By JORDAN IKEDA
Looking for a fun, interactive way to spend time with your grandkids, kids, friends, relatives, parents, siblings, and/or co-workers?
Produced by the Japanese company SCRAP, Real Escape Game (REG) is a live-action, puzzle-solving group activity that is the kind of intellectual fun that brings people together. The general idea is to have a team of 6-8 people put in a situation where they need to solve mysteries and clues within a set time limit.
The best part — those interested won’t have to travel to Japan as REG recently moved into Little Tokyo.
“It’s a really fun, new experience,” said Willa Lim, the LA Room director of SCRAP Entertainment, Inc.’s U.S. REG team.
The appeal is that anyone can be a vital member of the team—from the kiddies to obaa-chans — because physical and mental prowess are not always helpful.
“I think a lot of people are intimidated,” Lim said. “Some people say they aren’t good at math, but it doesn’t necessarily have to do with math. The game is more about pattern recognition. Kids really love it, because when they understand it, they have a lot of fun.”
For those gamers that grew up in the ’90s, “Myst” was something of a cultural phenomenon and was the best-selling PC game for nearly a decade. As the first and most successful graphic adventure puzzle video game, the popularity of “Myst” birthed a new genre that resulted in popular games like “Return to Zork,” “The 7th Guest,” and “Phantasmagoria.” Once mobile became a dominant medium, games like “Device 6,” “The Room” and “The Room 2” on IOS and Android have carried on this puzzling tradition.
“People are looking to get away from the digital space and are also looking to take their phone experience and push it into reality,” said Lim.
In 2007, SCRAP did just that by bringing these “Myst”-like video game dynamics and gameplay into reality, inventing the world’s first live-action puzzle game in Real Escape Game. Over the past nine years, REG has exploded in popularity and thusly broadened its scope to include massive 2,000 player events like “Escape from AT&T Park” that SCRAP U.S. hosted at the end of January at AT&T Ballpark, the home of the San Francisco Giants.
The puzzles are difficult. The average success rate amongst the dozens of REGs out there is about 10 percent, which means the vast majority of people that undertake the challenge end up “not escaping.”
“If it were easy, then it wouldn’t be as rewarding to escape,” Lim said. “The beauty and fun is in the challenge. Win or lose, you have an experience that pushes your mind and your abilities to communicate with others and work within a team.”
For more information or to sign up, visit realescapegame.com.