Escape rooms are not like what I thought they would be

I’ve always avoided going into escape rooms because I thought my style of approaching an escape room would make it unfun for everyone else. I just assumed my inner maximum-efficiency and optimization urges would kick in and I would basically flip the entire room upside-down to try and figure out how to get out as quickly as possible, without really going through the actual puzzle process. Essentially, the thought process is that the room can only be so big, so I’m eventually going to “accidentally” run into a solution, possibly faster than just solving the puzzle (because the rooms are supposedly designed to take about an hour to complete).

I was catastrophically wrong.

I went to an escape room with members of Tempo Storm’s Heroes of the Storm team and staff, mainly because I was their ride, but also because we had a different appointment together shortly after the escape room. I was anticipating on spending the hour outside the escape room getting some work done on my laptop. At the beginning, I went into the room to grab some photographs, but while I was snapping pictures, before I realized what was happening… the room started.

Instead of just vigorously knocking on the door asking to be let out, I decided this would be my very first escape room experience. I immediately got to work flipping things over and trying to figure out the solution.

I rapidly realized that trying to brute-force the escape room was not as easy as I thought it would be, and it’s not just something you can “accidentally” do. We actually already knew the solution – to open a humongous padlock to retrieve the key – but it just happened to be protected by a 5-character lock. Now this wasn’t just a normal numerical lock… it was an alphabet lock. It didn’t take long for me to realize that just solving the puzzle would be easier than trying 11,881,376 different combinations. I’m a pretty amazing human being, but I know my limitations, one of which is the inability to attempt 3.3 five-character alphabet combinations every millisecond.

… and that was only the first part.

Eventually, we figured it out and got out of the room, but we didn’t really come anywhere close to setting a record. I’m actually pretty glad I got unexpectedly locked into the room, because it was an interesting experience.