Escape Room Narrative: Dialogue Considerations
Back when I was acting more often, I was in a Fringe play in Toronto. I was 25, and soaked up every project my hungry acting soul could consume. This one was particularly exciting. Like most Fringe shows, it was an original script, something I had never encountered outside of terrible university shows. It was also my first time doing something semi-professionally, and the anxiety of making a fool of myself in front of swarming throngs of judgey theatre critics was strong.
There was one line in particular I simply could not seem to deliver properly. For weeks, I had been struggling with it. The director/writer was extremely patient with me, giving me some direction, even trying to do a line reading. But no, every time the words came out of my mouth, they sounded like an elementary school kid trying to be an adult…or maybe it was the other way around.Read the rest of this entry
Escape Room Narrative: What Spiderverse Can Teach Us About Intro Videos
So two weeks ago I finally saw Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. Yes, I know. I’m more than slightly late to the game here. Part of it was intimidation of my Marvel fan friends (they can be intense). Part of it was my fatigue with Marvel and Spider-Man movies in general. A very small and petulant part of me simply didn’t want to get on the hype train. Whatever the reason, the important thing is that I saw it!
And I. Am. OBSESSED.
Yes, the hype was real. Despite knowing only the very basics of Spider-Man, I was still in love with this movie. And there is a lot to love. The ground-breaking animation, the engaging characters, the humour, the heart, everything was almost pitch perfect in execution.
But there was one scene in particular that caught my eye. And I’m not talking about the “What’s Up Danger” sequence…although that is an incredible sequence, and it definitely took my breath away and I may or may not have that song on my jogging playlist now so that I too can feel like a Spider-Person while I huff and wheeze my way down the street.
No, the scene I am talking about comes almost exactly one hour into the movie. It lasts approximately thirty-five seconds. And it is an excellent example of what we could be doing with our escape room intro videos.
I am talking about the Kingpin backstory reveal. Spoilers ahead for…well…a very tropey backstory, I guess…Read the rest of this entry
Escape Room Narrative: My Favourite Character-Driven Escapes (That I have Played…Mostly)
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at RECON Global about characters. In it, I did a high level 101 talk about how characters can be presented in escape rooms. At the end of the presentation I made a vague reference to the interesting things I have seen some escape rooms do with their characters. And because I didn’t have an additional two hours to ramble, I left it at that.
So, I decided I would use my very unlimited word limit here to talk about them in more detail! Enjoy the spoiler free list of the escape rooms that are pushing the boundaries of characters!Read the rest of this entry
Escape Room Narrative: The Remote Avatar
It’s been three months since my city locked down. I’ve had to adapt to working from my dining room chair and lining up with anxious citizens outside a grocery store.
Likewise, Escape Rooms have had to pivot to try to survive the next few months. How successful they are is still up for debate, but it has resulted in some interesting new trends that are becoming the new norm.
Now is a time of uncertainty. But it is also a time of opportunity. Innovation is often born out of limitations. There are creative mines to be delved here. I wanted to dedicate my next few entries to some of these trends and narrative possibilities: what’s working, what’s not working, and what we could be doing with the time we have now.
The first thing to talk about is one of the first things escape rooms decided to employ: the remote avatar.Read the rest of this entry
Escape Room Narrative: Music
“Immersive” is definitely a buzz word that has been growing in popularity in the escape room industry over the last few years. Designers and companies strive to make their players feel immersed in a world. There are many discussions of elaborate sets, seamless technology, and environmental storytelling.
But there is one tool I have rarely seen discussed: music.
Music has shaped so much of our art and entertainment. Whether it is opera, film, or video games, I doubt there is anyone who can imagine these mediums completely devoid of music. It lets us know how to feel. It helps tell the story. It builds the world. It is one of my favourite parts of the entertainment I consume. And yet I rarely see it discussed in escape rooms.
Escape Room Narrative: Exposition Part 3
And now we get into some of the more involved escape room exposition tools. Super exciting times! (said the nerd) Read the rest of this entry
Escape Room Narrative: Exposition Part 2
There are many ways to introduce an audience to a story. Mediums are not limited to any one method although there are usually a couple that are most effective.
Escape rooms are still going through some growing pains. Like video games, they are an interactive experience. Unlike most story heavy games, escape rooms have a set time limit, making it next to impossible to allow players the leisure to discover the story by interaction alone.
So what DOES make an effective exposition for an escape room? Let’s take a look at some of the methods currently used, the pros, the cons and how they can be taken to the next level. For consistencies’ sake, I am going to look at all of these methods using one of the most common escape room themes: The Mad Doctor/Scientist.