a series of puzzles that will eventually lead to your escape. Locked in a room, you are given 60 minutes to search for clues and solve the mystery. Each Escape Room has it’s own unique theme and story-line. You might find yourself locked in a wizard’s potion room, or a warden’s prison cell-block, or in our case…a serial killer’s “Kill Room.” An Escape Room is the ultimate game night, mixing the magic of board games with the thrill of live action role-playing. In an Escape Room, you are the star of your own action adventure/mystery thriller! Some even compare it to being on the set of a movie!
I first heard of Escape Rooms a little over a year ago and since I’ve spent the last 21 years working in the entertainment industry, it piqued my interest. But I kept putting it off and putting off, thinking, “I’ll get around to it someday.” Then my wife Tamara was invited to a birthday party at an Escape Room. I was invited along, but a video project I was working on got in the way. Tamara went without me and when she returned, she told me tales of the fun and excitement her group shared, while trying to escape from a room with a chained up zombie! I could tell she had a blast by the way her face lit up while talking about it. How rare is it to have an experience like that these days? Okay! My interest caught fire!
So when August 2016 rolled around, my family and I needed to find something to do for my son’s 17th birthday. An Escape Room experience was a perfect idea! So we rounded up a few adults and a bunch of my kid’s friends and ventured out to Portland Escape Rooms, to play their “Arcade” room. The story was simple! You’ve been invited to an Arcade that’s going out of business, but once you enter, the madman owner immediately traps you! You must solve his puzzles to find a way to escape before a bomb explodes! Ready? Set! Go!
Our team immediately sprung to action, searching the room and calling out the things that we found. I won’t spoil the game for you because all Escape Rooms should really be experienced in person! I will say that it was love at first sight for me. I remember feeling exhilarated every time we solved a puzzle that unlocked another part of the story for us. I remember feeling anxiety as the 60-minute clock ticked away closer and closer to zero! About half way through the game, I stopped and watched my family, who were all hard at work on different puzzles. They were all smiling and had a joy in their eyes I hadn’t seen in awhile. The friends we had with us all had the same feeling of excitement! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to have this much fun. We were working together, in harmony, with one sole purpose! To solve this room and escape!
We came within seconds of escaping the room and even though we didn’t, I walked out of that place with one thought on my mind. “I COULD DO THIS!” Without saying a word, my wife saw the look in my eye and knew exactly what I was thinking. With my 21 years of theater, film-making, TV and radio experience, I could open my own escape room in Vancouver, Washington and bring an incredible type of entertainment to families just like mine! Studies actually show that families, who play together form a stronger cohesion, communicate better with each other and adapt to new challenges faster! It’s a muscle that you and your family need to exercise! So our family has found a new type of game night! I guess you could say that we’ve become Escape Room enthusiasts!
3 months later, we opened our own Escape Room with the help of some fantastic business partners! I’m proud to say that our story and puzzles are 100% original! You won’t find our room anywhere else in the world and it definitely wasn’t built from a kit! So I highly encourage you to try something new! Get off the couch and unlock your adventure! You’re family will thank you and you will look like a hero! For more information, visit www.nwescapeexperience.com.
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