An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: The Netherlands Day 2
Today was Day 1 of Up the Game!
It. Was. Awesome.
Canadian Bumpkin Adventures
Europe is still amazing and I keep finding new ways to fail at it.
I had troubles figuring out my shower.
The complete lack of bike helmets concerned me.
I managed to get completely lost on the way home. Luckily the locals were helpful and it was only a little scary.
When I finally got home I could not work the lock correctly. I had to wake up my poor AirBNB host.
Still I am having a grand time and can’t wait to explore it more!
Enough about that. What about the conference?!
Pretty much everything in Europe so far has been at least twice as pretty as whatever we have in Ontario. The Prison Dome in Breda is no exception.
This place is huge and such a unique way to use the old prison space! It is also the location of the prison escape I will be doing on Thursday, which I am super excited about.
The dome itself provided a space for exhibitors as well as a general meet-up area for attendees. This is pretty much how I met up with everyone I already knew.
Speaking of which…
I cannot say enough how fantastic everyone I came across was. I got to reconnect with friends I had already met, meet online friends in person for the first time, and meet entirely new friends altogether.
Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming despite my awkward conversation blunders. We nerded out all day about escape rooms. Naturally there were rants, but we managed talked about what we loved as well :D.
The most interesting conversations I had were with owners from around the world as we compared the trends happening in the industry. Was one country more tech obsessed? Did another just get out of that phase? And so forth.
Apparently in Eastern Europe there is a haunt in which you are chased down a hallway by a maniac with a chainsaw. A real, running, spark producing chain saw.
..nope. Just nope.
I would list everyone here but…there were so many people. They will more than likely be mentioned or heard in the podcast recap later.
This is the first conference in which I had difficulty deciding what to watch. There was SO much going on often at the same time and I had to make the agonizing choice of what to miss.
I managed to get to three talks today in between chasing attendees for podcast interviews.
The first was a talk from my friend Ken and Sera of The Logic Escapes Me about player experience. Even if they were not already my friends, I would say this was chock full of valuable information for owners. It covered bigger topics like flow but also went more detailed like how to be careful how you use colour in a room.
Also they had the best slide.
I saw another one on meaningful choice in rooms. This was probably the most philosophical I have seen a talk about escape rooms get. It was really interesting and not a topic I see get covered a lot (at least not a constructive one with possible solutions).
A lot of people wanted to talk to the speaker, Jasper Wille, afterward. I don’t blame them. I was one of them.
(Side note: Jasper later spotted me wandering hopelessly around the streets of Breda and leant me his WiFi signal to get me directions. So that makes him double awesome)
I missed out on many other fun talks such as one on VR, one on the future of the industry, one on playtesting, one on breaking the fourth wall…
You get the idea.
On top of all that I got to be on a storytelling panel! I was in heaven. Well…also nervous. Nervous heaven.
If I were a good blogger I would have gotten the full name of my fellow panelists. Instead I am listing them by first name like the amateur chump I am.
Except one! Lisa Spira of Room Escape Artist (okay I already knew her but it still counts). There was also Bart who was from Belgium, Zohan from the UK, and Emmi from Finland. They were all pros and really had some interesting ideas.
It was different being in a room of like minded individuals. When I talk about story, I am used to defending the need to have story in rooms (although this is becoming less frequent).
Here, everyone already agreed on that point. We could now focus on the actual “how” and the evolution needed. It was a lot of fun. I talked way too much.
I ended up buying a ticket for the dinner event at a nearby pub. I am glad I did! We got to relax, have some drinks and just gossip about escapes.
There was also SO MUCH MEAT.
So far I have been loving Up The Game. I can’t wait for Day 2!