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Could you crack Glasgow’s ‘Crystal Maze’ in 60 minutes?

Could you crack Glasgow’s ‘Crystal Maze’ in 60 minutes?

It is being billed as a ‘must try’ game that will give you a ‘challenging brain workout’.

These are just some of the comments on TripAdvisor for Escape, a new Glasgow code-breaking game in which a team of up to six is pitched against the clock to solve a series of puzzles and escape a locked room.

Since opening the doors over ten weeks ago, the Wellington Street business has welcomed 2000 visitors.

This is the second venture for the company, which opened its debut site in Edinburgh in May. It has also just opened a site in Newcastle.

It currently holds the number one spot on the travel website’s Things to do in Glasgow section, a position owner Daniel Hill is delighted with.

"Moving to Glasgow had always been a long term goal, but after the response in Edinburgh we were able to achieve it much quicker than originally expected,” Daniel said.

“Expanding so early is scary and exciting at the same time," he said. "I'm amazed at how many people we have had play our games.

“It's fantastic to see teams of all different ages participate and enjoy them. The feedback we have received has been absolutely superb.

“I'm genuinely surprised we were able to achieve such a high rating on TripAdvisor so quickly.

“If you look at cities like Budapest, they have 62 live escape games in the city at the last count," he added.

“It is a massive thing in Eastern Europe and Asia and is just filtering into the UK.”

A simple idea that will test your brain power

One turn of a key and the door is locked. A group of game-loving enthusiasts then have 60 minutes to solve many puzzles, riddles and brain teasers using their powers of observation and problem solving to escape the room.

Enter the Classic Live Escape Room and you will be greeted by a 'normal' living room. But look behind the clean and minimalist design and a burrow of hidden drawers, locked boxes and objects lie waiting to be found.

“We have a classic game and theme games,” Daniel said.

“In Glasgow, the theme will be Contagion so you will be a scientist and have to grab the vaccine and then escape the lab.

“The idea is that you play the classic games first and then move on to the harder games," he said.

“The easiest reference to it is game shows like Crystal Maze, The Krypton Factor or a sanitised version of Saw.”

'It is a bit like Big Brother'

Daniel took a side-step away from his trainee teacher training in mathematics and previous studies in architecture to focus on his gaming goal after a friend opened a similar business in Europe.

Since opening, the 34-year-old said it has been fascinating to see how different people respond to the quick-thinking, clue-busting challenges.

“It is all about the time pressure,” he said.

“We monitor the games by watching them on CCTV and use a code delivery system in the room which could be through TV stations. It is a bit like Big Brother.

“The first clue always gets them to explore the room," Daniel said.

“Children are really good because they are clearer thinkers. If adults go down the wrong route, they try and figure out why whereas kids will just try something else which, in this kind of situation, is beneficial.

“It is a bit like a game show,” he added. “When you put people under the spotlight they sometimes freeze.”

The current code-breaking record in Glasgow for the classic game stands at 34 minutes and it has an average success rate of 40% to 45%.

Daniel expected to open the theme game Contagion at the end of next week and is hopeful this new addition will help spread the word around to puzzle lovers around the city.

“We spend all of our time getting everything online on our phones,” he said. “What this does is generate a bit of interaction.”

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