Bloody handprints are smeared on the wall and I can hear the chain rattling in the next room. I’m surrounded by a group of 10 strangers and we are all staring at each other while we contemplate our impending doom; we are about to get locked in a room with a zombie.
It sounds like an unlikely scenario, however I willfully signed up for this. When I first discovered room escape games in Prague earlier this spring I was hooked. The thrill of being trapped in a room for an hour and working through clues to find a way out was something I knew I wanted to do again. That’s when I heard about Room Escape Adventures which offered the ‘room escape’ experience with the added twist of a live, blood-sucking, brain-eating zombie….dun Dun DUN!
I arrived at the Fine Arts Building in Chicago and made my way up to the sixth floor. It was a Wednesday evening, classical music was floating down the halls, and the building was completely desolate. Was I walking straight into a Stephen King horror novel?
At 6:30 p.m. a door down a lone corridor opened and we were met by an assistant who gave us a quick briefing.
- You have 60 minutes to escape the room.
- There is one hungry zombie chained to the wall.
- Every 5 minutes a buzzer will sound releasing the chain from the wall by another foot.
And that’s when we were left to our own devices.
Our group walked into the room a little too hesitantly with eyeballs darting from left to right.
“But where is the zombie?”
We were still trying to identify our predator’s position when the thing leapt out at us and we all jumped several feet back.
Wild-eyed and wearing a lab coat like some deranged scientist, the creature tugged on its chain which at this point was keeping it back from us at a relatively safe distance.
The clock had started ticking.
How does it work?
The thing about room escape games is that you never know what you’re looking for. You know you need to find a way out, but this could come in the form of absolutely anything. The first task at hand is to rummage through the entire room and examine EVERYTHING. Open, pull, push, and lift things. Look underneath, on top, and behind objects. Shake, twist, and align anything you can get your hands on. Once you find the first piece to this mind puzzle, things start moving forward. Of course, this game is even trickier because you have a zombie to contend with!
Not only do you want to stay away from the zombie because it is scary, but you also want to avoid its grip unless you want to end up in the ‘quarantine zone’. Since the zombie has a vicious virus that can spread onto the other players, once you are touched by the zombie you can no longer physically participate in the game. You can still verbally communicate with your team, but you can’t actively search for clues. Of course, avoiding the zombie becomes harder and harder as the hour progresses and the chain grows longer, so…avoid the zombie!
And now let’s talk about team work. The pros about going into a room escape game as a group are that you have to work together. The cons of going into a room escape game as a group are that you have to work together! Yes, more people means more brain power, but you also need to communicate your findings with each other in order for this to work! Our group of strangers initially struggled with this, which meant we kept revisiting some of the same clues again and again because we didn’t realize someone else had already solved what needed solving. We also accidentally misplaced one of our final clues (how!?!) which ultimately was the reason we fell prey to the zombie. I had a fun team to work with, but if you can, I suggest you go with a big group of friends. The added bonus of going with friends is that you already know how they think and it’s easier to communicate with them under pressure.
And lastly, you will get some help if your group is stumped. In the last room escape game I played in Prague, it was just Sam and me with a walkie-talkie to buzz for help if we were really stuck on something. However, in Trapped in a Room with a Zombie, the assistant who gave us the briefing also came into the room and quietly observed from the corner. She didn’t speak the whole time we were there, but she did point and tap at things if she saw that we were really struggling with a clue and needed some guidance.
Like I mentioned, our group wasn’t able to beat the clock this time! So far this game has a 29% escape rate, which means there is a 71% chance you will get eaten by the zombie. And even though I ended up as zombie bait, I really did have a good time as did the other players.
So you wanna get trapped in a room with a zombie?
If you’re looking for an off-beat evening that may have you screaming and dashing around the room, then you’ll want to check out Trapped in a Room with a Zombie.
Room Escape Adventures has various locations across the United States. I attended their game in Chicago, however, you can also find them in Atlanta, Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. This is a popular game so you’ll want to register a few days in advance through the Room Escape Adventures website.
Tickets are $28 USD per participant – not a bad price to spend an hour fearing for your life!
Would you spend 1 hour locked in a room with a zombie?